Before I knew it, I was beginning a love song. “The darkness of the world is brightened by your smile”---too cliché. “The world is a pretty place because of your pretty face”---that’s just horrible. So much for inspiration for a song, I guess I’ll just do some editing. I look through the notebook and correct a few spelling mistakes and attempt to make my scribblings easier to read.
Boredom envelops me and I turn to a new page. I start doodling flowers and then move on to a face. Beginning with the eyes, I pay particular detail to the eyelid and eyebrow. I carefully examine my creation thus far and realize its Paul. I’m drawing Paul. I’ve never been great at drawing male faces but this distinctly looks like Paul.
I continue to draw a nose and just as I lift my pen to draw lips I feel a presence over my shoulder. I turn to find Paul looking over my shoulder.
“Now who is that?”
Startled I look up, and then back down at the paper. My cheeks turn to fire and my temples begin to pulsate. Realizing I hadn’t drawn the mouth, hair, or shape of face, I figure a way to save myself from complete humiliation. “Oh, uh, I’m not sure really---it’s sort of, well, a face.”
Quickly I sketch in female lips and a heart shaped face. Great, the first time I draw a male face well and poof! You have to destroy it. “I generally don’t draw people in particular, faces just sort of form. This---this here…” I add long hair that curves down to mid-neck. “…Is a girl.” That’s a girl all right, her name is Paula.
I look up to Paul and search his face for some sort of recognition as to my believability. He smiles and nods. “It’s gear. It’s right on.” I sigh in relief. “You should show it to the guys later.”
“Oh…uh, thanks.” I smile.
“You must of gotten really bored. I’m sorry it took so long.”
“Ready to go?”
“Ready Freddy.” Paul gives me a puzzled look. “Oh, must be an American expression. You’re then supposed to say, ‘Set to Jet---‘ Nevermind. Basically, I am saying ‘yes’.”
“Oh, alright then. Let’s go.”
We walk outside the building and the night surrounds us. I stare into the starlit sky and am reminded of the hopeless romantic nights of my teenage years. I would always lean on my windowsill and wish that someday Prince Charming would come and sweep me off my feet. We’d ride away into the sunset on a beautiful stallion to a beach where we would stargaze for hours---
“Julia, I’m waiting for you to get in the car. Luv, you alright?”
I blush as I slowly sit down and slam the car door. “Oh yes, fine.”
“Good, now since we’ve had desert, how about we get ourselves a real meal?”
He drives to a quiet restaurant. We enter and Paul is clearly recognized. The maitre ‘d leads us to an empty dark corner of the room and sits us at a table. He examines Paul’s ‘fille du jour’ (me) and smiles. Paul must come here often. I wonder what number I am—Date number 7,987, perhaps?
Julia, you mustn’t think like that…enjoy yourself.
I scan the menu as the maitre ‘d walks away temporarily. This place is expensive. I suppose that’s the plus to dating the world’s celebrity heartthrob. I debate over what to order, knowing that I don’t want to pick the most expensive dish on the menu, nor do I want to pick the least expensive just because it’s cheaper.
I look up at Paul. He hasn’t picked up his menu and clearly already knows what to pick. I put down my menu and smile. The maitre ‘d returns.
“Are you both ready to order?”
Paul questions me with his eyes. I nod and resolve to get whatever he orders. This strategy will work as long as the waiter asks him first. But what if he doesn’t? Oh, certainly hope that doesn’t happen.
“Linguine and Clam sauce, please.”
“Wonderful choice, and you Miss?”
“I’ll have the same thank you.”
The waiter smiles and nods. He scribbles down in his notebook. “And to drink?
I automatically become uncomfortable. Dom Perignon?! An expensive restaurant, high price food, but Dom Perignon?!…and I don’t even drink alcohol! “Uh---Paul, I don’t drink.”
Paul looks surprised, as does the waiter. “Well then, what would you like?”
“A Coke, please.” I smile at the waiter. He doesn’t smile back…I suppose he feels I just ruined his chance at an incredibly high bill, as if it isn’t high enough already.
