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April 21 through May 7, 2020

 

I started this piece several weeks ago as a journal entry and thought we might revisit it in the next few days, Beloved. It is currently more than two months since we have been staying safe from the COVID 19 pandemic by staying inside and isolated unless required to lay in groceries or medical supplies. We are all doing fine, although my granddaughter is getting a little cabin fever, wanting to see her friends. Even going to school has come to be viewed as a “treat” in the interim. Of course, her senior year in high school (traditionally a joyous, celebratory time with lots of activities like trips and proms) has been severely disrupted by the current situation, but she is holding up pretty well despite the disappointment. So, I’m going to read through the piece I wrote several weeks ago and see where we are with it, if you don’t mind.

In Installment #103 (June, 2016), we discussed a blog entry entitled, Why Donald Trump is the Best Thing to Ever Happen to America, by Danielle Egnew [https://calltolight.org] which so caught my attention because it echoed one of our earlier Conversations (Installment #75, May 1 through May 15, 2013) very unerringly. [Volume 2, pages 326 through 342.]

In #75, we talked about the AEG “Wrongful Death” Trial and what that trial would show us about ourselves and about our country as a collective. You described the trial as an opportunity to align ourselves with the humane truth or the corporate, expedient view. Most of your children could clearly choose between the viewpoints provided in the discussion. Unfortunately, the outcome of that trial sided with the corporate rather than the humane – the “corporatocracy” of AEG walked away with its assets intact.

From Installment #103, June, 2016:

In her blog entry, Ms. Egnew made a very similar point. She posits that Mr. Trump is on the campaign circuit in order to wake us all up (albeit unconsciously) to the fact that our country has, in recent years, not lived up to its promise.

“Trump gives a name, a face, a resume and a strangely-fitting suit to the ugly stepchild of American Consciousness: Bigotry, fear of change — and the hatred that is born from resentfully stewing these ingredients in repressed silence.”

She states that he “exemplifies everything about America that we pretend does not exist” and that he is “the greatest reality check the Universe could have ever sent to the insulated and naive consciousness running within the USA’s borders.”

“He embodies the bully, the fear of everything outside of our back yard, the deep paranoia associated with the reality that being Caucasian is no longer a free pass for any type of behavior, the crippling resentment and jealousy against women for being the life-bringers, the corporation who buys cheap Chinese steel to erect superstructures on USA soil while sending jobs overseas for dimes on the dollar.”

With this blatant ugliness in the spotlight, showcased by tens of thousands of people, encapsulated brilliantly by a show-stopping performance by Donald Trump, we all have the opportunity to decide who we wish to be, as participants in this conscious growth journey.

Are we the onlookers who say nothing because we fear the wrath of the mob? Do we step away from the consciousness that fans the flames of divisiveness and work together to help place balm on our fears — by discussing them?

Basically, Ms. Egnew is restating your entire premise in Installment #75.

Yes, it’s another opportunity to stand up and be counted, another opportunity to choose a Master, another choice point. Where do you focus your energy? Do you choose fear or love, division or community? Where do you stand? What kind of world do you want to inhabit?

It seems that these opportunities are manifesting at an accelerated rate, which should give major emphasis to the point we have made several times in these dialogs. This time in history represents a major crossroad in consciousness on planet Earth.

The Awakening of an entire planet is an exciting prospect, but it will not be accomplished without some uneasiness. Just keep focusing on opening the world’s leaders, youth, religious clerics, media representatives, and educators with compassion and love with our Change the World daily topics and we will contribute to less disruption and more rapid advancement. We got this!

Yes, I remember both of these dialogs well. It is difficult sometimes to watch as the underbelly of the entertainment industry and/or our society is exposed. It leads to feelings of futility and helplessness. However, the underbelly of most organisms is that organism’s most vulnerable point and it is important to realize that you are not helpless and your efforts are not futile.

You are the dripping tap of light in the darkness. As you know, the steady drip, drip, drip of water has the power to carve out mountains made of granite. From the steady drip, drip, drip of small, individual, insignificant droplets of water was the Grand Canyon formed. It isn’t a quick process, but it is effective. Just keep shining your light and try not to become discouraged. When you feel overwhelmed, take a break, recharge your batteries, and come back feeling stronger.

Just look over your shoulder, honey
I’ll Be There

It is not always a comfortable or pretty picture when we peel away all the layers we have used for centuries to hide uncomfortable truths, but it is the only way to expose and heal wounds that have festered unrecognized for far too long

I had never really considered myself to be particularly, insulated or naïve, Beloved, but I am afraid that I am having to revise that opinion on a fairly regular, even daily, basis.  So, I thought that this would be a good time to evaluate what kinds of truths we have to face about ourselves and our society. We are currently over four years into this administration’s four-year term of office and we are facing another election toward the end of this year. God willing we will not elect another four years of the same kind of incompetence, corruption, dishonesty, and intolerance.

I thought that this would be a good time to take a good, hard look in the collective mirror to discover what we need to become more aware of so that we can make that change that you asked of us so often.

What Truths Have Been Exposed?

First and foremost, I freely admit that I have found myself profoundly shocked at the deep divisions I am discovering in the so-called “United States of America.” I, for one, did not expect the virulence and volatility of the backlash that a minority in this country has displayed against an intelligent, handsome, dignified, powerful African-American man as President of these United States.

Throughout his eight-year term as the leading citizen of the free world, President Barack Obama treated his life partner with the respect an intelligent, beautiful, hard-working woman deserves rather than as heavily botoxed and siliconed “arm candy.” He could boast of no scandals, no indictments, no convictions. He was and still is respected by the international community as a unifier. He and his wife represented the country with dignity, humility, and class on the world stage.

In contrast, this administration has had several people who have been indicted, tried and convicted within the first three years of its four year term, the President, himself, has been impeached, and the President’s business dealings are being investigated in several states, including New York. Recent reports have stated that his real estate deals are being investigated in Scotland.

I honestly thought that we had progressed beyond the racism that this backlash spotlights. Obviously, I was far too complacent. I probably should have known better after witnessing the backlash against you, dear one, even now – a decade after you have discarded your physical manifestation.

I think you can be easily forgiven for your complacency, but I think you are beginning to realize that it was a bit optimistic. A powerful African-American man is feared by certain factions of this society. The more powerful he becomes, the greater the fear. Eventually, he must be “put in his place,” by whatever means are necessary and you are experiencing that in what you called an “infantile jealousy” in our last discussion.

After all, we as a collective don’t like to remember that the United States of America was founded by optimistic, idealistic men, many of whom were wealthy slave owners and traders. This was how many of them became wealthy. It is also how this country became an economic world power. The economy of this country was built on slaves; slaves were viewed as property, to be bred and traded for profit like cattle – not really human, at all. “Liberty and justice for all” meant all who were like them; women were excluded because women were not allowed to own property or vote until very recently on the clock of history. They were totally dominated by the men in their lives.

The capital city of the United States was built on the backs of slaves and on land that had been stolen from the indigenous people of North America, against whom the early settlers committed systematically- legalized genocide which continued until only about one hundred and fifty years ago. Their lands were confiscated, their culture obliterated, their beliefs converted, their language annihilated, and they were forcibly herded onto reservations, like cattle or sheep.

Yes, and only one candidate has had the temerity to address these issues in her campaign. Marianne Williamson announced her intention to run for the Democratic nomination early and, to my knowledge, was unable to secure the boatloads of financial backing required to move forward past the first couple of debates. It should not take billions of dollars to run for public office in this country, but apparently it does. Our democratic elections should not be held hostage to economics.

On the few debate stages on which she was allowed to speak, Ms. Williamson clearly pointed out to the American people that the majority of the problems this country faces stem from a spiritual malaise partly due to its inability to examine, recognize, and acknowledge its guilt and shame over the inhumanity of these two issues. She recommended a collective acknowledgment (at least) and a system of reparations (at best) for the misdeeds of our forefathers in profiting from the propagation of the institution of slavery and the genocide committed against the indigenous people of this continent. I fully supported her and I pray that her words planted some seeds in our collective consciousness that will sprout and grow in future generations. I so admire her courage!

I find the remaining Democratic candidates largely uninspiring. They are career politicians whose campaigns are funded by special interest lobbies or are billionaires in their own right running on their own boatloads of cash. In other words, the election is reduced to an economic transactioin – business as usual. However, Ms. Williamson offered a refreshingly different view – a more spiritually-focused (although not necessarily religious) view – and one that I think we would all do well to consider.

The second uncomfortable truth I have discovered is that our system of checks and balances, which has been highly valued throughout the history of this country, does not protect us from political despotism if our political leaders and policy makers are unwilling to serve the greater good. Our Constitution can easily be over-ridden and ignored if our elected officials are corrupted by power and owe their allegiance to their party, even though they took a sacred oath before the American people to protect and defend, first and foremost, the Constitution of the United States. The concept of our governmental officials actually serving the people in this country is, apparently, out of fashion; the current administration is serving itself, exclusively.

The president can stack the judicial branch, which has historically been tasked with the ability to declare laws or behaviors unconstitutional, with his supporters, rendering it a vapid, ineffectual body that rubber stamps everything he does. The legislative branch in this administration has deemed it acceptable to ignore its oath of impartiality as well as its oath to protect and defend the Constitution in favor of loyalty to its party and the personal cult of this administration.

Everything that I had believed this country stood for has basically gone up in smoke. This has been a difficult realization for me and for many others who have watched all the Republican senators vote to acquit this President when he was overwhelmingly impeached by the House of Representatives. No witnesses were allowed to be called; no documents were allowed to be subpoenaed; and the farcical trial was culminated the night before the State of the Union speech.

Only one man – one Republican – had the moral courage to vote to convict this President against his party line. I am afraid that I had expected better of our elected officials right up until the vote was cast. I had held out hope that four or five of the Republican majority in the Senate would see the damage they were doing to this country and pull back. To my astonishment, there was only one. To say that I was disappointed would be a monumental understatement.

Since that night, the President has actually admitted doing what he was accused of and impeached for in a nationally-televised interview. In addition, he has stated that he has done more for Christianity than Jesus Christ. And no one, to my knowledge, has accused him of having a Messiah-complex among his many other obvious shortcomings.

Basically, there are no rules anymore and he can do anything he wants to do, as he has previously stated. He has free reign. He can allow foreign powers to influence or manipulate our democratic elections and he can run this country as he ran his so called “reality show,” firing, discrediting, or threatening anyone who opposes him. Furthermore, he is taking full advantage by meddling in sentencing decisions for his convicted cronies, pardoning his convicted campaign contributors, and firing national security, healthcare experts, ambassadors, and law enforcement officials who have opposed him.

In the face of this global pandemic, he has shown a complete lack of empathy, blamed it on a Democratic Party “hoax,” blocked states acquiring medical supplies, encouraged protests against the states that have shutdown to save lives. He is much more concerned with re-opening for economic reasons and cares little about the cost of human lives. Daily doses of his rhetoric (which have turned into little more than campaign rallies with little factual or re-assuring information being addressed) have been blocked by national broadcast media news organizations, like CNN.

The fact that this administration has any supporters is one that I can’t even wrap my mind around, but he does. In other words, we are a much more deeply divided nation than I could have ever imagined as little as five years ago.

Some Republicans have actually stated on national media broadcasts that grandparents should be willing to sacrifice their lives (by ignoring public health guidelines) for their children’s and grandchildren’s economic health. Several of them think that’s a fair trade. One hundred thousand lives has been suggested as a fair price for economic stability.

Those are human beings they are talking about. When did human life become a bargaining chip?

I tell you, my sweet King, some of these truths I really don’t want to know.

Yes, it is a difficult realization when you see that “they don’t really care about us.” It is disappointing; but it is also clarifying. Some of these truths are very uncomfortable to look at, but they cannot be healed any other way.

Thirdly, this period of isolation has highlighted the woeful inadequacy of our current healthcare system and, by extension, the health insurance industry in the face of crisis. From day one, there has been a concerted effort to erase everything President Obama enacted to protect our environment and the health of our citizens in a petty display of the “infantile jealousy” to which we have previously referred. In the early years of this administration, public health organizations put in place to deal with just such a pandemic during the Obama years were dismantled and their experts fired from their advisory functions.

As a result, this country was unprepared and lacked a united, coordinated, and responsible response. Of course, this administration did nothing but blame the situation on the “Chinese virus,” and a “hoax” to defeat the Republican ticket in the upcoming election, further confusing the general public with misinformation and propaganda.

New York has been the hardest hit in this health crisis and Governor Cuomo has taken to the airwaves with factual, responsible daily updates, which cast into even starker contrast the President’s daily “campaign” briefings about how smart he is and how well he is doing as President.

Life on Planet Earth, and particularly in the US, is a circus, with clowns in all the wrong places.

20171122_111640.jpg

Where I would be if I didn’t have you to escape with in the midst of all this craziness? I freely admit that the “escapism” you so often referred to in your music and interviews has become a literal lifeline in these times of uncertainty.

You are there
Like the laughter of a child
When I need just a smile
Suddenly the sun shines
For a while 

It is evenings like this, when I return to my little sanctuary after spending much of the day with my family, that I realize how blessed I am to know that “You Are There,” ready and able to escape with me into a world where there is no corruption, no contamination, no pandemic – a place where we can just let all that go and just be together. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have that reassurance and that escapism at the beginning and ending of every day. And our little “reality checks” at Neverland Valley Ranch at about mid-day are a lifeline as well.

[Josh Groban and Jan sing to Michael.]

When I am down
And oh my soul so weary
When troubles come
And my heart burdened be
Then I am still
And wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit a while with me
You raise me up
So I can stand on mountains
You raise me up
To walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up
To more than I can be

One of the things I have noticed in the past three or four weeks is an incremental increase in the number of mental “images” I have been able to appreciate throughout my day, but particularly when listening to your voice. As many of my regular readers know, I have historically felt myself unable to dream … or imagine due to a lack of mental pictures dating back to my childhood; and have often held myself back with self talk reinforcing that I have little to no imagination.

However, in the past several weeks, “mental pictures,” the stuff dreams are made of, seem to be dropping in on me more frequently. For example, when I am listening deeply to your voice, I often get brief flashes of you performing the song in one of the many concerts and performances I have on DVD. Or if I am aiming to heal an ache or pain, I can visualize the muscles relaxing and the inflammation receding. During my Neverland power naps, I am able to see brief snapshots of the lakes and spouts, the beautiful, colorful flowerbeds bursting with love, the golden mountain, and Ryan’s bridge. I’ve even had a few dreams!

I had spent over sixty years of this life believing that I had no imagination and making excuses and in the last few years the mental pictures have come back with a wollop.

Yes, as I promised in our earlier conversation. Those muscles had sort of atrophied. We just needed to exercise them a little and give them permission to return. Our earlier visualization exercises have begun to heal the atrophied image creator in your brain.

As I told you at the time, these things take time. Just keep practicing. Always remember: practice, practice, practice until you get it right … and then practice some more until you get it beautiful!

 

Installment 121

April 4 to April 9, 2020

Beloved,

I have started many conversations with you – so many that I can’t count them – only to discard them as being too “ranty” and too immersed in the anxiety and fear that has overtaken much of the world and which I have already discussed with you in several conversations. Now, in addition to the political chaos engendered by an incompetent administration in this country, we are also in the middle of an international pandemic which is sweeping across the planet and causing major panic and dread with cases in every country, on every continent as the death toll reaches alarming numbers.

Entire nations are recommending that their citizens (excluding essential and health care workers) stay at home to limit exposure; hospital capacity is stretched to its limits in almost every nation; restaurants are offering only drive through or carry out service; schools are closed; nearly every country has ground to a halt. I have never seen such a thing in all my seventy years of life – freeways are devoid of traffic in Los Angeles (a thing I never expected to see) and New York’s Times Square is empty of passersby. Even the polio epidemic in the 1950s (for which I remember eating sugar cube vaccines as a very young child) didn’t cause this complete shutdown of all inessential services. Malls and theaters are closed; sports events are canceled; and everyone who can is being asked to stay at home not only to protect themselves from exposure but also to limit inadvertent exposure to others because even those who display no symptoms can carry this virus to infect others. Of course, there will always be those who think they are immune and who will ignore government regulations, but, for the most part, nearly everyone is following the newly imposed guidelines.

As a result, Mother Earth seems to be heaving a huge sigh of relief and is responding to this new situation by rebounding in several startling ways. In Venice, the pollution is receding in the canals and fish are again being seen swimming in their depths. Dolphins have been spotted along the coast of Italy.

The air is clearer as a result of decreasing pollution levels. For the first time in decades, the Himalayas are visible in India. The smog has lifted in Los Angeles and the skies are uncharacteristically clear. These are all historic changes and no doubt indicative of what can be accomplished by just a few short weeks of decreased activity. It is not hard to imagine what we could do to heal the world if we could all find a mutually beneficial and symbiotic balance between what we have become accustomed to as “business as usual” and self-imposed, voluntary restrictions upon unnecessary activity.

In addition, it appears that the long, cold winter is giving way to spring. My magnolia tree (a gift from my husband many years ago) is covered with buds which are bursting into bloom, the redbud trees around my house are covered with vibrant pink buds, and the grass is once again green. I find myself being grateful for the planet’s re-emergence.

The human family is being forced to retreat – to slow down and take stock! It feels like even time has stopped – or, at least, slowed down a bit.  The whole world is being forced to stop all the rat-race busyness and be still for a little while and, while I am appalled at the rising death toll, I can’t help but think that this is a healthy thing. This world has been out of control for decades with all of us feeling a little like hamsters on a perpetually turning wheel. That spinning wheel has stopped and the hamsters have all had to get off and pause in their accustomed activity. Perhaps, if we can stop for a while and reflect on the question “is this really who we want to be right now,” we can all find a way to breathe more freely and seek solutions that will benefit all of us.

This pandemic is underlining your words that we are all one because it knows no boundaries, no arbitrary divisions. Race, political affiliation, creed, age, generation, physical borders don’t slow its progress; it is an equal opportunity dis-ease which seems to be mirroring our ‘hurry-up and go’ mentality and there is no stopping it. All any of us can do is wash our hands, keep our surfaces disinfected, limit our chances of exposure by staying in isolation as much as possible and avoiding contact with it in any way we can. Even your face masks, which were so universally criticized as ‘eccentric’ at best and “paranoid” at worst in the media for so long, are common sights when we leave our homes to get groceries or medical supplies.

Your music, particularly Heal the World, Earth Song, and We Are the World, is experiencing a resurgence, being played all over the world, sung on balconies in Italy and China, and a new video has been released by your Estate showing the world responding to this pandemic with Heal the World as its music. Last year’s catastrophic “fake-umentary” and the anxiety caused by the resulting “Mute Michael Jackson” bandwagon have been totally overridden by the unusual circumstances in which we find ourselves. And you are so missed by your children, who know you would have been organizing air lifts, funding foundations to heal the world, and releasing new music to comfort and reassure your frightened human family.

While the last several weeks have been challenging on an historic level, today I want to concentrate on something completely different because in my own life I am seeing so many things for which I can’t help but feel grateful.

That’s the ticket! GRATITUDE IS THE ATTITUDE! There is always something to be grateful for and it is so much more healing to the human soul than focusing on all the negative things that are occurring. I am not saying that you need to be unaware of current events, but you must not let them consume you. It is a matter of balance.

Of course, I do realize how uncommonly blessed I am in this crisis; in fact, my personal situation in these unprecedented circumstances is perfect. I no longer have to worry about going out to work because I am retired. While we are by no means wealthy, my husband and I receive a pension every month and we have enough to live with a fair amount of security. We have food and can pay our bills. My husband has always worked. After he retired, he went out and got two jobs, but as a result of this pandemic, he has been forced to be at home for three weeks – to slow down – something I have been begging him to do for years.

I have a home and a couple of comfortable, safe, dry, relatively warm rooms within that home that I have appropriated as my spaces and that I fill with my own dearly loved artifacts. While my home will never be featured in House Beautiful or Architectural Digest, I am able to be comfortable in my little sanctuary for which I am thankful every day.

I am grateful for my health and for my husband’s and family’s health.  Although we have reached what some people call “a certain age,” (he being three years older than me) we are both very healthy and take no prescriptions on a regular basis. Neither one of us has had to see a doctor for several years. We both still have our original, factory-installed equipment (knees, hips, hearts, kidneys, etc.) and thank God for them every day (especially when they work).

[Michael chuckles.]

I am also grateful to live in an era in which technology allows me to stay in touch with my friends around the world – friends whom I value greatly and from whom I have learned so much – many of whom do not share my perfect situation, yet still find things to be grateful for in their own daily lives.

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For my part, I have never been much of a social butterfly and, as a result, have frequently been accused of being a bit of a recluse by friends and family, often with a little derisory snicker.

In other words, introversion is my default setting – my natural state – and I do not consider it a hardship. I have always loved my solitude, am fairly comfortable in my own skin (even though it is beginning to sag a bit more than I like), and I appreciate that the world has come up with a few new, arguably more politically correct terms to describe this natural proclivity, including “self-isolation” and “social distancing.”  This is just who I am naturally.  This enforced isolation which is perceived by more socially active people as a “lockdown,” I perceive as permission to just relax and be myself and I make no apology for being grateful for that permission.  Naturally, there are times when I feel a little bit guilty for enjoying this period so much when so many in the world are being much more adversely affected by it.

