Yikes… you call something you wrote 3 years ago a “relic” and you know you’re kinda in trouble…
this is a first draft, but I figure… :shrug: if luck is with me tomorrow night, I’d like to have something on this page to greet any in flux of traffic…
I only just recently typed this up… a little something I wrote during the first week of 2009… a brutal combination between not feeling it with Prince’s music anymore and not knowing where my life was headed after graduation…
these days, I listen to Prince only occasionally (I really should get back to finishing up my “1999” discussion) and still appreciate his music like nobody else’s… but its never quite the same as it was in the beginning… kinda like the early stages of a whirlwind relationship
and it is kinda sad that I still feel that uncertain about my future after all this time… hopefully I’m on the verge of that changing
Anyways… Morris Day, as I see him now (we’ll see how this changes in 24 hours) which is how he looked in “Purple Rain”… fine as he was… became an odd source of comfort in that hard time…
and ironically, as much as I kinda wanted to distance myself from Prince for a bit, his voice was all over the back-up vocals.
But I think I got a pretty sweet story out of it.
so Morris, if you so happen to stop by, I hope you enjoy this… however repetitive the dialogue and mannerisms may be
[I’ll stress again this is a first draft… and I know that things bounce around a bit towards the end… you’ll see what I mean when you read further… but I hope it is enjoyed as much as it was therapeutic writing it… and even more so rereading it after all this time]
At last I broke free. I’d been seeing the same musician nearly exclusively for the past 22 months. Since life got in the way last summer, things hadn’t been quite the same, but I was afraid to admit it. I’d come to depend on him so much. He made me think in ways I never thought possible. Now, my mind can’t function in that same way. Occasionally, we would click, but everything had become too routine for my tastes. I decided I had enough and hadn’t heard a thing from him for five days.
Not a day goes by when I don’t think of crawling back, though I know either way it makes no difference to him. His life goes on as does mine. Given the time to think things over, I’ve started to dread the idea of crawling back. Would a short break bring that spark back to our relationship? I feared that I not only wouldn’t rediscover what it was that made him so special, but over time that I’d go too far in the other direction to go back to how it was. I never once resented him and the things he did for me, but I dread an unfailing resentment towards him as the final result.
With and without the musician’s words on heavy rotation, I’d retraced my steps and returned to some other acts whose music used to make me smile. Just recently, a few days after breaking things off, I went to listen to another musician from years ago. Melodies took a while to reconnect, but some stories clicked faster than others. In the midst of everything, I found my own voice coming out to sing along with the notes I’d forgotten with years of separation.
The following night, I decided that I needed to get out for some other music I’ve yet to hear. An old associate group of the musician was in town so I came out to see them. Within a minute, I was completely hooked with my eyes on and only on the lead singer. He didn’t have an instrument or anything particularly notable about his style, but his personality took care of everything. This was a man who knew how to have fun. As my eyes failed to stray, his caught notice and a smile seemed to make the pain of the past go away. With each exchange, he didn’t miss a beat or give any extra acknowledgment.
This went on for several nights. At the end of that five-day week, the temptation to return to my old ways grew stronger and seeing this new man on stage was the only cure for that pain. During this set, the all-too familiar music played. Meanwhile, I was plagued with reminders of the musician. I feared there was no escaping his sound. It somehow seemed to linger when I listened to The Time play. When the set ended, the DJ put on whatever music he could get his hands on.
For the first time in my having been here, I took notice of the common dress. Most of the gentlemen copied Morris’s cool-cat look with a nice thick business jacket enveloped a makeshift suit and tie. The ladies sported lingerie and camisole tops. To convene with the frosty Minneapolis weather, I wore a coat, which I shed indoors to reveal a cotton button-up blouse and knee-high skirt. Much like the other places I went to, I dressed so conservative that I didn’t get any notice. Currently healing what could be a broken heart, I couldn’t care less about seeking that kind of attention.
The acts were gone for the night, but I had no desire to return home at this time. There was too much on my mind to sleep even at this hour. Aside from my college roommates, I can blame my late hours on my musician who could play at all hours. Eventually, I grew perfectly accustomed to his unusual internal clock.
These past few minutes, the barkeep would ask me about my poison, to which I send him back while I continue to decide. Old enough to drink, though young enough to get carded, the barkeep trusted me. I hadn’t the hart as of yet to have any sort of alcohol. There was simply no telling what I’d do in this state of distress.
The rotation of “Wild and Loose” on the turntable had me distracted from the barkeeper’s next attempt. My attention changed somewhat when someone replied, “Make it a double for me and a Pina Colada for the lady.”
Automatically, I added, “make mine a virgin, Jose.” A moment later, a bar stool scraped across the floor and a glass filled to the brim with thick white mist slid to my waiting unmanicured hand. My brown eyes and his came together when curiosity got the best of me.
“Here you are, miss. On me.”
“Thank you,” I responded, taking a large sip from my glass.
“What’s a sweet thing like you doing all alone?” My heart jumped when I realized Morris was talking to me.
