He was my first love. I was 12 years old when I saw him the first time, and I was hooked from there on out. I'd never seen anyone dance like that, or heard a voice that tickled my belly the way his did. I was utterly smitten. It was the very first record album (remember those?) I bought. That Christmas, I got a portable record player (all the rage back then) and carried that thing around with me, so I could listen to that record, over and over. When they were going to appear at Madison Square Garden, I begged my mother to take me. It was my first concert. I saw him (well, all of them) 4 times after that. Smitten.
Even after I graduated from High School, I remained a fan. I bought every album he ever put out, and followed his career with the devotion of a disciple. Even when all the nastiness started, I knew he was innocent. There was NO WAY this man could ever hurt a child. Not in a million years. Yea, he was strange, but why wouldn't he be? He'd been so horribly abused by his menacing, greedy father, and he was just too fragile. This was a man who just couldn't bear reality as 'we' know it. It was too much for him. So he withdrew, further and further into his own world. Surgeries to mask the face that too strongly resembled his father's. He tried for decades to erase all that had tortured him for so long. So terribly sad.
I heard someone say that this was a day we'd all remember...like when Elvis died. People remember where they were...and the feeling the had when they heard the news. I had just gotten in my truck and turned the radio on when the news came flying out of the speakers. I thought it was a joke. I sat there, stunned. How could this be? Wasn't he just rehearsing for his new tour? Just last night he had the best rehearsal of his life. How could he be dead? I kept switching the radio stations, hoping against hope that it wasn't true. But at every turn of the dial, there it was. Michael Jackson was dead. At 50.
I'm still stunned by this news. And saddened. But there's also a feeling of relief. Maybe now this kind, gentle spirit will get to be the child he never got to be. Maybe now he'll find some peace. I don't know what lies on 'the other side', but it's GOT to be better than what he had to deal with here.
Call me sentimental. Or naive. I don't really care. All I know is that this was a man who touched my WHOLE life. In more ways than I can even describe, even now. It's sad because he was such a giving, caring soul. So misunderstood. So horribly mistreated. But he left me with his music and all those memories of his incredible moves. He inspired me to allow my own creativity to surface. And he will always be remembered, by me, as my very first love.
Fly well, Michael. Now you get to be the angel you always were to me.
You shall be missed.