“Sir, will you still be having your Dom Perignon, then?”
“Maybe just a glass then, thank you.” The waiter nods and walks off.
There is a brief silence. I smile at Paul, “Thanks for taking me here tonight. It’s a really beautiful place.”
I spend a moment gazing into his eyes and find his left hand on mine. He begins stroking my hand with his thumb and I gush. I feel I should say something. “I---"
Paul brings his right pointer finger to his lips and softly whispers, “Shh.” He then places his right hand on top of his left and continues to hold my hand. I never realized how romantic it could be to just hold hands.
Our moment is rudely interrupted by a female waitress balancing one dish on her right arm. She smiles at Paul as she leans much too far over and places the dish delicately in front of him. I am relieved to see that Paul is doing his best to ignore her.
She continues to bat her eyes flirtatiously and I begin to wonder if it would completely out of place for me to slap her.
After a moment that lasted much too long of her gazing at Paul, she turns to me and glares. “Your order will be ready in a minute.” She moves her eyes back to Paul, smiles, and slowly slithers away. “Well…it certainly smells good,” I say.
“Yea, it is good, I’m sorry yours isn’t ready yet,” Paul says.
Before I have time to respond, the waitress returns, carrying my order. I watch as she slithers to the table and bends over to place down my dish. It drops, spilling onto the lavender shirt and black skirt I had borrowed from Pam. I look down, astonished. I knew girls were competitive over Beatles and it could get pretty nasty, but I didn’t expect it to get this catty.
I look up to Paul who has now stood up, fuming. The waitress feigns surprise, “Oh! Oops! I’m sorry, I didn’t realize---"
I sigh. “It’s alright---"
“No, it’s not alright,” Paul says. “I demand this be cleaned up and have the manager come here immediately.” The waitress looks hurt, nods, and walks off slowly.
Paul rushes over to help me. “Oh, I’m terribly sorry luv, the other lads have told me stories like this happening to their wives, and I’ve seen it happen once or twice but I never expected---"
“Paul, I’m fine. I can deal with a bit of clam sauce. Believe me, I’ve lived through worse.” I look down at my clothes. I hope this doesn’t stain, these clothes aren’t even mine.
Paul begins to move down as if to clean off the stain but then corrects himself, stands up straight, and hands me his napkin. I dip it in a glass of water, and attempt to get it out of the fabric of the black miniskirt.
The manager rushes over with the waitress, clearly infuriated. He looks to Paul apologetically. “I’m terribly sorry for the carelessness of our help. I’m sure it was an accident. Please, let this meal be on me.”
“But it’s already on her,” Paul contorts.
Paul begrudgingly accepts and sits down. The waitress comes over and cleans up the table and floor, refusing to look at me. She quickly returns with a new platter and walks away.
“Mmm…sure smells good.” I lift my fork and begin to twirl the pasta.
“Thank you luv.”
“For being you.” With that, Paul smiles. We finish dinner. Too full for dessert we go back to the car.
“I should probably go back to Pam’s so that I can clean up. Besides, it’s getting late.”
Paul looks disappointed, but agrees. “I’m sorry. What’s the address again, luv?” He pulls out a tiny pad from his pocket and begins searching for a pen. I remember the pen I had used earlier in the day, open my purse, and hand it to him. He writes it down and soon enough, we’re there.
At the doorstep puts his hands on my shoulders and begins to lean in. I stop him. I don’t know why, but I do. He becomes startled and moves back.
Why on earth did you do that for? You could have been kissed by Paul McCartney and you stopped him! What an idiot! “I’m sorry,” I say. Awkwardness prevails. “Um, well, thank you for the wonderful night. Good night.”
He nods and walks back to his car. As he drives away, I search my pocketbook and find a key. I open the door and look around. No Pam. I walk into my room and carefully place the freshly stained clothes on the bed so as not to have them streak the beautiful quilt.
As I begin to put on a pair of navy pajamas Pam enters.
“I had heard the door opened, I figured you were home and wondered why I didn’t see Paul, and OH—” She looks at the creamy white stain on her clothes.
