I awake to sunlight piercing my eyes. I look up to see Pam completely dressed and chipper as ever.
“Julia, you do realize it’s one thirty in the afternoon. You should get up.”
I rub my eyes and am immediately jolted to life when I remember that in less than a half an hour I am expected to be at Paul’s prepared to show him my music. I jump out of bed and check the clock. “Oh no! This is horrible!”
“I’m supposed to be at Paul’s at two!”
“What? Since when?”
“Yesterday…when we were at John’s…I had mentioned that I had made a few horrible attempts at music and he wanted to see my lyrics…” I never even looked at them to make even the most minor of improvements. “…I was going to look them over last night…I don’t even know where he lives…what am I going to do?”
Pam continues to stand in the blinding light. “Um, well, whatever you do, don’t panic. You could…call John.”
“John? I couldn’t, I don’t know what it is, but for some reason when he heard of Paul’s plans---well, you saw their mock brawl.”
“You mean that was over you?”
“No---of course not, it was obviously over something they were clearly unresolved on it the past, why on earth would it have anything to do with me?”
“Because you were there when they started it?”
“Pam, be serious.”
“I am, but we obviously don’t have enough time to argue over the matter. We have to get you dressed, to Paul’s, and make you a killer lyricist within the next twenty-five minutes.”
I immediately jump into the shower and return quickly to find my outfit set out on the bed. I can’t but help laughing at Pam’s selection. There lies an extraordinarily short black mini skirt and tight lavender sweater that clearly belong to Pam. Beside them are a new pair of fishnet stockings and my Go-Go boots. Realizing I don’t have the time to search for something different, I throw them on.
Pam enters as I begin applying violet eye shadow. “I just called John.”
“But Pam I---"
“Yes, I know you originally didn’t think that was a good idea, but you yourself said that it couldn’t have possibly had anything to do with you…aside from the fact I truly needed an excuse to call him…” I sigh. “Listen, I can give you directions to Paul’s.” I look up from the mirror. “They’re not as difficult as I originally thought. It seems as though your biggest concern in driving there may be remembering to stay on the left side of the road.”
“You mean I’m driving there?”
“What? Did you think you would just magically appear there?”
“No---it’s just---well, I guess I hadn’t really thought of it.” My insecurities about driving in a country I am unfamiliar with to a place I didn’t know was one thing, but the fact that I had to drive on a completely different side of the road than I was used to would just complicate the situation more. Pam could see I was worried.
“Julia, believe me, you can do it. I have a map for you and extremely detailed clear directions.” She sighs and looks down at my clock. “Look, you don’t have time to worry! You are clearly already going to be late but at this point it is more important as to how late you are going to be---it’s 1:55 now, you could maybe make it there by 2:30.” I finish my make up and examine myself in the full-length mirror kept on the back of her door.
“I feel like a hooker.”
“You’re dressed like me.”
I look at her. I clearly am dressed like Pam, but for some reason when I look at her the outfit seems a bit more appropriate. “I know.”
“Oh Julia, it’s not that revealing. Besides, you’re shorter than I am, which makes the skirt longer on you.” I examine the black hem that ends right above mid-thigh and wonder, If this is longer on me, what could it possibly look like on her?
Pam laughs, “Yes, I’ll admit it, it’s incredibly short on me. That’s why I only wear it on special occasions.” I raise an eyebrow. “And yes, I consider a rendezvous alone with Paul McCartney at his house a special occasion. Believe me, the skirt comes in handy.”
I decide not to further the discussion. “Ok, you’ve gotten me dressed and directions to Paul’s, now how about the part about making me a killer lyricist?”
“Um, well, I’m not a profession Fairy Godmother so I’m sorry to say you’re out of luck in that department.” I bite my lip. She may not be able to help me, but no matter what Paul expects to see it this afternoon and I’m not prepared.