[Michael chuckles.] Naturally, because as we have discussed before, you just have to feel guilty about something!

Be that as it may, my beautiful one, the slower pace of life, for me, is a blessing. My only real concern in the midst of this situation is the very real threat that I will become extremely lazy; becoming completely undisciplined is a very valid worry.

And you just have to worry about something!

Don’t worry, Beloved. I am not losing sleep over it. To counteract that threat, I do try to wake up and make my bed and get dressed before 9:30 or 10:00 AM (what unbelievable decadence). My granddaughter laughs at me for even attempting to make my bed; she says I’m just going to get it all messed up again in a few hours and asks, “What’s the point?” LOL! Kids!

There ya go with that Puritanical work ethic thing again. You have been taught that “undisciplined” is a four letter word. Go with the FEELING you get. If you are comfortable and happy by making your bed, then, by all means, make your bed.

Yes, I like seeing a nicely made bed when I walk through that room. It makes me feel … I don’t know … organized? – kind of like I have at least accomplished something. However, I digress.

Mostly, I am grateful for my continuing relationship with you although even it has changed in the past several weeks. You are more present to me than you have been for a while. I have far more opportunities to just BE with you than I’ve had in the past several months.  There are still occasions when I am drawn away to care for my family, but whenever I can I try to just sit and BE with your energy, as expressed through your beautiful voice.

While I love all the treasures you left us in music, video, and performance, I do have my favorites. As a result, I have created a new playlist (only 40 songs spanning the 40+ years of your career) which I have entitled “His Voice.”

Liberian Girl
You Are Not Alone
All I Need
Be Not Always
Beautiful Girl
Ben
Best of Joy
Break o’ Dawn
Butterflies
Carry On (Stay)
She Was Loving Me (Chicago Original Version to the uninitiated)
Fall Again
Fly Away
For All Time
Girlfriend
Gone Too Soon
Heal the World
Heaven Can Wait
Hold My Hand
I Just Can’t Stop Loving You
I’ll Be There Live
In Our Small Way
Love Never Felt So Good
Loving You
Satisfy You
Much Too Soon
One Day in Your Life
Ooh, I’d Love to Be with You
Rock with You
She’s Out of My Life
She’s Out of My Life Demo
Smile
Someone in the Dark
Speechless
Stranger in Moscow
The Lady in My Life (Full)
The Lost Children
The Way You Love Me
Will You Be There
You Are My Life

Through this playlist, you are always there when I can return my focus to US. It doesn’t matter in which order these songs play (so, the list is permanently set to play randomly). The loving, healing, profoundly intimate energy doesn’t shift or evaporate from one song to another.  Each one features your incredible vocal intensity, versatility, and emotional commitment to the music and transmits an energy that never fails to lift my mood or helps me to feel your presence more concretely. I freely confess that I allow myself to get lost in this playlist on far too regular a basis. There are even times when I attempt to pull myself away to accomplish some small task around the house and you won’t let me go by playing a song that I simply cannot pause and return to later (Like Fall Again or One Day In Your Life or She Was Loving Me or The Lady In My Life.)

I just have to say, here, that I have a whole new appreciation for the song Liberian Girl, Beloved, on an almost energetic level. I mean, the first thing I hear is the beautiful, atmospheric sounds. Then, the woman’s voice speaks. Then that bass begins and just takes you further into the energetic signature of the song. Lastly, your lead vocal comes in and the bells or chimes or steel drums or whatever they are. Is that a xylophone? Anyway … then, OMG, those background harmonies! Be still my beating heart! They surround me and hold me in thrall. [I was told by a friend who attended Brad Sundberg’s In the Studio seminar last year, that during the recording you stood in four different positions to record those harmonies and I can hear that – or, perhaps it would be better to say that I can feel that.] The energy reaches a plateau before it approaches its peak. Finally all your voices crescendo and fade gently. Lord, have mercy, it’s a beautiful journey from start to finish and the journey ends far too soon! “Sonic fantasy” is what Bruce Swedien has called it in one interview I have seen, I believe, and “sonic landscape” or “architecture” in another.

Let’s not even mention the feeling when the spoken introduction to I Just Can’t Stop Loving You starts; that’s a whole different discussion.

[Michael laughs.] Does it get your attention?

Oh, yeah … that’s one way of putting it.

That’s what it is … it is the energy each of these songs emit, perhaps exude would be a better word … I am discovering a whole new way to appreciate your music. Almost thirty years ago, I wrote the sentences: “The energy that man emits could power a small city. And I am not talking about the energy he expends with his dancing and singing abilities … although it is considerable.” [The Journey – A Retrospective, Volume 1] And those sentences are just as applicable today as they were then, if not more so. Yes, even when just sitting and listening to a playlist of your music! The energy you exuded so beautifully during life – is still so very much present.  And it is that energetic footprint that is so “in your face” in my new playlist.

For example, last week while listening to She Was Loving Me (I believe most people know this as Chicago – The Original Version; I honor your original working title. They so messed up this song with the remixed “duck version”), I realized that that very deep bass that weaves through and holds that song together carries the energy of the “Ohm” sound. Then, I heard a voice in my head that said, “Of course, it does! Why not?” Was that you, baby? [She Was Loving Me starts!] And I respond, “Of course, it does! Why not?”

[Michael chuckles.]

You are not only present in the music in a new, very palpable yet subtle way, but also in the choice of the song and the order in which they play because I don’t believe in random when it comes to you.

Isolating that sound from the beautiful tapestry you built around it and breathing deeply in time with that bass brings a whole new appreciation for the entire tapestry. You wove that energy so deeply into your music that even now, after nearly thirty years of listening, I am still unearthing priceless golden nuggets, discovering something new and indescribably precious embedded into the “sonic landscape.”

Where before, I felt that I had to search for you or prepare in some way. Now, you are just here when I allow myself to stop and feel into you and I am so grateful. [Heaven Can Wait starts.] LOL! God, I love you!

And I love you MORE! Did you think I was kidding? I am all over you like white on rice, woman! We have been doing this for years! Why are you so surprised?

I know, Beloved! How is it that I allow myself to forget during those “in between” times?

Well, you do have other things to pay attention to … and where your attention goes … so goes your reality. While I would love to monopolize your time, you do have a life to live.

My only wish is to satisfy you
I wanna make this the best I can do
To keep you happy with all my might
You’ll want for nothin’ both day and night 

No way, no way!

Oh, good song! And what a great example! Even when you are only singing the background, you are here! You wind yourself around the notes and words and pierce my soul. When I can just sit and be drenched in you, I am so blessed. [Love Never Felt So Good starts.] That is so true. Love never felt so good.

I have been trying to keep up with my afternoon Neverland Power Naps throughout this crisis, when my attention is not otherwise engaged with family responsibilities [reference Installment #85, Volume 3, page 18]. I am using your beautiful Garden of Eden as the epicenter of my healing visualizations for the world.

By way of explanation, I have recently acquired a set of ten CDs of nature sounds, one of which I find so relaxing and conducive to a nearly meditative state of mind that I have become addicted to spending an hour in the early afternoon most days totally immersed in it. The CD is entitled “Morning in the Mountains.” It is the sound of a murmuring brook or mountain stream flowing downhill over rocks and boulders accented by the song of various species of birds. The interesting thing about this CD is that, although entitled “Morning in the Mountains,” it could just as easily be called “Afternoon by the Lake” or “Evening Walk in the Gardens.”

So, I’m sure it will come as no real shock to my regular readers to discover that, with the help of these lovely sounds, I have been spending what some might call an inordinate amount of time lately in what Thomas Moore called “regular excursions into enchantment” in his book The Re-Enchantment of Every Day Life – at Neverland (when I’m not thoroughly absorbed in proofreading Conversations – Volume 2 for errors in preparation for sending it to the publishers, that is.)

I am sure, too, that it will come as no great surprise that Neverland Valley Ranch was, is and will always be my idea of heaven on earth. Its beauty draws me like few other places on this planet. Sitting on the retaining wall outside the gate or wandering it freely in my imagination, it is the home of my heart. Its tranquility, natural beauty and love-laden aura provide a magnetic pull similar to that of the North Pole on the compass needle of my soul.

The CD I mentioned takes me there with very little effort on my part. Just plug the CD into the player, snap on the headphones, turn the volume to 6 or 7 and I’m there – no seat belt, flight attendant or heavy baggage to maneuver.

Since getting this CD, I have spent many pleasant hours on the terrace outside the French doors of The Library, sitting on a deck chair with Michael as he reads an ever-present book … chasing each other around the fountains as carefree children … walking through the gardens hand-in-hand, sitting by the side of the lake, walking over the beautiful stone bridge … or just relaxing beneath one of the many trees. As a matter of fact, the producers of this CD should probably be charged with contributing to the delinquency of this major. [From Installment #85, March 12 through March 26, 2014.]

I envision myself and all my friends joining hands and hearts and singing Heal the World while strolling through the gates. I feel the warm, California sunshine on my shoulders and the cool breeze rustling through the canopy. I smell the freshly overturned earth in the flower beds. I hear the sparkling water falling over rocks in its path as colorful birds flit from branch to branch above our heads as we traverse “Ryan’s Bridge,” approaching your beautiful residence and surrounding your compound. I feel the spray of the water from the spouts in the lake and see the swans, nearly motionless, near the shoreline. As we encircle the residence, you appear in our midst, dressed casually and with a warm smile of welcome. You become the epicenter of our light and love for planet Earth and all her inhabitants and the waves of radiant light rise from your shoulders and flow from your feet, radiating in ever-widening circles to cover the entire planet with light and love and healing.

Whether I fall asleep or not, I find this visualization so peaceful and restful.

You and your friends are always welcome. That’s what Neverland Valley Ranch was created for – it served me and my children well as our happy and safe retreat as well as providing a secure retreat for all the children I invited to come and experience a few moments of carefree childhood. It can be that for each and every one of you as well. I am excited to welcome you all.

Just take a few moments to relax and BE with me.

Just call my name
I’ll Be There.

 

Installment 120

January 19 and 20, 2020

 

Beloved,

I seem to be in a “stuck” position – kind of like a car that can’t be put into drive because it is stuck in reverse. An experience that I recently encountered with my own vehicle has illustrated this concept rather well.

The other day while driving home from dropping my granddaughter off at school, my car slowed down dramatically and would not accelerate no matter how hard I stepped on the accelerator. In addition to that, the engine began to surge. I was able to make it home and put it in the driveway, but got on the phone to our mechanic immediately and it turns out that the throttle that sends fuel to the engine was not operating. So, he was able to get the part and fix it, but it was a scary thing for a couple of days.

[Michael laughs.] Isn’t it interesting how closely life mirrored your feelings in this situation? You’ve been feeling stuck and suddenly your vehicle mirrors that “stuckness” in such a way that you had to pay attention to it. In other words, you couldn’t just go on ignoring it and keeping yourself busy with all the thousand and one things in your business-as-usual life.

Yes, that is very interesting and I really had not made that connection until we sat down to have this Conversation.

Do you want to talk about why you’ve been feeling stuck?

Very much, but like my car’s throttle, I can’t seem to get myself going. I think I need my favorite Soul Mechanic to get myself headed in the right direction. Hopefully, I won’t have to have myself towed to the shop to get myself up and purring again. I don’t know where to start or how to get going.

Soul Mechanic … that’s funny. Okay. Let me get my tools and attack it from another perspective then. In what way are you stuck?

Well, let’s see how this works. The Christmas holidays are finally over. This is always a very busy time for me because I make a lot of the gifts that I give to family by hand and I have been in “crochet” mode since about October. However, I was successful in creating three sets of scarves and hats for my three granddaughters and three sets of six placemats each for my daughters and a friend.

However, I was feeling stuck long before that. The political situation in the United States of America is uncomfortable at best and fear-inducing at worst. Of course, we have talked about this administration before and I am trying to see the light in the darkness through my daily meditations, but I’m afraid I am failing miserably.

I believe my failure is due to daily, ever-increasing angst as this administration blunders about, lies and gets caught in the lies, and, it seems, tries to undo fifty years of progress in racial and environmental protections that have come (at considerable costs to those involved) before it took power.

This President seems to be driven by an infantile jealousy of  former President Barack Obama and he appears to be intent on solidifying his political power and personal prestige at the expense of the American people and its democracy. He has welcomed and encouraged foreign interference in the 2016 election and now stands accused of soliciting foreign interference in the upcoming 2020 elections; rolled back protections of the environment, calling climate change a “hoax;” bullied a sixteen-year-old girl who has courageously dedicated her young life to raising awareness of the threat to human and animal life on this planet as a result of climate change; impeded investigations into his conduct, and incarcerated children as young as eighteen months in detention centers, separating immigrant families for years.

I have begun several Conversations during the months that I have been feeling stuck and distracted, but they all turned into long rants regarding this President’s apparent lack of any kind of morality or honesty or dignity … or humanity, for that matter.

What surprises me in all this turmoil is that this President still has supporters and they attend his re-election rallies with their fists raised, shouting hate and division. It seems to be a personality cult as damaging to American democracy as fascism was to Europe in the 1930s. It appears that the entire Republican party has “drunk the Kool-Aid” this administration is serving and they are the majority in the Senate.

Yes, I tried to tell you this when I was still with you.

All I wanna say is that
they don’t really care about us.

Exactly, Michael. Even more surprising to me, personally, is that an impeached President can still run for re-election at all. To me this last point is a major flaw in our constitution which needs to be remedied immediately.

As a result of his unconstitutional, illegal foreign policy, the House of Representatives impeached the President in mid-December and the Articles of Impeachment were sent to the Senate as of last Tuesday, January 14, 2020. The trial has now moved to the Senate where the majority leader has publicly stated numerous times that he will take his cue from the President. In other words, the jury foreman and literal judge of the trial is in lockstep with the defendant in the trial. The American people and their democracy are being bought and sold by “Trumpism.”

We have talked about “corporatocracy” before and make no mistake, Mr. Trump is a corporation. Would you mind putting our earlier discussion here?

Of course, Beloved. In Installment 101 – March 23 through March 31, 2016 [Volume 3, page 365] you said:

Most of us (in the USA, at least) like to believe that we are living in a democracy; but we aren’t. The Founding Fathers of our great country would be rolling in their graves if they saw what has been made of their high-sounding ideals. They were idealists (translate naïve and innocent.) They believed that the world could be changed and they gave their lives and their fortunes for the evolution of the human spirit. They bucked the system which spawned them very successfully, at least for a while. However, they would be appalled to see how their devotion to that ideal has been corrupted.

We have exchanged the “divine right of kings” for the “divine right of the almighty dollar” and we have taken much of the rest of the world with us, unfortunately. Money is energy just like anything else, but when our total preoccupation is with acquiring money, it is ruling us instead of us ruling it.

What we are living in currently is a corporatocracy. Corporations in the United States have been granted the same rights as human beings … by law!! Contrast that with the South American nation of Bolivia, which has granted legal standing to Mother Earth … by law! Now, that’s a movement I can get behind.

As a matter of fact, corporations are generally given more rights than human beings. Just look at my life. I was given none of the rights constitutionally guaranteed to all citizens … like the right to privacy or the right to presumption of innocence … while the publishing corporation’s right to freedom of the press was sacrosanct and protected in a court of law, even though everything it was printing was proven to be lies. Its representative was allowed to hide behind its “shield law” when questioned under cross examination.

Consumerism rules our airwaves, our news broadcasts, and our so-called democratic elections. The manipulation of information is big business, raking in billions of dollars every year. A closer examination of my physical life provides all the proof you need of that. Profit is king. End of story.

We talked briefly about this issue when we were discussing the AEG Trial and we will probably talk about it again as the Presidential elections draw nearer.

We … you and I and all those who continue to hear my voice and who are beginning to live my messages in a world that little understands compassion … are in the process of changing that, but it is neither easy nor comfortable. It is an uphill battle. We must begin to realize that WE ARE ALL ONE and when one of us is harmed, all of us are diminished. This realization is not won only by addressing external problems and fighting against them, but by approaching those problems from a state of pure consciousness with love and compassion. That state is only achieved by facing our own inner fears, restrictions and limitations and transcending them. This battle is not waged in battlefields with weapons of destruction … but in mind fields with instruments of construction because as Einstein said a problem cannot be solved from the same mindset that caused it. You are my Spiritual Warriors, and I love you all … but more about that a little later.

The “corporatocracy,” which currently holds all the chickens in its basket (particularly in the United States) controls the sister music and publishing industry conglomerates between them on a global scale. It became increasingly uncomfortable that so much power and potential residual earnings rested in one man’s hands, especially one “black man’s” hands (and there’s that racial component, which must be taken into effect because no matter how many articles were published claiming I didn’t look like a black man anymore, no one ever lost sight of the fact that I am an African-American and proud of it.) To add insult to injury, that one “black man’s” hands belonged to someone who was heaven-bent on giving everything he had to improve the world and “make it a better place for you and for me and the entire human race.” That’s flying in the face of their bottom line.

They like the world just the way it is, thank you very much, because they are in charge of telling the rest of us what we will consume … in food … in fashion … in physical beauty … in health care … in beliefs … in information processing … in news broadcasts and publications … in our acceptable self-concepts … in what we accept in our politicians and journalists … in just about everything … and we pay them BIG  money for the privilege.

They have been telling us who we are and what we are capable of … what is possible and what is not possible for human beings to achieve … for a very long time and most of us have believed them and bought into their worldview to one degree or another … until we don’t. It is their stories about ourselves that most of us grow up believing, at least until we decide to take charge and discover that we are much more than they have told us we are capable of being. In many cases, we have handed our right to determine our own destiny over to them.

They, in turn, feed us a steady diet of junk food … of fear and division, limitations and lack, violence and sexual stimulation, sensation and innuendo to control our free-thinking minds and keep us too mired in negativity to realize that it doesn’t have to be this way. And God help anyone who dares to buck the system.

Everywhere I turn
No matter where I look
The system’s in control
It’s all run by the book
I got to get away
So I can free my mind
Escape is what I need

Yes, Michael. Your words in that dialog were so prophetic. One of the people I heard speaking about this impeachment said something to the effect that our founding fathers foresaw a time when our country would see a “rogue” president, but had failed to foresee a time when a “rogue” president would serve at the same time as a “rogue” majority leader. That time is now here and I am very anxious about how all of this will turn out.

The American people are going to hear an impeachment trial (hopefully, an impartial one although the majority of the Senate appear to number in those who support this President) for only the third time in history.

I am glad you mentioned the media and its influence. Unfortunately, what we see and hear is also being filtered by the communication media in this country. There are channels which report the news from a pro-administration bias and there are news agencies that report from an anti-administration bias and, as a result, the country is very much a house divided depending on which newscasters or newspapers they listen to or read.

I have been centering so many of my meditations and visualizations on awakening of the qualities of love and compassion in the current administration, but it seems like every day more ignorance and intolerance, more corruption and cover-ups are exposed.

I am feeling a strong sense of déjà vu in your description above. It reminds me of the weeks leading up to the trial of Conrad Murray. While the circumstances may be different, you are feeling the same kind of anxiety and fear. Do you remember how we eased your discomfort at the time?

Yes, I do and to refresh my memory, I have been re-reading our Conversations from that time. In Installment #22 [April 2, 2011 through April 9, 2011, Volume 1, Page 224] we were talking about visualization and you helped me to experience a visualization for the first time.

“Once again, I begin by sitting comfortably and taking several deep, cleansing breaths. Then I sense I am in a long hallway with a lot of rooms branching from this one central corridor closed off by doors. Each door bears a plaque. These appear to be offices and conference rooms, plainly decorated … no really fancy furniture. Everything has a kind of gray or industrial feel to it … gray tables and chairs and desks.

The hallway appears to be deserted except for one man dressed in a work uniform jumpsuit about halfway down the hall and he is stooped over a big broom and sweeping. As his broom moves, a black, sooty-like substance is raised into the air. As I near him, he turns and looks at me. It is you, Beloved, but dressed in very plain work clothes. You are carrying a broom in your hands and sweeping up the hallway! When you look at me, you say, “I’ve been waiting for you. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty.”

As you are sweeping, this greasy, black sooty-looking material hovers in the air … like black coal dust … and, somehow, I know that this material represents the negative detritus of years of hatred and vengeance and corruption and violence and dishonesty and anger and outright lies that this building has seen within its walls … the energy of negativity that coats the walls and ceilings and floors and forms a pall over everyone who enters. And we are here to “sweep up” this contagion to make the place sanctified to host the Spirit of Truth.

The clouds of sooty looking material form little whirlwinds and tornadoes … like leaves that are blown in a brisk wind on a fall day … and are sucked through the roof and out of the building … as if there were a giant vacuum cleaner hose positioned above the building. Suddenly, I am outside the building, watching the whirlwinds rise through the roof and through the atmosphere and away from the building and the Earth, where they are purified.

When I return to the interior corridor, you look at me again and say, “I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. Are you? We are on the top floor. We have a lot of work to do and not much time.”