“No…no…it’s not what you think.”
“Famous last words,” she says with a smirk. “I told you that skirt does wonders.”
“No Pam.” I sigh, realizing I would have to tell her the whole story before she would believe me. I quickly explain the situation in the restaurant and brush my hair back into a ponytail. “Look, if you don’t believe me, smell it. It’s clam sauce.”
Pam sighs with disappointment. “No, I believe you.”
“I’m really sorry about the stain.”
“It’s alright. Nothing you could have controlled. It was getting too small for me anyhow.”
I laugh. Since when has the length of a skirt been a concern to Pam? “Yea, well, I’m sort of tired, so I guess I’ll go to sleep now.”
“What? So that’s it?”
“So what’s it?”
“That. You’re not going to tell me what happened after you spoke to me on the phone? —What happened before the restaurant? What he thought of your music, nothing?”
I sigh realizing how much had happened during the day. I give her a detailed description of the day and hope that she would leave satisfied, so that I could get some rest.
“You didn’t let him kiss you?”
“What? Why is everything I do always wrong in your eyes?”
“It’s not. I just don’t get it. You at least let Peter kiss you, but then with Paul, worldwide celebrity and heartthrob, you snub him.”
I look down at the magenta quilt. I begin to play with the stitching. I shrug. “I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. Believe me, I’ve dreamt about a chance to do that for over a year and now for some reason when my dream could become reality, I just tensed up. I stopped him. Maybe it was part of his celebrity that made me not want him to kiss me. I didn’t want him to think that the only reason I like him is because he’s rich and famous and cute.”
“Julia, you’re not like that. There’s no way he’d ever think that.”
“Yes, but he doesn’t know me.”
“By now he’s at least seen what your personality is like, and that is definitely not part of you. He has to understand that you’re not just after him for his money or fame. After all it was only one date.”
“Maybe that’s part of it too.”
“The fact that I’m just one of his dates.”
“I didn’t mean it that way—“
“Yea, I know, but I do. The waitress spilling the food on me really brought me to the realization of how many other girls in this world are after this wonderful, charming, gorgeous man. And well, I’m just one of them. The date probably meant little to him and he’ll be out with someone new next time we see him.”
“Julia, I refuse to hear you speak like this.”
“Like the ‘I mean nothing to him’. He cares about you. I could hear it in his voice when I spoke to him on the phone. There you go, you’re adored by two Beatles—Paul and John.”
“But John and I are just friends.”
“Yes, but a certain Paulie tried to kiss you today and you stopped him, proving a certain…how do you say? Romantic interest, perhaps?”
“Well now I feel guilty. I regret it now, more than I can put into words.”
“Don’t let it bother you too much. After all, this does mean Paul will have to stay on his toes.” I smile. “That’s what I like to see, a determined and experienced Julia who is now going to wrap Paul around her little finger.”
“Well, hey, you have to admit it sounded neat.”
I laugh. “I should probably go to sleep now,” I say, half-yawning.
“Yes,” Pam catches my yawn. “Good night. And remember, you are just as worthy of Paul as he is of you, if not more so, and he truly cares.”
Pam flicks off the light switch as she closes the door behind her.
I awake to a ringing phone. Pam opens the door. “Good morning sunshine. You have a caller one the phone.”
“Mmph,” I mumble still half asleep.
“His name is Peter. Peter is on the phone. Get up.”
I groan as she leads me to the phone.
“Hi, it’s me, Peter. Remember me? Peter Morrison.”
“Yes, of course I remember you.”
“Oh, I’m sorry did I just wake you?”
I sigh and make my greatest attempt to sound fully conscious. “No of course you didn’t.”
“Oh good. If I had I would feel terrible. I was just—uh, well, wondering if you would like to go out today. For lunch, that is. I could pick you up at 12:30. You don’t have plans do you?”
“No, I don’t. That would be lovely.”
“Great. Then I’ll see you then.”
“Bye.” I hang up. I had forgotten about Peter. Something tells me going out with him won’t match being with Paul but I might as well keep all possibilities open.
