Once outside, we walk down the stairs and I stumble. I laugh as Peter catches me in his arms and takes my hands in his. He looks down into my eyes and I look back into his. He leans down once again and gives me a long kiss, pulling me close. I kiss him back and smile.
“I’ve have been dying to do that all night,” he says and walks me to his car. He opens the door for me and I get in.
As he leans to kiss me again I say, “56 Worple Avenue.” He seems startled but turns on the car and begins to drive. I may like him a great deal but I just met him and am not about to give him the wrong message. The last thing I wanted to do was having a full-fledged make-out session especially when I am so exhausted. We drive in silence until we reach Pam’s door. He parks and refuses to look at me.
“I had a really nice time tonight.” I say, hoping to make him feel better. He looks up at me and smiles.
“Yes, quite. I’m just a bit tired from the flight. Jet lag. You understand, don’t you?”
“Yes, certainly. Would you like to meet again sometime this week?”
“Definitely.” I give him the phone number to Pam’s flat and we walk to Pam’s door. He kisses me goodnight just as I ring the doorbell. Pam had forgotten to give me a key. She unlocks the door and has a strange expression on her face. I thank Peter for the night and he drives away as I enter the apartment. She looks a bit disheveled and as I glance at her couch I learn why. There John is sitting, rather stirred up himself. I immediately become embarrassed and try apologizing to Pam but she just nods and says, “I know, I forgot to give you a key.”
Pretending to not be aware of what was going on, I give a brief hello and explain I am really exhausted from today and really should be getting to bed. I quickly go to my room and get into bed. So much for not taking anyone home tonight, I think. I sigh at the thought of John’s wife who is probably waiting at home wondering where he was by now. Deciding it’s useless to worry myself on the topic I fall asleep.
I awake to the smell of scrambled eggs and bacon. I come downstairs to find Pam fully dressed cooking breakfast in the kitchen. “Good morning.”
“Good morning, sleep well?”
“Yes, what time is it?” I ask groggily.
“Only about ten in the morning.”
Almost afraid to know, I ask, “So, did, uh, John stay here last night?”
Pam somewhat startled that I would expect such a thing from her says, “Of course not. I told you I wouldn’t, he just stayed for a little…birthday chat.”
We both had to laugh at that. Some chat. “I suppose you had a good time, then—you know, having a nice happy birthday chat and all…”
“Wonderful time,” she says beaming.
“Glad to hear it, now may I have some of that fabulous smelling breakfast?”
“Of course, you think I’d just make it for myself?”
We both ate heartily and tried our best to catch up on old times. She currently didn’t have a boyfriend either, or at least not before last night. To earn money she works at the local library as well as doing freelance design work. She intends to some day write books of her own or become a well-recognized designer. Despite the fourteen years addition, it was still the same old Pam. We could laugh about the same things and share our deepest secrets. Of course she was curious as to how my drive with Peter went.
“You came back rather quickly, what was the matter?”
“Nothing, just because I don’t delight in making out with a guy on first arrival doesn’t mean something is wrong.”
“You mean he did kiss you?”
“Yes, once in the club and once outside. He tried in the car and I stopped him.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll find romance for you yet.”
“Pam, Peter is all I need for now, he’s great to be around, and remember I’m only here for a month as it is, all that’s reasonable is a short fling.”
“Hey, I found romance, why shouldn’t you?”
“Romance with a married man,” I point out. She bites her lip and turns away. She then looks up as if she hadn’t heard it.
“I’ll find romance for you yet. And by the way, I did see you guys kissing in the club.” I remembered them watching and wondered why she’d bring it up. “You do know, that was right before Paul got up to dance with that girl. I think he might have been jealous.”
Paul? Jealous? She had to be wrong. “I seriously doubt it.”
“Fine, don’t believe me. But I should let you know John invited us over to his place today.”
“Um, Pam, his place? Anyone home? John’s wife will be there.”
“No, Cyn won’t. She, Patti, and Maureen are having a ‘girls’ day out.’ Do you honestly think I would go if I thought his wife would be there?”
I seriously began to wish that John hadn’t begun to like Pam. I hated to see her feeding his lack of faithfulness. I couldn’t understand how a friend that I got along with so well and generally shared the same feelings as me could suddenly act so different. I know is it unfair to put all the blame on her especially since he’s the married man and he’s just as much a part of the relationship as her, but he’s not going to be the one to end up with a broken heart. “What time are we supposed to be over?”
