The news came through a widget on my mother’s iPad, just as we were about to watch a silly frothy movie. This year has claimed many extraordinary people. It’s been brutal in its elimination of people that were meaningful to my childhood and/or adolescence. This one is somehow closer. I adored so many of the others – but this one was one of my first celebrity crushes. I was obsessed with Wham! Obsessed. I got the Bad Boys album that came out previous to the one that was a hit here in the US. I had posters all over my room of George and Andrew.
I had a crush on both of them – though I thought I’d have a better relationship with Andrew and crushed on him harder (I always did like the boy next to the obvious one) and George seemed like a sun – he shined so bright.
When I was 12, he was 22. And now I’m 43 and he’s dead at 53. And the world seems darker and scarier without him in it. His music played an enormous role in my growing up. I sang along with him and dreamed of being a singer. My friends and I would tape record pretend radio shows and play his music and sing along to it.
Sometimes he pushed my boundaries. I was growing up and was not so sure I wanted to listen to music about sex nor was I so sure I wanted to have it. But he made it fun to dance to and made it seem fun, actually. In so much of the culture, sex was dark and sure to be bad news for the ladies – but George Michael made it fun for everyone. He made it seem like becoming an adult might be a good idea, after all. It might be sunny and bright. I hope it may be still.