It’s September 1984 and Grade 10 has begun! I’m over the awkwardness of Grade 9 and now I have found everything I was looking for. My favourite hairspray, the perfect amount of blonde painted into my long swooped bangs, friends that would remain my besties for years to come and music that would penetrate so deeply into my being it would just become a part of me.
Tonight is the first dance of the year and it still feels like summer outside. It’s an hour before the dance and my best friend and I are sewing up skin tight mini skirts on her mother’s Husqvarna.
We carefully selected shiny material from Fabricland to make the skirts. We’re feeling ultra cool because the skirts will coordinate perfectly with our pastel coloured acrylic sweaters that we picked up at BiWay the week before school started.
Our army bag purses are covered in buttons of our favourite bands. We each have a couple of Clearasil bottles thrown into them which contain white wine. Yup, I siphoned the good stuff earlier that afternoon off my Dad’s giant barrel of Vidal that is fermenting in the basement.
The teachers will never suspect anything at the door!
We decide to walk to the dance because it’s a little too difficult to ride our bikes with these skirts on, besides they might rip if we’re not careful. They only took 20 minutes to make!
As we walk to the dance we list off which boys we have crushes on and get butterflies in our stomachs at the thought of having a slow dance with any of them.
We enter the school and it’s already quite warm inside. Pass the caf and all the older kids are smoking cigarettes with the teachers…oh God, we both just spotted our BIGGEST crushes!
We quickly run downstairs to the girls washroom giggling uncontrollably and choose stalls side by side…we then stand on the toiled seats (just in case a teacher walks in) and crack open our Clearasil bottles, chug those two little 4 oz babies back and we are positively buzzzzing!!!
As we double check our hair and add another layer of Tea Rose lipstick we hear a familiar sound coming from the gym…
“Dearly beloved we are gathered here today to get through this thing called LIFE”
“Aaaaaah” we shriek! “It’s that new Prince song!!” I tug on my best friend’s arm and we race up the stairs into the gym!
Everyone is dancing and the lights are going crazy. My friend and I look at each other and scream “ This is going to be BEST night EVER!”
I honestly remember that moment like it happened yesterday. At the age of 15 I did not pay attention to those lyrics I just loved the way the song made me feel and how it brought everyone to the dance floor. The New Wavers, the Punks, the Stoners and the Jocks! We were all there enjoying the music of a man that would become an icon, an idol and a remembered musical genius.
The coolest Mom ever, yup that would be mine, texted me today with the news of Prince’s passing. I couldn’t believe it. I hoped that maybe it was a hoax and he was going to come back as the artist formerly known as…
We’ve lost so many idols this year. It is a lot for our generation to take in one year. Many of us are at the age where we are losing family members, friends of family and in some surreal way losing the people we looked up to in our youth also brings on a pain that reminds us that we are not invincible and that life is fragile.
I may not have paid attention to the lyrics of Let’s go crazy back in 1984 but today on April 21, 2016 as I say goodbye to Prince I will listen to the song over and over again and live out the rest of my life with no regrets.
Prince, thank you for your music and thank you for showing us that being different and working our passion is the only way to go, no matter how long we are on this earth.
There will be many purple tears shed tonight.