How Prince Defined My Life and My Sexuality

Alex was 17 and I was 10. He was the only son of my mother's best friend, and way too old for me (as he let me know on many occasions). At 10, I was intrigued by his erratic and irrational behavior, his wild mood swings, his sexy car, his mysterious friends, and mostly, his obsession with Prince. He dressed like him, and played his music for hours on end. He and his friends would tease me by playing songs like Darlin Nikki, then asking me if I knew what they were talking about. They laughed at my innocence.

Prince entered my life at a time when my budding sexuality was mixed with confusion, temptation, and ignorance. As I write this, I am reminded of the poem, The Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti. His music was what I played over and over on tapes recorded from the radio. I watched Purple Rain so many times that I could recite it. I dreamed that I would be as sexy as Apollonia and Prince would desire me. Alex and Prince became the personification of forbidden temptations that were calling. I suspected that, soon, I would understand the subtext. I was just too young.

Alex died in 2008. He was just over 41. I remember wanting desperately to stand up at his eulogy and tell of the impact he had on my life and my future relationships. I wanted to tell about how his ghost loomed large in the lovers that I have chosen. I did not. Now, in 2016, I am faced, once again, with not only his loss, but that of a master.

Prince was an incredible artist, and played the very soundtrack of my life. In his passing, I truly mourn that which is past and will be no more. I am faced with the passing of my youth. The world is a bit dimmer today.

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