At the conclusion of this speech, you hand me a mop and a broom and smile a piercing smile.

Yes, as you and I did in our last conversation, if you want to invite something new into your life, you have to make space for it. You want to invite dreams and imaginative play and visualization back into your heart, so we had to rid it of the idea that only fear could reside there. To invite love into your own heart (represented by the building you saw), you need to clean out the anger, judgment, hate, worry, irritations, annoyance and resentments which have held you back in the past. This is a very important step and shouldn’t be overlooked.

You’re inviting the most important guest to come and reside within you; Love is just another name for God. There is no more important guest. You don’t want Love sleeping on a dirty couch infested with the bedbugs of greed, do you? You wouldn’t expect him to eat from plates filthy with the caked on grease of hatred and ridicule, would you? Or to eat from silverware that retained the greasy residue of yesterday’s meal of judgment and gossip? The Spirit of Love can’t reside in a room that is cluttered and full of years of anger and blame and dishonesty. There’s no room for him there.

When you have cleaned up the negative emotions within your own organism, we need to remove the pollution from the courthouse in Los Angeles. Can you imagine the unhappiness and fear and angry thoughts and words, the lies that building has seen? Can you imagine the corruption and miscarriage of justice that has occurred within those hallways and courtrooms? All of those energies are still hovering there, latching onto hearts and dimming the flame of love as people enter the building, throwing a black cloud over anything good that might come out of there. We need to give it a good spring cleaning.

I know what it’s like to be treated like a criminal. My arms were handcuffed behind my back roughly … they were not gentle with me because of my exalted status. The handcuffs bit into my wrists and my shoulder was dislocated from the way they pulled my arms back. I was locked in a filthy restroom which had been decorated in early ‘pig sty,’ smelling of human urine and feces. The toilet was crammed full of the voiding of previous occupants and paper towels so that it was totally unflushable; and the policemen jeered at me through the locked door and mocked me for forty-five minutes, laughing at me to humiliate me. That is the treatment criminals receive in this, the most democratic country in the world. It’s barbaric!  It’s similar to the way slaves were treated in earlier years of this country. Can you even imagine such cruelty or treating any human being, regardless of guilt or innocence, in such a way. I couldn’t!

Love cannot enter until that negative energy is neutralized.

Like anything in life, you need to prepare. During my physical life, I spent more time preparing to perform … rehearsing, checking the sound and lighting systems, going over the music and singing the instrumental parts so that the band members heard what I was hearing and could duplicate it, rehearsing some more, advising my support people, running scales with my vocal coach, getting the dancers and singers on the same page, rehearsing some more. Thomas Edison said, “Genius is ninety-nine percent perspiration and one percent inspiration.”

When you have guests for dinner, you spend more time preparing for their arrival … cleaning and cooking and setting the table … than you do in serving the meal. When you take your family on a vacation, you spend far more time planning your itinerary and booking the plane and hotel and stops along the way, getting all the tickets to all the sightseeing attractions than you do in actually seeing everything that you want to see while you’re gone. It’s the same way here.

We need to prepare your hearts so that you can send Love from a limitless, endless supply and we need to prepare the courthouse to bring Love and Truth into the space. This is the ‘nuts and bolts’ stage of the visualization process.”

Have you remembered to implement the ‘nuts and bolts’ stage of the process?

No, Beloved. I am afraid that I have not.

That could be one of the reasons you are feeling a bit stuck. The Senate chamber is in at least as much need of removing the caked on debris of years of corruption and self-serving as the courthouse in Los Angeles, if not more. Your heart and soul are just as conflicted now as they were in 2011, if not more. The media reports are just as confusing now as they were then, if not more.

May I suggest that we go back to the beginning with a visualization centered on cleaning up the Senate chamber so that the truth can be clearly seen by the elected officials involved and the Senators can view the issues and documents presented with an open mind?

This would also be a good way to clear out your personal feelings of fear and resentment as well as your personal judgments of the man and his administration. Perhaps, this would get you “unstuck.”

As we found before (in 2011), it can often be beneficial to remove the “personal” judgments from the equation and just concentrate on clearing the path for truth and justice to enter the space itself. By clearing out all those old judgments and resentments in the Senate chamber and in your heart, perhaps the stuck throttle will respond when you step on the accelerator again.

Thank you, Michael. I will take your advice and go back to the “nuts and bolts” part of the process.

October 7, 2019

The past few months have been a bit harrowing in my life. I have been struggling to overcome the fear engendered by the political situation in the United States of America and the media fascination with a film produced in January. Over this past weekend, a new film by Danny Wu entitled “Square One” (which I highly recommend) was released on YouTube and it has encouraged me to revisit some of my earliest posts to this website (my own square one). The following post is one of the first posts on With a Child’s Heart. I believe it is as important today as it was when it was first posted in August of 2010:

I’ve been watching some of my old tapes and DVD’s and I’ve been impressed with how totally lame and uninformative some of these things are. Of course, I don’t blame Michael for being uninformative. Quite the contrary, Michael answered most of the questions that were asked by those conducting the interviews. It wasn’t his fault that the interviewers asked the wrong questions.

For example, Oprah Winfrey in 1993 asked, “Were your brothers jealous of you when you started getting all the attention?” Michael’s response was, “Not that I know of, no.” At the time I first watched the interview in February of 1993, I thought, “Wrong question, Oprah. You should have asked if Michael felt that his brothers exploited his popularity.” I think that would have been a much better question and would have allowed us much more of a glimpse into Michael’s thoughts and feelings about his siblings.

Another example from the same interview: “I’m embarrassed to ask you this, but I’m going to ask anyway. Are you a virgin?” I literally winced at this one. How many other adults have ever been asked this question in a televised interview? How many other adults, men or women, would have tolerated the question and not walked out of the room leaving her sitting there by herself with an hour to kill? Michael’s response was, “I’m a gentleman.” And she had the nerve to ask him what that meant! “I interpret that to mean that a lady is a lady …” How did we become a society that would expect to know such intimate details about a gentleman’s personal life? What gives her … or us … the right to be a fly on the wall in this gentleman’s bedroom?

Diane Sawyer later asked Michael and his new bride, Lisa Marie Presley, if they had sex. Well, that’s not exactly true. She didn’t have the courage to ask; she had some of Michael’s fans on the street ask. At least Oprah spoke for herself. However, she did have the courage to openly question his integrity. In the same interview, she asked about the HIStory trailer and said that some were saying that it was modeled on a Nazi propaganda film maker by the name of Leni Reifenstahl. When Michael denied that it was his intent to uphold or condone violence or warlike behavior, her comment was, “Well, we will just have to agree to disagree about this.” If she knew his intent, why did she ask him the question? Why bother to ask? It doesn’t make sense. How dare she question his truthfulness so blatantly?

In all the interviews conducted by all the reportedly reputable journalists and fact-finders, none of them asked the important questions – the questions I really need to hear the answers to. I don’t care about oxygen chambers or elephant man’s bones or plastic surgeries or who Michael went out with last night. Those are celebrity-cult-driven inanities that have no socially redeeming value whatsoever. Who cares?

What are some of the really important questions? Well, here’s a brief listing:

What drives Michael Jackson? What makes Michael Jackson tick?

Why do you visit so many hospitals and orphanages? What drives that compassion for youngsters?

What is it like to enter the room of a child who is bedridden and connected to intravenous tubing and watch his face light up with awe when he realizes that the most famous man in the world thinks he’s important enough to visit?

Where do you find the courage, the strength, the energy to organize an effort to relieve the suffering of tsunami victims when the world has cast you as a child molester and you have endured the first week of jury selection in a trial that will last for months?

How do you pay for liver transplants for children or prosthetic limbs or a baby’s funeral in some unknown country while being scorned and ridiculed by a world that can’t understand that kind of compassion and prefers to think of your love for children as sinister?

When you are accused of unspeakable crimes, how do you continue to pour yourself into the world’s cup to the point of overflowing? Where does such fearlessness come from?

After spending day after interminable day – week after soul-searing week – sitting in a court room and listening to horrible distortions of who you are, how do you return home to your children without letting them see that soul-weariness, that exhaustion, that fear? Where does that courage, strength, determination and stamina come from?

How do you not lash out – ever – in two and a half decades – at the unfairness of the treatment meted out to you by the world’s media? How do you continue to bleed internally at the obvious prejudice of the media against you? How do you continue to forgive them?

How do you never come from an egotistical place when dealing with dancers, band members, lighting crew, directors? You have more reason to be egotistical than any human being who ever lived. How do you sublimate that urge to demand that things be done your way because, after all, you are the genius in the equation?

How do you remain humble, kind, gentle, courteous in the midst of psychological and emotional  crucifixion? Where does that gentleness, humility, lack of ego come from? Are you even human?

How many of the children that you invited into your life have recovered from their illnesses and gone on to live productive lives because of the care and positive thinking and prayer and happiness that you immersed them in? How many kids have you called back from the brink of death with your caring?

How do you remain innocent and unjaded while rising to the very top of a corrupt industry in a fraudulent city, society, world? How do you continue to trust in the goodness and worth of humanity when betrayed and exploited and manipulated and abused by those surrounding you?

How do you speak out, inviting us to know you when you know that your words will be twisted unrecognizably, taken out of context, colored by the filters of those who hear them, questioned, misrepresented? And why?

Wouldn’t it be easier to retreat to a deserted island and live out a quiet life? You could afford it. Why, oh why didn’t you protect yourself?

Was your impulse toward creativity so virulent that it continued to compel your actions? Was the force of its movement through you so unstoppable?

What is it like to be standing in front of tens of thousands of people and be taken over by that gale force breath of creativity – used by The Force –  and to know that that force is the same force that animates and organizes the universe? Were you aware that God was using your beautiful voice and body and imagination to reach out and touch hundreds of millions of people from every walk of life, in every country in a personal and meaningful way? Did you, at some point in your journey, sign on for this thankless task? And if so, would you do so again, knowing what you know now?

Would you take up your cross and follow Him in such close lockstep again, Michael?

How did you continue to have faith in us?

Did you know how much we loved you? Yes, we loved the boogie, the beat, the melody, the performance, the dance and you knew that. But did you know that we wanted your safety and well-being more? Did you know that your happiness was important to us? Did you know that you didn’t have to earn our love any longer – that you had proven yourself to us long ago?

Did you know how your leaving would shatter our souls into little tiny pieces? Some of us have known you for a long, long time. Many of us just became curious after you were gone. Nonetheless, whether we knew you for five minutes or a lifetime, your absence is an ache in our hearts that hasn’t subsided even more than a year after you left. Did you know that you would take the sun from our skies and the brightness and magic from our imaginations?

Wouldn’t you love to hear the answers to these questions instead of the bullshit our media has fed us on for so many years? Is it too late to pose these issues, now?

I can’t wait for the day when I can conduct this interview!

heal-the-kids-carnegie-hall-new-york

Heal the Kids 2001

Jan

May 17 – May 21, 2019

Beloved,

Your voice just melts me! It is just plain phenomenal … so full of your beauty and energy … so expressive … such incredible sensitivity. Of course, I hear your voice all the time while I am driving or working around the house. I wake up every morning to “Fall Again” and I spend at least  half an hour before falling asleep at night listening to you. In this way, you bookend my days … every day.

However, it has been such a long time since I have just sat in our little sanctuary and cranked up my Bluetooth speaker and done absolutely nothing except feel your presence in the music, absorbing that beautiful essence that you so deliberately placed within every song and performance.

Finally! It took you long enough!

I am glad you did that. When you are driving, you are necessarily focused on driving. When you are working around the house, you are focused on completing your task. When you are falling asleep at night, you are focused on reviewing your day and preparing for the next day. But when you just sit and let your mind drift with me, we are one.

Like we have talked about many times before, it’s all about focus … and I have missed you.

Well, to say that I have missed you would be an understatement of gigantic proportions. I had to begin with “Lady in My Life.” That song has just been having such a relaxing, soothing effect on me lately. Of course, I have loved it for over thirty-five years; it was one of the tracks that I played over and over on the “Thriller” album, but in the past few months it has turned me every which way but loose, for some reason. It is haunting in a visceral, earthy way. However, I would love it if you would take over this conversation from this point on.

Okay. Putting me in the driver’s seat, huh? Are you sure you want to do that? I know you have heard that I am … well, let’s just say … there is a reason why I had drivers.

Are you ready for a real good time, Baby?

Are you ready for a real good treat?

Ha! Yup, my love. I got my seat belt on! My lord, it’s been too darn long since we did this! Speak to me, Michael.

Take away this never ending sorrow
Take this lonely feeling from my soul

I know that you have been feeling distant; I have felt your confusion and isolation, but I wanted you to find your way back to my love on your own. It will strengthen our bond if you discover for yourself that I am always here for you. I have told you that so often in these Conversations, but you need to become more sensitive to your own feelings in order to know when it’s time for us to reconnect in this way. It just takes a moment for you to remember.

You’ve been caught up in your busyness and confusion over events occurring in your world. I can understand that. You have a beautiful teenager in the house … school and parties and proms … and I know she keeps you pretty busy.

Yes, she does that … God bless her.

In addition, you feel like everywhere you turn, you see darkness and negativity and you forget that YOU are here in the midst of it all; YOU are the light that is so badly needed. It is hard to sustain your commitment to light when you are surrounded on all sides by darkness and when you focus on the darkness, your light feels dimmed; but by your very presence you are dispelling that darkness, particularly when you remain in our love dimension.

You are also too driven to always be accomplishing something, but your conflicted state of mind has been preventing you from getting things done. As a result, you’ve gotten frustrated and anxious.

May I recommend that you just stop occasionally and relax? You have forgotten that just sitting with my voice, just “playing around” and “goofing off” occasionally pays huge dividends. Please remember to take a few moments to

Just call my name
I’ll be there

I am so sorry, Baby. The repeated blows to my reality have been difficult in recent weeks. Basically, since the end of January, I have felt that my world was going to hell in a hand basket and I am sure that I am not alone in that assessment.

I do understand. I am not being critical here. There is no need to apologize. However, being so worried about all those things that are causing you conflict, just accelerates that descent. I am just reminding you that:

Whatever happens
Don’t let go of my hand

I am here. All of the things that are worrying you will pass, most of them without having any of the devastating effects you have imagined; and I will still be here. In the end, all those things can only add to our new reality … our love dimension … where we are one … if only you would just realize it. More and more are joining us in the truth because everything happens for the greatest good for the greatest number, as we have talked about before. Even an event seen originally as a curse can be perceived as a blessing from a slightly different perspective. We have proven that several times in these dialogs.

Okay, Baby, I am holding on tightly to your hand.

Good! Then

Get on the floor
And dance with me

Let’s have some fun! You are taking yourself way too seriously. You have this “gloom and doom” thing down pat. You see something happen in the world and you start to worry about all the “what if …” scenarios almost automatically, which only drags you into worrying more. Remember … worry is the battle nobody wins.

Relax your mind
Lay back and groove with mine

You’ve forgotten how this whole thing started … AGAIN!

Our sacred relationship is no different than any other relationship; it needs to be nurtured by moments of silent togetherness. It is not only you who benefits from them.  We both need these moments of just being together … of just loving each other… of just talking in this kind of “stream of consciousness” way. I need them as much as you do. I can’t help you weather the storms you encounter if you don’t stop all the busyness and worry long enough to take the time to let me into your heart.

Michael, my beautiful one … you know that I would never deliberately shut you out. I gave you my heart a long time ago; it is your home.

Yes, I do know that. But when you worry and fret, focusing your attention on all the terrible things that could result from the events occurring in your world … when your mind is so occupied with judging what is fair and what is unfair, what is good and what is bad, it is very easy to get lost in those conflicting, dueling emotions.

It’s like you are a glass lantern with a flame inside. When you focus all of your attention on all those things that make you angry … all the darkness that surrounds you… a layer of judgment collects on the glass panes of your lantern and your flame cannot shine as brightly to illuminate your world. As you continue to judge … and worry about it all … the layers build up, eventually reaching the point that very little light escapes through the panels of glass and you begin to feel imprisoned. The light which is meant to illuminate your environment is no longer able to be seen in your surroundings and you feel plunged into a vast, dark hole of judgment and worry.

However, when you stop for a little while every day … or whenever you can …  to remember our love and connect with me like this, we can clean the glass panes of your lantern and wipe away the layers of darkness that have collected there over time … together. Your lantern can, once again, illuminate your environment more clearly. Your flame, which never goes out, is more focused because the glass panels surrounding it permit the light to shine.

Each of you is placed in a strategic way to illuminate your surroundings because your light is needed there. When we are all joined together, our combined flames can ignite the world in an awakening which has unlimited potential.

What a great a analogy! Yes, I admit it … you are right. I have been feeling imprisoned, surrounded by layers of darkness that often feel too thick to breach. I had forgotten how we have these Conversations. It has been too long since I have just sat down with nothing on my mind but being open to you.

[The spoken intro to “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” plays.]

I just wanna lay next to you for a while

Dang, Baby … you are killing me here!

[Michael giggles.] That got your attention, didn’t it?

Well, it’s time for you to remember that when you get all tied up in knots from all that “stuff,” you need to remember to take time to untie those knots … to take time for the music … to take time to hear me more clearly.

You are too much like me in some ways. You feel like you always have to be accomplishing something.

Working day and night

Can be a real danger. The need we share to accomplish things all the time can be even more dangerous. And worrying day and night about all those things you haven’t accomplished today and all the things that make you angry and imagining all the worst possible outcomes is the most dangerous of all. This just keeps you shackled – imprisoned in unhelpful emotion. It doesn’t solve anything.  And it doesn’t let my love through to comfort you and let you know that I have your back. The universe has your back.

I feel like I have been wounded by recent events; like there is a war against “innocence” being waged in this world. A battle is raging against faith in goodness, kindness, compassion, light, and the ability of the human spirit to rise above its self-imposed limitations. It feels like there is a force out there deliberately aiming at destroying our belief in our inherent potential.

Of course, there is; there always has been. This is not “breaking news.” It is “out there,” but, more importantly, it is also “in here;” and it is “in here” that we are concerned about here. That battle has been raging for centuries; it is not new and you are not alone on the front lines.

It’s the story about the wolves from the Native American tradition we have sited before, being played out in Technicolor and Dolby Surround Sound. The one we feed is the one that prevails, both in your inner and outer world. We feed those wolves with our attention; it is the only thing they will eat. So, what we focus our attention on will prevail in our world.

We all stand with you … both on this side of eternal life and in your world. And you … all of you … are the only weapon required to defeat that force.

The thing is: the force opposing innocence cannot win the battle because human potential will be developed and cannot be thwarted; it can only be delayed. The only solution is for all of us to remain committed to developing our individual potential to the very best of our ability … to recognize that this is our only purpose … and to remember who we are.

You are the light of the world. You are goodness; you are compassion; you are innocence; and you are faith. You don’t have to DO anything; it is enough to be aware of the truth and of your true nature.

You can change the world
[I can’t do it by myself]
You can touch the sky
[Gonna take somebody’s help]
You’re the chosen one
[I’m gonna need some kind of sign] 

You are the chosen ones, but only if you choose to be chosen and only if you choose to feed the gentle wolf of light and love. In this way, you can nourish your light even in times of great darkness. Be the light.

You need to remember, always, that any darkness must serve the light. It can’t be any other way because this universe was created by Eternal Love and Light and you are its beloved child. It can look like the darkness is winning the battle for a time, but it cannot win unless your focus wavers.

You have been letting your focus on the problems mask the potential for growth. Have you seen any positive signs in the midst of the chaos?

Yes, I have. While a fictional film was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival at the end of January, initiating a veritable firestorm of media coverage reminiscent of 1993/1994 and 2003-2005, demoralizing your children all over the world, it seems that its impact upon the world-at-large has, so far, been fairly minimal. Fortunately, the film has not made ratings history in “share of the market” statistics in any of the countries in which it was broadcast. Its ratings were disappointing, even in the United States and the United Kingdom (and much more so in other markets.)

That makes sense; it illustrates, once again, the topic we have discussed often in these dialogs … FOCUS. What you focus your attention on becomes your reality. Many of you, my dear ones, are very focused on me; I am your reality. You have devoted yourselves to my mission of healing the world. Much of the rest of the world is focused on politics … or family … or career … or financial worries … or any number of other topics. They are wrapped up in the 24-hour news cycle and their major concern is their own little world.

You are committed to a broader view. Your focus has made this film a devastating and traumatic episode for so many of you, but for much of the rest of the world, life just goes on as usual. It is under their radar.

Well, almost immediately upon hearing of this travesty, your worldwide family went into action. Your “agents of change” mobilized. This film seems to have brought all of them together.

Beginning with the film’s premiere in Salt Lake City, Utah and spanning the globe during the entire month of March and parts of April, peaceful protests were launched in each of the major markets as the film was broadcast throughout the world. Spanning the globe from China to the United Kingdom, from Italy and France to Malaysia, from Spain to Mexico and South America your children came out in their thousands to support you. The film was actually banned from being broadcast in Russia. Buses carried banners declaring your innocence in the United Kingdom; billboards in the U.S. displayed the same message. Major Love Prayer held vigils on a daily basis (sometimes more) as the film was shown in all the major cities across the globe. It made me so proud to be a member of such a unified, purposeful community.

