Monday, June 25, 2012

Three Years Ago Today I Lost My Best Friend....

I don't normally do posts on death anniversaries because I prefer to celebrate birthdays but for Michael I will make an exception. Three years ago today I lost the person who saw me through each and every difficult moment of my childhood, I lost the first man I ever considered myself in love with, I lost my childhood best friend. I had never met him face to face, I never shook his hand or had a chat with him, but he was as much a part of my life as anyone "real" who has ever come into it and the day that he died he took any piece of childhood that I held onto right along with him. That man, of course, is Michael Jackson....

I was doing homework when my biological sperm donor came up and told me that Michael had been rushed to the hospital. I will never forget my reaction. As soon as he said it I felt a cold chill go up my spine and I looked him in the eye and said, "He's not going to make it." And then I laughed...I laughed at the horrible thought, at the fact that I would even think that (I mean, how many times was Michael publicly rushed to the hospital in the last twenty years of his life?), I laughed because I had no idea where the fuck the statement came from and I didn't like that one bit. Then I went back to my homework after telling him to keep me updated if they said anything. A little while later I went down to eat and the television was on....I was sitting there with my plate in my lap and it came across the screen that Michael had been pronounced dead. I gasped so loud that the guy I was with at the time came to see what the hell was wrong with me and I had jumped up so that my plate now lay on the floor. But I didn't give a shit about that. Immediately I went down to the basement and I cried. I cried so hard I could barely breathe and yes, I felt a little stupid as all of the memories rushed through my mind. Things like getting Bad on cassette as a gift because I had strep throat (again) when I was four, the first time I heard the album Dangerous, standing in line the day History came out to get my hands on it and spending the whole summer of '95 playing the tapes over and over...the joy he gave me in my darkest hours, the lessons his music taught me, the way that he had felt so real to me, his presence always there in my life....and then I didn't feel stupid for weeping anymore. Because he had been my best friend, my first love, the one who taught me tolerance and compassion, and he was gone. 

I wept on and off for weeks. It felt very much like I had lost a family member. And then the day came when the memorial service for him would be broadcast live and I knew I had to watch but I didn't know how I would do it. I did not know how I would take that step to say goodbye. But I knew I had to. I must admit that when it first began there was a part of me that still hoped this was some fucked up publicity stunt on his part. I mean, if anyone would do something that big to draw attention to their last shows, Michael would have. And yes, there was some part of me that expected him to come out with that smile and admit it was all a stunt. And then the camera turned on his children. When I saw them I knew that Michael was gone. Still, I did pretty good holding back tears. Until Jennifer Hudson came up and sang my favorite song from Dangerous and at the end, Michael's voice came on asking us if we would always be there.....So many turned their fucking backs on him when he needed them the most. They saw only what was put in front of their faces without looking at the strange way that Michael's mind operated and the fact that there was no proof that anything said against him was true. Hell, let's be honest. There was little proof that sex at all was something that occupied space in his mind. He was a child in the body of a grown man and most of those people in the audience and on the streets weeping were not there....not until they found out he was gone. Hearing his voice, those words, drove me to tears. I broke down to the point where I had to leave the room because I knew that without that knowledge that somewhere he was living, even if he wasn't physically in my life, I would never be the same....
The day that he died, a few hours after I heard the news and I thought I could compose myself enough to do it, I posted this blog post on myspace:

The King of Pop

Current mood:sad
There are many people out there that will probably not understand the public emotion at the death of Michael Jackson. Already I'm seeing it, people talking not of the music and the joy that it brought but of the other aspects of his life. That was not what came to mind as I sat here eating dinner and I heard that Michael Jackson, a man that I had loved, truly loved, all of my life was suddenly gone. I thought of my childhood. It was not always easy but no matter what happened in my life I had Michael's music to pick me up. Until I was around thirteen I lived, breathed, dreamed Michael Jackson. In some ways he was like my first love. I can remember coming home from pre-school and putting my mother's Thriller album (which I later claimed as my own) on her turn table and listening to it for hours. It seemed like whenever I was sick it was Bad I wanted to hear. (It was actually purchased for me after a bought of strep throat to make me feel better so maybe that had something to do with it.) When Black or White came out it was added to the list. And, of course, History. Does anyone remember the week long Michael Jackson 24/7 marathon on VH1 to celebrate the release of History? I do. My grandmother was thrilled when the week was over so she could have her television to herself again. The day it came out my grandfather took me to a mall and bought it for me. It was honestly the first brand new cassette tape I ever owned and I was so proud of it. Just three days ago I was listening to Black or White (on compact disk now...gone is the taped version that Candee pirated for me back in '91) to get me through a particlarly boring chapter of my damned science. Perhaps there will always be times in my life when I use Michael as my security blanket. To me, he was more than a talented musician...he was like a part of my life. Almost like a father figure. That may sound stupid to people, it may sound overdramatic, but I think anyone who knew me when I was a child could attest to the fact that, in my young mind at least, he was a part of my life. I spent the better part of 22 years loving him, defending him, and digging on his tunes. I have no doubt I will spend the rest of my life doing the same. Before Morrison and Hendrix, before Janis, before Patsy, in my life, there was Michael. People can say what they like. His memory and his music will live on. I can say from my heart that I will always love him and I will always cherish the memories that I have of the man he was. He paid one hell of a price for fame and today he certaintly has it. I hope that now he can have the peace he so often sought in life.

So today I remember him, the man I loved so much. I am playing his music and trying not to watch the videos as I am attempting to do homework. I remember the joy he brought to me, the comfort I sought in him, and the fact that he gave so damned much to his fans and he got back, in his lifetime, so little in return. I never lost faith in him, I never believed the things others said, I kept loving him and I will always love him and it is that that I remember every June 25th and every August 29th....He is, was, and will always be the King of my generation and my mother's before it. He was one of kind. And there will never ever be another Michael Joseph Jackson in this world. 

"Goodnight, sweet prince. May flights of angels sing thee to thy sleep..."

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