Chapter 32 - LWMJ - The Final Interview

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Nina and I spent four days in Tokyo exploring the city and Disneyland before I had to cut the trip short. In Disneyland, we were escorted from ride to ride seamlessly without fanfare. Still, when we explored the city, Nina caught a glimpse into my everyday life. When fans came up for autographs or photographs, she stepped aside and let me do what I do best. And when I was done, she had questions upon questions on what it’s like having to do that every day of my life. I told her it has its’ ups and downs. I appreciate my fans. Always have and always will, but there are times when I want to be left alone, which is why I tend to isolate myself. 

“Well, I don’t want you isolating with me. When you’re with me, we should have more of that,” I remember her telling me once we got back to the hotel.

“More of what? More of fans in my face taking me away from you?” I asked.

“No,” she scoffed. “Not like that. I mean, yeah, but- We should be out and about more.” She stammered over her words. She tried saying that she wanted to be seen with me without saying she wanted to be seen with me.

“I don’t want to. There’s nothing wrong with being in the house on a Friday night,” I told her.

“Let's plan some outings. Weekly dates. Every weekend we should be in a new city.”

“Every weekend?!”

“Yes! Out on the town. Amongst all the glitz and glamour. Come on! It’ll be fun! I know you have some invites to movie premieres or something!”

“For who? You or me? I’ve been there. Done that. There’s nothing out there for me that I haven’t already done.”

She sucked her teeth, “don’t you want to create new memories? You have plenty of memories by yourself or with your ex-wife. She’s out creating new memories with her boyfriend. What’s wrong with you creating new memories with me?”

“Why are you bringing up my ex-wife? I just-”

“You just what? Want to be stuck in the house all day because it’s ‘safe?’”

I squinted and looked around, “Nina, we’re in Tokyo right now! We’re out and about… What are you talking about?!”

“No,” she shook her head. “You need to be seen out there like in the good ol’ days. Don’t you miss that?”

“No!”

“You mean to tell me you don’t miss the fans being up in your face?”

I was taken aback, “wait a minute,” I held up my index finger. “Are we arguing right now? On our first vacation as a couple, we’re arguing over something silly?”

“No, I’m just trying to lay down the parameters of our relationship.”

“Which includes being out and about to be seen by fans?”

“What couple do you see that stays in all the time?”

I paused for a second, thinking of all the couples I know who stay in and enjoy each other's company. I actually thought about when Shayla begged me to stay in, and I wanted to be the one going out and about to be seen. I don’t want to be seen anymore. I just want to enjoy being in the same space as someone I enjoy. “Why can’t we just enjoy each other's company?”

“Why can’t we just go out and be amongst people? Seeing you out there with your fans was everything to me. I want to see that more often. I think you’re really you when you’re around them.”

I shook my head, “no. You don’t get it.”

“What don’t I get?”

“Nothing.”

That was our first argument during our first trip as a couple. We flew back to the states almost in silence. I didn’t care to be bothered by any conversation she tried to spark up, which hurt me. 

Here I was enjoying our time together, and she sees me with fans, and I saw a completely different side to her. At first, our situation was fine. When I’d visit her in Miami, she didn’t mind being in the corner of a restaurant. She didn’t mind enjoying being in her apartment or the hotel I was staying in. But since she wanted to put a label on what we are, now she wants to be seen because she’s my girlfriend? I thought she was different and I was excited about that. I’ll let this slide once, but the minute something like that happens again, we’re going to have to dissolve this.

I knocked on Nina’s apartment door and waited for her to answer.

We returned to Miami three days ago, and I haven’t spoken with her. She knew I was upset when I didn’t answer her phone calls. I remained in the city to talk to her about the trip when I was ready. Today is that day.

Today is also the day that Bashir and I film our last interview. After a year, I’m ready for this to wrap up. Being exposed like this has left me vulnerable, which is probably why I was so open to Nina anyway. Now, I feel like I may have let someone into my life that need not be there. I genuinely hope that is not the case. I’ve enjoyed every last minute with her up until Tokyo.