I search and find Pam. I tell her about my plans with Peter.
“Great.” She smiles, “But hopefully at some point we will be able to go out on our own for once.”
I hadn’t thought of that. I keep making all these dates and leaving Pam here. My original reason for coming to London was Pam and I’ve barely seen her. “Oh, I’d love that. I hadn’t realized how little we’d seen each other in the few days I’ve been here. I’m only here for another few weeks—would you prefer I cancel my date?”
“No, no, I’m fine. Just maybe tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow we can go out together, shopping or something. I’ll take you around. And don’t think that when you go out I’m just left here alone and bored—yesterday I went shopping with Patti.”
“Yes. We had become rather good friends last time at John’s and so we decided to go sale hunting.”
“Glad to hear it.” I yawn, slowly waking up. “What time is it?”
“Hmm, last time I checked it was around 11:30.”
“Really? You know I never used to sleep this late in the mornings.”
“You’re probably still feeling the effects of jet lag. A good shower will probably wake you up.”
“Good idea.” I walk to the bathroom and take a hot, relaxing shower. I return to my room and search my closet for something to wear. I select a pair of jeans and a black sweater.
I walk into the kitchen to find Pam sitting reading a newspaper. “Anything particularly interesting?”
She sighs. “No, not really. Same old, same old.”
We sit for a while and don’t say much. She tells me a bit about Patti and what’s new between her and George. Clearly, Pam is having difficulty not discussing John.
“Pam, is everything okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“Well, you are obviously upset about something. What’s the matter? Is it John?”
She sighs, placing her newspaper down carefully on the kitchen table. “He called earlier today. He had wanted to go out, but I told him I couldn’t. He didn’t seem to understand. I explained that he was a married man and that I couldn’t continue a relationship like that.” I watch as pools of tears begin to form in Pam’s emerald eyes. “He asked that we stay friends and I—I well. I told him I couldn’t. I know I couldn’t. I love him too much to ‘just be friends’.”
“Love? That’s a strong word. You’ve barely known him.”
“Yes, but I know I love him. Well, at least I think I love him and thinking I love him leaves me with the same pain that actually loving him would. An infatuation hurts just as much.”
At this point she is completely crying in full sobs and I move closer to her. I feel helpless yet responsible at the same time.
What if I had just never bumped into John? This never would have happened. But I could never wish such a thing. Too many wonderful things have happened as a result. After all, “what ifs” are pointless as it is.
“You did the right thing by not going out with him. But Pam I don’t see why it’s necessary to completely give up on the man. He could be a wonderful friend. How did the conversation end?”
“He told me to rethink what I was saying and call him back. You think I should?”
“Of course I do. Pam there’s no way I can go out with Peter today. We need some bonding time ourselves.”
Pam and I sit for a few more minutes discussing what Pam should say to John when she calls him back and the doorbell chimes.
I run to answer. I open the door, there stands Peter, holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I look into his bright blue eyes, his ear-length blond hair wonderfully groomed. I had forgotten how good-looking he was. I sigh remembering Pam and take a deep breath realizing I would have to now turn him down.
He hands me the flowers and smiles; “I bought these flowers for you. I felt the bright and vibrant colors reflected your beautiful personality.” Smooth.
“Peter, thank you. They’re gorgeous. It’s just—I hadn’t realized it before I spoke to you---but Pam is really sick. I really should stay with her today. I should have called you back, I’m sorry—“
Peter looks down at his feet, disappointed. He looks back up, “No, it’s alright, I understand.”
“No, Peter. I don’t want you to think I’m making this up as some sort of excuse for not going out with you. You’re a really great person and make a fun date but Pam is really sick and I should be here for her.”
He smiles, “It’s good to see you’re so caring towards your best friend. It just adds to your many wonderful qualities. I’d better be on my way then.”
“Call me,” I say, smiling back.
“I will. Hopefully, Pam will be better soon and we can really go out.”
“I would like that. Thank you.”
He nods and returns to his car. I enter the kitchen.
Pam looks up at me, “You did that? For me?”
