Michael Jackson, remembered.
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.
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'."
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.
When I learned that Michael Jackson had died I was in a car driving to my mother's house. I pulled over to the side of the road and started sobbing. I had never met him, never been to a concert and probably had stopped listening to his music after Dangerous came out in the late '90s. I cried because what came rushing back was that image of Michael watching over me as I fell asleep as a child. All of the crazy stories, the lawsuits, the surgeries . . . it all disappeared. All I felt was love, the same clear, innocent love I felt when I was five. I will never experience that kind of love again. Michael Jackson's Greatest Love Songs
I dried my eyes and pulled out my Thriller CD (sitting in my car with all of my favorite albums), popped it in and went to track 7 and listened to Michael sing "Human Nature." He may have left this world, but he will never leave my life. He's the first man I ever loved and he left a wealth of brilliant music for me to remember him by. I love you still Michael. God bless you and keep you in his grace until you are reunited with those you love.