Monday, January 11, 2016

Death of a Legend

I woke up this morning to a number of emails, texts, and messages.

"Don't read the news," said one.  "Just go back to sleep."

"I'm so sorry," said another. "Are you okay?"

People I haven't spoken to in over ten years started reaching out to me.  Old friends, former co-workers.  Everyone, it seemed, saw the news and thought of me.

About four years ago, I wrote Bowie my first and only fan letter.  I didn't wax poetic or gush, I simply "dropped him a line" as if we were old friends.  I wished him and his family well.  I left out the fact that my cat was named Major Tom and that I often used the handle LadyGrinningS0ul online.  He didn't need to know any of that.

I'm struck now by the same feelings I had when I sat down to compose that letter.  What does one say to a legend? What does one say about a legend? Bowie was all I listened to for years. I had a Bowie shirt for every day of the week, I saw him in concert three times... and it would have been four, if my first car hadn't broken down.  Somehow, I always thought I'd get the chance to meet him.  Just for a second.

I saw him smoking a cigarette after a concert, once.  He snuck out a back door and was huddled by the side of the building, sans bodyguard, sans entourage. I was 100 feet away, just me, Meghan, and a random fan who had been searching for him.  The fan screamed his name at the top of her lungs.

I shushed her.

Because what do you SAY to a legend? What is the point of screaming his name from 100 feet away? The man just finished a concert - let him smoke his cigarette in peace.

That's the closest I got to meeting him.

And last night, during the New Moon, when the other stars are most visible in the sky... our Starman was gone.  Just like that.  Leaving behind more connections and memories than I could possibly begin to explain.

David sometimes ventured online, going by the name "sailor" in some forums.  So it was appropriate that this popped into my head after hearing the news:

Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter home from the hill.  
-Robert Louis Stevenson

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