“Yes, I did. Peter isn’t my best friend, you are, and we clearly need to spend some time together.”
“Thank you.” Pam smiles. “Flowers, huh?”
“‘Bright and vibrant colors that reflect my beautiful personality’.” I laugh.
“Wow, that guy sure knows how to deliver a line. So what do you want to do today?”
“How about we just hang out?”
“Alright. Board game perhaps?”
“Fine. But only after you call John.”
She sighs. “Okay, you get the Monopoly and set it up. It’s in the cabinet next to the television in the living room. I won’t be long.”
I follow her instructions and pull out the box. I set the board on the floor and am reminded of John and Paul’s checker game. I laugh at the memory and begin to count out the fake money and pick the miniature silver boot for myself.
I sit idly playing with the little game pieces for about a half an hour until Pam finally enters, expressionless. “Well?”
She kneels down next to her fake money and beams. “We’re friends. John and I are friends.”
I smile, we hug and begin playing Monopoly.
The game continues for over four hours. Pam wins, just like when we were little. We begin a new game that goes on for another hour when the phone rings. Pam runs to pick it up and returns quickly. “It’s Patti, she wants to know if we want to join her in waiting for George and then go out to dinner.”
“I’d love to.”
“Wonderful, I’ll go tell her.” She runs off and comes back within minutes. “She’s coming to pick us up. We have to get ready!”
I smile at her enthusiasm and do a messy job of putting the Monopoly board away. I rush to my room and scan my closet. Wow, a night with Patti and George Harrison. Cordelia would be so envious. Cordelia---I hadn’t even thought of my family for the past few days, I should really be giving them a call soon. Maybe tomorrow, oh, maybe George could just do one autograph for Cordelia. She’d never forgive me if I didn’t have something to show for the night out.
I decide on a “Pam outfit,” consisting of a navy mini skirt and magenta top. After all, who knows where I’d be going with them? I must be dressed properly. I quickly brush my hair out and hear the doorbell ring as I pick up my purse and take my music notebook from my night table. Never know when I might get inspiration. I then run to answer the door while stuffing the notebook into my bag.
Pam’s beaten me there, wearing black pants and a light blue top. No one to impress, I think. She laughs when she sees my outfit. “We’ve switched places for the night, I suppose.”
She opens the door and Patti enters. “Hello Pam.”
“And oh, hi Julia, it’s great to see you again.” She smiles.
“You know, I don’t like to be so abrupt but I really think we should hurry a bit. George will probably be through soon and I’d hate to keep him waiting.”
“Oh, we understand,” Pam says. We grab our coats, hop in her car, and off we go.
“Where exactly are we going?” I ask.
“Abbey Road Studios. George is all excited over the new instrument he’s using---the sitar,” Patti replies while checking her rearview mirror.
“Oh, that’s Indian, isn’t it?” I say.
“Yes, quite,” she replies.
The ride isn’t particularly long but it seems to drone on. I feel awkward sitting in the back seat while Pam and Patti discuss things from their outing yesterday that I have no way of commenting on. I look out the window.
We soon arrive and walk into the building. Patti hands us two passes and leads us upstairs. “Here, you two wait here, I’ll be right back.” She enters a room. I can hear some brief mumbling and she comes out. She sighs, “I just spoke to George and Paul. They’re still recording but right now are taking a short break. We could wait here for a bit. It may not take very long. Do you mind?”
“No, not at all,” Pam says. “I’ve never been to a studio before. I find this place incredibly fascinating.”
“Really? Would you like me to show you around a little? I don’t know the entire building but I could show you a few things.” They then turn to me. “Julia, would you like to come along as well?”
“Oh no, it’s alright. I’ll just wait here. You guys go off and have fun. I don’t feel like walking much. I’m sort of tired actually. Thanks anyway.”
“Are you sure?” Pam asks.
“Positive,” I smile.
They seem satisfied and continue down the hall. I look around for a chair and find none. I know that it’ll be a while before they have completed recording from yesterday’s experience so I sit on the floor and open my pocket book to take out my notebook. I flip to the last used page with the picture of “Paula.” I laugh remembering my futile attempt at turning it into a girl. I was lucky that Paul didn’t recognize it as himself.
