The biggest thing to remember is that I love him.  What I did wasn’t out of malice or spite, or a perverted desire to see him fail where others have succeeded.  It was more out of an innate terror of that very success.  When he finally achieves it, he will become cocky beyond redemption, which many have said has already come to pass.


Lord knows he’s worked for what he’s gained.  Lord knows there was a heavy price for the glittering fame and fortune he’s amassed…and yet…I still feel as though he should work for more.  Countless others around me say he’s deserving of every accolade he receives, but…somehow I venture to guess that many of them are wearing the same crimson-colored blinders as his ridiculous fans.


I don’t think that he put out the best album of 2001.  I don’t think that musically he can offer what others can’t; change the hair and the voices and essentially the music remains the same.  *NSYNC songs are not easily distinguishable to the uninitiated by a single chord.  There aren’t signature sounds and ideas that set them apart from the others.  Perhaps Max Martin can receive such kudos; he paints his sound with his standard palette, never deviating far from his prescribed color scheme…but the boys themselves…they are but five in an endless sea of similar faces, and it breaks my heart to tell him so.


Doubtless you’re wondering how I can claim such love and devotion when I proclaim my dissention from the ranks of the believers so readily.  Perhaps it’s more out of hope for what may come to be rather than what is…or what was.  Perhaps it’s my own blind faith in the man I’ve grown to love.  And perhaps my own blinders are firmly secured around my eyes, and I choose not to notice them.


He asked me yesterday if he thought they stood a chance.  And I stared at him, stance askew, head cocked to one side, and asked why he was asking.  Was he searching for my support, or seeking my professional opinion?  He confessed a little of both…and I told him that if he would be beaten, it would be by Elton John and U2…and then his face fell.


I guess he was expecting some kind of pick-me-up.  As usual, I had misread the signals.  As usual, I didn’t spot the needy look in his eyes until it was far too late.  He brushed me off, muttering something or other about how rock journalists always side toward established artists anyway, and then he went upstairs with his little easel and started to paint things.  I sat downstairs watching the dreary mist fall over Los Angeles with a cold cup of coffee and a heavy heart.  How much longer could I put up with this?


Of course, round and round it went, like a demented version of spin-the-bottle…will I/won’t I?  How can I stay/why can’t I leave?  What good is this/how bad can it get?  Cursed contradictions and angry voices argued in my troubled mind until I positively could not see straight.  I didn’t feel the tears until they splashed against the cool table…and I didn’t realize how tense my jaw had become until I tasted the sharp tang of blood on my tongue and felt the sting in the torn flesh of my lip.  On and on, the rain will fall…


So you see, things aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be.  Just as an actor learns to tame an expression of surprise or frustration, or stifle a rushing river of laughter, so too can I hide behind a careful gaze of neutrality.  So too can he shrug off brutal losses and fruitless anticipation, the way he has done year after year.  I’ll be there, once again, to pick up the pieces…waiting in the garden, standing in the shadows…biding my time until he comes to me, shoulders slumped and hands trembling…and I will allow him to apologize, the same way he has done for two years now.  I will accept his apology and offer one of my own, in secret.


I’m sorry you didn’t win, baby.  I’m sorry for helping to make it so. 



© 2002 ~A.