“In an hour or so, you really should get ready.” Now fully conscious I decided to see Pam’s outfit choice of the day so that I could better make up my own mind. A green mini skirt and a matching top. What a surprise. After helping Pam with the dishes I went upstairs, showered, and returned to my room.
Looking through my closet I pick out a navy mini skirt and magenta shirt. After all, I was going to spend my day with the Beatles, whether Paul cares or not. Amazing, my first hour in England and I meet John Lennon. That night, I am introduced to the rest of them. The most substantial accomplishment of the night is my friendship with John, which certainly is incredible in itself.
I dress slowly, thoroughly trying to evaluate my current situation. Peter is sweet, but who am I kidding, I just hung on him to get back at Paul. I was jealous of that girl that clamped onto Paul like a tick. I love Paul---no, no, I have a teenage crush on a picture of Paul from a newspaper. But he doesn’t care about me. Proof: the only kindness he showed me was politeness and “automatic pilot charming McCartney”. John didn’t even bother to try to make me think Paul was the slightest bit interested. I’m friends with John and the feeling is mutual. It’s good to know something is substantial.
I can’t help but think of Paul again. Those eyes—so deep, showing a great deal more than any photograph ever could. That is one complicated man. There is no way with eyes like that he couldn’t be. It’s a pity I can’t be a significant part of his life. I scold myself for even bothering to think of Paul but am brought back to earth by a knock on the door.
“Come on, Julia, we are going to be late!” I quickly open the door. Pam takes one look at me and laughs.
“Woa-ho-ho, who are you trying to impress?”
“No one, I just felt I should look good if I’m going to spend my day with the Beatles.”
“You weren’t kidding.”
“Okay, enough. Let’s go.”
“Alright Miss I’m-not-trying-to-impress-anyone.” She smirks and we get in the car. She hands me a second key. “Here I forgot to give this to you last night.” She starts that car and we’re off. I carefully place the key in my pocketbook along with her number and address.
We arrive at John’s and get out of the car. We walk up to the door and Pam and I do a make up check before ringing. John answers and a smirk spreads across his face as we stand in the doorway. We enter and John whispers to me, “Peter’s going to be out of luck when you enter that room.”
I wonder at his exact meaning as we enter to follow John down the dark front hall, past extravagant rooms that appear to never be lived in yet still immaculate. Each room is accented with various unusual antiques and old posters. We even pass a suit of armor. I feel as if I am walking through a dollhouse, the scene so unreal.
Pam and I finally make it to little rectangular room at the back of the house. One wall is made completely of glass and gives a gorgeous view of John’s beautifully landscaped garden and swimming pool.
We enter to see George, Ringo, and Paul all sitting on the couch. They all stand up as we enter. Pam raises and eyebrow at me as we say our hellos.
I sit down and find myself between Paul and George. Ringo has gone over to speak with Pam and John. “Girl’s day out, I see.”
“Yea, lucky for John,” Paul says.
“Lucky for me,” George says jokingly while staring rather intently at what I don’t suppose to be my face. We all laugh and I’m glad the attention is taken away from Pam and John.
“Have a good time last night?” Paul asks seemingly only to be polite.
“Yes, quite. Didn’t you?”
“I don’t know about Paul, but I sure did.”
“I had a good time, too,” Paul says.
“I’ll bet,” George says mischievously. “But anyway, I didn’t get much a chance to talk to you yesterday, Julia. John had told us a lot about you but nothing about your interests and such.”
If he didn’t speak of my “interests and such” what did he talk to them about? I proceeded to tell them about my interest in psychology and possibility of being a child psychologist. I explained how long I had known Pam and how I’d only be in England for a month.
“Any interest in music?” Paul asks, seemingly genuinely curious.
“Oh yes, I love music. In fact I played the flute, a bit of guitar, and did a great deal of singing back in high school. I was in most of the musicals as well.”
“Beatle fan?” George asks smiling.
“Yes, of course.”
“Mind letting us in on who’s your favorite?”
“I couldn’t do that, that’s a secret.”
“I’ll put my money down on John,” George continued. I looked to see Paul’s expression but he seems to have lost interest in the conversation and begins to examine the arm of the couch instead.
“Well, you’re wrong, you know.”
“Really?” George asked. Paul looks up.