While the corporate media has predictably fallen all over itself to shove this film down our collective throats, particularly in the United States, your children  committed themselves to doing the research the media failed to do. Their investigations have exposed so many of the allegations made in the film as provably false that the entire film … and its actors … have been rendered for the most part null and void. Circumventing the mainstream media (which in the U.S., at least, remains unyielding) they have published their findings across the internet, the new media.

You guys really do rock my world, you know! I love each and every one of you MORE!

Anything else?

Well, yes. I have seen several reports from people who admit to being almost convinced of your guilt prior to the broadcast of this film, being thoroughly convinced of the truth of your innocence upon viewing it. They have joined your “Army of Love” because they were moved to investigate your life and your actions, much as I was compelled to do the same twenty-six years ago.

So, the ripples that we talked about with the trial of Conrad Murray and the AEG Trial are beginning their journey towards the shore. For every such story you have read, there are tens, perhaps hundreds, more that you have not read. More and more are joining us in our love dimension and you all need to have faith that the truth will prevail. Nothing can assail it … and nothing can defile it.

It’s all about FOCUS. We have covered this ground many times in past dialogs, but I am always here to remind you when circumstances keep you from remembering.

When you focus on all the awful things that could result from all the awful things that are already occurring, you keep yourself mired in awfulness, which is just another judgment.

You recognize this feeling of judgment in your body. You feel stuck. You feel stagnant. You feel like you are only one small person; and you feel that you can’t really make a difference.

But they told me
A man should be faithful
And walk when not able
And fight til the end
But I’m only human

When you begin to feel those feelings, you need to break free of all the “stuff” that is making you feel ineffective, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Don’t wait so long that you feel depleted, like you did this time.

I got to be free, free like the wind blow
To fly away just like the sparrow

If you can shift your perspective and focus your energy instead on creating the world as you wish to see it, even if it’s only in your own mind, you can refocus and rebalance your energy. Because nothing materializes in this world except from the invisible world of the field of all possibilities. When you are focusing on all that worry and anger, you are creating more of the things that make you worry and angry.

A few moments, like this, re-directing your focus to experience and recognize our ONENESS, our love dimension, can make all the difference in the world.

It is a crazy and anxious world you are living in. But it is also a beautiful world with lots of beautiful people and experiences. And it is worth saving.

ctw11.jpg

[My eye falls on Michael’s “Mandela Chant,” a printed copy of which rests on my Michael altar next to my chair.]

These are the worst of times
And these are the best of times.

Yes, and these are exciting times. We have chosen to be here now because we have volunteered for the task of being holders of the light, even if it means that we are surrounded by darkness. But no one expects you to do it alone.

I have been feeling that, perhaps, I have made my contribution to your legacy. Maybe, I have no more to contribute.

[Michael laughs out loud.] Are you kidding? Why on earth would you even begin to think that? You can’t get away from me that easily!

Nor would I want to, but it has been such a long, long time since we have done this … since we have just talked through the music. I thought you had left me.

And what have I said about that? That is not going to happen; I will always check in.

Read my lips: WE ARE FOREVER!

There is no end to this journey we have undertaken … together.

She’s from a world
Of popcorn and candy
Pony rides for a dime
Little children laughing
I’m from a world
Of disappointments and confusions
But I want her to be mine

Whether you see a world of disappointments and confusions … or a world of popcorn and candy is all a matter of your focus. Shift your perspective just a tiny bit and a more balanced focus results.

So, let’s make the time in your busy schedule to do this more often. Deal?

Definitely, Beloved.

Good.

I’m so glad we had this time together
Just to have a laugh and sing a song
Seems we just get started and before you know it
Comes the time we have to say “so long.”

 

Installment 118

Angelique

Chapter 3

Michael opened the door to admit his bodyguard. Wayne noticed that his boss looked a little more rested after his morning confined in his suite, but he still acted somewhat disoriented and confused. Wayne was beginning to become alarmed about Michael’s condition. He had eaten rather more than Wayne had expected and he had rested, but Wayne was taking no chances with this man’s health. He had a doctor in tow and a determined gleam in his eye that brooked no argument.

“MJ, this is Dr. Fouquart. I have asked him to see you just to make sure that everything is okay. Tell me you don’t mind,” Wayne said quickly.

Michael raised his eyebrows silently at Wayne while glancing at his diminutive little angel and shrugging. “I guess it’s okay, but he won’t find anything but tiredness and jet lag.

“Wayne, they are cold and wet and hungry out there. Can we order some food and blankets delivered?”

Wayne nodded briskly. “Sure, boss. I’ll see to it.”

As the physician entered the suite, he put his medical bag on a small table by the door and quickly removed a stethoscope.  He was surprised by Michael’s request to his bodyguard, wondering if he provided for his fans at all of his tour stops. Dismissing the thought, he placed the stethoscope in his ears while Michael sat comfortably on the beige, tufted sofa.

He listened to Michael’s chest and back, examined his throat and eyes with a tiny, hand held flashlight, and placed a cuff around his arm to determine his blood pressure while Michael drank a cold, bottled water from the iced bucket that remained from his breakfast.

When the doctor completed his cursory examination, he looked at Michael and smiled. “Mr. Jackson, please tell me what seems to be the trouble. Do you have any particular complaint?” he asked with a heavy French accent.

Michael returned his smile. “Nope. I keep telling my tall, dark-haired mother hen here that I am fine, but for some strange reason he doesn’t believe me. I feel a little tired … a general lack of concentration … a bit of lethargy. I figure all the traveling has caught up with me. My throat is a little sore, but I expect that in my line of work. I take Ricola tea when it gets too uncomfortable.”

The doctor had been watching Michael’s eyes as he spoke. The famous star was nothing like what he’d expected when he’d received Mr. Nagen’s call. He’d heard and read so many stories, but this was a very normal, somewhat tired, courteous human being he’d been called to attend and his opinion of the man changed in that instant.

Mr. Jackson seemed alert, albeit tired. His blood pressure was a little elevated, but not to the point of concern. His flesh seemed a little clammy, but not to the point of fever. His throat was a little irritated, but not to the point of medicating. The man seemed to be quiet and self-contained, although very thin. As a matter of fact, he would probably describe Mr. Michael Jackson as almost fragile. He found the pallor of Mr. Jackson’s skin disturbing.

“This is not a pale man,” he thought silently. “This is a man whose flesh is nearly transparent.”  Nothing on this earth, at least nothing in his wide experience, could do that to a man’s flesh except disease. “No artificial agent or procedure could possibly produce this utter and total lack of pigment,” he thought.

Slowly, the doctor rose and approached the breakfast tray which stood against the wall near the door. “Have you eaten something, today, Mr. Jackson?” he asked as he pitched an orange in his direction.

Michael caught the orange in one hand without missing a beat and replied, “Yup … some croissants and some juice … orange to be specific,” was Michael’s easy reply as he tossed the orange between his hands, watching the fruit fly between them raptly.

“Well, I can see nothing wrong, Mr. Jackson. You appear to be a very healthy specimen. However, may I make a personal recommendation?”

Michael nodded and smiled at the doctor.

“I would suggest that you spend at least the rest of today and this evening in catching up with yourself. I understand that you travel a lot. This can cause a disruption of your biological clock called ‘jet lag.’ It is not serious and you should be fine as a fiddle by tomorrow. But, if you still feel tired and/or confused tomorrow, extend your confinement for as long as it takes to feel refreshed. Do you understand? We don’t want you becoming more ill or having an accident because of this disruption in your biological rhythms … yes?”

Michael nodded his agreement and spoke quietly while shaking the doctor’s hand. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell Mr. Mother Hen over here all day. Would you please explain it to him, since he obviously doesn’t believe me?”

Dr. Fouquart nodded and smiled. “Yes, I will explain it to him. And I will, personally, check on you tomorrow, just to be doubly certain that all is well. It is okay, yes?”

His estimation of fragility had changed very rapidly as he had grasped Mr. Jackson’s hand. Thin, yes … definitely … but weak, no. Not even close. He noticed, again, his paleness … pallor unnatural for flesh. One could read the man’s veins as clearly as one would read a roadmap of Paris’s streets.

He understood much more about Mr. Jackson in that moment and a sense of compassion developed with the man. He had borne their criticisms extremely well, considering the trials he lived with.

“Sure,” Michael grinned. “I’ll look forward to it.”

“Mr. Jackson, may I talk to you, personally?” the doctor asked. At Michael’s nod, he continued. “I work here at the hotel during the day, but I also work at a small clinic and I understand from press releases that you enjoy visiting such places. I know I am not explaining this well. Let me start over. There is a small clinic near here. We have twelve beds and they are always filled with sick children. I was wondering if …”

Michael turned to Wayne with an eager look on his face. “We can do this, right? Do we have stuff for the kids?”

Wayne looked surprised as Michael turned toward him. Suddenly his earlier lethargy had been replaced by an enthusiastic animation. “Boss, we can get stuff before we go … but you wanted to enjoy a couple of days of R & R before the tour. Remember?”

Michael rubbed his dimpled chin with his right hand. He nodded slowly, but said quickly, “We can do this. It won’t take long … a couple of hours …”

He turned to the physician who was watching the exchange with his mouth open and his eyes wide. He hadn’t really expected that Michael Jackson would agree to visit his little clinic.

“We’ll be there. What’s today? We could go today,” Michael said eagerly.

“Okay, hold it, boss!” Wayne exclaimed in a gruff, no-nonsense voice. “You’ve just spent the day telling me that you are too tired to go to Disneyland! Disneyland! And now, you want to rush off to a clinic. No way. You are supposed to be resting. We gotta get stuff for the kids. You know what a three-ring circus that is going to be. Not today!! Perhaps, tomorrow. That we can handle. I have time to make the arrangements for everyone. We’ll spend the morning looking for stuff. Then, after lunch … tomorrow … okay?”

Michael looked at Dr. Fouquart. He was nodding at Wayne and noticed Michael turn to him. “Yes, yes! You must rest. Something could happen that you will need your strength … no? It is dangerous … no?”

Michael’s shoulders sagged and a little bit of the light seemed to leave his eyes, but he nodded in agreement. “Okay, tomorrow,” he said as he shook the physician’s hand again.

This was one of the hardest parts about being Michael Jackson. Nothing could be spontaneous, not even a short shopping trip. He could not be impulsive about outings. Layers of security arrangements and backup plans were required to avoid anyone being hurt.

He turned quickly to the doctor. “It would really be a lot better if you didn’t tell anyone, ya know? We can sneak out of here, but it doesn’t usually seem to do much good. They always find me. I don’t mind the fans so much, but the photographers and journalists can be very difficult. Ya know?” he said as he walked back towards the bedroom of the suite, still tossing the orange in the air.

As he closed the door behind him, he allowed his body to sag against it slightly. He heard a short knock.

“We’re leaving and locking the door, boss.”

“Okay, Wayne,” Michael replied tiredly. In moments, he heard the door of the suite close securely.

At the end of the hall, Dr. Fouquart told Wayne that his examination had turned up exactly the symptoms that Mr. Jackson had described so well and requested that Wayne let him rest easily.

“I am very honored that you called me, Mr. Nagen. I had never expected to meet him and that has changed my view of him. He is very pleasant and charming, isn’t he?” At Wayne’s nod, he continued, “One hears so many strange things, but when one actually meets him … well, it changes many things.” When the elevator arrived, the doctor boarded the car with a bemused expression. “Are there any special arrangements I need to make for Mr. Jackson’s visit?”

Wayne snorted. “No, I do all that. I have to keep him safe and he insists that I have to keep all of them safe as well. That’s my job. He has no concept, but there is nothing special that you have to do except keep it on the down low. Once there, he will be safe. It’s just getting him there without being recognized and mobbed or through the crowds, if he is recognized.”

~~

Michael stood inside the door to his bedroom thinking, remembering his short walk through the streets of Paris with Angelique. He was becoming very accustomed to her presence now that he knew about her, but he wasn’t certain about the physical reactions of his unruly body. After all, he was a married man whose wife was about to give birth to his son in California and he was uncomfortable about his all-too-real physical response to this tiny little wisp of an angel who carried him as easily as he carried a child. But her presence was an inestimable comfort to him in his isolation and he valued her … and could not give her up.

“I understand, my dear, and, as always, it is as you will it. We can be sparing in our contact. What we cannot do, at this point, is relegate each other to that special limbo you have seen, half in and half out of this world. You know me, now, and you know that if you speak to me, I will answer. And you know that I love you, that I am always here. You are learning to hear me and feel my presence.

“You can, however, always choose to forget that I am here. Fear and distraction, anxiety and hatred … these emotions will make you feel isolated and alone … apart from me. Those are just your perceptions, though. They do not affect the reality that I am with you. We are ONE.

“Soon you will hear much deeper than you are accustomed to hearing. You will see much deeper than what you are accustomed to seeing.”

Michael sighed contentedly, “Thank you,” he said. “Can we go for another walk? I need to feel the freedom of that again.”

Michael approached the bed, but didn’t see Angelique anywhere. As soon as he touched the sheets, he felt her arms encircle his chest with a bright band of energy. He felt it in his flesh; he felt it in his veins and pulse. It throbbed through his lungs as he breathed and sighed deeply.

“You must sleep, my dear one,” she said softly within his mind. Immediately, she began to hum. Soon, her lone voice seemed to be joined by many other voices and timbres, providing contrapuntal harmonies and syncopated beats. He heard the melody within his mind and remembered to speak his need, “tape recorder,” before he drifted off to sleep.

He found himself alone when he rose from the bed, knowing he was asleep. His body was perfectly relaxed, leaning against a down pillow on the bed, his bare feet seemed to float across the floor, gliding with the grace of a deer.

“Are you here, Angel,” he called in his mind, a slight panic audible in the quavering of his voice.

“You know that I am here, beloved … always,” she replied. “I thought you might like to try this on your own. How many times have you wished to just be able to open a door and exit a building and roam while thinking your own thoughts, hearing your own melody, seeing your own visions?”

Michael laughed. “Too many,” he replied.

“I am here … you are not alone … be free,” Angelique said with a breathlessness to her voice as he heard it in his head. “But, remember, opening a door is not necessary. Just melt through it as we did before. Do you remember?”

Michael moved towards the door and tried to remember how they’d gotten through it previously. As he recalled, he had willed the cells in the door to allow him passage and he tried the same method as he approached. He was not surprised to find that he navigated between the cellular structures of the wood with ease. He used the same method to ambulate the hallway, the doors of the elevator, and the lobby. He willed his passage without incident and it occurred as he willed it.

When he arrived in the lobby of the hotel, he automatically turned to traverse the corridor that led to the kitchen and back entrance of the hotel. He’d become so accustomed to entering and exiting in this manner that it had become second nature. But, he saw the big revolving doors of the lobby and made a beeline for the front entrance of the hotel. He couldn’t remember the last time he had entered or exited a hotel through the lobby. He heard Angelique giggle and smiled in return. He willed the glass revolving doors to allow him passage and found himself out in the shelter of the hotel overhang and facing a sea of people with banners and flags and canteens and sleeping bags and cameras.

Seeing the size of the crowd, Michael almost turned back, but, instead, he squared his shoulders and walked toward it head on. He wondered how he was going to will all of those people to allow him to pass as he had the glass doors when he noticed a small pathway opening up before him in the throng.

As he passed, he noticed that they were of many ages and races all huddled together and all gazing upwards at a balcony that hung precariously on the side of the building. He felt their thoughts. Most of them were tired, having stood vigil since his arrival. Some of them were surrounded by their friends, playing guitars (his songs, of course) or walkmans blaring his voice.

They were very quiet and he wondered what had occurred to quiet their usual boisterousness. When the question registered in his consciousness, he saw a scene playing behind his eyes. A short, bald man carrying a bag had exited only a little while before and had motioned to the crowd with his fingers, “shushing” it very effectively and dramatically, imploring its cooperation in a conspiracy to let him rest. Michael recognized Dr. Fouquart and smiled. His fans were being quiet so that he could rest. How sweet!

This was indicative of his relationship with them. There must have been thousands of people crowded around the street outside of his room, but it was almost hushed. They were talking quietly among themselves and playing boom boxes on low volume.

When he arrived at the outskirts of the throng, he looked behind him and wondered how he had arrived at this point through that sea of people. The passage he had taken had closed again as quickly as he had passed. No trace of his passage was visible, yet here he stood. “Interesting,” he thought.

Michael’s agile, imaginative mind was thoroughly engaged with the whole process of this little walk, something so many in his world took for granted. He could probably count on his two hands the occasions he had experienced when he had been able to just go for a walk outside of his own compound at Neverland … without being mobbed … without Wayne or Bill … without calling ahead to warn everyone of what he was doing … without being photographed. “What joy!” he thought with a little skip in his step.

Even when he wore a disguise, he was usually discovered. They knew his gait, his form so well. It was a little game he played with them. The game’s name was a question. “How long will it take before they notice me?” He enjoyed the game as much as they did. Rarely did he wear a disguise that actually fooled them for very long.

When he really wanted to be unnoticed, he was perfectly capable of doing so. Having absorbed many of the tricks of the artists who had done his makeup for his short films, his insatiable curiosity had insured his attention as they fussed and fumed over his cosmetic makeovers into ghouls and zombies and werewolves. He had learned from them as he had learned from all of his mentors and teachers.

However, when he was visiting a hospital, he would have only a short time to change back into Michael Jackson, so he couldn’t be too elaborate on these outings. The burqa worn by women in the Middle East served these outings very well most of the time. He knew his fans saw through it easily and this was part of the game. It was his signal to them that he had something important to do and they respected the signal. If he was lucky, he would slip by them completely. Wayne would have the car at the kitchen entrance. It wouldn’t be the van; that was too obvious.

Michael walked the streets of Paris, watching the people as they passed him unseeing. Occasionally, he would hear Angelique comment on his thoughts.

“Most people are sleepwalking through the lives they are living, beloved,” he sensed, rather than heard her say. It is a truly beautiful city, but it has its squalid side as do all sprawling metropolises. He was totally unaware that Wayne had peaked in on him, leaving a tray with chicken soup and fruit, some fish and bottled water next to the door as he left.

As Michael walked, the time passed too quickly. Angelique continued to reassure him of her presence, but, for the most part, left him to his thoughts and visions. Occasionally, he became aware of her voice humming and he would dance to the fully orchestrated music his inner conductor produced for his amusement, spinning, kicking, sliding in reckless abandon.

The sights and sounds of the city enthralled him. The scents fascinated his heightened senses as he passed pastry shops and chocolatiers. He was thoroughly enjoying his solitary trek when he heard her voice whisper in his ear.

“It is time to return, beloved. Wayne has tiptoed in to check on you twice. He’s left you some food.”

Michael nodded his agreement and awoke slowly, stretching luxuriously and sinuously in his bed. The bright light of a Parisian dawn bathed his room in a golden glow that perfectly matched his mood. “Angel,” he sighed. “Was this a dream?”

“Hmmm … I imagine to your senses it must feel like a dream, beloved. Perhaps, it is a bit more controlled than a dream. When you dream, you enter a state of heightened awareness similar to what you’ve been experiencing.

“However, in reality, it is what you consider your ordinary life that is the dream. What you’ve just experienced is ultimate reality. You are not your body; you are much, much more than that. This was a form of … I guess your world would call it “out of body travel.” You leave your physical manifestation behind along with all its limitations.

“In this state, you can have a thought, detect an odor or scent, hear a sound and as your attention is drawn, you create what you associate with what draws you. Each individual is unique in the interpretations he or she places upon the events or circumstances surrounding him, so each will experience what he or she creates of the state of heightened awareness. Do you see?”

Michael nodded again. “That’s why some see the same experience as frightening as others interpret as fun?”

“Yes, my dear one … exactly,” she affirmed. “Your perceptions and interpretations of the events that occur create your experience of them.”

“Am I not going to be allowed to see you, my angel?” Michael asked hesitantly. He knew her answer before the words left his mind. “I know … it is as I will it.”

“Yes, my dear … precisely. You are grappling with the question, ‘Will my decision be easier if I don’t see her?’ You have not yet arrived at the answer, therefore, you have chosen. There is a doubt. You are fighting your physical reaction to my presence. May I help you in your battle?”

Michael thought, “Oh … yes … please!” as he nodded, disturbing the soft pillow that he knew was Angelique’s shoulder.

Angelique continued, “What you fight … resist … struggle against … persists, my beloved. In the struggle, you give the very thing you would deny reality. It is much better to move past it. By doing so, you remove its hold on your attention and remember; where you focus your attention determines your experience.

The physical side of your being is in a pitched battle against what you sense in me – the kind of love and companionship you’ve longed for all your life. Yet, you see the physical attraction as a threat to that love, that togetherness as well as your loyalty to your wife. Do not deny it, beloved. Acknowledge it. Be thankful for it. Move past it. Do not let it absorb your attention, your focus.

“You and I share each other in many ways. We drink from the same crystal clear spring of dreams. We have an uncanny knowledge of each other … a sense of each other in the very air we breathe. Our love is so much deeper than the merely physical level to which you are accustomed and which is an illusion. Instead of placing your attention on just our physical relationship, which gives it reality and strength and reinforces your discomfort, see past it to the fathomless depths lying beneath. Do you understand?”