I make a fast advance to the closet and begin searching for my marble notebook. As I kneel on the floor and lean over I become increasingly aware of the length (or should I say lack of length) of Pam’s skirt. I find my notebook on the top self and quickly flip through in hopes of magically converting all my past lyrics into beautifully written masterpieces. Sadly, my scribbled pages remain the same and I’m left with nothing but my non-doctored up, completely original works. I stand up and Pam signals that it’s time.
Pam hands me her extraordinarily neatly written directions, map, and car keys. She wishes me luck and she helps me to get my pea coat and pocketbook. As I walk out the door Pam stops me, and gives me a mischievous smirk. “Remember, if you want to have any guests over later, you have the key.” I laugh but realize that she’s being serious. I unlock the car door and get in. I become disoriented by the change in sides but take a deep breath and organize myself. I position the directions and map on the dashboard and place my marble notebook along with my pocketbook on the chair to my right. I take a cursory glance over the directions; they seem relatively easy.
I make my way out the drive way rather smoothly and continue out into the street. I begin to relax and feel more comfortable. I come to the end of the directions and park the car. I walk outside and up the steps to a door. I knock. An old woman in curlers and a pink bathrobe opens it. “Hello? Yes? Oh, I don’t want to buy anything---” She begins to close the door and I stop her.
“Excuse me miss, but I’m looking for a house, is this the residence of Paul McCartney?”
She begins to laugh. “Oh, I thought you were a make up peddler.” She looks me over. “You look a right little thing, don’t you?”
“Well you certainly don’t look like the kind of girl I’d want my daughter to turn out to be. You younger generation with your rock and roll, I’m sorry but I just don’t---"
“I’m truly sorry, but I seem to have gotten lost. I’m looking for the house of Paul McCartney.”
“Paul McCartney---he’s a friend of mine.”
She gives me a nasty look. “Oh, I’ll bet, ‘a friend of mine,’ she says, we’ll see about that. Dressed like that? To go see a friend? A male friend even. You Americans…come into England and—“
“Rude one aren’t you, treating an old woman like me the disrespect you have I ought to slap you across the face.”
I look the woman the eyes. I am infuriated. “Miss, I have continued to be polite. I am lost in a country I am not familiar with. I thought this was the house I was looking for but I was clearly wrong. Would you please direct me as to where I am supposed to go?”
“I’m sorry, but I’m not about to help any fresh-mouthed tart that comes knocking on my door on her way to ‘a friend of hers,’ not a chance.” With that, the old woman slams the door. I continue to stare in front of me and my arms begin to feel heavy. I get back in the car and look at my watch. It’s already 2:15! I’m fifteen minutes late, and I’m lost! As I scrutinize over the directions I begin to feel light-headed. I hadn’t eaten anything this morning. There just wasn’t time. Just what I needed. Now what am I going to do?
I look the directions over again and figure the only way I’ll find my way is to back track. I turn the car around and proceed to follow my directions backwards. An hour later, after driving in circles, I find my error. I park beside the sidewalk. I walk up to the gate. I notice a group of girls standing around giggling and one holding a teddy bear.
“Hello,” I say.
“Oh, hello,” the girl holding the teddy bear replies.
“I’m here to see Paul.”
“So are we.”
I sigh. Not only am I late and starving, but I’m also locked out. “Do you happen to know how I could contact him?”
“Well, there’s the speaker machine right there but he usually gets annoyed when we use that. You’re a bit old to be doing this, don’t you think?” another girl answers.
I can’t believe this. They think I’m just a grown teenybopper who came just to worship Paul at his gate. “I think I’ll take the chance.”
“I don’t know, you probably shouldn’t.”
I press the button of the speaker and talk into it. “Hello, is anyone there?”
The voice of a man I don’t recognize answers, “Yes, hello?”
“Um, I’m here for Paul. He’s expecting me---it’s Jul---”
I can hear the man on the other side sigh, “I’m sorry miss but you’ll have to wait outside like the rest of them.” I hear silence from the other end.