“Yes. Really.” I said smiling. “But I can say no more,” I continue, quoting Help. I really should stop quoting from Beatle films around the Beatles. It’s like incest in a strange and twisted way—it just doesn’t seem right. Despite my own feelings on the matter, Paul acknowledges my reference with a smile.
“What type of music would you play in school?” he asks.
“For the most part, classical. For flute, I played Handel a great deal. As for singing, I found great pleasure in singing Welsh tunes. Always gave me the sense of being in one Jane Austen’s novel—being Elizabeth Bennett, perhaps.”
“Avid reader, I suppose?”
“Yes, quite. Not to say I didn’t have a fondness for rock as a kid, though. I did then and invariably still do. In fact I had made a few attempts at songwriting myself. Of course, each was a fatal disaster. The same goes for my guitar playing.”
“One improves with practice, you know,” George says.
“Something tells me a lifetime of practice couldn’t help me. I’ve found I do better performing other peoples’ works and leaving my guitar at home.”
“Despite what you say about your work, I’d be curious to see some of it. That is—if you’d be willing to share it…” Paul says with surprising interest. I almost wish I hadn’t mentioned it, I feel embarrassed to have such an incredible music talent looking at my garbage. Think fast, Julia---excuses. Excuses work.
“I wouldn’t mind it’s just I’m only here for a month and---"
“How about tomorrow, two, at my place? Are you free? We could maybe go sightseeing afterward or something.”
So much for an excuse. Am I free? Who’s he joking? OF COURSE I’M FREE! I doubt I’d pass this up even if I was given the opportunity to become Queen of England and my appointment was that very afternoon. Of course, the acceptance of the offer does mean that I’ll have to work on my notes tonight in hopes of improving them. Besides, once I entered his house I could successfully distract him and he could forget all about it.
I look into his eyes. Those gorgeous eyes. “Sure,” I smile happily.
John cuts in. When did he walk over? “Ooh, now you’ve gone and done it. Luring some poor innocent girl to your house with music. Disgusting. Why I oughta---"
John begins to shake his fist jokingly at Paul and they begin a staged brawl. Paul gives up and pretends to be knocked down, falling into Ringo’s lap. We all laugh and applaud as both John and Paul take a bow.
As Paul takes a seat next to me once again I can see Pam raise an eyebrow at me. I just smile at her and she turns back to Ringo to resume their conversation. George walks over to join them as John plops down to my right. A favorite Beatle sandwich. I will not forget this week for as long as I live.
“So, what’d I miss?” John asks giving me a strange, knowing glance.
“Not much, we were discussing music,” I answer.
“So I noticed,” he says glancing up at Paul who just stares right back at him. I wonder at the messages being sent above my head, both literally and figuratively and decide to change the subject.
“Rather nice weather we’re having, don’t you think?”
“Oh, yes, I suppose so,” Paul replies obviously just trying to keep the friendly atmosphere I was setting up.
“Oh---yeah,” John replies looking at me with a "Weather? Is the conversation that desperate?” sort of look. Thankfully, he then begins a more neutral topic—Julian, now two, the son so well hidden from all publicity that I didn’t know existed.
John clearly loves Julian but sadly doesn’t seem to know how to deal with him. He doesn’t say it directly but by the way he speaks about his son it becomes clear he doesn’t really seem to understand the child. He just doesn’t understand what to do as a father. A father---a father that Pam has wrapped around her little finger.
It appears as though Julian is spending the night at a friend’s house and won’t be home until the next morning. The phone rings and as John goes to pick it up. Paul and I are left alone. “So how do you guys have any fun in daylight when you know you can be spotted by millions of frantically screaming teenage girls?”
“Believe me, we find a way. Hey, what would you say to going to a movie?”
“Oh, I’d love to but how could we all get in without seeming too obvious?”
“Well I was sort of thinking we could go alone.” On the word “alone” I look into Paul’s eyes. He’s completely serious. He’s not playing games. Paul McCartney is asking me on a date!
“Now?” I have to admit I was surprised. Alone? I’d love to go but it certainly didn’t seem in the best of manners to just get up and leave with him. What would the others think?
“Well maybe not now, everyone here and all. Rain check?”
“Sure.” I doubt it was possible for me to say “No,” to such a wonderful offer. I began to smile uncontrollably.