Michael breathed deeply. “Yes, my angel, I understand,” he said as he allowed himself the pleasure of her sight. She sat beside him on the edge of his bed, her beauty and ethereal pallor taking his breath away. “But you could try being a little uglier,” he mused to her joy and loud laughter.

He got up from the bed to grab a bottle of water from the tray Wayne had left beside the suite door. As he drank, he thought about Angelique’s words. He saw logic in them … felt the truth of them all the way to the soles of his feet. He felt the question forming deeply within his psyche. “But how can I change my reactions?”

Angelique’s answer was heard in his heart. “There are several ways, but the most obvious way is to change your perception. Your world interprets nearly all touch as sexual on some level. Teachers are not allowed to hug their charges for fear of being aroused in a physical sense. They are not allowed to comfort or lend strength out of fear of charges of inappropriate behavior.

“In my world, we touch to share in a deeper sense than mere physicality. This is how we share our emotions, memories, dreams. You’ve seen me touch Wayne’s companion as I touch you. Yet, your interpretation when I touch you in the same way is physical. You are not your body; you are a spark of the Eternal One in physical form.

“You can change your perception to not necessarily deny this physical side of yourself, but to see the richness that lies beyond. For your physical reaction is only the tip of the iceberg. Our meaning to each other goes so much deeper. In this way, you experience our relationship on all levels only one of which is physical while enjoying a more holistic approach toward relationship. All relationships, human and angelic, benefit from such an approach and the harvest you reap is far-reaching and long-lasting.

“For example, when you walk into a hospital you see children with terrible diseases, bald heads, and missing limbs. Your world judges this as wrong, sad, and abnormal and teaches the child to see through its eyes. As a result, the child bears the pain of seeing himself as imperfect and impure. He feels judged and found wanting.

“But not you, beloved. What do you see?”

“I see myself and all their dreams reflected in their eyes. I see courage and strength trapped inside fear and weak little bodies. I see beauty ensnared by the world’s judgment of ugliness or unfairness,” Michael responded quietly. “I see babies who’ve not learned yet to see themselves through the judgments of others and who, therefore, know themselves to be unique, special, rare instead of lumped together with thousands of others beneath the label ‘victim.’”

Angelique smiled. “Just so, beloved. It is just such a shift in perception that you require in this matter of relationship.” Angelique held out her hand with a small chuckle and he grasped it. “As I’ve told you, it will be as you will it, but it is important that you see it clearly and define yourself in relation to your perception … in the matter of the children as well as in the matter of our relationship.

“When we touch, both of us feel an exchange of energy that can be clarifying, purifying … or confusing, disturbing. It is your choice how you interpret the exchange and how you use your interpretation in defining yourself.”

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Chapter 4

He stood and leisurely strode to the window to peak out. The irrepressible child within him whispered, “I wanna go again.”

Angelique giggled at his playful side. She’d seen it many times at Disneyland and parks around the world when he rode and rode and rode.

“There isn’t time, beloved. The night has gone and you have some shopping to do. Wayne is a basket case with all the preparations. They’ve barricaded a path for you. And there are some little girls who want to sing for you.”

Michael smiled. “Time to end this lovely dream, in other words,” he thought to himself.

She replied, “The dream, my dear, never ends. It just changes as you walk through the moments of your life.”

“Will you be with me?” he inquired.

Suddenly, the quiet, diminutive little angel jumped up and down in a frenzy. “Michael Joseph Jackson! How many times do I have to tell you? Of course, I am with you. You have never been alone … not for a millisecond, regardless of how alone you have felt. None of your species has ever been alone. Always, we are here. Each of you has watchers and companions and each can have the same relationship that we are beginning to enjoy with a slight shift in perception.” Finally, Angelique’s frantic movements quieted and she sank heavily to the sofa.

Michael couldn’t help himself. He did try, but there was no way on this earth that he could contain his gales of laughter. As he showered and shaved, he and Angelique maintained a running conversation, teasing and laughing and making the routine tasks a game. He applied his makeup in the same spirit. Soon, he was adorned in his customary black jeans, white socks, white t-shirt, black loafers, and tightly-sculpted, torso-hugging, military style jacket. His outfit was guaranteed to shade and shield every inch of his skin except his hands and his eyes from the sun.

His black fedora sat where he’d left it on the table next to the door. His shades were perched atop his hat. He was ready.

Angelique’s gay laughter was a blessing within Michael’s mind. “And you are beautiful, beloved,” she whispered, placing a kiss upon his ear. Michael’s smile was broader than his angular features could contain, lighting his eyes as it passed.

A knock and Wayne’s voice outside the door interrupted the couple’s exchange. He was beginning to become accustomed to communicating with his angel in this manner … by feel almost.

As he opened the door, Wayne nearly gasped in surprise. “You look a lot better, boss. You feel better?” the bodyguard asked.

Michael nodded. “Yeah … lots.”

Wayne, a man of few words, smiled as he said, “Food?”

Michael returned his retainer’s smile. “Food would be good.” As he strode back to sit on the couch, he left the door to the suite slightly ajar and chuckled inwardly. “Wonder what would happen if I told Wayne how I’ve spent the last twenty-four hours walking and talking with an angel?”

Angelique’s voice replied, “Simple! He’d have you back in Neverland before you even knew how it happened. He’d call Elizabeth and Debbie immediately. And they would all determine to cherish you close until you recovered in total discretion.”

“Probably,” he chuckled. “But they have companions. Could they meet their companions?” Michael inquired.

“Oh, yes, beloved, with a shift of perception. But they would need a readiness – an acceptance and embracing of the shift. The first step would be admitting that we companions and watchers exist. This is a major hurdle for your species. Most of you believe in nothing that is not scientifically measured and quantified.

“When the pupil is ready, the teacher is provided. This is one of the Immutable Laws.”

Michael’s curious mind caught the words’ emphasis. “Laws?” he asked.

“Yes, my dear one … laws. The Laws are unbreachable … inviolate. They are Laws of Consequences. If you deplete your ozone layer, cut down your forests, tamper with your soil’s fertility, there are consequences that cannot be avoided.

“Your species complains that the changes in weather patterns are “Acts of God.” Not so. These are the results of the acts of man. God is a victim of bad press. You flood your churches beseeching a vengeful and fearful God to turn his anger from you. She is not angry with you. It is you who have treated the living, breathing earth she entrusted to your care with little compassion. Even She will not suspend the Laws. She created them and they are inviolate. You must reap what you create.”

A tentative knock sounded behind him on the open door of the suite. “Mr. Jackson?” Michael turned to look over his shoulder. “Am I disturbing you?” the doctor asked hesitantly.

“No, doc, come on in,” he replied in a soft voice which was beginning to seem very loud in his own ears as he continued to grow accustomed to his telepathic communication with the pixyish presence that seemed, at the moment, to be inhabiting his left shoulder.

“How are you feeling today?” Dr. Fouquart inquired with concern.

“Great … ready to go,” Michael tossed back as the doctor circled the beige, tufted divan that held one of the most famous human beings on the planet. He still couldn’t believe he’d met him and that he had agreed to visit his babies. There was no doubt in the doctor’s mind that this man embodied a presence and charisma that was undeniable and very tangible if one had the opportunity to contact him directly.

The sharp contrast between this man and the man the world’s media had created which bore the same name made him feel as if he was in a surreal landscape where clocks melted and apples wore hats.

“Do you mind if I examine you, Mr. Jackson?”

“Nope,” Michael averred while sitting up and removing the fitted black jacket that covered his bony frame, cooperating with the physician’s examination fully.

Finally, after the customary, if brief, poking and prodding required by his profession, Dr. Fouquart spoke. “You look much more rested and relaxed, sir. Are you feeling as well?”

Michael’s nod and brightly lit eyes reassured the practitioner that his famous patient had made a full and remarkable recovery.

“Good! So … you are a good patient. You take wise advice well. I am pleased.”

Wayne’s voice accompanied the clatter of a skirted cart into the door. “Hello, Dr. Fouquart. Have you had coffee? The bodyguard tossed an apple towards Michael, while motioning towards the cart for the doctor to help himself. He knew his boss’s disinterest in food, but knew that there were a few things that tempted Michael Jackson – Disneyland, the spontaneous laughter of a child, and pizza headed the list.

“How ‘bout pizza for lunch, MJ?” Wayne asked.

“Yes! With lotsa cheese!” Michael responded with enthusiasm.

“Okay, we’ll tell them on our way out.” The phone jarred the quiet scene. Wayne picked it up and mumbled, “Okay,” a couple of times and turned to his t-shirt clad employer, who was looking for an inconspicuous way of disposing of the apple core that had definitely seen better days.

“MJ,” he said and held up his hand. “Seems they’re ready down there,” he said as he deftly caught the chewed up artifact from his boss’s breakfast. He lifted a bottle of juice, slapping it in turn into Michael’s still outstretched hand.

The doctor marveled at the easy, comfortable exchange between the two men. It was clear to him that employer and employee shared a level of trust as well as companionship.

“Goin to check things out, boss,” Wayne called over his retreating shoulder as he yanked a walkie talkie out of his pocket and left the room. Today, when they left the hotel to shop, they would use the front entrance. An area had been cleared and cordoned off for his boss’s passage and Wayne had no doubt that he would want to shake hands, accept gifts, sign autographs, and hug some of the collected onlookers. He had asked that hotel security be backed up by the city police. He didn’t take chances. He was very good at his job and proud of his track record.

In the years he had accompanied Michael, there had never been a serious injury. Oh, Michael had been knocked to his knees on occasion by overzealous fans who broke through the ranks of guards and police, but comparatively rarely. Sometimes, MJ just took too many chances. He loved to be close to them when he could. In the crushes that surrounded this man’s every movement, anything could happen. He was grateful that it hadn’t.

Wayne checked the elevator that served the rear of the luxurious hotel. Then, on the ground floor, he turned into the hallway that led to the kitchen and laundry and service areas of the building to be certain that all was as it should be. Then, he circumnavigated the lobby, stepping through the front entrance.

When the assembled fans detected his grey-suited form leaving the building, they knew they were in for a treat and their excitement mounted, escaping their throats and lips in a wild roar.

“Michael is coming out!” was the single thought that occupied thousands of minds collected at the front entrance. Wayne paid no attention to their noise, talking quietly to one of the hotel security people and turning to return to the building.

In the meantime, Michael and the French physician engaged in small talk until the doctor said, “Mr. Jackson, I must apologize to you.”

“Hmmm? Apologize? For what?” Michael inquired seriously.

“For half-believing all the nonsense I’ve read over the years. When I received Mr. Nagen’s call, I expected to be attending a monster, with sinister mien and devious motivations.”

Wayne, with his inspection completed, entered the room just as Dr. Fouquart finished. He began to laugh. “Yes, boss. You are very sinister and your motivations are very devious.”

Michael just smiled, saying that the doctor shouldn’t believe anything he reads about him. “I’ve been telling everyone for years, but no one wants to listen to sense or reason.”

Concluding a hurried conversation on the walkie-talkie, Wayne became very serious. “Okay, boss … we’re ready if you are.”

Michael jumped up from the couch, buttoning his snug-fitting jacket in a fluid motion. He headed towards the table resting beneath an ornately carved and gilded mirror. Before putting on his mask, he adjusted his hair in the mirror, but the wisp of curling tendril on his forehead wouldn’t stay in place. It kept blowing around as if a light breeze were playing with it. How odd! There was no …

“Angel!” his thoughts exclaimed.

He saw her face reflected beside his own, her lips puckered to blow the tendril again as she giggled mischievously.

“I love you, Michael Jackson,” she whispered, kissing his left ear. Her arms were crossed below his chin, her head resting comfortably in the crook of his neck.

Michael turned to observe Wayne in the final preparations for their outing. Then, he turned to look at the doctor, who was preparing to leave the suite with them. Each had a bright band of light crossing his chest in an identical position. He hadn’t noticed their companions before, but he saw them now and lifted his right hand to caress hers at about the level of his collarbone. He smiled as he placed his mask over his nose and mouth and settled the hat on his head.

“Okay … let’s get this show on the road!”

~~

“Not too many hugs, today … okay, boss?” Michael heard at his right shoulder as he stepped onto the carpeted concrete outside of the front entrance of the hotel. The reaction of the crowd encamped outside was a wall of sound and motion that almost drowned out the familiar, nearer voice. Michael raised his right hand, index and middle finger extended in a peace sign, and waved at the assembled throng. He walked slowly. A smile lit his deep, dark chocolate eyes.

A sea of arms waved above heads, hands clutching toys and autograph books, pictures and magazines. For a moment, he forgot where he was. In his confusion, he stood center stage, his right hand extended toward heaven, his left covering (but not touching) his crotch, his head thrown back in enormous enjoyment of that moment that belonged to no one else in the world but him.

The recollection of his next stage performance brought an instant smile to every centimeter of his being. He noticed that one hand in the crowd held the latest issue of KING! He’d left his copy of the magazine at home and he approached the woman, using his customary body language which asked the silent question, “Is that for me?” while drawing her eyes into soundless communication punctuated by eye contact that was nearly mesmerizing. She nodded enthusiastically and he motioned for Wayne to accept the gift of the magazine from her hands.

He cautiously approached the front row of the crowd to the right of his path, accepting some autograph books from outstretched hands. As he signed his fluid scrawl, he looked deeply into each pair of eyes, smiling and holding their attention for several heartbeats before moving on.

A small child held out a tiny, hand-sized teddy bear which wore a shirt that read, “I love you.” Briefly, he knelt upon his right knee and motioned for her to come forward. The beautiful little girl ducked her head under the velvet rope barricade and approached and it seemed that the crowd held its collective breath. They saw Michael speaking to the child, but heard nothing. His hands communicated the point of their conversation. Once again, he used his customary gesture to ask if the little gift was for him and the child nodded seriously, holding the toy out for him to accept. He took the tiny plaything from her. Then, glancing at her again, his eyes reflecting his joy in the child, he touched her cheek briefly. The youngster came nearer to encircle his neck within her little arms.

Michael’s right hand embraced the back of her head, holding her to his chest, kissing her blond curls lightly, and closing his eyes for this beautiful moment of communion. When he released her, the little girl turned and walked slowly back to her mother, who waited at the barricade. Michael’s eyes and smile followed her retreating form.

Something interesting caught his attention. Each one of the assembled fans had the same bright band of light crossing his or her chest and a large, vaguely elliptical shape resting on his or her shoulder. But the child was another story.

The little girl’s companion seemed to be vibrating, pulsing with colors and textures. Her companion’s head was alert and looking all around as the child approached him and when she embraced his neck, the two companions … Michael’s and the child’s … touched foreheads. Michael could have sworn he heard laughter resounding all around him.

“Children are very special, beloved, but you’ve always known that. They are more in touch or connected to their spiritual natures. As a result a child’s companion is more vibrant, more alert.”

With a lithe, graceful movement, he rose from his half-kneeling position and continued down the aisle created for his passage. A small children’s choir sang “Heal the World” in French. After applauding the performance, accepting a few more gifts, and hugging two more wildly affectionate fans, Michael boarded the black van, which carried him to one of his favorite toy stores.

He bought up about three times the toys he needed for the clinic visit and returned to the hotel suite, running the same gamut of wildly undulating humanity in reverse to enter the hotel as he had when he had left it.

His eyes were drawn to a small blond who stood surrounded by the jostling crowd, but separate somehow. He approached her slowly, holding her green eyes with his own.

“Is this safe?” he asked within the solitude of his thoughts.

“Oh, yes, dear one,” Angelique replied breathlessly. “I am completely anonymous here, just another fan. No one notices me except you because your sight is becoming more acute and you know exactly what to look for. To these others, they see but do not understand. I am just one of the crowd, nothing special. In one way, beloved, I am just like every one of them. I, too, want a hug,” she said with a broad smile.

Michael wondered what ‘completely anonymous’ would feel like. He had never known that kind of freedom except when he had left his hotel room to wander freely while his body slept.

Michael laughed and the music contained in his laughter cradled Angelique’s heart within a soft cocoon of love and joy. Michael opened his arms for her to wrap her arms around his chest and rest her head against his breastbone. As his arms closed around her, he sighed deeply. As always, even momentary contact with her caused a rush of emotion that he found profoundly satisfying, but some of the edge of frenzied desire seemed to be dissipating as he cradled her head against his chest.

Quietly, Wayne approached the pair and waited for Michael to indicate that he was ready to move on. They had an elaborate set of signals for just such occasions. He hoped the tiny blond woman wouldn’t be difficult about separating from Michael. He really didn’t like to drag them off him as he had been required to do so many times.

“Man, what a life,” he mused, standing behind Michael. Quite frankly, Wayne didn’t know how Michael maintained any semblance of sanity. Hounded, pursued, chased, screamed at, his clothing torn, his flesh scarred by fingernails. The only freedom he had ever known had been behind his sanctuary gates of his homes, if you could call that freedom.

Wayne moved towards Michael’s right shoulder, tapping it gently. Wayne was the practical type and didn’t take into his accounting the freedom Michael found within his heart and his mind … but, most of all … in his music.

The pale, masked figure raised his chin from its resting place, nestled in Angelique’s brilliantly curly locks and nodded briefly toward his bodyguard, his eyes hooded and dreamy. But, before disentangling himself from her embrace, he lifted her face to kiss her cheek very lightly.

Angelique smiled into Michael’s hooded eyes, looked at his retainer, and spoke just loudly enough to be heard in the maelstrom.

“Don’t worry, you won’t have to tear me away.”

Her voice sounded in Wayne’s ears as if there were no cacophony occurring behind, no fans screaming and jostling and crying, no one calling Michael’s name. How odd! The small blond released her hold on his charge, raised Michael’s hand, palm up, and kissed it.

As the two men walked into the lobby of the hotel, Wayne mused out loud, “I wonder how she knew what I was thinking.”

Michael just laughed as they entered the elevator, the doors closing silently behind them.

~~

“I smell pizza,” Michael cried upon entering his suite. As he entered the room, he stripped off his hat and mask and shades and jacket and each, in turn, fell in a heap on the floor. Michael Jackson didn’t even notice. He moved toward the food with single-minded purpose, leaving no one in any doubt of his intentions.

This was the worst part of Wayne’s job; he really hated being this guy’s maid!

“Boss!” The note of reproach in the bodyguard’s tone was unmistakable while he picked up Michael’s discarded clothing and placed them where they were not going to trip him when he got up.

“Huh?” Michael replied while stuffing pizza into his already chewing mouth. Normally, he didn’t feel all that hungry, but he liked pizza. When he was involved in working on a project … whether touring or recording … even pizza couldn’t tempt him. However, he was on vacation for a couple of days and, so far, these had been the most relaxing days he’d spent in a while. He needed to fuel his curiosity. He had about half a million questions he wanted to ask that cute little thing when he was alone with her. It looked like his questions were just going to have to wait.

He continued to wolf down pizza as Dr. Fouquart entered the room, talking quietly with Wayne.

“Am I really cute, my dear,” Michael heard in his head. He reacted by laughing … and choking … and sputtering pizza in every direction. Wiping his mouth with the napkin in his left hand, he continued laughing while surreptitiously glancing towards Wayne and the physician. They were watching him.

Wayne said, “Okay?”

Michael nodded. “Gotta stop inhaling my food.”

Frantically, he thought, “Angel, be good!” She responded with a giggle and a kiss firmly planted on his left ear.

“When do we have to leave for the clinic?” Michael asked. “Do I have an hour?”

Wayne glanced at his watch. “Just, boss.”

“Mr. Jackson,” the doctor interrupted. “Do you think I should examine you again? Tell me how you feel.”

“Feel good,” he reassured the anxious man. “You been spending too much time with my friend, here,” Michael said with a wink and a nod in his bodyguard’s direction. “His mother-henning is rubbing off. You can examine me if you like … and if you hurry … your decision.”

“May I recommend a bit of rest?” Dr. Fouquart asked.

Michael laughed out loud. “My thoughts exactly!” He walked rapidly toward the master bedroom of the suite. Someone had been through here to straighten out the bathroom and the bed was made. Michael liked a nice neat room as well as anyone; he just didn’t want to be involved in keeping it that way. He removed his shoes and sat on the edge of the bed to remove his socks. Then, he loosened the t-shirt from the waistband of his jeans and thought, “Angel, I have lotsa questions. Why was that little girl’s … uh … companion … different from the rest?”

“I told you, beloved … children are much more connected to their companions and watchers. Some of them, actually most of them talk to them all the time. Your world calls them ‘imaginary playmates,’ but there is nothing imaginary about them; they are very real to a child. A child is surprised that his parents and older siblings and teachers can’t see his friend. He considers it odd. Very young children don’t understand the conditioning your society imposes upon its innocents.

“Your little boys are taught that to be a man, you must be ‘macho.’ ‘Real men don’t cry,’ they are told. They are taught by example, the most powerful of tutors, that men don’t show their softer, more sensitive feelings; only their aggression is permitted. This begins when daddy tells them they are too old to hug. For heaven’s sake … no one is EVER too old to hug … the cruelty of it appalls me. The only emotion it is ‘cool’ for them to display is anger. It’s okay to fight as long as you’re the winner. Their artistic, intuitive side is very assuredly buried under mountains of brainwashing.

