I spent yesterday working in the garden. I have huge cherry tree. That’s why I took this garden in the first place. After I did what I had planned, I just sat and looked at the tree from a place I had never sat before and felt the sun on my face. Two great tits (kohlmeise) were playing and were flying in formation, darting in and out of the tree. A gust of wind caught some of the cherry blossoms and they floated towards me. I was so happy to be able to take the time to enjoy a fleeting moment. Soon the blossoms will be gone.
When I left the garden I checked instagram. There was a picture of Prince. I “liked” it. Then another and another and another. Then I saw my sister had posted one. Then I started panicking. I googled. And there were the headlines:
Prince, dead at 57.
Through my tears I couldn’t read the text to find out what had happened. I felt so alone. Then a plethora of memories started flooding back: fractured and in no particular order.
It was Christmas and I was home from college. I had a date with Grady. We had been seeing each other before I’d left. Nothing really serious. We hadn’t even been in touch while I was away. But for some reason seeing him made me miss him and when we parted, I was crying. I came in with my eyes all red and my dad asked me if I had been smoking pot. Grady gave me his Dirty Mind cassette to take back to school. I played it til it broke.
I was living in Myrtle Beach. We lived upstairs and a young black family lived downstairs. Originally there were 3 of us, but somehow the other guy left and it was just me and Richard. I totally redid the flat and the landlord would bring people to see it to get them to rent the spaces. I did the bedroom lavender and grey and beside the bed I kept my Wanna Be Your Lover Album. Don’t know why, but that’s the image I get.
Mike and I were living in Minneapolis, where Prince is from. Mike was a beautiful man. Great bone structure! We used to go dancing at First Avenue. It’s where they shot Purple Rain. I never saw him there, but I felt his presence. .
The first time I lived on my own was in Myrtle Beach. My mother bought me a stereo as a house warming gift. Every week I went to the record store and bought at least one new album. That’s where I bought Controversy and 1999. There was a guy working there and I hoped he’d be there. I never said a word to him. I just looked at him. He had dark skin and super shiny black hair. One night I went out with some friends and they brought him along. It was a total surprise. I had never told anyone about him. We danced and never left each other’s side after that. He was my first husband.
I was living in Atlanta. My mother and I spent a lot of time together. She had left me when I was 11 to marry my sister’s father. Now we were both divorced and like best friends. We had Dynasty parties at her house and went to clubs as often as she could. We both loved to dance. Prince was in town and we had tickets. My mother was sick and my sister, who was like 10 I think, and I got our lingerie on and went together. It was the Purple Rain tour and I remember him singing in a bathtub high on a platform above the stage. I’m so glad we have that memory. She and I don’t have much cross-over in our musical tastes.
It was also around this time that I was waitressing at the Limelight. When they would play… my mind escapes me… There was so much Prince out then, either on his own or producing others at the time. Anyway, we would put down our trays and hit the dance floor.
Fast forward to my life now. I was at an opening at Demmeringstr 74, and there was a French DJ playing old vinyl the whole night. He had the Controversy album. I was able to tell him which songs were good. Ha ha ha. Street cred! Thank you, Prince.
In a rare interview on Larry King Live, Prince said he didn’t dwell on the past. He lived in the now. I completely agree. I hope he will indulge my reminiscing. While writing this, I looked up his discography and saw he was even more prolific than I had realised. Once I moved to Europe and stopped driving, I stopped listening to the radio. It seems I have some Prince to catch up on. But here’s one last look at his first hit. The sound has been muted and we just see people dancing. Right now that seems appropriate.