“Told you,” the snotty teenybopper says. I sigh in desperation. I realize I’ll have to find a phone and contact Pam. I get back in the car and drive a short distance until I find a pay phone. As I walk over I begin to shiver. I hadn’t realized how cold it had become. I put in money and call Pam.
“Hello Pam, it’s me, Julia.”
“Julia! Where are you? You’ve gotten everyone worried. Paul called.”
I sigh. “I got lost and now that I have finally found his house I can’t get it. There are a bunch of teenage worshippers standing outside his gate and when I used the speaker and spoke to the voice of a man I didn’t recognize, he just thought I was another one of them.” I am about ready to burst into tears.
“It’s alright Julia, it’s okay. Just tell me where you are and I’ll have Paul come and get you.”
“No---I can’t believe that I’ve become such a nuisance to him. Not only have I now annoyed his guard person but I’m also late. Plus---I’m sure Paul will be disappointed when he sees how amateur my work is.”
“Julia, you’ve gotten yourself all worked up. Oh poor dear, you haven’t eaten either, have you? I’m sorry I should have you something this morning. I just hadn’t thought of it. Here, just tell me where you are.”
I look around and find a sign. I relate the name to her and she says, “Ok, that’s not too far, I’ll have Paul come and get you.”
“Pam! No, please—” She hangs up. I sigh and realize that I now will just have to wait until he arrives. For me to leave and get lost again would just make me even more of an aggravation. I open the car door and take out my marble notebook. Might as well be prepared for his arrival. I continue to shiver and wish I could be back at my New York apartment, curled up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and a book.
Within minutes a car I don’t recognize parks on the side of the road. I watch as Paul opens the door and steps onto the sidewalk. The sight of Paul in a pair of tight blue jeans and black long sleeved shirt ten feet in front of me makes me woozy, and combined with my light-headedness from having not eaten I am about ready to collapse. Now he’s going to think of me as some weak-willed incompetent idiot who finds a way to get sick and lost wherever she goes. As he comes closer I can see him distinctly worried.
“Julia, I got Pam’s call, all you alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine, I just got lost.”
He sighs, relieved. “Oh, from what Pam had said you seemed in pretty bad shape.”
Unsure of what to say, I force a smile. What had Pam told him?
Paul smiles back, “But she was definitely wrong. You look absolutely smashing.” I blush. He puts his arm around me. Amazingly, he’s incredibly warm and I’m glad to have him to heat me up. He looks at me, “You’re shivering luv, are you sure you’re alright?”
I continue to smile, “I’m fine, I just need to get inside, that’s all.”
“Alright then, let’s get into the car. You can leave Pam’s here for now.”
Paul keeps his arm around me as we walk to the car. He opens the door and gestures for me to enter. I sit down and place my notebook and pocketbook on my lap after fastening my seatbelt. I begin to cross my legs and Pam’s skirt gives me a rather abrupt reminder that it was not made for so much movement. As nonchalantly as I can manage, I replace my legs next to each other no matter how uncomfortable that would make me. The last thing I want is for this to tear.
We approach the gates and as we wait for them to open I spot the girls from before still standing there. I turn my head away from the window in hopes that they won’t recognize me and Paul notices. “Afraid of the gatebirds, are you?”
“Gatebirds?” Must be what he calls those teenage worshippers. I blush. “No, it’s just I didn’t want them to recognize me from before. You see—I had tried to contact you with the speaker but the man on the other end just thought I was one of them and so told me I couldn’t enter.”
Paul looks at me sympathetically, “I’m really sorry. It was me on the microphone, I had thought you were just another one of them. I should have told you that I would come and pick you up—I hadn’t realized all the difficulty I would put you through. I was going to tell you, but I guess I got distracted by John.”
“It’s alright.” I continue to watch the road ahead as Paul continues up the driveway.
“No, I had honestly meant to. I’m really sorry. I must have made a truly bad impression on you at this point.”
