We had a record collection stored in an antique wooden sideboard, spilling into messy piles on top. You had to be careful with the turntable: it was expensive, and the tip was made of diamond. I would sift through these records when I was between activities: chores and company, school and dinner. There were a couple of story albums specifically for kids: Lady and the Tramp, something else…More than once, I was tricked by Cat Stevens’ Tea for the Tillerman, lured by the cartoonish cover, and the name ‘Cat’: here was a children’s album I hadn’t yet discovered. A few folksy bars in, I would realize my mistake, and take it off. When I was seven, John Lennon died. I played the Beatles for years–mostly Sergeant Pepper’s–sitting on the back of the couch, propped up on pillows, turning his murder over and over in my mind. That moment someone walked up and shot him. I wanted to understand, but one person deciding to destroy another is complicated. So I started small, with the basic, cartoonish premise that people are either good or bad. I think that’s how it was explained to me: heroes and villains. Black and white with nothing in between. No nuance. No shading. No contradictions. To me, then, John Lennon was a saint. A life scrubbed clean, with only one mess, one mistake–someone else’s–at the very end.