Nina immediately opened the door and wrapped her arms around my neck, “I missed you so much!”

All of a sudden, our first argument had vanished into thin air. I smiled, taking all of her warmth into me as I hugged her close.

“Don’t ever ignore my calls again,” she muffled into my neck.

“Don’t argue with me over silly things,” I told her.

“I won’t. I promise, I won’t,” she pecked my lips repeatedly. “Come in. I know you’re hungry. What do you want?” Nina pulled me into her apartment and shut the door behind me.

“I had a big lunch, so I’m fine.”

“You sure? I just made myself a sandwich with chips!”

“I’m positive,” I nodded.

Nina’s apartment has the most beautiful windows, illuminating the place with ample natural light. When it rained, it was gloomy, but even in its gloom, it was stunning. Nina and her home were similar in many ways: they’re a breath of fresh air.

I sat down on the couch facing the beach, “can we talk?” 

She licked her lips, “I figured that’s why you came over.”

I pressed my lips together, “you said some things that have been on my mind for a while now….” We looked at each other in a brief moment of silence. “If parameters of our relationship are something that you really want… By the way, I feel we may have rushed things-”

“You’re absolutely right,” she nodded quickly, eyes closed in agreement. “I’m to blame for that. I was just really hormonal that day. I wanted something. I didn’t want to feel like I was being used. But I should have known that I’m not being used by you.”

“I mean, if that’s the case, we’ve been using each other,” I let out a lighthearted laugh. “But no, I- I want to see where this goes; I just want to take things slow. Now… I agree that we need to lay down parameters, but one of those ‘parameters’ does not mean we have to be ‘seen’ all the time. When the time is right, sure, but the last thing I care about is publicity nowadays. I need you to understand that. I have children I’m trying to protect. And if you’re going to be a part of my life and… eventually part of their lives, if we make it that far, I need you to understand that I value my privacy just like the next person.”

She sat quietly for a moment, mulling over my words.

When it came to dating, one of my fears was dating someone who didn’t understand me or my life. Yes, my life comes with glitz and glamour, but I’m also a simple man. Is that so hard to think about when it comes to me? If so, I need not be with that person. 

I just want someone who wants to spend time with me, get to know me, not like me for my money…

I didn’t realize how hard it would be to date around at this age, hence why I put it off as much as I did. But Ms. Nina made me see things otherwise, and I felt compelled to give her a chance. I just really hope this isn’t a mistake.

Nina cleared her throat, “I’m sorry for not valuing your privacy. You’re right. You deserve that much, just like the next person. I guess that was the fan in me. I want you to myself the same way you want me to yourself. So… Can we start over?” She gave me a half-smile.

I nodded, a slight smile on my own face, “yes. Please, can we do this the right way?”

“Of course,” she came over to me, sat on my lap, and kissed my lips. “I never want to fight again.”


VII


After leaving Nina’s apartment, I returned to my hotel to prepare for the final interview Bashir and I would conduct. From my understanding, a good amount of the show is edited to Bashir’s liking. Once this interview is complete, I’ll be able to get an advance copy in a month before it actually airs.

Bashir and his team finished setting up the cameras. Karen finished my makeup, and my team ensured both microphones were recording perfectly.

I told Bashir to meet me here in Miami after dropping Nina off at her apartment because it would be easier for me. There was no point in flying back home just yet. And to be fair, it’s closer to home for him.

“So, I hear you just got back from Tokyo,” Bashir smiled as he sat down in his chair across from me.

I took a sip from my water, “yeah. I went to Disneyland with a friend.”

“A friend? No kids?”

I shook my head no, “no kids. Just me and a friend.”

“Who?”

I cleared my throat, “remember how I said that if I found a girl that I liked, I would buy her jewelry?”