“Your little girls are taught from the cradle that they will only be a person of worth if they have a husband and 2.7 children. Their role models sleep for hundreds of years until Prince Charming rescues them from their coma, bestowing upon them personhood.

“Many of these babies grow up believing that it is wrong for them to have needs or interests of their own … or time committed to other pursuits than watching over their husbands and families, such as personal growth and development. This is why your families are failing. Your women have not been allowed to plumb their own depths, find their own identities, talents, and interests and fulfill their own potential. If they do pursue such goals, your society judges them as ‘selfish,’ ‘unfit, neglectful mothers,’ or ‘homosexuals.’

“Women don’t know that they are people in their own right. They define themselves by their roles and responsibilities, accepting their society’s judgment, and never realizing the beauty that waits to be expressed and to which only they have been given the key.

“This conditioning is only half intentional today, but in past centuries it was used to control free thought, which was considered dangerous to the general well-being. It is damaging when a woman discovers that she does have thoughts that cry out for expression and looks frantically for a means to express them. She is judged harshly for attempting to define herself by standards other than those it approves by a society which does not tolerate the unusual or talented … and seldom has.”

“Yes, that’s what Debbie says,” Michael averred nodding. “She says she won’t give up what she has gained herself. She’s tired of fulfilling everyone else’s expectations for feminine behavior. She likes riding her Harley. She sees no reason to deny this in herself. She feels free on her Harley and her home is an extension of herself.”

“Yes, beloved … and for her, she is right. Each … man or woman … has his or her own destiny to fulfill. Each has a task to perform; each has a gift given to assist in performing that task; and each has an intuitive voice that will assist in that performance, if he or she would only listen to it. Your wife knows that the traditional view of marriage and family would not work for her … or for you … not because she doesn’t love you … she does, deeply. And she appreciates your willingness to allow her to continue her journey of self-discovery in her own way.

“She courageously insists on her own needs for solitude, freedom, and independence. This she requires for herself. She adamantly opposes giving them up.

“The point is: she shouldn’t have to. Such a sacrifice should never be required by a husband, friend, or society. It is asking its women to give up the search for their souls. Few in your world understand her view and she doesn’t care.

“Conversely, beloved, you must admit in your heart that a woman clinging to you would be limiting. Your life experience has been one of isolation and solitude. This has created within you a feeling of aloneness and the pain it entails. But it has also become one of the major ingredients you have poured into your music and films and performances. You require your independence, freedom and solitude to explore the richness within.

“Both of you are served in this marriage, which, untraditional though it may be judged by outsiders, will benefit both and diminish none.”

“Fifteen minutes, MJ,” Wayne called with a loud rap on the door. “MJ?”

“Yup,” Michael called back loudly. Angelique walked over to collect Michael’s shoes and socks. She handed them to him with a brief embrace and a bright smile. As he bent to place them on his feet, Michael continued speaking with her soundlessly.

“Why do children have to be sick, Angel? Does God make them sick?”

“No!” Angelique exclaimed ferociously. “What kind of God would make a child sick? She allows the child to seek his or her own destiny by following the course each has plotted before entering this physical realm. As I said before, each has a unique thing to create during this life … him or herself. An entering soul creates its own circumstances to most quickly attain that creation.

“Each has made a choice and that choice requires certain circumstances or events. Just as He allows your species to make its choices regarding its use of this beautiful planet’s natural resources, She will not influence your choice one way or the other. She allows you to choose. The natural consequences of the choice you are making is making your planet sick and will, eventually, destroy it. Nonetheless, She will not take that choice out of your hands by violating her own Laws, which govern the seasons and winds and stellar rotations.

“Let me give you an illustration, beloved. One of the children you may see this afternoon may have chosen his or her illness specifically in order to bring you inspiration, to spark your imagination. In this way, the child lives on within your creation, your heart, your music regardless of his physical infirmity. And, in this way, you carry the spirit of this child into forever with you.”

Michael had finished putting on his shoes and socks and tucked his shirt back into the waistband of his jeans. He rose and turned the door knob of a large walk-in closet. Quickly, he grabbed a voluminous black robe and left the room.

Once in the sitting room, he threw his arms through the sleeves of the fitted jacket Wayne held in readiness and buttoned it.

“We sneaking out the back?” he asked Wayne and the bodyguard nodded. “Okay … twenty bucks if they don’t even know I’ve left the hotel … right?” Wayne grinned and nodded.

Wayne chuckled, “I got ya this time, MJ. I got this place wired.”

“We’ll see, Wayne … we’ll see,” Michael laughed.

Wayne turned to peak out the doorway into the hall. He stepped out with a cloak and dagger swagger to make sure that the hall was completely empty … looking right and left. Then, he returned and closed the door. Lifting the walkie-talkie, he spoke softly into it, opened the door again, checked the hall again, and motioned for Michael to follow him.

Dr. Fouquart had a hard time keeping up with the black-cloaked figure that was covered from head to foot in flimsy black fabric that billowed and ballooned as they seemingly flew toward the service elevator at the end of the hall.

Wayne spoke again into the hand-held communication device, “Okay, clear the kitchen and laundry area.”

In a few minutes, the doors of the service elevator opened onto a long corridor with several doors opening off of it. The party flew past in a flurry of billowing black. They moved so fast that anyone who did witness the escape wouldn’t have registered what had happened before they ended up in the back alley and were whisked away in the waiting black car. The car sped off with its blackened windows shielding Michael from being recognized by anyone.

“Well, who gets the twenty bucks, Wayne?” Michael asked with a little leer as he uncovered his face and neck. Wayne shrugged and spoke briefly into the still-active walkie-talkie.

“Looks like I got ya, boss. Nobody seems to be surging in any direction. Watchers tell me that the crowd hasn’t moved.”

Michael tossed the question to the angel he knew was perched beside his left ear.

“Wayne’s right, beloved. You have made a very nifty getaway.”

“Good job, Wayne …” Michael bellowed. “Can ya lend me twenty bucks?”

Wayne just smirked. “Betting with you is no fun, boss. Listen, MJ … the car is going to drop us off in front of the little clinic. It’s not very big and it should be a short sprint to the door. There shouldn’t be a whole lot of people out front or anything, so there shouldn’t be any problem here … unless word got leaked that you would be here. I don’t think anyone followed me when I checked it out yesterday.”

Employer and employee looked at each other and then at Dr. Fouquart who had been sitting quietly and observing the exchange.

“Not from me,” the doctor vowed strongly.

Michael nodded. “Stuff?” he asked simply. Wayne pointed to the trunk of the car.

“We’re almost there, boss … you ready?”

“Yup … let’s do it,” Michael replied gaily.

“Okay … remember MJ … don’t look back … I got ya covered. Just get inside the doors. The photographer is waiting inside,” the strong man spoke nervously as the car pulled up in front of a tall, white washed building.

~~

The man inside the front door stopped adjusting his camera equipment and watched the approaching cavalcade with dark eyes. He was short and stocky and olive-complected. He’d been in this situation many times before and considered himself “on call” anytime this man now approaching the glass doors in a billowing black cloud needed him.

He didn’t know what the man had and he didn’t care. He did know that Michael Jackson was special, somehow. Perhaps, it was just that he had a magnetism that few could deny. Perhaps, it was the way he had of looking through a person when he turned those eyes in his direction. It was a sign of his attention, curiosity, and focus that had carried him through his childhood and had never left him.

“When Michael Jackson places his attention on you, you know you and your response are the only thoughts in his head, regardless of his schedule and pressures,” the photographer mused while holding the door open for the black-enveloped apparition approaching it with two suited figures following closely in his wake.

“Mr. Jackson,” the photographer said.

Michael swept off the cloying fabric of his disguise as he smiled. “Thanks. I’ve told you before, Isaac. My name is Michael or MJ. Mr. Jackson is my father. Now, you know the drill, right? The kids might want photographs. We will give them to them.”

“Yes, sir,” the photographer replied.

Now that Michael was inside, everyone breathed a little sigh of relief. Wayne had just chuckled breathlessly, “I think we did it boss,” when his eyes, busy on a survey of his surroundings, registered a momentary hesitation. “Those two women over there look familiar. They are fans. How in the world did they get here?” he thought.

Slowly, he walked over to talk to them. “Are you supposed to be here?”

The taller of the two, with dark chestnut curls, looked into Wayne’s concerned face openly and honestly.

“You know we won’t bother him, Wayne. At least, you should know that by now. That night in Cleveland we added to his amusement, didn’t we?”

As she’d spoken, a quick movement caught the corner of her eye and she reacted with the precise, economical movement characteristic of one accustomed to working with small children to aid the over-burdened man carrying a ton of toys. It was instinctual. She hadn’t intended what occurred next.

She grabbed for one of the same boxes as one of the other onlookers who had rushed to rescue the falling toys. They caught the box at the same time and as they straightened, their eyes touched and held briefly.

The woman could only think, “Thank you,” repeatedly, her mind aflutter. It was Michael, the man she loved and devoted her life to. Instead of screaming, she smiled broadly.

He returned her smile shyly. He had seen this woman before. He recalled her being pummeled by the crowd in back of her as she had handed him something. Their eyes had met. He couldn’t remember where. He did remember seeing her again. It was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction … the room down the hall from his suite. She and her friends had sat just inside the open door of their room as he had passed repeatedly to get to the elevator at the opposite end of the hall.

“Hi,” he said.

The woman responded, “Hi, Michael.”

Michael looked at Wayne with a grin and said, “Uh … about that twenty bucks?”

Angelique whispered into his awareness and being alert to any communication from her, regardless of its subtlety, he listened to her soft voice attentively.

“She is one who loves you very much, my dear. Relax and feel with your more highly attuned senses. She wants you to know that you are not alone, an earthly angel, if you like. She wants her presence to comfort you. With her eyes, she tells you all you need to know.”

Michael smiled again at the woman. “I’ve seen you before.”

She nodded. “Many times, Michael. I just want you to know that we are your ‘angels on duty.’”

Michael laughed in response. “Seems to me I’ve heard almost the exact words from another source.”

“Can we help?” the woman asked hesitantly, almost daring to hope that her offer would be accepted.

Dr. Fouquart entered the lobby, catching Wayne’s eye and the bodyguard nodded. He looked in Michael’s direction as Michael’s tentative grip loosened on the toy box they still held opposite sides of.

“Okay,” he said. “Thanks.”

The taller woman motioned to the shorter, still standing against the wall and turned to unload the toy box into the other woman’s hands. “We get to help,” she said quietly, but in the kind of sing-song, high-pitched voice usually reserved for very young children and a broad smile. As she grabbed more toys and followed the man she had followed to the ends of the earth and back. The woman’s heart kept repeating, “Thank you.”

Michael had entered a room to the right. As she approached the door, she watched Michael talking to the child. Then, he drew nearer the bed, holding the youngster’s hand as he spoke. Finally, his hand caressed the child’s bandaged head and walked to the door. He just smiled as he took the top box off the pile that the other woman carried as the tall one with dark chestnut curls looked on. He returned to the room, handing the child the toy. With a final shake of hands, Michael left the room, turning into the hall and into the next room.

The same scene was repeated with all the rooms on one side of the short hallway and two rooms on the other. Michael seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the children, laughing and talking with them very naturally and openly.

Finally, he entered a room in about the middle of the hall. The bed contained a very young child … no more than a year or a year and a half old. Her flesh was discolored from the chemotherapy she’d endured … as was his by disease … and Michael’s heart melted within him. The women watching from the door felt Michael’s affinity for the little girl. She was bald, with big blue eyes and she was kneeling on the bed, playing with the intravenous bag which had a long, snaking tube whose other end was taped to her forearm. The child was watching this pathologically pale man intently, smiling in response to the brightness of his smile.

She was too young to have any idea of the identity of her visitor. The two women heard him ask the nurse, bustling around the room, “What’s her name?”

The nurse quietly answered, “Caitlyn.”

Michael sat in the chair beside Caitlyn. “Hello, Caitlyn,” he said as she watched his face, while still playing with the tubing.

Suddenly, Michael felt Angelique’s thought, “You have a special toy in your pocket, beloved.”

He reached into his right hand pocket and withdrew a tiny, hand-sized teddy bear, dressed in a pink shirt that said, “I love you.”

He smiled and spoke again to Caitlyn, holding out the tiny toy, seeming to speak through the teddy bear, using it as a puppet for his words. The tone of his voice was calming, soothing, playful. The child smiled again.

Michael laughed, continuing his one-sided conversation. “Oh, you are so beautiful when you smile, little one. Do you know how beautiful you are?” his quiet voice asked. He held up his left hand, hiding the toy behind his pale, long, artistically graceful digits. As the teddy bear peaked between his index and middle finger, Michael Jackson, world-renowned recording artist, said, “Peek a boo,” in a high-pitched, squeaky voice. The child laughed out loud.

The two women watched the exchange from the doorway, tears filling their eyes while smiles beamed across their faces. When they returned to their homes, they knew that no one would believe them when they told about this close encounter of the Michael kind, but they felt their lives changing … being uplifted … as a result of what they’d just witnessed within this small French clinic.

Soon, Michael touched Caitlyn’s small, perfect head and she reached out to the pale man for a hug. He ducked his head, allowing her thin arms to close around his neck and holding her gently against his black-clad chest. He knew that Angelique had shared herself with Caitlyn’s companion and grinned with that knowledge.

“Is her companion well, Angel?”

“Oh, yes, Michael. She sings for her to calm her fears and guides her … accompanies her … in fantastic dreams and flights of fantasy. There is always laughter surrounding little Caitlyn,” Angelique stated unequivocally. “She has a very free spirit and great courage.”

On the second floor of the small clinic, they approached a room with its door tightly shut. Michael hesitated and looked at Dr. Fouquart to see if was okay for him to enter. At the physician’s nod, he turned the handle, pushing the door open to peek inside.

Intravenous equipment made small beeping sounds in the room and respirators hummed mechanically.  A small head rested against the pillows.  Mylar tubes ran from the child’s mouth and nose, connected to the breathing apparatus beside the bed and mingling with smaller tubes connected to the child’s pallid hand, resting comfortably on top of the blanket.

The child’s eyes were closed and her body was still. She appeared to be about 7-years-old and very small for her age.

Michael looked at Dr. Fouquart with his eyebrows raised in a silent question. The physician said, “She fell while playing at the playground and hit her head. She’s been like this for two weeks, not stirring, being fed intravenously.”

Nodding, Michael raised his finger to his lips, motioning the doctor to silence. Slowly, he approached the comatose girl and looked down at her in silence. He turned back to Dr. Fouquart and  asked, “What’s her name?”

“Katherine,” he responded.

He turned back to the child, picking up her tiny, fragile-looking hand with his, placing it gently in his other hand and covering it with his left.

“Katherine, this is Michael Jackson.  I know you can hear me where you are.  Listen to me.  Hear the sound of my voice, Kat, and turn back. You’re headed in the wrong direction.  Follow the sound of my voice.”

Michael stopped speaking briefly as the door to the room had opened very silently and two people entered, a man and a woman. Michael released Katherine’s hand and placed it very gently back on the blanket.  He approached the pair and spoke to them very softly.  “The doctor told me about your

daughter.  I hope you don’t mind me coming in to visit her.”

They were stunned to be face-to-face with Michael and very tongue-tied.  “No, we don’t mind.  She’s a big fan of yours,” Katherine’s father replied extending his hand to offer it to Michael.

“Thanks,” he replied, briefly shaking the man’s hand.

Michael returned to the child’s side and placed her tiny hand in his again, stroking her limp fingers with his. “Kat, keep following my voice. Your mom and dad are here with me and they’ve been very concerned.  It seems you’ve kind of lost your way. I think, maybe, if you follow my voice, it will help you get back. Mom, come here and grab hold of my hand.  As a matter of fact, I could use all of your hands linked together.

“Kat, I’m going to ask the nurse to open the curtains so that you can see the light.  Maybe it will guide you back.”

The nurse followed his instructions,  her eyes blinded briefly as the curtains were raised and sunlight flooded the room. returning to grab his outstretched hand.  Soon, she felt the child’s mother’s fingers holding her left hand firmly.  Michael’s voice was so soft that the whirring and beeping of the medical equipment almost drowned it out as he continued talking to the child in a soft, calm voice.

“Kat, I don’t want you to be afraid.  You’re fine, just a little lost. I want you to return the way you came when you wandered away.  If you listen very hard, I know you can hear me and see the sunlight pouring into the room.  Follow the light and my voice, little one.  We’re all waiting for you.”

Everyone within the room was holding his breath except Michael.  He turned to Katherine’s father and said, “My mother’s name is Katherine.  What’s her favorite song?”

Katherine’s father shrugged, but her mother quietly responded, “She loves ‘Heal the World,’ Michael.”

He smiled easily at the child’s mother, “Thank you. Kat, did you hear your mom’s voice.  She’s here with me and she really wants you to come back to her.  Don’t be afraid, little one,” he said as he gently kissed the child’s forehead.

Then, Michael began to sing to her so softly that everyone in the room had to strain to hear his voice.  When he had finished the song, he released the child’s hand and kissed her again.

Michael turned to the child’s parents and said, “Talk to her and sing to her.  She needs a focal point, a loved one’s voice, something to help her to find her way back.  Please call me at my hotel when she comes around.  I’ll come back.” He placed a giant teddy bear on the bed next to Katherine before leaving the room.

~~

The two women followed Michael to the remaining rooms on the second floor. As he approached the door, while hurriedly donning the voluminous black robe that cloaked him from prying eyes, he turned to them.”Thank you for your help with all that stuff.”

“No,” they each responded in unison. Then the taller of the two said, “We were proud to help. We want to help you in your work, Michael. We are your ‘angels on duty.’” He hugged them both. “You will see us again, Michael,” the taller of the two whispered as she embraced him.

“I know,” he laughed, before beginning the short sprint required to achieve his waiting vehicle. As the car pulled away from the curb, the two fans waved. Michael lowered the back window, waving to them with his familiar peace sign gesture. Suddenly, Michael felt a light bite on his left ear.

“My job has been usurped,” Angelique whispered. “I think I am insulted.”

Michael just laughed, feeling charged with the strength and energy of ten men.

 

March 3, 2019

Angelique

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Chapter Two

When he awoke, Michael found himself alone. The sun had climbed high in the sky, but he was not anxious to abandon his somnolent lethargy. He had slept well, probably better than he had in months. He stretched his long, lean frame and yawned, lying abed, wondering if the woman/angel he’d met last night was a real presence or if he’d dreamed her into existence. Had he manufactured their conversation in his need for just such a companion? Perhaps, he had wished her into his room and into his life as a lonely, frightened child imagines an imaginary playmate who possesses the strength to revenge his hurts.

Finally, he rose from his bed and approached the bathroom to shower and shave and prepare for his day. The water felt refreshing, but he still felt the sensation of that living cascade of comfort he had found in Angelique’s arms, holding him securely against the darkness of the night. He still felt her tender, gentle kiss upon his hair and the easy sway of her body as she rocked him through his sleep.

“I wish I could’ve stayed in that lovely, peaceful dream with you, Angel,” he whispered under his breath while the warm water drenched him from above.

Michael nearly jumped out of his alabaster, vitiligo-piebald skin when he heard a little chuckle reverberating around the shower enclosure. “Dream, my dear? Did you dream?”

Michael stared, his eyes as large as saucers, in every direction to find the source of the laughter, but was unable to find her. “I can’t see you … uh … can you see me?”

“Michael,” she scolded as if speaking to a recalcitrant child, “I told you. It’s not a matter of can’t. It’s a matter of won’t. You’ve allowed the illusion to weave its spell around you again almost more firmly than before. Your brain is telling you that angels are not possible and you are doubting my realness and your own intuition. Therefore, you say, ‘I can’t see you’ when what you really mean is ‘I won’t believe in this fantasy.’

“As for me seeing you, well once again, it’s not a matter of can’t. I won’t invade your privacy. I am very sensitive to your modesty. I will do nothing that would make you feel uncomfortable.”

“Thank you,” Michael murmured. “I appreciate that.” He reached for the terry towel that hung beside the tub enclosure but felt the soft cloth being handed to him before he could pull it from the rack. When he’d finished drying himself, Michael hurriedly pulled on a pair of blue jeans and t-shirt.

“Okay, Angel,” he said, “I’m ready for you now.” He closed his eyes as he murmured, “Come to me, my angel.”

When he opened his eyes again, she stood in front of him, her small, elfin face freckled as before, her green eyes dancing with mirth, her short, blond hair curling in tendrils around her face. She was dressed casually in blue jeans and a t-shirt with his face emblazoned across the chest.

“You are real!” he exclaimed.

“As real as you want me to be, beloved,” she responded. “You are in complete control. You can deny my reality, dooming me to a limbo existence, half in this world and half out; you can ignore your knowledge of me, choose not to hear my voice or feel my kiss; or you can accept my presence and embrace my love, inviting me into your life as a personal companion or friend. It is your will that dictates my relevance to you. And whatever you decide, I will never love you any less.”