I turn to him. Paul McCartney is actually worried that if he had made a bad impression on me or not? This must be a dream. “No, Paul, you haven’t.” Excepting the club, that is, I think. I begin to laugh remembering that I had been afraid he would think of me. “Actually, I was afraid that I had made a bad impression on you.”
Paul seemed surprised, “A bad impression, how?”
I become embarrassed, “I don’t know, I guess from being so incompetent as to not be able to find your house, being late, getting sick at John’s.”
He smiles placing his hand on my right arm, “Of course I wouldn’t think that.” There is a brief silence. He looks into my eyes, then down, and moves back into his seat. “Well, it’s good to have that resolved, but we should get out of the car, after all, we have arrived.”
I grin as he helps me out of the car and places his arm around my shoulder once again as we make our way to the door. He unlocks it and we enter. He leads me to his kitchen where I can hear a large thumping and nails pounding against the floor come clobbering in. It was a huge sheepdog. “Pam told me you hadn’t eaten,” Paul says. He kneels down to pet the jumping slobbery dog and grins. “This is Martha. She’s a good girl. Let her get your scent and she’ll love you for life.”
I smile and sit down on a chair. “Thanks for the advice.”
Paul walks casually over to the refrigerator and opens it. Martha follows him. “I’m sorry to say I don’t have much in the way of real food in this house. I usually eat out—hmm…Martha, no, I’m busy, go to Julia. Julia, could you call her?”
“Oh certainly, um, Martha, come here, Martha,” Martha comes bounding over and begins to sniff me. She then begins to jump all over me covering my arms in slobber. She’s a truly adorable dog. I continue to pet Martha as Paul continues to rummage, “There are some oranges, strawberries—ah yes, and Cyn let me take home the rest of the cheery pie.”
Well sugar is better than nothing. He pulls everything out and places it on the table. While in the process of getting a plate from a cabinet he asks, “Now, would you like some coffee, tea, hot cocoa, perhaps?”
“Hot cocoa please.” A grin spreads across his face and he places the mix on the counter. He then proceeds back to the table, picks up the strawberries and walks over to the sink. With every move, Martha trails Paul. I begin to stand up, “Please, let me help you.”
He stops me, “Luv, I couldn’t let you do that, you’re my guest.” I sigh and sit back down. Martha comes back over and pleads for attention.
If only I could be a guest at home. I would never have to get up and any time I wanted to help my parents would say, “No sweetie, you’re a guest, sit down, enjoy yourself.” I get onto the floor to play with Martha. She overpowers me with her large size and weight so I sit back in my chair. I continue to pet Martha and watch intently as Paul washes the strawberries, cuts off the leaves, and places them in a bowl.
“Good girl, yes, Martha, you’re a good girl. Yes, I love you, yes you are a beautiful girl,” I say in my “talking to a baby” voice.
Paul carries the strawberries to the table. “She likes you.”
“I like her. I love dogs. I have one at home, actually. She’s a small little white Bichon Frise. She’s really sweet, her name is Cloe.”
“Aw, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for animals.” He smiles as he carefully places the bowl in front of me.
“I love strawberries.”
“I wish I had more to offer you, but you can start on this as I get the rest ready.”
“You really don’t have to do all this---"
He kneels down next to me takes my hand in his and looks me in the eyes. “I want to.” The moment is interrupted by Martha jumping between us and attacking Paul with kisses all over. Still entranced by the moment, my eyes follow him as he gets up and walks back to the other side of the table where he picks up three oranges and carries them back to the counter. I watch as he cuts them into slices and realize that he’ll notice I’m not eating. I reach for a strawberry and bite on it as he places a pot on the stove. He continues to pour water and milk into the pot as he turns on the heat and I munch on another strawberry. “Martha, sit.” Obediently, Martha sits down on the ground next to his leg. He returns to the oranges, places them in a flower design on a plate and carries it over to me. I smile as he returns to pour in the cocoa mix.
