That’s what I thought when a sales person dressed in wizard robes handed me the final book in the Harry Potter series at Borders at midnight after I had been waiting in line for 5 hours... I have it. The years and years of waiting for this very moment are over… I have the book in my hand! I remember never having felt so much joy... I’ll never forget the “I have it” moment when the book touched my hands, but that wasn’t the first time I had felt that way.
I remember where I was when each of the Harry Potter books came out. I discovered Harry Potter late so four books had already been released and I didn’t have my first “I have it” moment until The Order of the Phoenix. I was at school at Muhlenberg in Allentown, PA and the only place I knew that would be open at midnight the night of the book release was Wegmans, a massive grocery store with a department for everything. Naturally, I had asked if they would have the books AVAILABLE ON RELEASE NIGHT AT MIDNIGHT! They said yes, but I was skeptical... so I went to Wegmans early to scout it out. It was 10:45pm, I ran in and went straight to the book section... nothing. No people waiting, no Harry Potter display case... just a bunch of romance novels and home decour magazines. So I frantically ran around looking for an employee... in Wegmans... in Allentown... at 10:45pm... I FOUND ONE! "Where is IT?!" I screamed. "Do you know where the Harry Potter books are going to be at midnight?!?!?" This poor woman was SO CONFUSED!! She had no idea what I was talking about, I started to panic!! I was sweating through my clothes!!! WHAT WOULD I DO IF I COULDN'T GET THE BOOK AT MIDNIGHT!?!! WHERE WOULD I GET IT?!! HOW!?! WAS THERE A BOOKSTORE OPENING AT 5amSOMEWHERE IN PA!?! Then, amidst my panic… I saw it... standing in the center of Wegmans by the check out counter was a rotating metal tower of books, and every single book in it was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was only 11pm, the books were unguarded... I hesitated but I went over and picked one up... I have it! I AM HOLDING HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX! AND IT'S BEFORE MIDNIGHT! I bought the book, flew back to my dorm and proceeded to devour the entire book. Skipping an entire day of classes... sorry mom.
My second “I have it” moment took place in Venice. My mother, my sister and I were on vacation touring Italy and naturally the only thing Ariana and I cared about was... where were we getting Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince at midnight? THAT’S ALL WE CARED ABOUT!! IM NOT KIDDING!! ASK MY MOM!!! SHE WAS FURIOUS!! 🤣 so Ariana and I found the ONE english bookstore in Venice… yes, we had the added challenge of not only finding the book, but we needed to find it in Italy... at midnight... IN ENGLISH! But we were determined. We found a store that promised they would have it on the release date but that they wouldn't sell it to us until 5am as they did not keep midnight hours. WE WERE DEVASTATED! But then we realized 5am in Italy is midnight in NY and we were okay. So there we were at 5am, in Venice... my mom, my sister and I, waiting for this little bookstore to open at 5am. They finally opened and of course they knew why we were there so they handed Ariana and I each our own copy of The Half Blood Prince. I will never forget staring down at those ominous black and green covers in our hands.... I have it! I HAVE IT! And the rest of the trip would be spent with my mother SCREAMING at us to look up from our books as we saw, or rather didn’t see, Italy’s most famous sights. Sorry mom.
So here we are, back in line at Borders in Columbus Circle at midnight waiting for my copy of the final Harry Potter book, dressed as a wizard. I got it, ran home, and read the entire book cover to cover.
Now, however many years later, I wonder... would I ever have an “I have it” moment ever again. Would there ever be anything I cared enough about to wait in line for at midnight, dressed as a wizard?! I would have thought the answer to that question would be a resounding NO… but I was wrong.
I got an email from my friend and incredible recording artist, Imogen Heap, inviting me to an event in London where they would be debuting the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child album... my heart sunk, I was on a plane from Iceland to New York to go to work and would never be able to make it. So I told Imogen I wouldn’t be able to make it but will wait with baited breath for the album to come out. And then she sent me a link... I clicked it... it was the album before it had been released! My heart started to RACE!! I started to well up... I was at the airport in Iceland and I clicked download. There was no internet so I had to use data roaming and it was so slow... 1%.... 1% I SCREAMED at my friends I was traveling with... 2%... 2% I SCREAMED!! Everyone thought I was insane but I’m Frankie Grande, I get that a lot. 3%… I watched the phone for what seemed like hours until it reached 100%... then processing... and DONE. I HAVE IT! I clutched my phone to my chest like all those books I waited in line for... I HAVE IT! And now I am sitting on a plane at 30,000 weeping as I write this after listening to the entire album straight though. It is a masterpiece! It took me on a journey of epic proportions! It took me back along my entire journey with Harry Potter, my journey into adulthood, my journey into love, friendship and as I write this now... my journey back to writing.
Thank you Imogen for giving me another “I have it” moment... my heart is soaring. The album is a triumph. I love you so much and you should be incredibly proud of this outstanding achievement. Thank you for trusting it to me, I will treasure it for all time.