today i spent $140 on vinyl records.
they say money can’t buy happiness, but i think i came pretty close.
no, i don’t have a record player – so no, these aren’t for me.
i didn’t even want to go into the store… if it weren’t for sincere persuasion… when in Philly, right?
perhaps i can take home an aesthetically pleasing cover, preferably purple and perfectly royal.
the persuasion artist dangles in front of me the only available treasures i so sought after, and taunts. finder’s keepers.
my ego – like a child told, “no.”
my intuition refuses to accept a loss.
i search, this time with my eyes open.
…was that up there staring at me the whole time?
Prince. “Black Album” – price screaming limited edition.
i wonder if my mother has it.
i send a picture. she swoons.
she has to have it.
“excuse me sir, can you get that down for me?”
he probably wonders why i’m in his store, or why i dared to speak in his direction, interrupting his careful nail inspection. clearly he has better things to do.
mutter mutter. – thanks, whatever… let me purchase this and go.
“…there should be at least one more Prince record in that box down there. I went through them this morning,” he redeems himself.
i jump at the box and flip. flip… flip.
U Got The Look. found it. my heart lights up. she’s gonna be so happy.
…..keep flipping, or you’ll never know.
there’s my intuition again.
just as i thought.
now there’s too many. – quick, make a choice!
…what about Daddog? wouldn’t he love an old record or two, as well?
old records stacked in my grandparents’ dining room watched me grow until i had to bend down to see them too.
my favorite was Michael Jackson, he used to tell me to get off the wall.
“excuse me, do you have The Platters?” – in my head i pictured something more along the lines of Zapp Roger & Parliament Funk, yet “The Mystery of You” (their golden-aged wedding anthem) intercepted what would come out of my mouth.
“uhhh they would be mixed in with the R&B.”
flip. flip. yes! …flip. flip. flip…. flip…. flip… two for The Platters, one Sly & The Family Stone.
okay i have enough.
mr. man pulls out a poster to persuade my purchasing Purple Rain – must’ve recalled i’m a sucker for limited edition.
i wait for the part where he negotiates down my total based on wear and tear – just like i heard him do for my friend, from whom he’s $8 richer.
…nothing? …really? …ok.
i feel the heaviness of my friends’ heart palpitations as they grasp their wallets and gasp.
i act unfazed.
i toss over the plastic.
none of us expected me to actually complete the transaction.
i didn’t even want to be in here, remember??
too late, i’m here.
in those 40 seconds before he hands me my receipt to sign, i had time to think:
what’s it really worth?
i almost lose my breath imagining my mom’s smile when she gets more than she didn’t even know she asked for,
and my grandpa’s gentle eyes as he ponders each cover, the music taking him to good times…
better times, when he was young and sick-free.
i can’t say the “c” word…
i needed these records, and i’d gladly spend anything if it brings that light back into our lives.
it made me happy just to think that i could make them even a little happier.
sure, material things expire and then don’t even matter… but it’s those feelings that last forever.
[corny & cliché? maybe, i know. – but still entirely too real.]
the swelling water blurred my vision as i looked up to take back my card,
if only they knew.
suddenly the judgement and burning silence seemed a lot less intense.
and i walked away with no regrets.
+ + +
the experience inspired a doodle in my sketchbook:
i call it, “$ Can’t Buy”
(i challenged myself to sketch his smiling face from memory without looking at a photo… i’m a little impressed, tbh.)