A few weeks ago, my father came to me in a dream.
He was sitting in an open room, flooded by natural light. I don’t remember much, but I remember that he hugged me and told me to take care of myself.
When I woke up, all of the windows in my house were open. There is a specific kind of Florida wind that blows through post-Hurricane; wind that forces you to acknowledge palm trees you didn’t even know were near.
You’ll see, then, why I cried through nearly all of Jhené Aiko’s 23 minute Trip (The Movie). The short film follows Penny, a pseudonym for Jhené, as she goes on a psychedelic and emotional trip just a few months after her brother’s passing.
While writing in solitude, Penny meets Dante, who is “road tripping” across the country in the way fleeting men in a woman’s life are destined to be. He encourages her to join him—pesters, even.
Dante is charming, and he shares a handful of traits with her brother. They’re both Cancers. They share a similar smile. When you lose someone you love, every coincidence starts to feel like a sign. For a bit, Penny seems happy.
Until she isn’t.
Aiko’s poetry is sprinkled throughout the piece, as are songs from her new album. One poem in particular gutted me, for obvious reasons.
Where did you go?
Do I really have to grow up without you?
Am I really alive without you?
Are you in the stars?
Is there a God?
Do you walk with Him?
Is He a She?
Is She in me?
Will we ever talk again?
Is it strange that I can’t wait to meet my fate, just to see your face again?
For Aiko fans—Soulmates, as we are affectionately referred—to love Jhené is to know her. Or, at the very least, to know this part of her: the pain of losing her Miyagi.
For me personally, Jhené has soundtracked my life for the better part of the last decade, giving life and words to the love I feel for my sister (Promises), the thousand personalities I exist as at once (Spotless Mind) and, now, the pain of losing the man I loved the most.
You can watch Trip (The Movie) at jheneispenny.com. It’s also worth the $3.99 to keep it forever.