Just like the rest of the world, I was stunned to learn that Michael Jackson had suddenly died of cardiac arrest on June 25th. I grew up listening to his gifted, unique and incredibly talented singing. Thriller was one of my first 12 inches. I could not get over the voice singing' Ben' in the movie of the same name. I sang to the songs on Off The Wall, Thriller and Dangerous. By HIStory, I was still a fan but many of his eccentricities had taken over some of the talent. By Invincible, I was wondering what had happened to him. One of the last Michael Jackson CDs I got was Blood on The Dance Floor, and it has remained my all-time favorite. Right now it's in heavy rotation in my car, along with his 'Number Ones'.
I have some very distinctive memories of Michael Jackson's music in my life. I remember watching him on TV, moondancing to Billie Jean. Also, watching people dance 'like Michael' in local contests and waiting patiently for Thriller to be premiered on MTV, after he was the first African American to be featured in the channel. Afterwards, me and a group of friends learned the complete choreography to Thriller and had a blast dancing to it in some kind of party or something. But when he died I did not think of myself, I thought of Joe (let's call him Joe). You see, Joe, who may or may not have been the love of my life, was (is!) a die-hard Michael Jackson fan. And it was of him that I thought when I heard the news of Michael's passing.
Joe had ALL of Michael's CDs, many posters and I think that he even collected interesting trivia about Jackson. One of 'our' songs during the years we dated was I Just Can't Stop Loving You, a duet Michael sang with Siedah Garret and that has the uncanny quality of mixing two voices so similar that it seems he's singing to himself. And that's how we felt about each other: as parts of a whole. It was incredible. It was the best. It was doomed from the start.
As you can imagine, I flew to Facebook to talk to Joe and comment on Michael's sudden death. He was heartbroken. Like many, many fans, he felt a part of his life had just been lost. I did not feel as strongly as he did, but it did remind me of my mortality. Michael was fifty, not all by any standards. Even in this youth-obsessed world, fifty does not even qualify you to retire. And on top of that he was planning a 'comeback'. One more effort to make the talent shine through the surgeries, the scandals, the bizarre behaviour, the rumors of bankruptcy, the family problems and the accusations of molestation.
Like mine and Joe's relationship, Michael's life came to an abrupt and untimely ending, never allowing us to know what was in store after the fateful day it ended, forever condemning me to speculate about the 'what if'.... And like with Michael Jackson's legacy, there's the good, the great and the awesome moments to remember him by: Moonwalking to fame, being awarded eight Grammys, changing the face and sound of music forever. When something ends or someone dies, we tend to forget about the 'really bad' parts. We try -maybe unconsciously- to concentrate on the high points and tend to justify or understand in hindsight the mistakes.
The same way I don't think my relationship with Joe was perfect and I believe Michael Jackson was one of the best artists of his generation, I still think Joe may have been the love of my life. I have never ever felt the same about anybody ever since. The strength of my feelings for him, the closeness and incredible intimacy we shared, the amazing way my body reacted to his touch, the tenderness his voice inspired. The way we understood each other and the way he complemented me has been something sorely lacking in my life in the last ten years. In the same way, I still think that Michael even though obviously tortured by abuses in his past and a lack of a childhood was a gifted and incredibly talented musician, lyricist, dancer and singer. That should not be taken away from him. Denying it is useless and stupid.
Funny, how the death of a music star can make you think about your own life. Not like I need any catalyst to do that, but it comes handy sometimes. Rest in Peace, Michael. Hope death brings the happiness you so desperately looked for all your life...
P.S. I think that Stranger In Moscow is the most haunting, beautiful song in the HIStory CD it gives me chills just listening to it...