At 4.15am today, I receive a text from my cousin in the states. Three words ending with an almost incredulous exclamation mark. “M.J is dead!”. Only half awake, I grope in the dark for my laptop. Yahoo home page confirms it. And I suddenly find a lump in my throat.
Yesterday, on my way back from a meeting, I heard the last bits of “I just can’t stop loving you” on the radio. And I made a mental note to download a few of his songs.
My earliest memory of Michael Jackson is my older brother teaching me to scribble BAD, the way it was written on the album cover. You know, with the A crossing over to the D, and the D sloping down under the A.
Eventually I was introduced to this man, his music and his dance. I was too young to understand half of what he sang about. But I stared open-mouthed; mesmerized by the charisma of one man who transformed a crowd of thousands in to screaming, fainting lunatics.
I remember mirthful evenings when my brother and I practiced the ‘moonwalk’. I remember posters, cassettes, lyrics and clippings of him pasted on my ‘music book’. But most of all I remember the feeling, the distinct feeling any Michael Jackson song would give me. The feeling that makes me want to get up and dance.
Then I watched the media glorify him one minute and tear him apart the next. Ugly rumors and lawsuits. I wasn’t sure if he was guilty or not, but I do remember feeling sorry that anyone had to be ridiculed so much. I for one, found the idea of a grown man creating ‘Neverland’ rather endearing.
I cannot say that I was inspired by him or anything as significant and moving as that. But I was a fan. And the news of his death has rattled me. Leaving me restless and a tad hollow. I’m sure it’ll pass. But for now, I’ll be melancholy.
So, while I do realize that I’m jumping on the already loaded bandwagon of MJ posts, it feels wrong to not acknowledge the loss of an icon. One that I grew up with.
Rest in peace MJ. I won’t forget the way you make me feel…