While embarrassed, I played it cool. “Whatever gave you that idea?”
“I just know these things. Anyways, everything about you gives you away.” He managed a smile, which captured my heart like the first one did. “I’ve seen you before, you know. You’ve been coming here a lot lately.”
“Just trying to get away for a while. That’s all.”
“You don’t say. This certainly is the place to do it.”
I lightly scoffed, “Because you’re here, huh?”
“Now baby, what makes you say that? Think I’m as much a playboy as all the other dames?”
“No, I actually thought you were a stand-up gentleman. Smooth-talking and clean as they come.” I blushed, though I actually found myself drawn more to Morris by the second. “Sweet and funny too.”
“I see a girl who’s sweet and pretty that shouldn’t be all alone. Mind if I buy you another round?”
Not caring either way, I downed my drink and an exact duplicate returned in its place. “I enjoy the time I spend here. Haven’t felt like this in a long time.”
“What’s his name?” Morris hopped on the stool next to mine. “He ought to be a damn fool for letting you go.”
“I left him. Honestly, things haven’t been cool since this summer. My job kept me away from him and by the time I returned, I’d forgotten how it was to be with him. He never changed, but I have. Too much for even Prince to keep up with.”
Morris gave a sigh that ended with an unassuming smile. “I should have guessed. How long do you think it’ll be?”
“Hopefully not so long that there’s nothing left.”
“Well, if you need a shoulder to cry on or someone to talk to, I’m your man” He took my hand for a kiss. “Don’t worry about a thing, baby. I got your back so long as you keep coming back.”
I turned away, given the moment to think and resumed my gaze. “Why? You don’t even know me.”
“I know enough, baby. You don’t have to trust me, but I’d like to be of some help if I can.”
He held my hand in both of his and his eyes appeared to beg for my permission to trust him. Though suspicious of his intentions, I didn’t care to exhaust myself by trying to find something wrong. Morris’s caterpillar eyebrows rested a few inches over his eyes, eager for an answer.
“No strings attached, right?”
“Strictly plutonic, unless you say otherwise.”
“All right. They’re giving another set at the small club down the street tomorrow night. Meet me there at 8 o’clock.”
“I’ll be there with my valet.” He gave my hand another kiss before we mutually departed.
In roughly similar attire, I arrived at the corner half an hour prior to the show. Through the day, I was plagued with decisions. Life wasn’t going to wait around forever for me to make up my mind. I had to decided what it was I wanted. Whether or not Prince would be part of my life wasn’t my biggest concern, although I found myself on the fence.
Not a moment too soon, I saw a yellow taxi pull up on the curb. A chocolate skinned gentleman stepped out of the driver’s seat and walked around to open the back door closest to me. “Good evening, ma’am,” he said to me as he opened the door for Morris.
Surprised, I commented, “I said 8 o’clock.”
“Really? What time is it?” Immediately, he and his valet cracked up at that line, also the name of their 2nd album.
“15 minutes prior,” I replied.
Morris laid a tip in the valet’s hand as to get rid of him. “How are you this fine evening?”
“All right, you?”
“Oh don’t worry about me, baby. I’m always as cool as they come. But thanks all the same. Shall we go?” He pointed at the door as it opened, allowing the few people in line inside fro the sound check.
I led the way to my favorite table, which had the best seat in the house. Waiters traveled around to get orders and Morris ordered a couple of rum and cokes. “Have you always had a thing for musicians?” he asked with a hint of sarcasm.
“Not always. But I tell ya when I heard him play the other day, it really brought me back. Those were much simpler times.”
“Maybe, but is it every day you’re out with a cool cat like me?”
“I guess not.” I blushed. “I’ve never been out with a guy before actually, at least not like this.”
“Damn baby, you been missin’ out. You’ll glad you took a chance with me.”
At 8 o’clock sharp, Ryan came out with his acoustic guitar to start his set. A member of his stage crew handed him an electric guitar that would take care of his other songs. Each of the songs came back to me as they did on that particular album. Certain lyrics stood out more than others and gained a new meaning with me being at the age I am. The acoustic song three songs into the set had always been one of my favorites, but it had personal meaning. I remembered a little about the person I identified it with, but it could take on a whole new meaning now.
“I always used music to identify with situations I’d faced. Unrequited love mostly.”
“You don’t say. I noticed you’d been singing along this whole time. You have a nice voice.”
“Thanks. It’s rare that it comes out since I love mimcry when it comes to my favorite vocalists. Part of it comes from years of school choir where blending was key.”
Halfway through the set at intermission, Morris continued with his questions. I ultimately told him about my college endeavors. “Here I am, four years later and without a clue. Who am I really?”
“Well, I see someone pretty, sweet and funny and a man would have to be a fool to not see that.”
“My future has never been this foggy. I wonder what’s even the point anymore.” I downed the remainder of my drink and rushed out the door, confused and lost as ever.
