Since age 13, I had slowly saved up my money, emptying jean pockets in the laundrey room until I had the right amount to go buy his most recent CD. I took my tacky, beat up portable CD player to bed with me every night, letting his flawless tenor seep through me in lullaby form. I would wake up strangled by my headphones with dead batteries in the CD player, but I would be happy.
I had memorized every song that he ever produced. It was my dream to sing with him someday on stage. I knew the words to every duet he ever participated in. I imagined someday getting the chance to attend one of his concerts. They would have a contest similar to contests in movies. They would draw a ticket, and one lucky audience member would get the opportunity to go and sing a duet with him. I would be the one to win, of course, and I would sing the duet. People would remark how wonderful we would sound and look together, and I would finally be discovered. We would continue singing duets together forever.
I had decided by age 15 that he was the man I would marry no matter what.
For my 16th birthday, my grandparents gave me the ultimate gift. It wasn't a car; it wasn't an iPod; they spent around $300 and took me to his concert.
We sat in Row 22, Section F. Though not great seats by any means, I was there. I was there, and he was there, and he would sing.
He wasn't onstage immediately; the lights dimmed and the first chords of his most popular song rang out through the arena. My eyes clouded over with tears. I was so happy.
I'll never forget that night.