Happy birthday Sade! Thanks for all the years of awesome music!
(Searches internet for a cool picture to attach to post for maximum effe…)
What’s that, you say?
Ha ha, why yes, this is a pretty big mouse I’m using. Why do you ask, Sade?
Sade is, professionally speaking, the name of the band, but Helen answers to it because a) it is part of her actual name – Helen Folasade Adu – and b) she knows “Sade” sounds better coming out of my mouth in the morning than “Helen”, my voice thick with the night before still pressing against my throat like a hungry lover’s maw, choking down the whine that my voice will become once I enter the world to serve, to placate, to not-Sade.
I’ve known a few Helens in my time, all platonic, or less. The name doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. I’m already tired of saying “Helen” now. One can never get tired of saying “Sade”. It is a spice and a street name and a cold chicory coffee that tastes like street trombones and panhandlers who say good morning like they mean it. Helen is cool peeps. You can hang with a Helen, but who the hell wants to when there’s a Sade right behind her?
Do I hear you implore me, my love? You have made me downright Victorian in this moment. Oh, this was to be but a mild pleasantry, but look what you have wrought from me. My search for you has changed the ads on the sides of my screen. Facebook has replaced the banners asking for ACLU donations to continue fighting the Trump tide with advertisements shaped like hearts, lined in blue, wondering if I have ever considered longing as a diet. And what better way to defeat all things Trump than to love you, here, now, with “King of Sorrow” on repeat, as I gaze into your eyes that technically do not see me no matter how close I get to the screen? WHICH IS THE TRUER SORROW MY LOVE. The ad wants me to click it, Sade. And, god help me, I want to, but I have been on that diet, and its paradox is that what you lose in weight you gain in bewildering ex-sex and beach walks toward a dwindling sunset of pointillist existentialism.
Opening another tab to search for cordless drills I am showered with offers for 15-gauge nail guns – 15-gauge! – and yet all I want to do is nail the heart of the bastard that left you rolling on that beach, waiting for winter, knowing full well that a black boy with poetry in his fingers has all of the snow you could ever want.
And then I realize you do not want the snow; you seek the numbness. WHAT HAS THIS (surely) EUROPEAN BEAST DONE TO YOU, MY LOVE? Did you forget your beach towel, or have you thrown yourself into the glistening sands to wash away like so many discarded shells in the blast and heat of unrequited love? For I, too, have come to this shore in search of love shaped conveniently like your face, and I brought a shell bucket…with two shovels.
And now I have several ex-girlfriends who have found this missive, wondering what Scott’s done now, what decisions he has made that put your siren song into play once more. They either know me too well or not at all. Either way, it’s not their time anymore. They do not get to inquire after the humming of “The Sweetest Taboo” if I have done it again, or sigh with effort at the posting of another late night video overshare of “Why Can’t We live Together”. They know why, dammit, and I would not have them sully your birthday with their challenges to my manhood or the reason why every picture of you follows me like a Scooby-Doo villain portrait as I move from chair to circle to corner.
Sade, I love not the vampish you…
(Though she is beguiling.)
(I mean, really. That’s hot.)
I love the lonely you, the too-real Eddie Murphy-Boomerang joke you, the you that showers three times a day and cries in two of them.
This is the dorm room you, the one tacked to a shared wall while others posted pages from Sports Illustrated and free Budweiser model posters. The just-broken you that has mined my heart of its sentiment and made passion plays; agony odes you could still make love to, and we did, and we do.
And perhaps it is an unknowing love, a love that is not listening to the lyrics, but a Saturday night soundtrack nonetheless. Break-up ballads when your words fail you but your bodies do not. Closure fucking. Do you know what I mean?
Of course you do. I knew you would understand.
You have never been a great dancer as near as I can tell, but it is hard to dance well when everyone is waiting for you to pour more pain into their glasses like a New You Eve’s party. Lord knows you have the dress for such dinner affairs.
It is impolite to mention a woman’s age, but you are a glorious 59 now.
Did you know that men fix their mouths to speak on your perennial magnificence with the phrase, “I’d still hit that”? As if they were in control of any part of that sentence. No? I’ll break it down for you. I know there is a language barrier, my love. I have included a song in retort to their ramblings:
“I’d”: Me. I would. A possibility. Perhaps. In control. Optional yet still my option not yours. My dick. My decision. My choice.
(“You’re Not the Man”)
“Still”: If I must. Could see my way clear to. Rubbing chin consideration. Ageism. Thirst sated. Contender. Locker room grab.
(“Bullet Proof Soul”)
“Hit”: Sex. Bang. Screw. In congress. Hunger. Pump. Hump. Slump. When We.
(“Cherish The Day”)
“That”: Ass. Vajayjay. Her. You. All there is. Prize. Foe. Trophy.
(“Love is Stronger Than Pride”)
Straight garbage, dudes.
You wear so much black I think you are always going to a funeral. Then I consider how many times you have slayed me into submission, how you have (how do you say?) ruled the way that I move. I promise black was my favorite color before you did that.
Really. Ask anyone.
(My Heart 1971 – 1984, 1985, 1988, 1992.)
(It is a vampire heart that keeps coming back because the stake of your voice keeps missing its mark, Sade.)
The first time we broke up was in 2000. I wasn’t feeling Lovers Rock. Love Deluxe practically saved my life a few years before, but by Rock I could tell you loved someone else, even if for only a little while. And while he could never be what I could be to you, you’re a grown woman…
…and we have to lie in the beds we make, Sade.
Ha. That’s a good one. You got jokes.
See, this is why I will always love you, Sade: You give us gifts on your birthday. You a class act, girl. A real class act.
Happy (belated) birthday.