If Prince had lived long enough to complete his memoir The Beautiful Ones, it would surely have raised even more unanswered questions than it did – but perhaps more tellingly, it would have offered more examples of the moments in his life that he felt to have been the most important.

What’s clear is that he was driven by an interest in love, family, race and the position he found himself within those tangles, sometimes positive, sometimes negative, but always thought-provoking.

A prime example comes in one of the shortest passages among the handful of pages he completed before his passing, where he recalls the first three kisses of his young life. He doesn’t mention how old he was, but he’d have been around five or six years old – that’s what age his friend Laura Winnick was when it happened.

“If not traditionally beautiful, what characteristic can a woman possess that still makes her irresistible 2 men? The answer is this –– a fully cantonal imagination,” he wrote. “Laura Winnick was in possession of such a trait. No one could play-act fantasies better than Laura. Not even me. Laure had a mastery of the English language that I had never encountered b4. She could have a conversation with an imaginary friend & get everyone watching 2 suspend their [dis]belief 2 the point where they might start talking 2 the person themselves.”

Prince described Laura in a side note as someone who “looked like Elizabeth Taylor, but little. Really dark-haired.” His story continued: “Out of nowhere one day Laura decided the wanted me 2 play her husband. We weren’t the 1st interracial couple in Minneapolis, but we were no doubt the youngest. Laura kissed me three times that day. Each time was my 1st. The obligatory husband on the way 2 work kiss, one when U returned & one b4 U went 2 sleep that night. Those kisses –– not lasting over 3 second each, in line with the Hayes Code, mind U – were everything 2 me.”

He added: “2 this day my father’s rendition of the jazz standard ‘Laura’ is one of my favourite melodies.” In another side-note he observed: “I only found out later that my father played this very popular song called ‘Laura’. Those sorts of coincidences amazed me. They still do.”

 

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