His eyes widened in shock, “you’re dating?”

I shrugged, a slight smile on my face. “Something like that.”

“No way! When did this happen? I’ve been with you for nearly a year now. I’ve never heard of you having a lady friend.”

“I like to keep certain aspects of my life private.”

“So, now you’re open about her?”

“We made things official almost a week ago.”

“Is she going to be present today?”

“No. She’s at home.”

“Does she live here?” I nodded. “Wow! I’m surprised she’s not here for the last interview.”

“I want to keep this one hush hush for a little while.”

“Well, good luck to you both. Do you plan on introducing her to Shayla and the kids soon?”

“We haven’t talked about that yet, but I’m sure it’ll happen eventually.”

“You’re hopeful for this relationship?”

“Absolutely! I’ve only been in so many… I’m always hopeful whenever something like this happens.”

“Are you…dating for marriage?”

I laughed, “let’s begin the interview.”

He smiled, “what? It was just a question. You’re not dating for marriage? This is just for fun?”

“You want this last interview or not?”

“Fine, fine,” he laughed. 

Bashir told both camera crews to begin rolling. After the week I just had with Nina, the last thing that crossed my mind was marriage, so as far as I’m concerned, I’m not dating for marriage. I’m dating to see how things go. If something serious comes from this, great. If not…? I guess it’s just on to the next one whenever I find her.

“So,” Bashir cleared his throat. The beginning of the end had finally started. “When we were… talking some time ago, you-you talked about how when you went through adolescence, you had a terrible time.”

“Yeah,” I nodded, remembering how I felt when we had the conversation and how I felt in my childhood all at once.

“And, in fact, I had to look at some pictures of you during that period. And… You did have a lot of spots,” he confirmed something I had been trying to tell the public for years. “One of the things that you’ve clearly used to overcome this is changing your appearance. You- You’ve- You kind of- You physically changed, haven’t you?” He stammered. “The photographs of you, if I look at you…”

“No,” I corrected him quickly. “It’s called adolescence.” I know what he’s getting at, and I’m not going to allow it. “It’s called growing and changing.”

“Y-yeah, but even the shape of your face has changed.”

“No, it has not,” I shook my head. How Ima change the shape of my face? “I’ve had no plastic surgery on my face. Just my nose. It helped me breathe better so I can hit higher notes.”

He looked at me dumbfounded for a second. The once lighthearted energy had switched to intense criticism. “Michael, are you seriously saying that you’ve only ever had one operation?”

I held up two fingers, “two.”

“You’ve had two?”

“As I can remember, yeah. Just two.”

“But, if I look at some of the photographs of you in your adolescence-”

“Yeah, I changed! People change!”

“But even after, when you did the Thriller album, your- Your lips are very different now to what they were then.”

Now he’s just reaching. “No,” I shook my head. I’ve done absolutely nothing to my lips.

“But they do look different!”

“No. Nope. Sorry,” I continued to shake my head. “That’s someone else.”

“You don’t think so?”

“Nope!”

“But you know, on a serious point, in some ways, I can understand it.” Understand what? “Because-“

“I’m happy with my lips,” I interrupted him. Because how he gon’ tell me I changed my lips when I’ve had the same crooked-lipped smile since I was a child?

“No, but- But I- Forget the lips specifically,” he laughed. Apparently, he was frustrated, but he has no right to be the one frustrated here. He’s not the one being accused of having surgery on something that he didn’t have surgery on.

“Everybody in Hollywood gets surgery. Plastic surgery wasn’t invented for Michael Jackson,” I jokingly pointed at him, but I was serious. Everyone here in Hollyweird has had some type of surgery, but no one talks about them. But when it’s me, it’s a problem? You got people out here getting nips, tucks, fake breasts, cutting off genitals, stretching their faces to look younger, and I get a couple nose jobs, and it’s world war three??

“No, I’m not suggesting it was invented for Michael Jackson.”

