When I was a kid, I had a dream I went to a Prince concert with my mom and my aunt. In the dream, we drove down a long gravel road to an old, abandoned airplane hanger. There were cars everywhere-- lining the road, parked in the grass, jammed into anywhere they could fit. We got in where we fit in, both literally and figuratively. When we got out of the car and started to make our way toward the hanger, I was very aware of how small I was. My mom and my aunt towered over me like walls guarding me-- one on each side, holding my hands. As we got closer to the hanger, I could see it had a huge opening on one side. I could see people inside, packed wall to wall. We entered and magically made our way to the front of the room. The space was full of unfamiliar faces and was completely silent. When Prince walked on stage, bubbles rained down from the ceiling. The crowd erupted into dancing. The space was instantly filled with life. With the mic stand positioned in front of his tiny frame, he began to sing "Purple Rain," and he was beautiful.
I spent a number of years not knowing if this was a dream or not-- hell, I'm still on the fence about it lol. I think about asking my mom if we ever went to a secret concert in a hanger, but I stop myself, because a part of me knows it's crazy (and another part of me doesn't want to hear it isn't true). This dream sticks with me so real, more like a memory than a fleeting REM moment. The faces of all the strangers, the tears rolling down my face, my sincere excitement, and my mom dancing with great freedom. It was bright. That hanger was a bright moment in my dark childhood, and it was all because of Prince. Real or not, I have always been grateful to him for giving it to me.
On April 21, 2016, Prince Rogers Nelson transitioned, and I cried. I cried tears like we knew each other, like he was my favorite uncle. Today, I cried the kind of tears I couldn't hide or push down. I cried sincere tears of mourning for the soul of Prince passing from this life to the next. Today, I cried tears of gratitude for a gift he never knew he gave. Thank you Prince.