“Met” is perhaps a generous word for my brief interaction with him. It happened several years ago during my time as a bookseller. I was assigned to the cash registers for the hour and was probably more than a little bored. Few things are more painful than being trapped in a small, narrow space when a sunny day is happening just outside the window. I paced over to one of my coworkers who was stationed near the door. Jason had a strange look on his face, and he started typing me a message on one of the e-readers.
I was confused by what he was doing and generally foiled his attempt to be discreet. Finally I read the message he had typed: I think Prince is in the magazines. Just as I understood what was happened, the man himself emerged from the magazine section. He was on his way to the registers, which meant he was walking right towards us. I’m sure we looked guilty and had clearly just been talking about him, but he pretended not to notice.
Let me just paint you a picture. He was wearing a Prince version of a casual outfit: head-to-toe cream, stretchy flared pants, and a hooded sweater with an interesting neckline. His hair was straight, and he had some nice stubble going. No afro or round, colored glasses like he often had for public appearances around this time. Across the wide counter, he appeared to be about my height, which is apparently accurate. He was a small and quite beautiful man.
I scurried back to my register like the embarrassed bunny that I was. There was a woman with him who did most of the talking as they paid for a stack of music magazines. In fact, Prince said a total of three words to me. When I asked if they wanted a bag, he answered in his soft voice, “Yes.” And then the most wonderful moment of all happened. As they turned to leave, he tossed the bag over his shoulder and said “Thank you” as he sashayed out of the store. It was a stylish exit, as you would expect from a seriously unique, seriously stylish man.
I won’t pretend that I’m the biggest Prince fan in the world, but I do love his music. I have fond memories of dancing to “Kiss” with friends at a wedding and listening to a friend’s band play a gorgeous cover of “I Would Die 4 U.” I always feel happy when I hear “Let’s Go Crazy.” And I’m glad that I have my own personal story about him, however silly it may be.