John enters the room looking flustered. He sticks his left hand in his blue jean pocket and sweeps his hair back with his right. Everyone looks up. “It appears as though the girls are coming back a bit early. They’re tired of shopping. They’re on their way here.”
I look at Pam but she’s staring at John and biting her lip. Her face is so blank I wonder if she is looking through John. It is then Paul sends John an “I-told-you-so” look. John shrugs.
In the uncomfortable awkwardness of the situation, I revert my attention to the room. I steal a glance at one wall with a large notice reading: “Milk is Harmless.” That must have been of John’s selection, I think.
Ringo, deciding to ignore the growing tension says, “That’ll be gear. I’ve missed Maureen.” I smile. He’s so sweet. George nods in agreement seemingly happy that he’ll get to see his beloved as well. All the married Beatles are happy---except John.
He continues to be stolid. “Cyn’s dying to meet you girls. Says she’s heard a lot about you from Patti and Maureen. She feels badly about being stuck in bed last night with a cold.”
Afraid of Pam’s response, I decide to take the pressure off her. “Oh yes, that would be great.” I look over to Pam, who manages to plaster on the best smile she can and silently nod.
In the time leading op to the wives’ return, there is a brief silence. A distinct chill can be felt throughout the room. Luckily, conversation picks up and in a matter of minutes “the girls” enter. Maureen, Patti, and Cyn are all dressed absolutely perfectly and carrying various shopping bags. They are immediately welcomed in and soon enough Ringo is busy talking to Maureen on the couch with George and Patti. All the wives are happily chattering away—except Cyn. John gives her and awkward “Hello” kiss as Pam and I walk over.
Cyn smiles and acts as the perfect hostess. I shake hands and as watch Pam and Cyn meet. They are both blonde, both beautiful, but although Cyn is blessed with legal possession of “the Beatle in question,” Pam is undoubtedly prettier.
I then turn to John’s face. It seems strained. The girl who had just enjoyed a lovely “birthday chat” with him the night before is shaking hands and cordially discussing shopping and being welcomed by a seemingly unaware Cyn. John’s face becomes once again expressionless. I watch as his previously vibrant personality drains from his face and body.
As Pam follows to help in the nearby kitchen and check out the new purchases with Patti I am in shock. They truly hit it off well. Their absence leaves George, Ringo, and Maureen still chattering away. Paul is looking out the glass wall and I am continuing to face John who is watching Paul. When will the day come when I am not staring at a Beatles’ back and I can finally look at their face?
“John, are you okay?” I ask in whisper.
“Yea. Yea. I’m bloody wonderful.”
He pauses. He seems to regain his friendly self and places his hand on my shoulder. “I’m sorry luv. I know I’m in a bad situation that’s all. I just need some time alone.” With that, he walks slowly upstairs.
I walk over to Paul. “Are you alright?”
Paul turns, plasters a publicity smile on his face and says, “Yes, of course I am.” A distinct difference between John and Paul. Paul hides his emotions---John doesn’t bother. Obviously noticing the look of doubt on my face says, “Really. I’m fine.” He once again turns to look out the window. I begin to think he’s tuning me out and yet continue to watch him. Paul seems somewhat tranquil though I know there is more happening within him than I’ll ever know. He continues to stare into John’s old English country garden. “Want to go for a walk?” He looks at me as he waits for an answer. “I’m sure we won’t be missed.”
I am tempted to say yes, but just before I respond, George yells from the couch, “Hey, what are you two up to over there?”
Paul looks up seemingly displeased. “Nothing.”
“Didn’t look like nothing to me,” Ringo says jokingly.
“Looks like they’ve got a conspiracy going,” George continues. “They’re out to do us in.”
“We will if you don’t shut your gob.”
“Oh boys, let them be. They can have their privacy if they want it,” Patti says smiling at me. Paul and I sit back down on the couch. Both Maureen and Patti seem disappointed that their husbands destroyed whatever private moment Paul and I were having together.
“We were trying to think of what we should have for dinner. I know Cyn’s in a real cooking mood, as are we. What would you say to something exotic?” starts Maureen.
“Indian?” George asks.
“Possibility. Any other ideas? Julia, perhaps?”
“Um, well I’m really up for about anything. England’s new for me, and with it come new experiences.” At the word “experiences” I notice the guys give each other a side-glance as George raises both his eyebrows up and down. They then burst out laughing. I can’t believe this, grown men with the mind of thirteen-year-olds. I become uncomfortable. Maureen and Patti laugh at the immaturity of their husbands. I look to Paul who is acting just as childish as the others. “That’s not what I meant, umm, I mean, I meant---”
Patti smiles. “We understood.” She shoots George a nasty look. He feigns innocence.
