You never forget your first love. Whether it's your first crush, your first kiss, or the first time you even noticed boys existed, you always remember the joy they filled you with. The guys that come later bring to mind complicated, adult feelings like pain and heartache, but that first love is pure and perfect, especially in hindsight.
My first love was a celebrity. I grew up with MTV, watching Madonna roll around in a bridal gown and Billy Idol dancing with himself on a dingy roof. But there was one man I loved from the very first time that I heard him sing: Michael Jackson.
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I can't tell you the moment I first saw him or the day I decided I loved him. I was about five years old and, in addition to my cast albums of Annie and Grease, I regularly put Thriller on my Fisher Price record player in my yellow bedroom in Brooklyn, New York. I have no sense of rhythm so I never attempted to learn the "Thriller" dance. I would just run around my room, jumping on the bed and singing "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'."
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Every night after I said my prayers I would kiss Michael goodnight. He was my first poster, all dapper in his yellow sweater promoting the Thriller album. I had the same picture on a folder that I put my homework in, and I made my parents tape not only the Thriller video but also the making-of special that MTV ran.
When I got a little older I watched The Jackson 5 cartoon on Saturday mornings, listened to Off The Wall in my Fisher Price tape player. I listened to that tape so much that it became warped and Michael sang "Rock With You" verrrrry slowly. I found it last night in my music collection after I heard the tragic news of his passing.