“Everybody gets it.”

“But what I’m saying is, sometimes people go too far?”

“So, you’re suggesting I’ve gone too far?” I asked him.

“Sometimes, if they’ve got a lot of money and they have an opportunity, sometimes they can think, ‘oh, I’ll do things.’ Especially, given your childhood. I mean, while we’ve talked over the past couple of months…” I looked down at my right hand, flexing and stretching it. So, because I have a lot of money because I’ve gone through things that the average person doesn’t, it’s a problem when I want to change something in my life? How come it’s a problem when I do it? I bet if he had the same amount of money and opportunities as I, if he had been through the same thing I had, he would have done just about the same thing. But because I’m Michael Jackson. Because I’m plastered all over the world. Because I’m what the world proclaims a “weirdo,” I can’t do things other people do. See? That’s that hypocrisy, and I don’t like it. “…you told me in Las Vegas that your father used to talk about your nose.”

“Yeah,” I rolled my eyes. 

“So, I can understand why you wanted to change your appearance! It makes sense! I wouldn’t want-”

“Yeah, but just that, though. Just that. Not the whole face. Just the nose. They try to say, ‘why do you keep changing it?’ That’s not true,” I rolled my eyes again. “It’s just the nose, you know?”

“Even though the shape of the face is different?”

I sighed, “you keep saying that, but I keep telling you, I have not changed my face. I keep reiterating that I haven’t changed my face, and you keep trying to tell me about my own face!” I laughed out of frustration, “how you gon' tell me about my body?”

“Because the entire world watched you grow up, Michael. We’ve seen you grow from an eight-year-old boy to a forty-four-year-old man, and the changes you’ve gone through have not been the same as those of your brothers and sisters.”

“Okay,” I nodded. “Okay, look,” I pointed at my chin. “You see this cleft in my chin? That’s from puberty. I got that from Joseph. My nose? Surgery, sure, whatever. My lips are still the same. My skin is due to vitiligo. The shape of my head is the same. I wear makeup sometimes. A little contour will change the look of the face, ya know? Ask Karen. She’ll tell you. It’s like magic. But this?” I waved my hand over my entire face and head. “This is the product of growing up. You don’t look the same as you did as a child the same way I don’t. See, it’s things like this that I have to shield my children from. When they see me, they just see Daddy. When I show them older pictures of me, they ask questions, and I tell them the truth. I don’t lie. I would never lie. So, if I wouldn’t lie to my children, why do you and the rest of the world think you’re so important that I have to lie to y’all? Who are you for me to lie to?”

Bashir’s face fell. If he could have turned red with embarrassment, he would have. But he couldn’t. Instead, he stood up and asked for a break.

Karen came over to clean up any makeup or blot out any sweat. 

Now he knows how it feels when someone tries to humiliate someone. What happened to “we’re not gonna do this here?” What happened to hearing me out? Or was that something he said just to butter me up in the beginning? Because now, the accusations are getting out of hand. I felt it a little bit earlier, but I guess he decided to save the mess for the end. What he fails to realize is that I’m tired. 

I’m tired of the lies being said about me. I’m tired of people trying to bring me down. I’m tired of people trying to ruin the reputation that I’ve tried for years to build up. It gets tiring. I have to hear it from every end of the earth. No one knows what that feels like. Being hated by people who don’t even know you but base their thoughts on hearsay. No one knows what it’s like to be criticized for every single thing you do when the next ordinary person is doing the same thing, but it’s not a problem when they do it. It’s a problem when I do it. When Michael Jackson does it, it’s a problem. And all of a freaking sudden, it’s a problem when I’ve been attacked my entire life relentlessly, but when I clap back, when the nice person finally has something to say and defend themselves, now I’m “showing my true colors.” No, after having mercy and grace and forgiving everything everyone has ever had to say about me, I’ve finally had something to say to defend myself. But you. You ignorant, entitled, hypocritical ass people; now, when your feelings are hurt, it’s a problem. Yeah, well, kiss my ass. 