“Well it will certainly make it simpler to that our guest is open to new ideas,” Maureen says. “ Even though it’s not our house, Patti and I still see you as our guest. After all, you are just visiting England.”
I smile. “I appreciate that. You know, I’d be willing to help you guys cook if you wish.”
“No, we couldn’t have that. Besides, Pam has already offered to help. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy yourself.” Maureen agrees. They certainly are great hostesses. Patti then turns to Maureen, she nods back and they excuse themselves to the kitchen.
I survey the room and can’t help but laugh inside. I’m in Beatle heaven. No sooner do I think that John enters the room. He looks a bit more together and sits down on a facing chair. I’m surrounded completely and utterly by Beatles. This is unreal. I just may go into Beatle overload. The rest of the guys ignore John. They seem used to his moods.
“Welcome back,” I say smiling. He gives a small smile back.
“The girls are making a ‘special surprise dinner’ for our guest,” Ringo informs him. John sighs.
“Not another one of Cyn’s ‘surprise dinners’…”
“No, it’s a combined effort this time,” George says. I wonder at what last time could have been.
“Good thing at that, too,” Paul says with a laugh. They all seem in agreement.
“I suppose you’ve had such ‘special surprise dinners’ before?” I ask.
“Just once,” John says. “And it was bloody awful.”
“Oh, don’t say it like that John. It was all you could ‘ave expected of a ‘surprise dinner’…It just ‘appened to be ‘taste impaired’.” Paul says.
“…Taste impaired? There was enough taste in that thing to send you twelve feet under,” John retorts.
Ringo must have noticed the apprehension in my face for he then says, “Oh come on guys, it wasn’t that bad.”
George gets the hint, looks at me. “Yea…nothing’s that bad.” The double meaning in George’s statement makes me laugh.
“Seriously luv, maybe Ringo’s right…after all, it’s a combined effort tonight isn’t it?” John says with hidden sarcasm.
“Certainly is,” Paul says continuing the sarcastic tone.
“I’m sure you’ll love it,” says a smiling George.
John laughs, “Now that’s we’ve scared her into thinking her food’ll be poisoned, who’s up for a game of checkers?”
“I am!” Paul shouts enthusiastically.
John takes out the board and George, Ringo, and I are left to watch. I join George and Ringo on the couch as Paul and John position themselves on the floor. It’s hilarious to watch as the two do they’re best to cheat without letting the other know. George and Ringo join in the fun by acting as a distraction.
“Hey, uh Paul.”
“Yes, George?” Paul says not taking his eyes off the board.
“What? You’re not even going to look at me when spoken to?”
“Oh come on.”
“No, I’m not a bleedin’ idiot.”
“Oh, come on, Paulie.”
“I said ‘No.’” Paul is becoming increasingly more frustrated and less able to concentrate on the game as George’s taunting progresses.
“Oh but Paulie!”
Paul huffs and turns to George. “George, I’m not about to fall for the same bloody trick again. You’re only trying to get my attention so that John---” With that, he realizes he’s already fallen for it. He turns to John who has now successfully rearranged the checkers to his advantage and sighs. Within seconds he laughs at his own gullibility and the others join in. This continues for another hour or so until Patti enters.
“Dinner will now be served in the main dining room,” Patti says with a false air. She gestures out the door of the living room and we follow to the table. The smell of soup wafts throughout the room from the kitchen. It’s difficult to decide whether or not the smell is favorable, but it is certainly pungent. John takes the seat the head of the table, Patti to his right, George next to Patti, Cyn next to George, Ringo at the other end of the table, Maureen to my right, me, Paul to my left, and Pam to the left Paul, which means she’s to the right of John. Not good timing for such a seating arrangement, I think.
I look down at the bowl of brown soup with foreign objects floating in it and realize everyone is watching me. I look up, smile, set my napkin on my lap, pick up the spoon, and brace myself. No matter what, you have to at least pretend to like it. I dip my spoon into the murky liquid, blow, and sip. It’s not half bad. It tastes rather good actually, almost like chicken soup. I look up and smile. I notice a look astonishment move from each Beatles face to another. “It’s delicious. No really, it’s good.”