Michael smiled with genuine joy into her eyes. “Is this what you really look like? I mean, I had always imagined that angels didn’t really have bodies,” he said.

“Of course, we have bodies much like your bodies. We have hearts and blood and bones. The only difference is that we don’t allow our bodies to rule us. They are not our reality. We accept that our bodies are illusions, but convenient illusions that allow us to experience ourselves as the expression of pure love we were created to be. We realize that our bodies are not who we are; we rule them; they do not rule us. Therefore, our experience of our bodies is different from yours.” Angelique averred vehemently.

“So many in your world think of themselves as only their bodies; they discount their spiritual nature and give it no importance in their daily lives. They spend their lives feeding and clothing their physical selves, letting their spiritual selves starve and go naked. Therefore, they perceive only the physical aspect of life. With just a little care, their spiritual aspect can grow and inform their experiences.

“Angel’s bodies are one big sensory organ. We sense things very strongly, especially joy, happiness, laughter, music. Less harmonious emotions like fear, suspicion, hatred and mistrust are painful to us almost beyond bearing and cause us to ‘turn off’ our sensory apparatus to avoid the pain. We become ‘closed’ to it.

“We see beyond what seems to be to the heart of what is, just as you are seeing now. We do not need to depend on just the sight organ to see; we feel more directly. If I reach out my hand to touch yours, I feel the sweet pressure of your skin beneath my fingertips and in my heart and in the pit of my stomach. The increase in your pulse rate is pleasure to me beyond any words I could describe,” she whispered, matching her actions to her words.

“We are all children of Love … all of us … some of us in this illusory world, others in other dimensions or timelines. But all, humans and angels alike, are born of the same wellspring of eternal, unconditional, unquestioning, passionate Love. Angels were created to serve. My purpose is to serve you, beloved. It is my only reason for existing; it is my joy.”

Michael felt her light touch upon his hand as a soft, cool breeze. “Is it true what you said before … while I was in the shower? You weren’t watching me?”

“Michael, beloved,” Angelique whispered, “Angels can’t lie. We are transparent and we practice transparency in all that we do or say. I can watch over you without invading your privacy. I sense when you want me to be blind. My senses can feel your wellness without my eyes beholding your nakedness. I just ‘turn off’ my visual sense and rely on my other senses to tell me that you are safe.”

Michael became embarrassed and his body felt the warm glow of a flush coming on. “So, you’ve never been tempted … with always being here … all of our closeness … through all the years?”

Angelique threw her head back and laughed. “Now, sweet one,” she answered quickly, “No one said anything about temptation. That happens to all of us … angels and humans alike. We angels weigh our own pleasure against the risks. The discomfort my pleasure could cause you far outweighs any temporary, fleeting pleasure I might experience. I couldn’t love you more if I did succumb to that particular temptation. You are already beautiful to me, my love, beyond anything I have ever known. I do not need to intrude upon your privacy to tell me that. I feel it everywhere … in every way … in every bone of my body … with all my senses.

“Angels are the most sensual of beings. We don’t think about things, analyze them, or break them down into easily categorized segments to make them more digestible. We feel … sense … everything. A word felt in anger causes pain; a word uttered in love causes joy. In this way, we experience and, therefore, we know.

“This is what makes angels different from humans … this tendency to need to understand, logically, the mechanics of life. Angels would rather live it fully than dissect it. Your species tries to gain knowledge from theory, attempting to bypass the only thing that produces true knowledge … experience.”

Suddenly, Michael jumped perceptibly at a loud knock on his door. “Hurry, Angel,” he said, “You’d better hide.”

Angelique just laughed, the gaiety lighting her green eyes from within. “I don’t need to hide, beloved. It’s only Wayne and his companion and Wayne won’t notice me.”

“MJ … boss … are you there?” Wayne called from the hallway with another loud knock that jarred Michael’s consciousness as he opened the door to admit his bodyguard.

Wayne entered the room in a rush. Michael noticed an aura of light enveloping his assistant. It was something he’d never seen before and he didn’t quite know what to make of it. The aura was very bright with a band crossing Wayne’s chest over each shoulder and a large, unformed oval resting on his right.

“I just wanted to check and see if you wanted breakfast before we leave, boss,” Wayne said.

Michael was in a trance as he watched Angelique approach Wayne, calmly resting her forehead against the oval aura for a few seconds. Then she returned to stand beside him.

“Boss?” Wayne said, raising his eyebrows.

“Huh?” Michael answered foggily, focusing his eyes once again on his employee. He really wasn’t all that hungry, but he heard himself responding, “Yeah, breakfast would be good.”

“Everything okay, MJ?” Wayne asked in a concerned voice.

“Great!” Michael exclaimed.

“Okay, I’ll go order the food. Anything particular?” he asked.

“No, but make sure it includes fruit juice and a croissant or two,” Michael chirped with an exaggerated wink. “We are in Paris, ya know.” Gently, he closed the door behind his retreating guard.

“Limbo existence … half in and half out of this world?” he inquired beneath his breath as he turned to face the small, pretty woman standing behind him and reaching out for him.

“Yes, beloved. It’s so sad … so painful …”

“Is there anything I can do to ease your pain?” Michael asked timidly.

She nodded as she approached to stand directly in front of him. “Would you hold me just for a moment?”

Michael closed the gap between them, encircling her small body within his arms as she placed her arms around his neck and her face beneath his chin, sighing deeply and contentedly. “If he only knew …” she murmured softly, her breath warm against his throat.

“Yes,” he agreed, “if he only knew. But, then, most of the world is in the same position – unaware of the love that is theirs for the taking if they could only recognize it and accept it.”

Angelique sighed again. “That’s right, beloved. You’ve just cracked the mystery of the ages. Love is all there is and it is there just waiting to be recognized in the rainbow and sunset. It is the heart of all creation, including human beings. They were created to BE love – to express it, to accept it, to project it into the world by fulfilling their dreams. You have done this with exceptional fortitude in every medium in which you have achieved mastery through diligence and hard work.

“Oh, Michael, I’ve waited so long to feel your arms holding me … to be recognized … to be accepted.”

Michael sighed and whispered, “But, Angel, I’m only human and you feel very, very good to me,” with an embarrassed grin. He reached to remove her arms from his neck, attempting to hide his shame at his unruly physical response to her touch.

Angelique stood aside hesitantly. “Only human?” she said with a note of mild anger. “Being human is nothing to be scoffed at, my love. It should not cause you shame. Your body’s response to my love is a beautiful thing … a thing to be appreciated … a thing to give you joy, not embarrassment. There is no shame unless you manufacture it within your own mind.”

“But, you are an angel,” Michael objected, looking ashamedly away from her eyes.

“Yes, beloved, I am an angel. My love for you is all-inclusive, all-encompassing, all-pervasive, and without limit.”

Michael nodded, but continued, “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be disrespectful … but …”

Angelique placed her hands on her hips in mock seriousness. “Michael, in what way have you been disrespectful to me?” she asked. “Because your body reacted to my closeness; because your blood quickened in your veins and jumped as it felt my breath upon your neck? Could you have controlled any of those reactions?”

He stood quietly, staring at the floor.

Slowly, Angelique lifted his chin with her index finger until he gazed into her eyes. “Could you?”

“No, you are becoming more beautiful to me by the minute. I want to hold you again.”

The light of her smile was nearly blinding. “Yes, my love, that’s what I want, too. But let me conduct a little experiment first. Please let me allow you to sense it as I sense it. Will you put yourself in my hands for a few moments? You must promise to trust me and have absolute faith in my love for you. Can you do that? It may be a little disorienting at first, but I promise that no harm will come to you. I also promise you, beloved, that your experience of pleasure and your appreciation of it will never be the same,” Angelique vowed seriously, extending her right hand toward him.

Michael took her hand gently in his long, tapered fingers, grasping hers firmly.

“Okay?” she asked with a warm smile.

“Okay,” he answered, returning her smile.

With a nod, she moved slowly toward him. “I’m going to touch your brow, now, Michael, like you saw me do with Wayne’s companion. This is how angels share themselves. It’s like Spock’s ‘mind meld’ on the television show. It won’t take long to transfer my feelings and emotions, but it may be a bit disorienting because of the strangeness. Just relax, okay? Don’t fight it. We are making an exchange here. I will sense our embrace as you sense it and as I sense it. So will you. Do you understand?”

Michael nodded mutely as Angelique approached him and he bent so that she could place her forehead against his. Instantly, he felt overwhelmed with joy so intense that he wanted to cry out with the beauty of it. Laughter bubbled up from his soul, forcing its way past his throat and lips, emerging from his mouth in a low, throaty chuckle. Just as suddenly as he had felt it, he was aware that she had stepped away from him, leaving him alone. His isolation tore at his heart.

“Oh!” he cried, “come back, please.”

“I haven’t left you, beloved,” her soft voice responded as if from a great distance as she touched his arm. “Feel with your unaccustomed senses. I am here. Open your eyes. You will see that I am right here. That isolation you feel is the beginning of the return of your human senses, which kicked in as soon as you felt me move away. The joy you felt when our brows touched was the feeling of ecstatic union, which is where you really come from. Your purpose in this and all lifetimes is to re-experience that ecstatic union with all that exists. You do that when you create your music.”

Michael opened his eyes and beheld her standing in front of him, her right hand resting upon his shoulder, her face showing her concern for him.

“Are you okay?” she asked. When he nodded, she said, “It will only last for a few moments, but, now, beloved, you are sensing as an angel senses.”

“Is someone crying?” Michael muttered.

“What you are sensing is someone’s pain. It feels far away to me. If it were nearer, it would increase in intensity and you would feel it much more strongly.”

“Yes, I see what you mean. It does feel … uh … distant,” he agreed. “It’s so sad and so mournful. Is there anything we can do?”

Angelique shook her head, causing her blond, riotous curls to halo around it. “Not at the moment. Your time is nearly up. Please hold me.” Angelique whispered.

Michael opened his arms as she stepped forward to embrace him. Immediately, he felt every nerve ending in his body erupt, synapses firing furiously to keep pace with his rapidly beating heart and racing blood. He felt as if the cells of his skin were hypersensitive and governed by an uncontrollable hunger to join with every corresponding cell in hers.

His arms constricted, pressing her into his body, sensing every hair follicle as it touched his lean frame, softening and molding and melting against him.

“Oh, my sweet lady,” he groaned in wild ecstasy. His breathing was hard and labored, rasping in his throat. His heart beat erratically against his ribcage; his pulse crashing in his veins as waves crash against rocks at the border of an immense, eternal ocean.

He heard her soft, muffled voice as if from a great distance. “This is my love, sweet one.”

Gently, he pulled her head back, gazing deeply into her eyes, his physical senses heightened, enhanced with an entire array of new and unfamiliar sensations. His lips sought hers in a desperate attempt to join them more closely, more passionately. He kissed her … gently, at first, then with more ardor as his body rocked slowly against hers. Moaning one last time, he felt his heart exploding within him, bathing him in a pleasure so intense that his body could not experience it all at once … and he lost consciousness with a deep, guttural groan.

When he came to, he was lying on his bed, his body still tingling in the aftermath of ecstasy, drenched in sweat, his breathing erratic. Angelique was approaching the bed with a wet wash cloth, droplets of water spraying onto the beige carpet, in her haste to bring him back to consciousness of his surroundings.

He smiled openly at her obvious concern for him. She opened her mouth to speak, her eyes wide, glad to see him awake and alert. But Michael spoke first. “Don’t you dare try to apologize. Promise?” he demanded. At her nod, he continued, “I never knew the meaning of the word pleasure until this day. I thought I did, but I was wrong. It is agony and ecstasy so beautiful that it is hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. Did I hurt you when I fell?”

Angelique stopped abruptly, her eyes wide, before continuing towards him. “Michael Joseph Jackson,” she responded in a shocked voice, mirth twinkling in her glendruid eyes. “You shock me! Do you honestly think that I would let you fall?”

Michael looked at her intensely, raising his eyebrows in a silent question.

“I caught you, of course, sweet one, and carried you here. You could have gotten hurt. I can’t allow that to happen on my watch. You have a job to do – a date with HIStory.”

“You carried me?” Michael asked, his voice still shaking from the intensity of his emotion.

“Of course … who else?” she responded. “Don’t let my dainty size fool you, beloved. After all, I am an angel. Besides, you’re not heavy.”

~~

“Boss … MJ … breakfast …” Both Michael and Angelique heard Wayne’s voice, muffled by the closed door of the suite.

“Damn,” Michael swore aloud. “Oops, sorry, Angel. I locked the door.”

Angelique smiled, “Can you get up or are you still too weak?”

Michael responded, shifting his weight to sit up and starting to rise from his prone position. “I’m very shaky, but I think I can do it. Will you help me? he asked shyly, unaccustomed to requiring help of any kind from anyone.

“Of course, Michael. It is my joy to help you in every way. Please stop being embarrassed to ask.” Angelique held her hand out to touch his and Michael felt an infusion of new strength and vitality coursing through his body, calming his shattered nervous system and quieting his blood, which hovered still near the boiling point.

“You are going to have to explain exactly what kind of train just hit me, ya know,” he quipped softly with a huge grin as he crossed the living room of his suite slowly and unbolted the door to admit Wayne with a cart piled high with fruit, juice, and pastries.

“MJ, you’re acting really strange. Are you okay?” Wayne asked.

“Yes, yes … I’m fine,” Michael answered quickly with a weak smile. “Stop mother henning, Wayne. I’m just a little jet lagged. Think I’ll take the day off … rest … ya know?” Grabbing a croissant from the tray of pastries, he chewed it, mumbling, ‘mmm, that’s good.’”

“I’ll go call Steve and have him recommend someone here. You’re really sick when you’re too beat to go to Disneyland,” Wayne exclaimed.

Michael rolled his eyes and said impatiently, “Nonsense. Don’t bother Steve, I’m fine. I’ll just rest and be ready in a couple of hours. Okay? Go get some food.”

He turned and, grabbing his bodyguard’s elbow, walked him to the door of the suite, closing and locking it in his wake. He turned to Angelique and motioned for her hand and she grasped his fingers firmly in her own.

“Okay, little angel, explain what just happened here,” he demanded with a merry twinkle lighting his features.

Angelique put her arm around Michael’s waist and draped his left arm around her shoulders. “I told you, Michael, I let you feel just for a moment how an angel senses. The trouble is your physical arrangement is slightly different from mine. It kinda … uh … crashed. Too much voltage can be dangerous.”

Suddenly, Michael had a thought and he grabbed a small, portable tape recorder that he kept at arm’s length at all times.

“Hold on, little Angel,” he said quietly before speaking into the tape recorder. “2000 Watts,” he murmured before laying down a heavy bass line formed deep in his chest and punctuated with percussive snaps from his mouth and tongue. When he had finished, he blushed.

“Sorry,” he said in an embarrassed tone.

Angelique smiled in response. “Do not apologize, please, Beloved. This is your gift and it is beautiful in my eyes.

“In short, I over-stressed the delicate balance of your nervous system … overloaded your circuits, sort of. You could liken it to increasing the velocity of your vibration too quickly. I’m …”

“Don’t say it. You promised,” Michael reminded her, holding her away from his body gently, but firmly, interrupting the flow of words.

Angelique nodded. “But, Michael, beloved, I should have known that it was too much, too fast. I should have slowed the flow, blocked it, dampened it, and controlled it better. Come and sit down. I’ll bring you something to eat and drink.”

Michael followed the small woman, sitting heavily onto the soft, tufted, beige sofa with a small sigh of relief and accepted another light, fluffy pastry from her hands. “Can you … I mean … do angels eat?” he asked.

She nodded; the light of humor in her eyes had dimmed perceptibly in the knowledge that her eagerness to let him know her had hurt him. It had been foolish and careless of her. “Yes, dear one, we just don’t need to,” she replied.

“Good. Come and eat something with me,” he grinned mischievously. “We’ll talk about it. Maybe, we can figure out a way to control it,” he said taking a bite of the pastry he held in his hand and chewing thoughtfully. Is that possible?”

“Mmhmmm,” Angelique responded after taking a bite of the apple she’d just appropriated from the cart. Juice trickled from the corner of her mouth. Michael caught the droplet before it fell from her chin, smiling openly into her green eyes.

“Good, we’ll try it again later. “Okay?”

“I’m afraid to hurt you again. Do you trust me enough to try again?” Angelique asked hesitantly.

Michael replied with complete trust, “Absolutely. You’re my angel. How could I not trust you?”

“You would have to allow me to examine you to be certain that I’ve done you no permanent damage.” Angelique proposed. “Is that okay?”

Michael’s eyebrows rose in a silent question. “Examine me? Uh … sure … what would I have to do?” he asked.

“Absolutely nothing, beloved; just sit still and I will do the rest,” she said quietly. Angelique closed her eyes briefly as Michael continued eating. Shortly, he heard a muffled whisper, “Thank you, Father!” Then, later, “You’re okay. Nerve endings are a little sensitive, but that’s alright.”

“Good. I told you I was okay. Now, bring the sparkle back into those incredible green eyes, Angel,” Michael demanded, rising to grab a bottle of orange juice from the cart and taking a long drink. When he’d finished, he handed the bottle to Angelique. She, too, took a long drink, passing the nearly empty container back to Michael with a tentative smile.

“Not good enough, Angel,” he said after draining the bottle thoroughly. “You’re going to have to do better than that. You’re punishing yourself for something that couldn’t have been avoided.”

Angelique looked towards Michael’s slim frame, standing closely before her, his right hand extended to help her rise from her sitting position. “Who’s the angel, here, beloved?” she asked, grasping his hand and rising to her feet to stand beside him. “Are you ready, now?”

~~

Slowly, Michael smiled, nodding as he took Angelique’s small, freckled face between his large, elegant palms, resting his brow against hers. He thought, “Slowly, Angel. Give yourself to me slowly … gently …”

Closing his eyes, Michael was enveloped in a deep, prescient peace, heavy with the weight of enormous possibility. He heard the waves crashing against the breakers along a particular stretch of beach in California. He knew the sound well. There was a difference between the music of the surf in Malibu and the sound of the surf anywhere else in the world like the Eastern coast of the United States.

As he thought of the distinct tonal qualities, he heard the Eastern Seaboard crashing in the mist of pre-dawn on the other side of the world, smelled the unmistakable odor of the seaweed- enshrouded shoreline of Maine, felt the cool wind blowing his hair back from his face.

“Hmmm,” he thought quickly, “it feels like I’m there.”

“We are there, beloved,” came a soft, lilting reply echoing in his mind. “There is no here nor there. There is only everywhere, in truth.”

Michael pulled his forehead back, breaking the contact they had formed; but kept his eyes firmly closed. “Physically? Are we there physically?”

“Ah, beloved,” he felt her soft reply in every fiber of his being. “You rely so much on your physical presence.” With a little chuckle, she said, “You want to build Rome in a single moment. What do your senses tell you? You smell the seaweed; you hear the surf and the cry of the seagulls; you feel the cool ocean breeze gently searching through your hair. What you must learn is to trust your senses … both physical and intuitive … and believe that you are there. This is something that your species resists as if life, as you know it, depended on it – because, in truth, it does. Your life and your world would be very different if you could just learn to trust in yourself. Just as a baby bird must learn to believe it is his nature to soar, you must learn to have faith in the wings and muscles you require for flight. This is not learned all at once, in the first lesson.

“Is this a more comfortable speed for you? Can you grasp our exchange more fully at this pace?”

“Yes,” he responded with a sigh. “It’s wonderful. Thank you.”

Gently, with his eyes still closed tightly, he placed his brow against hers, re-establishing the link between them. His attention was drawn to the crowd of fans standing below his balcony. In the same instant, before he could even realize what was happening fully, he was with them, unseen and unrecognized.

He felt the crush of humanity, the cool drizzle beginning to fall threatened to soak them. He sensed their excitement and their concern for him; he felt their love as it caressed his heart; he heard their worried, whispered prayers. “He hasn’t come out. I hope he’s okay. There’s been no sign since last night. Please, God, let him be okay.”

Quickly, Michael disengaged from Angelique’s brow. “They’re worried about me,” he said, releasing her tiny face from his grasp. “I need to go out there.”

Angelique nodded as Michael crossed to the French doors that opened onto his balcony. The deafening roar of thousands of people rushed to greet him as he stepped out, waving and smiling while the throng chanted his name over and over, screaming and waving and blowing kisses. He stood and pointed to a group of about five women, one of whom held a large poster bearing the smiling face of a child. He made eye contact with each one of the group, waving and smiling at them, seeming to recognize them.

Finally, he stepped back, waved, smiling broadly, and disappeared once again into the relative quiet of his suite, leaning heavily against the French doors and closing his eyes wearily.

Angelique touched his shoulder. “They love you very much, dear one,” he heard. “It’s wonderful how you’ve touched them all. Some of them you have touched very deeply while others only superficially; but you’ve touched every one of them in a real, personal, unique way.”

Michael opened his eyes and smiled sadly. “I love them, too, Angel. I wish I could just go out there and be with them. Just to walk among them is my fondest wish, without all the hoopla and screaming and pushing. I hate it when they push and shove and hurt each other.”