Bashir returned and sat down, “there was a little bit of tension in the air, so I figured we’d cool down a bit.” I kept quiet. I have nothing more to say. Bashir gestured for the cameras to begin rolling again. “I want to change the subject.”

“Okay. Good. Let’s go,” I nodded.

“We met Gavin, and um, it was a great privilege to meet Gavin because he’s had a lot of suffering in his life. When Gavin was there, he talked about the fact that you were in the room with him, his brother, and your son Michael. Can you understand why people would worry about that?”

I inhaled, “‘cause they’re ignorant.”

“But is it really appropriate for a forty-four-year-old man to share a bedroom with children?”

I sighed, “I told you before, and I’ll tell you again, my son Michael asked me to stay. I stayed because of my son. Not because I wanted to sleep in a bedroom with little boys.”

“That’s not a worrying thing?”

My eyebrows knit together in confusion, “who should be worrying? Who’s the criminal? Who’s ‘Jack the Ripper’ in the room? My son asked me to stay and have a boys' night with them. The next day, I told my son that he would have to come to my room the next time he wanted me to sleep with him. That we couldn’t do that again. He agreed, and we moved on. I did my part. I don’t understand why you’re trying to make this an issue. Michael and I slept on the floor, and Gavin and Starr slept on the bed. I did nothing wrong.”

“So, you didn’t sleep in the bed with them?”

“No, but I have slept in the bed with many children. My nieces, nephews, and my own children. Then the next day, we’d go out on the ranch, go into the Hot Air Balloons. We’d have fun. But I did not sleep in the bed with Gavin and Starr.”

“But is that right, Michael?” He asked.

“It’s very right,” I said matter of factly. “It’s very loving. That’s what the world needs now. More love.”

“The world needs a man who’s forty-four sleeping in a bed with children?”

I feel attacked right now… “No. I just told you I did not sleep in the bed with that boy and his brother. You keep trying to put words in my mouth and you’re making up your own weird fantasies that you’re trying to put off on me. You’re making this all wrong.”

“Well, tell me. Help me!”

“Because! What’s wrong with sharing love? Gavin doesn’t have cancer anymore because I helped him-”

“But, Michael, I wouldn’t want my children to sleep in anyone else’s bed….”

“You’re making this out to be so weird. And it’s not. And you know it’s not. You’re just trying to write this weird narrative about me….”

“No, I’m not.”

“You’re trying to make it like I’m this weird, sick person….”

“I’m not. I-”

“But I’m not going to let you do that to me. Isn’t that what you said in the beginning? You weren’t going to do this, yet, here you are. Doing the exact same thing, you said you wouldn’t do.”

“Michael, I-”

“I’m telling you what I don’t do, yet you’re telling me what I do as if you walk in my shoes every day. I don’t care if you’ve been with me for almost a year. That doesn’t mean you know me. I’ve let you into my home. I’ve let you meet my children, my family. But that doesn’t mean you know me.”

“Michael, the thing is what happened in nineteen ninety-three. Or rather what ‘didn’t happen.’”

“What didn’t happen,” I reiterated.

“Just cast your mind back. What was that like when you first heard the allegations that were being made against you?”

I thought back to the moment that Evan Chandler accused me all those years ago because I didn’t want to fund his movie script. June accused me of taking Jordie into my bedroom… Jordie’s parents lied on me. They lied. An entire nation heard and believed what this boy's parents put out there without so much as an inkling of wondering if it was true or not. No matter how much I wanted to have one to prove my innocence, I didn't get a trial. No one gave me a chance, and I was met with criticism when they did. That was such a terrible time for me. I understand everyone wondering about the wellbeing of Jordie in that situation, even though it was a lie. Still, in that moment, I only had the fans who hadn’t turned their backs on me, Shayla, and my family. That was a turbulent time in my life. 

