November 28, 1984
I grabbed the mail out of the mailbox and hurried to the car to escape the rain. As soon as I got in I started the car and sped off toward my destination. It's been a while since I've seen Mother. She told me specifically not to call her "Mama Kat," "Mama Katherine," or "Katherine." She was simply "Mother" to me and she loves me as her daughter. That's what I love about her so much. She's so open and caring. It's incredible. As soon as I parked the car in front of Hayvenhurst I looked through the envelopes. "Bills, bills, sweepstakes, Michael, Michael, Me...." I stopped as I looked at an envelope written in Michael's handwriting. I smiled and hurried to open it.
Dear Shayla-Elizabeth, November 10, 1984
How have you been? It's been a while since we've last had a full blown conversation with one another. Matter of fact, it's been a while since we've last had a full blown conversation with one another via snail mail. Honestly..., I like it though. It gives a feel that writing letters has not gone out of style yet, and with you I know that it will probably never go out of style. Baby, you never have to worry about the women I come in contact with while I'm on tour. I'm not saying that as in, "hey, I'm cheating on you, but you're always my main woman. These whores don't have me feeling the way I feel about you!" Haha... No, I'm saying that because you really don't have to worry about them. I'll say, "hello" to them, smile, and take a picture with them. Even hug them, but there is nothing else. I'm not taking any groupies up to my room or on the tour bus with me. I understand now that that is the real subconsious reason as to why you were so upset with me because I didn't call. You thought that I was messing with other women, and though you may not want to admit it. Somewhere lodged in your head you had that thought. Otherwise, you wouldn't have mentioned it in your letter. So, baby. Don't ever think that I don't want to talk to you. I always want to talk to you. You're my girl. You're my wife! All that nonsense can go out the window! :) I miss you so much, and I'm sorry for leaving you in that big ol' house all by yourself :( I've got a big surprise for you when I get back. And as soon as I get to you expect lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of lovin'. I love you so much more. – Michael
I blushed deeply as I read his letter over and over again. I didn't necessarily think that he was messing around with groupies, but that thought did come up every once in a while. God, I love this man. I got out the car and did a light jog toward the front door and knocked on it. "Mother!" I called as I knocked on the door, shielding myself from the rain. "Mother!" I called again. I looked inside and noticed she was no where to be found. Maybe I should have called. As I began to make my way back to the car, I looked on my key ring and noticed the key to the house. "Perfect." I had forgotten that she had granted me a key to the house. I hurried back and unlocked the door and went inside. "Mother!" I called as I locked the door. I went into the livingroom and didn't notice her there. Great. Maybe I really should have called. Well, it's okay I guess. I hurried up the stairs and went to Michael's old room and unlocked it. He kept his room locked and only himself, Mother and I obtained the key. Why he keeps a lock on his door and he's not even there? I will never know, but I have the key, so it doesn't even matter. I looked around a bit until I finally found what I was looking for. Michael's medical records were sent here instead of to our house because Michael didn't necessarily trust his doctors enough to give them the address to our home. I opened the manilla envelope and pulled the papers out to make sure that they were indeed his medical records.
"Shayla?" I heard someone ask. I turned around to see Janet.
"Hey, sis. I was just about to leave." I put the papers back in the envelope and began to make my way out of the room.
"Are you that paranoid about Michael not calling you that you went to go snoop in his room?" She asked me rather bluntly. I slowly locked the door and faced her with a confused look on my face, "No! Never!"
"You don't have to lie to me, Shayla..." She offered.
"Honestly, I wasn't, Jan. I actually came over here to see Mother, but I see she's not here."
"Yeah, she went to visit Rebbie for the rest of the week." Janet nodded, still suspicious.
"Yeah... And, I remembered that Michael had his medical records sent here instead of to our house."
"Why would he do that?"
"He said he didn't necessarily trust his doctors to know where he actually lived yet. But, I came here to get them and take them home."
"Yeah, and Michael actually just sent me a letter. So, we're talking now. I would never ever stoop so low as to snoop on anyone."
"Mmmhm." She looked at me suspiciously again.
"Look... I know-"
"Haaa!!" Janet laughed.
"What?" I was taken aback.
"Girl, you were so nervous! You looked like I was about to tear your ass to pieces!" She laughed harder.
I rolled my eyes, "Janet..."
"Oh! I am weak! That was funny! Wait 'til I tell Michael about this one!" She laughed as she made her way to her room.
"I'm so done with you." I laughed as I checked to make sure that Michael's door was locked and made my way back downstairs.
"Hey! What are you doing later on tonight?" She called down the stairs.
"Probably grade papers. Why?"
"You tryna go out with me tonight?"
"It's a Wednesday. Are you foolin'?" I asked her.
"No... I'm dead serious. Come on! None of my girls are trying to go out with me. I need another partner in crime."
"Janet, you know good and well I'm too old to be hanging with a bunch of teenagers."
"Eighteen is not a teenager. That's clearly the age of adulthood."
"Eighteen clearly has the word 'teen' in it, therefore, you and your little goons are a bunch of 'teenagers,' love."
"Ahh, come on, Shayla!" Janet begged.
"No... Plus Jesse probably wants you to work on some more tracks."
"It's just that I'm going to be here all alone. Who wants to be alone?"
"In case you're forgetting, I've been by myself for the past three months. A couple of days won't kill ya."
"Well, can I come kick it with you?"
"Kick it with me?" I laughed. "Girl, we will be sitting at my house doing absolutely nothing."
"I don't care. I just want company." She shrugged.
"Help me grade some papers?"
"Come to class with me tomorrow? Be a guest?"
"You're really pushin' it, sister." We laughed. "Besides I couldn't be a guest any how."
"No one knows that you're married to 'Michael Jackson.' They'll be wondering how you know me, they'll put all the pieces of the puzzle together, and boom! You're on the cover of World News."
"World News? Don't they lie?" I made a face.
"Well, fine. You'll be on every cover of USA Today. Happy?"
"I understand what you were saying though..."
"You're not ready for that yet, are you?"
"To be on the cover?"
"No! For everyone to be in your face about marrying 'Michael Jackson.'" She said.
"Honestly, I'm not ready for that..."
"Janet, I don't know what to do."
"What do you mean?"
"Michael and I have kept this a secret for months and I like how its going, but how long until people begin to ask his relationship status? And once that's out of the bag, however he decides to put it, how will I be able to handle the spotlight? I've seen what being in the spotlight does to people. Michael has told me everything. I don't know if I'm ready for that. I just want to be Michael's schoolteacher wife whom he comes home to every night." I got a little worked up.
"You didn't know you had signed up for something like that, huh?" Janet offered.
"I knew, but it didn't hit me then like it's hitting me now. To me I didn't marry 'Michael Jackson the superstar.' I married, Michael Jackson the kid who grew up in Gary, Indiana who still has many dreams that he wants to accomplish. I married the Michael Jackson whom the world doesn't know at all. It didn't occur to me then that I had married 'Michael Jackson the superstar.'"
"You're not thinking about leaving him, are you?"
"Oh no! Of course not! That would be a cowardice move."
"So, what are you thinking?"
"I honestly don't even know...."