“Yes, I know, Michael. I was there,” she whispered softly as she wound her arms around his chest, holding him tightly against his memories of the young girl who had gotten shoved against the plate glass window in a London clothing store so many years ago. She knew how he blamed himself for her injury, relived the terrifying moment when she fell, the large piece of glass slitting her throat, the blood that he’d seen clearly, spurting like a fountain, draining her body in his dreams.

“It wasn’t your fault,” Angelique whispered intensely. “It wasn’t your fault.”

Michael’s voice was husky with horror. “I couldn’t reach her. She was so young. I wanted them to help her, but they wouldn’t listen to me. They couldn’t hear me above all the noise. She died, didn’t she?”

Angelique sighed deeply. “There was nothing you could have done, dear one. You were only 12-years-old. There was nothing you could do.”

“I wish she could have known how …”

“Michael,” Angelique interrupted. “I can make your wish come true, dear one. Join with me. I can’t bear your pain over this episode,” she said, holding his face between her hands and bringing it down to touch her brow.

Instantly, he was back in London. He could hear the screams of the crowd of young people who had mobbed the department store. He felt the jacket he’d been trying on; it had a soft, cuddly collar that he’d rubbed his cheek against repeatedly. He could smell the cold rain, puddling in the street outside the shop and the aftershave Bill had worn that day.

He heard the glass crack, then shatter. The screams and tumult outside grew louder and he felt panic rising, the adrenaline pulsing in his blood stream. He wanted to run to her, but he couldn’t move fast enough. Then, he heard the girl scream, saw her fall against the cracked glass as the crowd surged forward to get closer.

With his new heightened senses, he watched her fall in slow motion, her aura still distinctly resembling the young girl escaped from her body as if the cork stopper had been forcibly removed from a champagne bottle. Briefly, it hovered above the child’s inert body. Then, it approached the young, chocolate-skinned boy, standing in a brown leather jacket with a big fur collar. The light of the aura enfolded him, whispering, “I love you, Michael,” before being lead away by two lovely, less distinct creatures of light … away from the melee in the prominent clothiers.

He heard his own child’s heart-wrenching screams, “Do something! Help her! She’s bleeding!” He felt the young boy’s panic-stricken tears coursing down his face.

Angelique released his face, separating them. “You see, beloved? She loves you. There was nothing you could have done. She was gone almost before you were even aware of the problem. She never blamed you; she always forgave you. Only you have failed to forgive yourself for the incident.”

Michael was surprised to discover that his face was wet with tears. “I’m sorry,” he said, his voice choked with emotion. “That is one of my most horrifying nightmares, but I don’t need to tell you that, do I?”

Angelique smiled up into his deep, liquid eyes, overflowing with the gruesome memory. “You can if you want to, Michael. However, please understand a couple of things about this incident.

“The first is she never blamed you. It is only your own guilt and shame over the incident that has magnified your pain and made it into a powerful tool to be used against you. Fear and guilt and shame are so destructive. They rob you of the joy that is your birthright and separate you from your task, sapping your strength and energy. For years, you’ve harbored your pain over something for which you could not be held responsible. Let it go now, please.

“The second is one that your species shares with you and that is your fear of death. Your species have so feared death that it has built an entire false world on its false premises and beliefs. Death is nothing more than awakening from your dream. It is this physical life which is the illusion. When you awaken to ultimate reality, it is a cause for celebration and rejoicing.

“Now, come back with me to the ocean, beloved. Walk with me,” she sighed, placing her brow against his and transporting them both to the seashore, now fully illuminated by the rising sun. They felt its warmth caressing their skin, heard the gulls calling to their mates, felt the gritty sand on the soles of their feet, heard it crunching as they moved over the seaweed-encrusted shore.

“You see, my dear, it’s all illusion. There are illusions that bring peace and harmony and serenity. There are illusions that evoke fear and guilt and shame and lethargy,” he heard as they walked. “The trick is to choose to recognize, encourage, and believe in the first rather than those which cause you to feel disharmony or discord.  Don’t give them the power to disturb your dreams.”

~~

Michael was engulfed by the sights, sounds, and textures of the sea shore. The gulls circling overhead echoed their plaintive cries against a cotton ball-dappled, azure sky in which a lovely crescent moon was still clearly visible over grey, lichen-strewn rocks. The breeze was cool, sending shivers of goose flesh up and down the length of his body, lifting the tiny hairs on the back of his neck. The sound of the waves breaking against mossy boulders in their paths was a staccato drum beat, nearly his own heartbeat; the bird’s cries provided syncopation while Michael made up the rest of the orchestration.

Soon his body was moving in time with the lovely tapestry of sound he heard, echoing in his natural surroundings and reverberating in his heart and in his head.

Music had always affected him like this. He remembered being a very young child listening to his mother’s washing machine clatter against the wall as she tried to keep up with the never-ending demands of washing and drying clothes for her nine children and husband. The sound had always moved his little body in time to the beat. He had often remarked that he was a “slave to the rhythm” when interviewed. He could not remember a time when he hadn’t danced and sang along with the music on the radio.

He dropped Angelique’s hand, running toward the surf, spinning and twirling while stripping his shoes and socks from his feet in a fluid, graceful hobble. He stopped himself just before removing his pants, remembering Angelique’s presence.

Suddenly, he heard her soft voice, “I am blind, beloved. Do not inhibit your movements because of me. Please, I am here to bring you freedom, not restraint. Even in my blindness, I can feel your joy, your elation. Give yourself to it; it is so beautiful.” Her words washed over his heart.

Michael continued undressing until he stood boldly as Beauty had created him. His pale flesh was fully exposed to the cool ocean-scented breeze, reflecting the warmth of the sun as he whirled and approached the surf with his lithe, agile frame still responding to the natural rhythms echoed within his heart and mind.

As he cavorted in the raging water, he called for her to come and join him. “Come and dance with me, angel,” he bellowed, laughing.

Instantly, she was beside him, standing in the frothing surf.

“Join with me, now, please, beloved,” she whispered as she placed her brow gently against his.

Michael closed his eyes as their brows touched. He felt the cool breeze lifting the microscopic hairs on his arms and legs. Then, warm hands smoothed them back into place. His heightened, extended senses felt her body enveloping his in a warm embrace from knees to neck. His senses told him that she, too, was naked. He felt her breasts pressing against his chest, her hands caressing his back, her breath against the hollow of his throat.

Michael groaned in delirious ecstasy. “Angel,” he breathed into her ear, “do you think this is wise? You feel so warm, so inviting, so beautiful.”

Angelique lifted two fingers to Michael’s lips, following them with a light, fluttery kiss to the corner of his mouth. “This is what I wanted you to feel when I nearly killed you in my eagerness,” she murmured softly. “This is my love, beloved; yet, it is only a dim reflection of the love that created the universe.”

Michael felt her kiss again, soft like the kiss of a butterfly against the flesh of his chest. Each tiny caress increased the temperature of his blood, seething and boiling within his veins. As her lips descended once again to touch his smooth flesh, Michael grabbed the back of her blond head, tilting her face up to capture her lips beneath his own. As their lips met, Michael and Angelique both moaned in wild enjoyment of their contact.

Suddenly, the sound of a thunderous knock brought Michael back to his hotel suite in a rush. He felt as if he’d landed in a crashing descent. Angelique stood nearby, still dressed in her jeans and t-shirt, seeming somewhat befuddled by their precipitous return to what is commonly referred to as reality.

“Whoa …” Michael laughed. “talk about jet lag!”

Angelique giggled uncontrollably and the sound of the knock grew more insistent. “Take a moment, beloved, he thinks you’re asleep, remember?”

Michael nodded, glancing at Angelique, his dark chocolate eyes large in surprise. “We have to talk, Angel,” he said as he turned to open the door. Angelique stood behind Michael and he was surprised to feel her arms go around his shoulders, envisioning them as beautiful, fully-feathered, iridescent wings enfolding his entire body. When he greeted Wayne, he noticed that Wayne’s companion was in exactly the same stance.

“Huh?” Michael groaned, trying and just managing to focus on his chief of security. “What is the problem?”

“Oops … sorry, MJ,” Wayne said. “I just wondered if you needed anything.”

Michael just looked at his bodyguard, lifting his left eyebrow in a questioning gaze. “Wayne … I promise … if I need anything except a break and some rest, I’ll call you. Okay?”

“Okay, MJ … sorry!” Wayne responded as Michael shut the door and bolted it against any further intrusions.

“Angel,” Michael whispered a little breathlessly, lifting his arms to embrace her forearms as they crossed just below his dimpled chin. “Please get around on my other side. I really don’t want to squish you when I land on that couch.”

Angelique giggled merrily and walked around Michael, burying her head beneath his chin, clinging to him for a moment and then, releasing him as he sat heavily on the couch.

“Angel, come here,” he commanded as he helped her to kneel between his legs on the floor and grasped her face between his large, pale, graceful hands. Directing her gaze into his own, he continued, “Listen to me. That was dangerously close. It’s a good thing Wayne didn’t wait a little longer to bring us back in a crash. I’ve never felt such desire, such need, such passion, such pleasure … and certainly not from one tender, beautiful, passionate kiss. I want you too much! I want to take you in my arms …”

“Then take me, beloved,” she responded, kissing his chin, her honest green eyes wide.

“Angel,” Michael exclaimed, “you’re an angel!”

Angelique laughed gaily. “Michael Jackson, do you not understand. This universe was created by love … for love … in love. Love is the law of the universe … of nature … of physics … of gravity … of everything. The Creator is a lover. She wants to be one with her children, wants them to know her as she knows them.

“She gave you joy and you’ve made it into sin. She does not condone lust, although She does understand it. It is the cry of an empty vessel to be filled, the yearning of an empty soul for love. However, was there at any time during our time on the beach a feeling of wrongness or a sense of our sharing not being right for any living entity? Did you give everything to me? Did I relinquish all that I am to you? Were you diminished in any way by my contact or I by yours? Or were you uplifted, your heart fulfilled.”

“Yes, but did you feel the passion, the heat?” Michael asked.

“Michael,” she said with a slight raise of an eyebrow and a secret smile. “Beloved, I felt it … yours and mine as did you, as I promised.”

Michael reached out to hold her in his arms, cuddling her close to his chest. “Oh, Angel … what’re we going to do?”

“As you will, Michael, always,” she responded.  “I can be as relevant to you … as meaningful to you … only in accordance with your will.” Kissing his jaw quickly and rising to her feet, she grabbed his hand. “Now, come, my dear one. You need to rest. Let me hold you as you sleep.”

~~

Ignoring his objections, she pushed him toward the luxurious king sized bed.

“Michael, my love, we have forever. Our souls were joined at our births. Always joined. On the day you were born, I was created to be your helpmate, your companion. We are one.”

One moment she had been standing in front of him, pushing him toward the bed. The next, she was reclining against the pillows of the oversized bed and holding out her arms to embrace him. She giggled lightly as she noticed his mouth, agape at the suddenness of her location. As he lowered himself to a reclining position, she held his body closely against hers and rested her check against his forehead with a kiss.

Again, Michael distinctly envisioned her arms as giant, feather-encrusted and breathtakingly beautiful wings, supporting him from head to toe in love. He smiled in gratitude.

“Thank you for your protection … at the door … Wayne and his companion,” he said.

“Was I protecting you, Michael?” she asked seriously. “I could have sworn I was drawing from your strength and beauty.” She chuckled merrily. “Now, go to sleep, dear one,” she whispered. He was rocked into oblivion by her gentle movements, her crooning voice as she hummed a tune.

Angelique watched as he peacefully fell asleep. She watched as his breath was inhaled and then exhaled; she felt the air explode into his lungs as they, in turn, reached out in their eagerness to embrace the oxygen, sending it on its journey into the bloodstream to nourish each cell it touched. She felt each and every breath, noticed the change in electrical charge in his brain as he began to dream, saw the change of hue in his energy field as his blood quickened.

Instantly, she came alert, feeling for his emotion only to discover that his dream held no danger or fear. Yet, his blood was rushing and his heart beating more furiously with each second. Then she smiled. He was back at the beach, holding her in his arms, two bodies yearning to feel more of each other, straining towards complete union. She felt the trembling in his limbs at her touch and she longed to touch him. She felt the cool ocean breeze, the warmth of the sun-drenched sand, but mostly she felt Michael’s hard, taut sinews touching her body from her cheek to her knees and everywhere in between. She felt his ribs pressing against hers, his hard flat abdomen, his arms holding her more tightly against him.

“Oh, Michael,” Angelique whispered intensely.

“You see, Angel,” she heard him chuckle. “I want you even in my dreams. I need to know your kiss again. I need to feel your silken flesh beneath my fingers again.”

“My need is as great as yours, beloved,” she whispered softly.

He turned in her arms, embracing the back of her head to capture her lips. As their lips touched, they were transported back to the sunny beach on Maine’s rocky coast. Two naked bodies cavorted beneath the water hewn cliffs, touching and kissing and playing with mirth.

Finally, they stopped playing, falling on the sun-drenched sand. Michael rolled to embrace her, lifting himself onto one elbow to gaze into her eyes. He kissed her lips with such exquisite gentleness that she inhaled deeply. As their kiss deepened, Michael felt every cell in his body merging, dancing with its mate in hers. Each nerve ending found its perfect match, sending wave after wave of unbearable pleasure cascading through his body, keeping time with the natural, joyous rhythm they’d heard earlier. Michel groaned with the intensity of his pleasure. Opening his eyes, he discovered that his naked body was totally enclosed in hers; each cell had found its perfect vibration and had joined with it. He had sunk through her almost. He was still fully visible and distinct, but she enveloped him.

Angelique smiled at him, kissing him again. “Michael, look at what we’ve done! We’ve joined our two different bodies in perfect union. Our two different worlds have merged into complete ONENESS. This is as it should be, as it was intended to be, my love.”

But he could no more answer her than he could stop the world’s circumnavigation of the sun. His pleasure was endless. It was as if his entire body danced with the Rhythm of the Spheres. Each tingling nerve, each firing synapse of both of their bodies exploded with joy and discovery, creating a symphony of incredible harmony. His joy was beyond the physical; it encapsulated his mind, his spirit, his emotions.

Suddenly, Angelique became alarmed. “Michael, I have to withdraw from you. Your physical body is becoming distressed. It needs to return to normalcy. Do you understand?”

She became even more alarmed as she began to will them apart. He wasn’t breathing deeply enough. Gently, she disengaged her body from his, slowly and gently separating them into two distinct entities. “Michael, beloved, have I done it again? I was so engrossed in the pleasure of your touch, your kiss. Are you all right?”

Michael’s eyelids fluttered and he squeezed them shut tightly. “Please, never, ever apologize to a man to whom you have given so much pleasure. I’m going to plumb the depths of this if it kills me … and it just might,” he smirked, breathing laboriously as he held her head between his palms and kissed her, winking conspiratorially.

Angelique giggled softly. “Michael, you shameless hedonist!” she exclaimed.

Slowly, Michael felt the chemistry between them change from the over-charged, frantic desire for union to a softer, less frenzied, yet equally exquisitely sensual comfort and tranquility.

He felt each of the feathers in her voluminous wings touching his skin, covering his nakedness from below his chin to the soles of his feet. He reveled, rejoiced in the sensation … suspended, but warm … supported in every curve … behind his knees … the small of his back … the nape of his neck … as if a soft, fluffy cloud lay beneath him … the warmth and beauty of her embrace above him with soft, downy feathers lying gently against every centimeter of flesh.

“Ah, my beloved, do not tempt me,” Angelique whispered in his ear seriously. “You are the most sensitive creature … almost an angel. I want your pleasure so much. Your senses are so alive,” she said as he closed his eyes languidly with a long, drawn-out sigh of peace and contentment. “But I want your health more! Your body must rest … NOW! Do not push it any further, please. You must let it go. I cannot make you rest, beloved, but I can make you painfully comfortable. Feel my love, Michael.”

“If I rest,” he murmured, muffling a yawn against his hand, “will you stay?”

“I am with you, dear one … always,” she said softly. A small change in the velocity of the air movement in the room brought a gentle ruffling of the nearly iridescent feathers, lifting them in turn only to fall gently again over him. His arms and legs were bathed with each tiny rustle of each individual feather. “Let go, dear one. Let your body rest. I promise you will not be sorry,” Angelique vowed earnestly.

Michael felt himself being gently rocked. He wanted to speak, to tell her he couldn’t let go. It felt too good. He wanted to linger, savoring each delicious feather’s movement.

Angelique’s giggle tinkled within his heart. “You are, without a doubt, the most beautifully sensuous creature,” she thought, but said aloud, “Let go, dear one, and come with me. We will leave that part of ourselves behind which is otherwise engaged … in resting, for example … and we will fly. Come.”

She felt his heart rate calm and his breath become deep and even as he drifted off to sleep and smiled. Then, her aura rose from behind him and stood at the side of the bed where his body slept. Holding her hand out to him, she thought, “Will you walk with me?”

Michael saw her, no longer quite as substantial or solid, somehow, holding out her hand and inviting his touch. He felt her desire for him reaching out for him and felt himself pulled … attracted … towards her by an incredible strength. He felt buoyant and free and laughed out loud. Then, he glanced back towards the bed and observed his body lying supine in Angelique’s arms … arms … not wings.

He looked at her quizzically.

Angelique touched his shoulder. “Your senses determine your reality. You felt them, saw them, heard them. They are real.” Turning to face him, she smiled. “Will you come and play with me?”

Michael lifted her chin with his finger. “Yes, Angel. I certainly want to play with you.”

Angelique chuckled gaily. Kissing his jaw, she exclaimed, “Michael! We have to be careful not to wake you! You are still tied to that beautiful body and it still needs to rest.”

“Darn!” he muttered with a sheepish grin.

Hand-in-hand, Michael and Angelique exited the hotel without opening a door. Michael noticed that they seemed to melt between the atoms of the door, for want of a better description, passing between the cells of matter and energy that he knew as the term ‘door,’ down elevators, and into the street outside the hotel entrance.

They waded through the sea of people encamped in vigil beneath his balcony, each of them was guarded by a field of light, surrounding them, engulfing them, and appearing much like the companion he had seen embracing his chief of security. Most of the fields bore little resemblance to any human form. They seemed undefined … out of focus.

“Angel, can we stop a moment?” he inquired.

“Of course, Michael …it is as you will.”

Michael stood for a moment, glancing around at the faces of the throng. “It’s what I’ve always wanted, to be among them, just with them … without all the jumping and screaming. To be an ordinary person … unremarkable … unrecognized … and to share a few moments with them has always been my fondest wish. Ya know?”

Angelique nodded. “Yes, I know. I have sensed your longing for many, many years. I thought you would enjoy this. You are with them, Michael. Be very still.”

Michael stood quietly and felt his senses expanding from his heart, reaching out to touch one of the milling crowd, then another, and another. “I’ve neglected them,” he said. “They’re wondering if I’m alright. And they’re cold … and tired … and hungry.”

“They’re okay, Michael,” Angelique responded, “but you are not. This hopping between worlds is exhausting for your already exhausted physical body … more so than I thought.”

Michael reached his hand out and touched a young girl’s cheek … and watched a smile light her eyes. “She felt my touch, Angel.”

“Yes, Michael, she just doesn’t know what to attribute it to  … the wind … a drop of rain, perhaps. She knows there was no fear, so she smiled,” Angelique said.

Michael thought back trying to remember all the times he had felt a touch … a breeze … a raindrop … or felt a presence … without knowing how or why. Glancing quickly at Angelique, his eyes wide, he knew now that it was the soft whisper of an angel’s caress.

“I’m sorry, Michael, but I love to touch you.” Angelique smiled shyly. “I told you … angels are very tactile beings.”

They continued on, walking untouched and unseen. Michael rejoiced in this new-found freedom. Just strolling like two ordinary people, holding hands with an angel in the streets of Paris. He stopped in front of the window of a record store he’d often shopped at. They were playing “Stranger in Moscow” and it pleased him to see the footage. Nick and his crew had done a wonderful job of trying to match his dream as he’d described it. The film came very close to what he’d wanted to achieve.

Often he found himself in the position of not having exactly the right word at hand to detail the scene or track … or bemoaning the fact that the technology didn’t exist to produce the film he envisioned. However, in the case of “Stranger,” he thought they’d come very close. The slow motion effects conveyed the mood very well and the rain at the end, washing them all clean, drenching them in hope. “Yes, indeed, it worked very well,” he thought to himself.

Angelique rested her hand against his shoulder. “Wayne is coming to awaken you, dear one,” she said softly, not wanting to end his roaming free of his usual limitations, but needing to warn him.

Michael nodded and grinned. “Thank you,” he whispered. “This has been wonderful.” He drew her closer to kiss her and as their lips touched, Michael found himself reaching for her in the bed in his hotel suite, the sound of Wayne’s impatient knock nearly splitting his eardrums. He cringed against the sound, huddling closer to Angelique’s small form for a moment before grinning broadly and rising from her arms.

“Flight with you is beyond my wildest dreams, my angel,” he said, returning to kiss her soundly. “But the landings … let’s work on those landings.”

Angelique laughed out loud. The joy of the sound was almost more than Michael could bear.

 

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