Cyn smiles, “No doubt from the astonishment on everyone’s face they told you about my last ‘special dinner’.” The four boys (that’s what they are, really, boys) look embarrassed and her question seems answered. “All right everyone, now that you see the taster hasn’t died, you may all eat as well.”
“Not yet at least,” John mumbles. Cyn looks hurt and everyone pretends not to have heard him. Everyone begins to taste the soup and seem to enjoy it.
“So, uh, what exactly is it?” Ringo asks.
“Oh, it’s a specialty of mine. Have you all been enjoying it?” Pam says. Pam must be a much better cook than I originally thought. Although I have already tasted her fantastic scrambled eggs.
Everyone nods and Pam smiles. “It’s turtle soup.”
My eyes betray me and show my absolute distaste at the thought of eating a poor defenseless turtle. Luckily for me I’m not alone and see a similar reaction from John, Paul, George, and Ringo. I begin to feel nauseous and ask to be excused. I search frantically for a bathroom. Finally, I find one and rush to the toilet. I vomit. Wonderful. Some thanks you’re giving to John. You are invited into a celebrity’s home and your first impression consists of you vomiting up the main course. Not to forget that you have just completely and utterly insulted your best friend’s “specialty”. Absolutely wonderful. I thoroughly wash out my mouth in hopes of not carrying any scent of the horrible act that just took place, as if no one already knows. I automatically become embarrassed and fear returning to the table, yet know the longer I wait to return the worse the reaction will be when I return. What if I was never to come back? I could just sort of disappear and no one would know…
I hear a knock on the door. “Hello. Luv? Are you alright?” It’s John. Of all humiliations. I quickly open the door and force smile.
“Yes, I’m fine.” John looks seriously worried. “I’m fine, really.” There is a brief silence. “Are they all still waiting for me to return the table? I’m so embarrassed. I don’t think anything more humiliating could have happened to me tonight.”
“Don’t worry luv, everyone understands, I felt about ready to run to the loo meself.” He senses my continued discomfort, “Seriously luv, it’s alright. There’s no need for you to feel bad,” picking up cheer, “Hey, I love the thought that one of my toilets was blessed with the vomit of such a gorgeous girl.” I blush. “Come on, let’s head back. They’ll begin to wonder if I’ve nailed you already…” I laugh. “See I got you smiling already.”
We enter the dining room laughing hysterically. The entire walk over he continued to embarrass me with jokes on vomiting. They may have been repulsive but I have to admit it did break the ice. I look up to see seven sets of silent eyes directed at me.
“Why hello,” I say sitting back down. I look at Pam and she looks sincerely worried for me. I smile back and she turns to John. I pick up my spoon automatically but then put it back down remembering that if I picked up the spoon I would then be expected to digest some more of that soup. I look up from the table. Everyone looks away all in some form so as politely not to embarrass me. I look to Paul. He’s staring down into his soup but then faces me. Several conversations pick up around us.
“Are you alright luv?” His beautifully round chocolately brown pools located directly beneath his eyebrows reflect a definite look of worry. I smile. Paul McCartney is worried about me.
“Fine, thank you.”
Obviously afraid to pursue the topic any further he looks to Cyn and asks, “Can I have another piece of bread, please?”
Cyn smiles, “Certainly.” She hands him a slice.
“Ta.” I wonder at the meaning of Paul’s reply but figure it is some Liverpudlian
way of saying “thank you.” Soon enough the bowls are taken away and two pies and a cake replace them on the table.
Cyn points, “This one is cherry, this one is apple cranberry, and this is a double fudge chocolate cake.” I smile.
“Patti had picked these up at a store,” Pam says looking at me. I wonder how badly I had hurt her. I simply nod. The plates are filled and I find myself with a large slice of each. I’m starving after having not eaten since breakfast that morning and then throwing up whatever food had been in my stomach. The desert is fabulous and I feel a great deal better. I smile.
Paul turns to me and places his right hand on my right shoulder. It’s warm and firm; I can feel a chill run down my spine. “I’m glad to see you’re feeling better,” Paul says with a smile. I am left speechless. I force a “thank you,” and dinner is over. Everyone piles out of the dining room and I offer to help the girls in the kitchen.
“That’s really sweet of you, but remember you’re our guest,” Patti says.
