It was the Spring of 1988. Tiny buds were beginning to emerge on the trees in Central Park and a heated conversation was taking place far below ground.

"Are you sure he can be trusted, Vincent?" Father asked, standing and striking his fist against the desktop.

"I trust him, Father!" Vincent replied with compassion, gesturing to make his point. "He only wants temporary sanctuary. Just a few days to rest and savor some privacy!"

Vincent began to pace in his characteristic way when he was committed to a cause. "He has a spirit that loves children and those who are vulnerable. He is a musician and an artist. A gentle, wise soul asking only that we trust him for the briefest moment! Just enough to recover and regain the strength to face his public once again!"

Reluctantly, Father acquiesced, "All right . . . only because you believe in him. I’ll allow it . . . but I do have my reservations . . . "

"Thank you, Father!" Vincent said, gratefully hugging the older man. "I promise it will be all right!" and he hurried off, leaving Father to stroke his beard and wonder . . .

* * *

Later, Vincent and Michael walked through the tunnels down to the nameless river and talked about many things. "You’ve been granted honorary degrees for your work with conservation, animals, and humanitarian charities, philanthropic endeavors across the world . . ." Vincent said with admiration. "The crowds in the city tonight . . . so many people come to honor you . . ."

Michael was dressed in a white leather jacket and black satin trousers with silver studs and sequins on his wide belt and all along his arms and legs. His dark hair fell in spiral curls over his collar and over his brow. He swept his slender hands over his face. "Oh, Vincent," he said in his soft voice, "You’re one of the few people who can understand . . ."

As they neared the waterfalls, they slowed their steps and came to rest against the rocks. "Stay here as long as you need the solitude," Vincent offered.

Vincent prepared to leave, and Michael caught his hands, detaining him. "Vincent," Michael said with strong emotion, "is there someone – someone special - that you love?"

Vincent paused, feeling connected to this young man. "Yes," he answered, "there is a woman I love."

"The way you feel about her . . ." Michael began.

"Yes?" Vincent responded.

"That’s the way I feel about the whole world!"

"I believe you," Vincent said.

The two embraced, and Vincent said, "The sentries are standing by to escort you when you are ready to go out."

"Thank you, Vincent," said the extraordinary young man.

"Be well," said Vincent, turning to go.

Looking back, Vincent thought he saw a soft light radiating from Michael’s profile – and it struck him how natural it was.

RIP – King of Pop