I decided to keep it short and sweet, “it was shocking, and I’m not allowed to talk about this by way of law, so…”

“But how did you feel about what was being said? I’m not asking you to talk about what was said.”

“I was shocked because, um, God knows in my heart how much I adore children. And at that time, my ex-wife and I were trying to have children, so to hear that when all I wanted was children was heartbreaking-”

“But that’s not the problem,” he completely disregarded everything I had to say. How do you ask me how I feel and then disregard it? “When you actually invite children into your bed, you never know what’s going to happen.”

“See, when you say ‘bed,’ you’re thinking sexual. They make that sexual. It’s not sexual. We’re going to sleep.”

“The reason that’s been given for why you didn’t go to jail is because you reached a financial settlement with the family.”

“I’m going to say this, and I’m going to be done with this conversation, okay?”

“Really?”

“Okay?”

“Okay.”

“I wanted a trial, but the family didn’t want one. That’s for you people to ask why they wouldn’t want a trial on something as serious as that. But, because of that, I didn’t want this to last longer than it had to. I said, ‘get this over with. I want to move on with my life. This is ridiculous. I’ve had enough. Go.’ So, there was a financial settlement, and that’s the end of that.”

Bashir was quiet for a moment. I bet he planned on talking about that for a while, but I nipped that right in the bud. I’m not talking about something that’s been dealt with and never even happened in the first place. “Michael, I’ve traveled with you. We’ve spent some time together, but in some ways, I’m quite worried.”

My eyebrows knit together in confusion, “why?”

“Because you do seem so isolated.”

“I do isolate. I was actually just having this conversation with my mother.”

“You do seem so lonely, and you put on a great show for all of us. And that’s why the world loves you, but somehow, inside… Are you happy?”

I looked at him for a moment as I considered his question until I finally looked away, “I’m very happy, uh… now.” I laughed as I thought about spending time with Nina and my children.”

“You’re happy now because there are seven lights on you.”

“Hmm?”

“But are you happy in yourself?”

“Um…” I looked away again. “Seven lights on me?” I laughed. “Um. Uh…” I tried to figure out how to answer such a simple question. It really was simple. It’s a yes or no question but also forces me to dig deep into myself for a moment. 

I have children who are going to school. I have a significant other now. My ex-wife and her fiancé are thriving. Nina and I just had an argument that made me question our new relationship, but otherwise… I think I’m happy. 

“Yeah!” I finally replied. “Yeah! I am! But, um, there’s things that make me very sad. Very, very sad, and it can affect me for months. And it hurts, and that’s when I get really depressed. Really depressed.”

“What sort of thing?” Bashir asked me.

“It always revolves around children. Somebody, uh- I- Just happened to turn the channel and an older brother shot his four-year-old sister in the head. And it just killed me. That kind of stuff. So, I try not to watch the news. My mother doesn’t watch it either because it hits me right in the heart every time. I hear something crazy. Like, they abducted some kid out of her bed. Then you find them a month later, seventy-five miles away, chopped up… You know, thirty feet down in the earth. That’s a part of- I feel that pain, ya know what I mean? I feel that.”

He gave me a blank stare, unsure of whether to accept my answer or not. But it’s true! Those kinds of things really break my heart. “What if you wake up one day and you haven’t heard a story like that and… nobody’s been shot. Are you happy in yourself?” He asked again, trying to force me to dig deep within myself.

I looked away for a moment, contemplating the question. Honestly… Truly… No. And I don’t know when I’ll ever be truly happy again, but I can’t tell Bashir that. I can’t bear my soul to him like that. He wouldn’t get it. He’d rip me to shreds like he tried to do ten minutes ago.

“Yes, yes,” I finally said. “Yes, I am, because… I love blue skies… Whiskers on kittens….” I smiled. I’m bullshittin’, and he’ll probably catch on soon enough. Since he wants to mess around and disregard everything I've said to him, I'll mess around and play with him. “…’brown paper packages tied up with strings. These are a few of my favorite things.’” I laughed.

