She cried brokenly and in shuddering breaths and lay limply. She closed her eyes for a moment to stop their burning and she felt the breeze through her open window and she felt sunshine on her body. The sun must have come out. She opened her eyes and saw the sunlight flooding the room and a shadow that slanted against the wall in front of her.
“Sandi, Sandi, love,” a familiar voice called softly to her. “Don’t cry. It’ll be okay.”
The owner of that familiar voice sat on her bed and ruffled her hair with his fingers.
“John!” Sandi gasped. “Oh, John, look what a mess you’ve made of me!”
It was John and her pain was washed away by his laugh. “I’m sorry, luv. You know I didn’t mean to. Come ’ead.” She sat up and he lifted her into his lap and bent her head so that her cheek rested against his heart and the top of her head was securely under his chin. He wrapped his arms around her and closed his eyes as he rocked her.
“Put your hand in mine, Sandi,” he whispered. “Then close your eyes.”
She slipped her small hand in his and closed her eyes and pressed closer against him.
“Sandi, I love you…” he whispered in her ear and his gentle breathing hummed lightly in her ears as the strangely warm breeze stirred the curtains of her window and the sunlight grew brighter.
The sunlight faded (Probably went behind a cloud, she thought) and there were voices. I don’t care who it is, as long as John stays with me.
The voices gradually got louder and then they were in the room with the pair. There was a vague roar from outside Sandi’s window, but she didn’t care about what it was. The TV was on and suddenly her radio and tape player blasted out sixties’ rock ’n’ roll.
“Sandi…John…wake up, will ya?”
Sandi opened her eyes, startled by the voice that sounded out so close to her ear.
And then she suddenly sat up.
She was lying on a couch, John next to her with his arm around her and he was dozing. Confused, she whirled around to where she had heard the voice and touched noses with Paul McCartney.
“’ello, luv. How was yer nap?” He kissed her solidly on her mouth and then laughed at her flabbergasted expression. “Like that?” he asked her teasingly.
She smiled demurely at him, trying to figure out what was going on. But she knew she wanted all of it to be real, so she said, “Paul dear, would you do that one more time---and do it better; I know you can!”
His eyes widened in surprise and he blushed. But he lifted her from the couch and gave her the exact kiss she asked for.
“There! Did that meet your standards, Miss Parker?” Paul laughed, his forehead to hers.
“Oh, yes!” she answered, really smiling this time, and dizzy from the feel of Paul’s lips on hers. This must be real---she couldn’t be so dizzy otherwise!
When was the last time they had kissed---the very last time? Oh, yes, she remembered, as friends that last time as he stood up to be married to Linda. Sandi had waited outside and then threw rice and confetti on the happy couple and he kissed her cheek, telling her to keep in touch and call him if she ever needed anything. Linda hadn’t minded her new husband kissing another woman---Sandi and Linda were close friends.
Paul lived up to what he promised; Sandi ended up on the staff of the New York Times a year or so later.
But where was Linda? And what had happened to Paul? He was so…young…
“Paul, I am not kidding, but could you tell me what year this is?” she asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.
He looked at her oddly with a question in his eyes. But he replied, “1964. Where have you been, Sandi luv?” He laughed and kissed her again, a friendly kiss on the forehead, and asked in a completely normal tone, “Would you like something to eat, luv?”
“Yes, please. Eggs, bacon, and toast. And get something for John.” She couldn’t believe she was so calm. This all seemed so…normal…
He left the room and Sandi knelt by John’s side and gently shook him awake. He opened his eyes and then sat up promptly and took her in his arms with a dreamy smile on his face.
“You know where I’ve been, Sandi? I’ve been among the stars,” he said, his eyes bright and happy.
“So have I,” she replied softly and smiled.
He leaned forward and kissed her lightly. “I’ll tell you about it sometime, Sandi. But for now---” and he regarded her severely, “---what about that job me an’ Paul offered you? Have you thought about it?”
John let out a strong breath, blowing her bangs to the side. “Yeah, job. We want you to work for us so we don’t lose track of you. You’re our little sister, remember?”
The room, couch and John whirled before Sandi’s eyes. The years slanted and reversed themselves and fell like broken glass around her.
She’d already lived all this. Had she gone back in time?
“John, please excuse me,” she said and ran to the bathroom.
John followed her saying, “Are you all right, Sandi? You look a bit pale.”
Sandi flicked on the light and stared at her reflection.
Oh my God.
Her honey-coloured hair, which she had recently cut to her shoulders, was straight and flowed like water down her back, to just above her waist. Her eyes were brilliantly blue and there were no lines around them; lines that had come recently because of the pain she had gone through. Her cheeks were round and smooth with a ripe blush and her skin had a healthy glow. She had had a bad cold and had been very pale lately, but the cold was miraculously gone and her colour was restored. She had been wearing her long tan coat with her lavender scarf but those were gone as well and she was wearing a black mini-skirt and a brightly colorful top with ruffles at the V-shaped neck and wrists. She was dreaming, of course. She was suddenly just an eighteen-year-old again, full of life and laughter and she was back in the sixties with the boys she loved. There was no way that any of this could be real.
It’s all a dream, she thought. I’m dreaming of my own past. But I won’t wake up. I want to see John even if it’s not real.
With that in mind, she felt a strange weight lift from her shoulders and she really was a girl again. She felt light and happy. She danced around the bathroom, twirling.
John caught her by the waist. “Better, then, luv?”
“Oh, yes,” she said. “And yes, Johnny, I want that job. And am I really your little sister?”
“You know that,” he replied.
“Oh, really? Would your little sister do this?” and she suddenly kissed him and then laughed.
“You tart!” he said, grinning. “Well, I’m glad you’ll be a permanent fixture then!”
They both laughed and left the bathroom to eat the breakfast Paul was getting for them.
Copyright 2000 and beyond: Lissa Michelle Supler. This is original copyrighted work and may not be reproduced in any form, by any means, without the permission of the author. Permission may be obtained by e-mail.
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