Paul returns to the table, Martha still trailing, and cuts a slice of cheery pie for me. He brings it over and soon enough the hot cocoa is ready. He fills two mugs and carries them over. He places them down and sits next to me. Martha joins us.
I can smell the wonderful cocoa vapors enter my nose. He signals for me to try it. We lift mugs, toast, and I take a sip. I must say this is the best cup of hot cocoa I’ve ever had—possibly because it was made by Paul McCartney, but that can’t be the only reason. “Mmm.”
“Glad to see you like it,” he smiles. Martha paws at his leg for attention. He makes a funny face as if to an infant and gives her a kiss. Paul is certainly unusual. He’s so wonderful and yet down to earth.
If he’s this great with dogs, he’d be wonderful with children…children? Julia, you’re mind is getting carried away. “I’m sorry you’ve had such a rough day. So what exactly happened?” he asks.
I laugh at the memory of that old woman in the curlers and pink bathrobe and begin to wonder how much I should tell Paul. I decide he might as well hear everything. I relate the entire story to him and before long the fruit and pie is finished and we’re laughing.
“You certainly did have a rather hard day. Oh Julia, you’re no tart.”
“Well, I appreciate that.”
There is a brief silence. “Alright, now that you’ve eaten something, let’s get down to business. Are you still interested in showing me your work?”
He hadn’t forgotten. After all that, he hadn’t forgotten. “Oh, well, if you really want to see it---"
“I would love to. Here, let’s go into the den.” I follow Martha and he into a rather comfortable room with a large couch. We both sit down. I’m amazed by Martha’s obedience. She doesn’t try to sit on the couch. Must be related to a very irritable McCartney when interrupted on a “busy” day. Once again I attempt to cross my legs and am reminded of how short the skirt is. This time I decide to ignore it, cross my legs, and turn to Paul. I hand him my notebook. He begins to open to the first page and gasps in horror. Martha sits up attentively.
“What? Are my lyrics that bad?”
“No, no…it’s just---in all the commotion, I completely forgot. I’m supposed to be at Decca Records today to hear Marianne Faithful sing her rendition of ‘Yesterday.’”
“Oh, I’m sorry, it’s all my fault---"
“No, it’s not, it’s mine. But that means we have to leave, now. You’ll have to come with me.”
He quickly rises to his feet and I follow as he mumbles curses as we make it to the door and prevent Martha from running outside. I throw on my coat, grab my bag, and my notebook. We rush out to his car and off we go. It’s a relatively short ride but he remains jittery the whole way there.
We run to the door of Decca Records Studios and stop by the receptionist’s desk. He checks in and hands me a tag to wear before we rush up the stairs. We make it down a hallway to a closed door. I watch as he knocks nervously on the door. A man answers looking angry and Paul is pulled in. I am left in an unknown hallway.
It’s your own fault for being late and getting lost and distracting him. If it weren’t for you he wouldn’t be in this mess. How late could he be? If he knew he would have a meeting why would he invite me over?
I look at my watch. 5:15 already? Where did the time go? I decide to find a bathroom and straighten myself up. After passing a few doors I find a bathroom; I enter, fix my make up, straighten my skirt and brush my hair out. Perfect. I look down the hall and spot an empty stray chair. I sit down and resolve to organize myself. I open my notebook and flip through the pages looking for places that need fixing up.
As I continue to read the lyrics that I had not looked at for months, I begin to realize that my memory of them was a great deal worse than what they really were. They were no incredible masterpiece, but they were nowhere as horrible as I had remembered. I find myself on the last of the pages I had used and stare at the new blank page. I suddenly feel the inspiration to create a new one.
Inspiration is a rare treat and so I opened my pocketbook in search of a pen. Nothing. Wonderful. You finally get new inspiration and you can’t write it down. I search my coat pockets frantically. Ah ha! Found one. I open my notebook once again and begin writing.
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.
E-mail the author!
Get Back Home!