“You’re just performing, aren’t you?” Bashir asked with zero hesitation.

“I told you, I’m on stage! Um-”

“Do you find it impossible not to be on stage?”

“Hard.”

“You don’t really live your life offstage?”

“I always… I love it. I told you, I sleep with bright lights on. I can’t sleep unless my room is lit up.”

“Do you not think that’s slightly worrying? Did you used to do that when you were married?”

“No… I guess I was fine with someone else in the room, but now?” I shook my head. “It’s comforting because I spent all my childhood- I don’t remember not being on stage.”

“It’s been damaging, isn’t it?”

I licked my lips, “no.”

“But it has to be because if you can’t go to bed without lights on you-”

“I love it. I can see the audience… I can see the performance. I create. Ya know?”

“You just live in an imaginary world?”

“Yeah… I love that.”

“When did that start? Surely, your ex-wife didn’t tolerate that.”

I cleared my throat, “she uh- She understood some of it.”

Really?

“Like, she understood what I had gone through, so she understood why I did certain things. She didn’t bug me too much. She was a saint in her own right. She was there when I needed her to be, and she wasn’t when I didn’t want her to be if that makes sense.”

“Living… in your imaginary world… Is that what dissolved your marriage?”

I cleared my throat again, “I don’t want to talk about this.”

Bashir turned to look at the cameramen, then back at me, “you sure?”

“Yeah, I- This whole segment right here, just cut the whole thing. I don’t want this in the final copy. I don’t want you to ask me more questions about my ex-wife, my happiness, my children… Let’s just wrap this up.”

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I just don’t want this in the final copy.”

“Any particular reason why?”

“Because I said so,” I picked up a compact mirror and looked at my reflection, blotting away any sweat beads from my forehead. I feel like he’s trying to make me out to be crazy, and I don’t like that. I can feel it. It doesn’t feel right. Something doesn’t feel right, so I’d rather just cut what I don’t see fit to be featured in the final product.

“So, we’re done? This is it? This is how we’re gonna end the final interview?”

“You can ask me one more question,” I closed the compact mirror and set it down beside me. “One more,” I held up one finger.

“Wow… Okay. One more question: the past couple of months we spent together mean nothing else.”

“If that’s how you want to take it, by all means, go ahead. But you’ve got one more question. Please ask it wisely.”

He nodded as he looked down at his notes, trying to figure out the best last question I would allow him to ask me.

I had put him on the spot the same way he had done me. It must not feel too good to be in the hot seat now.

After months of these questions, I’m beginning to feel cornered… Overwhelmed, and now as he’s trying to dig deeper into me and my life, I can’t take it anymore. It’s been months too long already. Let’s wrap this up and leave it on a good note.

Bashir finally opened his mouth to speak and said, “in your life, if you could change anything, what would it be?”

I shook my head, “nothing. I’m very privileged to have the life I do. The people who came into my life and are out of my life have come and gone for a reason. My proudest moment would have to be when I became a father. My children are all I care about now. I’d do anything- I’d die for them. Family means a lot to me, and I wish it meant more to others.” I stood up.

“So, that’s a wrap?” Bashir stood up and walked over to me.

I reached out to shake his hand, “that’s a wrap. Send my people a copy, and we’ll approve or disapprove. I look forward to the advance copy before the premiere.”

“Did I upset you, Michael? Is that why we’re ending this on such a sour note?”

I shook my head no, “not a sour note, just goodbye. You have to understand that I rarely do interviews, so to do such an in-depth one for months has left me feeling overwhelmed and incredibly mentally exhausted. And the more you dig, the more I want to shut down, so I’m grateful that this is the last interview we’ll be conducting.”

He nodded, “I understand. Thank you for this. You won’t be disappointed in the final product, I promise.”

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