Goodnight my Sweet Prince
I heard the news that Prince died today. Both of my daughters texted me. I was at work, teaching 4 year olds how to write in their journals. I wanted to break down and cry, but I couldn’t. Not then.
I saw my parents. I expressed my deep sadness. My dad (82) asked, “Did you know him?”
No. But yes. I knew that in my youth, with my tenuous sexuality and shaky self-confidence, “Dirty Mind” made me feel playful and kinky and happy. I know that the day “Purple Rain” came out, I skipped work to watch the VHS I had reserved in advance. I loved “1999”, and the song “International Lover” became my secret song, listening to Prince telling how he can please his passenger:
“Good evening, this is your pilot Prince speaking. You are flying aboard the Seduction 747. And this plane is fully equipped with anything your body desires…” cue moans and groans.
I believed it. In a world where I had nothing but seedy New York bars and smoky trysts in dark corners, then a long sleepy subway ride home, I still had Prince to tell me things could be exactly as I desired. For a while, a poster of him adorned my ceiling. This was the 80’s. I only saw him in concert once.
How could I explain to my dad what the passing of this great, talented artist meant to me? Even my dad knew something about a girl Prince had met in a hotel lobby, masturbating with a magazine. He turned his mouth up in a scowl, but I could not help myself. I began to sing “Darling Nikki” – eliminating that lyric, of course.
How can I say it? Prince’s music defined a part of my life. And although I have grown up, moved on, and not kept up with everything he did, I believe that his music shaped my life. So, no, I didn’t really know him. But somehow when you love someone, just knowing they are out there in the world helps the world maintain its balance. When you lose them – when the world loses them – it throws off your equilibrium.
So R.I.P. my beautiful Prince. I loved you, and will continue to love you. You left us a legacy, and I am forever grateful. Thank you for all you contributed to our lives.