On this 25 November , exactly 4 years 5 months since we lost Michael, as the fan community once again goes into battle mode, my thoughts turn to this time 10 years ago, 25 November 2003 and the trauma that we were heading into.
18 November 2003
In the evening of 18 November 2003 I was on the bus home. I had finished work and before I started my bus journey home I had been to HMV to buy Michael’s new CD single ONE MORE CHANCE. I had forgotten to bring my CD Walkman so to pass the time on the bus I excitedly opened the CD and was reading the song credits.
My phone rings and I look to see who is ringing me. I see the name, its my friend Jenny phoning me from Ireland. That’s strange, Jenny always only texts or emails due to International phone charges. I answer the phone and Jenny is crying…. OMG what has happened…
I quickly put the CD back in my bag and try to make sense of what Jenny is telling me… I had been in work all day and had not been online or seen any news… In between sobs Jenny tells me something which makes my heart stop…. A boy has accused Michael of abusing him, police are searching Neverland , there is an arrest warrant for Michael and no one knows where he is.
I just cant believe what Jenny is telling me. I am sitting on a bus, Jenny is crying on the phone and my head is spinning , trying to process the information.
It is nearly 9 pm when I get home. My flatmate had been trying to phone me but as I was on the phone to Jenny she couldn’t get through to me and was worried I didn’t know. She was a Michael fan too. We don’t have internet in the flat, this was before the days of laptops and smart phones, so we had to wait for the 10 pm BBC news on TV.
The 10 pm news just repeated what we already knew. My flatmate and I just sat there in shock, trying to process what we were seeing on TV. After the news we sat there in tears, so isolated just the two of us, our world crashing down, so scared and worried about Michael, where was he, what was happening in California.
That night I couldn’t sleep. I left the TV on and every hour throughout the night waited for any new information.
I think I got about 3 hours sleep, maybe less. The next day I had to go into work and pretend nothing was wrong. No one at work knew I was a fan. All day long, I had to go about my work, while inside my heart was breaking. How could this be happening again, I was sick with worry but I couldn’t show it.
This went on for 4 days. My work schedule meant I couldn’t check fan sites, as the internet cafe was closed by the time I finished work. Sick with worry I didn’t sleep or eat for nearly a week. All I had was text updates from my friends and the TV news reports. Finally the TV stations started reporting that Michael had been found and when the images of him being led into the building were shown, I broke down.
I knew then that it was not over and the worst was yet to come….