I am then brought into the living room and find myself making small talk with the Beatles for about an hour until Pam returns. We check the time and realize it’s somewhat late, thank everyone and walk out the door.
As we walk to the car I stop and tell Pam to wait a minute. “Pam, I’m really sorry for what happened in there. The soup really tasted good, it’s just when I found out it was---"
Pam smiles, “It’s all right, you shouldn’t worry about it. I’m not hurt. I understand you weren’t expecting to find yourself sipping up the remains of a little green-shelled critter.” It’s a relief to know she understands and I remember why she’s my best friend. We get in the car and begin to drive home.
“Uh Pam, when I left, what happened?”
She laughs a bit, “Well, not too much really. It seems as though you weren’t the only one who wished they could have emptied the main course from their digestive tract but were to embarrassed to run off and actually do it.” I become humiliated. Everyone else wanted to, but they didn’t. You are the rude American. Pam notices my silence. “Oh Julia, don’t think it has anything to do with manners. Everyone understands your reaction. I’m sure if you hadn’t done it, one of them would have. I suppose they felt that if everyone started dropping like flies I would become hurt, and so forced it down their throats in act of complete martyrdom.” I smile at her response. “But I must admit John seemed extraordinarily upset about it. He really thought you were ill. You should have seen him rush out to you. I’m almost certain I saw I look of shock on Cyn’s face.”
“Cyn? You mean she thinks we’re having an affair?”
“I don’t know, I doubt she jumped to that conclusion. But she certainly looked surprised at his enthusiastic run to help you.” John Lennon rushed out of the room even in everyone’s presence with such fervor as to alert Cyn. Oh I certainly hope Cyn doesn’t see me as some home-wrecker that forsakes her hospitality and is trying to completely destroy her family. “…And then when you both returned laughing together. You two looked like two high-schoolers out on a date.” I had to look up at that. For Pam to say that, she must have been jealous and even saw jealousy in Cyn. Just what you need, two women already fighting over a man to mistake you for competition.
“Pam, you know I’m not attracted to John that way.”
“Yes, but I’m more worried about John’s own feelings.”
“You say that completely forgetting that he’s a married man. He knows better than that.”
“He certainly seemed to forget about that during our birthday chat last night.” I begin to wonder exactly what did happen between them the night before.
“What is your point?”
Her knuckles whiten as her grip tightens on the steering wheel. “I don’t know. I really don’t know.”
“Pam, you have to know that you can’t keep on a relationship with him. You saw solid proof of that today. Her name is Cynthia.”
“I saw solid proof he’s anything but faithful and is not in close relationship with Cyn.” I sigh. What can I say to that? It was clear that John and Cyn weren’t in the middle of the most loving relationship but to then say that it’s alright for her to intervene as his new love was ridiculous.
“What about his son?” I ask.
“What about his son?”
“You can’t do this. You can’t just step in and destroy his marriage. If it happens on its own, it happens on its own, but you can’t just date a married man, a married man with a son.” Pam continued to stare straight into the road ahead. She clearly didn’t want to hear what I had to tell her. “Pam, you’re my best friend in the world. And I hold an incredible amount of respect and love for you, but you have to understand my point. John may be someone you adore and fawn over, but he’s taken. He’s off-limits.” The entire ride home is in silence. We finally reach her flat and enter. We both sit down on her living room couch.
“Please Pam don’t you at least understand my point of view?”
She sighs. “Yes, Julia. I understand it but I don’t want to believe it. I love that man and I don’t want to admit to myself that I can’t have him.” She looks at me, teary-eyed. I comfort her and she begins to sob as mascara runs down her cheeks. She cries for a while and finally looks up at me. “Julia, you’re right. I just don’t know if I have the will to follow what I know is right.”
“Try. You have to try. He’s just a man.”
“He not ‘just a man,’ he’s John Lennon.”
I sigh, “Yes, but a married John Lennon.”
She begins to laugh and looks down at the blue-green carpet. “I can’t believe I’ve gotten myself this worked up over a man.” Pam, then seemingly resolved, takes a deep breath and stares me in the eyes. “I, Pam Barrett, solemnly swear to do my best and give up John Lennon, leaving him to rejoice in Cynthia’s prior claim. I shall move on and find someone else, maybe not someone better, but someone else.” She then smiles. I smile back. Exhausted from the whole ordeal we both go to bed.
“Good night, Pam.”
Written by Jane Anderson. 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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