Monday, July 6, 2009

My Michael Jackson

Recently, I moved into a new house. Overwhelming stacks of boxes along every wall in every bedroom and living space threatened to cave in at any moment. I started with one box and I used a box cutter to open it up. The scent of cardboard hovered and I was anxious to see what I was going to find in these boxes; some really old, brought over from my mom's attic.

The first box was so stuffed with random trinkets that the flaps burst open as soon as the sharp rusty edge of the box cutter glided along the top. There was an old blanket that I vaguely recalled being mine when I was a child. I looked at it and smoothed my hand over the soft cotton. Then something else caught my attention. An old fashioned cassette recorder; big, bulky, black, and there was a tape inside.

I quickly ran and grabbed batteries to see if it still worked. I rewound the tape to the beginning and pressed play. To my surprise a familiar sound played. An introduction of some sort, then the beat quickly picked up and it was obvious...Thriller. I found myself slowly nodding my head to the rhythm of the beat, then tapping my foot. I stood up, "Cause this is Thriller! Thriller Night!"

At this point, I am singing at the top of my lungs, while stepping into a side squat position, bringing my arms up and draggin my foot to bring my step together. Then making claws with my hands and bringing them up to chest height as I turned left, right, left and stepped, then right, left, right and stepped. Luckily for me, nobody was around, because I'm ashamed to say, I looked like a Velociraptor on drugs instead of someone who was doing some Thriller dance moves. Of course, attempting the moonwalk was inevitable, as well. Emphasis on the word "attempting."

The song comes to an end and then there is the voice of a young girl. She is talking to her mom who is telling her that it's time to take a bath. The little girl wants to keep listening to "my Michael Jackson," as she called him. I realized that the little girl on the recorder was me and the mom was my own mother. It all came back. I loved Michael Jackson. I would play Thriller over and over again and my mom would have to plea with me to get me to do anything from eating to bathing.

He was "my Michael Jackson." That's what I called him. "No, mom, I want to listen to my Michael Jackson." My mother heard that everyday, multiple times a day. And now, about 25 years later, he is gone. Up until that very moment, when I uncovered the cassette recorder, I had forgotten about "my Michael Jackson," and the great childhood memories I have of listening to his music and trying to imitate his dance moves. I pray that Michael Jackson finds the peace in heaven that he could not find on Earth. He will forever be in my heart as "my Michael Jackson."


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