Before I managed to step a foot away from the club, Morris took hold of my hand to halt my escape. Not expecting to get caught, I couldn’t compute an answer. “C’mon, I know something that’ll help take the edge off.” In an instant, his valet came around and helped me into the backset with Morris to follow.
“Jerome, put an album in, would ya?” He played a few select tracks from the second album. At first, I didn’t feel up to it. I could still hear Prince’s voice in the music and I’d been working to get away from him. “It’s strange. I first got the album expecting to determine his input. Now the idea makes me almost sick.”
“They do say it’s hard to forget him once he’s in your life, but you wouldn’t be the last girl to have this disdain towards him. A strict boss and we compete over everything, but we’re good friends aside from all that.”
The final song he played, I asked to have turned up. “This is a great effort on your part,” I told him, commending Morris for his best songwriting credit. “It’s always nice to see the sensitive side of a man.”
“How’re you feeling now, baby?” I turned towards him as he took my hands in his.
Graciously, I nodded. “A little better. It’s all so confusing.”
“Mind if I try something?” I remained silent. “I promise it won’t be that bad.” I closed my eyes and heard slight movement in my direction. A large warm hand cupped my cheek as a moustache slightly tickled my lip. A gentle kiss, but it was friendly beyond compare, something I needed. I opened my eyes to gaze at those warm brown eyes and his cheeks covered with scattered freckles. “Wanna go back in or stay the night here?”
“I was thinking of catching a late night flick with a certain someone’s arm around my shoulders covered with an overcoat that’d been offered to keep me warm.”
“I think I can arrange that. Jerome…” A moment later, the taxi took off and the night continued elsewhere.
“I’ve been thinking. Maybe I will return to him.” I said to Morris several nights later.
“Why the change of heart? I thought you liked being with the king of cool.” He turned back his collar and ran a hand through his nicely coiffed hair.
I giggled, “I have appreciated everything you’d done. I think I am ready, though.”
“What about school and everything else you were so worried about before?”
“I did a little bit of research on campuses and such. The issue is dead for the moment. Besides, I’m starting to miss Prince. It’s crazy, I know, but now I think I do want to return to him. Maybe it’ll be different this time.
“Sorry I couldn’t be the man of your wildest dreams, baby.”
“I’d like to give you one more night, though. We’ll see what happens tomorrow morning. Whether or not I feel that same readiness.”
He quickly checked his gold Rolex. “I could get the boys together in time for a quick set tonight. We have the time.”
“In case we don’t talk again, thanks for everything.”
One day left. After hat, I’ll return and attempt to start over. I spent a little last quality time with the king of cool. Several videos were online that dated back to the 80’s and it felt like he was in the room with me. Interestingly enough, videos existed of a few songs from the second album, but I was after the video that started it all.
The psychedelic imagery but something about that stare from Morris pulled me in. It was almost heavenly with the brightness of the setting. My lungs could barely maintain air capacity of any kind and breathing slipped my mind. Dying to dive deeper into my subconscious, my eyes beheld the screen refusing to blink. It seemed to be the perfect fantasy and by the end of it, I found myself melting in the essence of Morris Day. Supposedly, that’s what they meant by ice cream castles in the summer time. A man and woman, vanilla and chocolate, melting into one another. It made him look so perfect and the video was so realistic that I could almost taste his hickory breath and mustached lip. Innocence ruled the video and Prince hardly captured that emotion with any of his songs.
Intuition told me that Prince easily got all the women, but Morris was always looking for action with none of them able to stick. He was the playboy after all. Regardless, he was the one that made my mouth water. The only downside was lack of music and the fact Morris didn’t appear to age as gracefully judging by the quality of one of the performances I stumbled across. Even now, The Time echoed in my head through all that funky music that filled me with joy.
At the same time, it was Prince that had his music reflect a longer range of emotions. The next day, I planned to return, entering the epic film from the opposing POV. The test was whether Prince would draw me back to him or not. Enough time has passed where I’d forgotten the majority of what Prince was like and how it felt to be around his music. I’d get sick of The Time quick with that lack of variety, but I’d be willing to go back a bit longer if it doesn’t look good right away.
It’s interesting to think that you can look at Prince and not recognize him. Through the half hour of the movie, I leaned more towards Morris and dove more into the scenes with him. With Prince, he clearly was unlike everyone else. He doesn’t see things the same way. To him, everything was about the music. He appeared eccentric and aloof. He lives in a different world.
Into the second stage number, something started to happen. I wanted to know more about him and when Morris next appeared, I drifted away. Princes’ storyline interested me more. More connections were made, though it felt like I was watching it for the first time. The two numbers by The Time drew me in, but after a while, it was all about Prince when the music wasn’t playing.
Initially, he came off as an elusive prodigy, the hardest working person, the only one who cared about the band or mattered in the band. I got scared of my next move afterwards, and finally figured I’d take things on step at a time. The playing field leveled with me leaning towards Prince and Morris equally.
I decided, at last, that it couldn’t hurt to return to Prince for a while. Morris gave me all I came for and I can start over, feel the creativity unfold.