I open my bag again in search of pen. Nothing. I rummage through my coat pockets. Nothing. I sigh. I must have left it in Paul’s car last night when he had asked me to write down Pam’s address. Uggh! Well, looks like I’m about to go on a search for a pen. I stand up and walk down the hall in the opposite direction of Patti and Pam.
I pass through numerous halls of closed doors and secret mumblings. I walk down a flight of stairs and wonder at what new hits are being created while I am just blindly search through endless hallways.
I happen upon one hallway with an open door. I can hear a familiar British voice singing a song I do not recognize. I understand that I am not supposed to interfere with the people working here and so just stand a while, listening. Suddenly, the voice stops and I decide to continue walking to surprisingly find John stepping out the door.
“Oh…uh, hello.” I force a smile and feel my cheeks burn with embarrassment. He’ll wonder why I’m here. He’ll know I’ve been listening in.
A rather surprised John continues to stare at me. I begin to wonder if he is incessant starying because I startled him or if it’s my outfit. He smiles and casually sticks his left hand in his pocket. “Hey there Julia. How’d you find yourself here?”
“Well I was lost until I looked in a mirror.”
He smirks. “Hardy har har.”
“At least give me credit for trying.”
“I did, that’s why you got the ‘hardy har har’.” I give him a teasing glare and he laughs. “Paul’s upstairs in the recording box.”
“Yes, I know.”
“Ah, so that’s why you’re all fixed up.”
He points as he speaks, “Fixed up---with the sweater, and that skirt.” His eyes remain staring; “Not to say you don’t look fabulous.” He looks up at me and gives me two winks. I laugh. “How was your day with Paulie yesterday? We hadn’t had a chance to talk about it. With Paul, that is.”
I sigh. “I enjoyed myself…but he had forgotten something about hearing Marianne Faithful singing ‘Yesterday’ and so we rushed to Decca Studios.”
“We then went out to dinner. And today began with Peter calling. We were going out to go to lunch but—” Realizing I couldn’t tell him the real reason I canceled with Peter. I wish I had thought of that before I had started to speak.
“I felt Pam and I really needed some bonding time, so we played Monopoly. Then Patti called and we rushed here to see George and go out to dinner…and well here I am.”
“Yes, here you are. So did you find his house alright?”
“Oh, well…eventually. It’s a long story.”
“I love long stories.”
“Aren’t you busy?”
“Of course I’m busy, I’m talking to you.”
I smile. I tell him all about yesterday’s hectic morning. Beginning from when I woke up late to when I had begun to wander the halls today, of course, editing out the bits about him and the drawing of Paul.
John seems particularly amused by the part about the old woman in curlers and pink bathrobe.
John smirks. “Well you are a right little tart aren’t ya? Parading the streets in those clothes. Attracting the attention of men miles a way. You’re a traffic hazard y’are.”
I laugh. “Gotten your attention, then?” I say jokingly.
“Y’sure have,” he says crossing his arms and sounding a bit more serious than before.
I begin to wonder if he is truly being sincere or playing around as much as I am. I remind myself that whether he is joking around or not, the safest response is to ignore it.
After challenging me with his eyes, he senses my discomfort and quickly changes the subject. “So you said you were looking for a pen?”
“Yes, I was.” I hope at this point I can still recover my inspiration.
“Here, I have one.” He pulls one out from his jean pocket. If this had been one week before I could have given this to Pam to worship. Hmm, well ‘friends’ can probably still find uses for another ‘friend’s’ pen.
“No problem. I’m sorry to hear about the waitress at your dinner last night with Paul. Similar things have happened to Cyn. I’m sure I don’t know half of what the girls have gone through.” I nod. “Paul’s been really quiet today. Something seems out of sorts---did something else go wrong?”
I sigh figuring that my hurting Paul’s pride by not letting him kiss me might have something to do with it but remain unsure if I should tell John.
“Julia, if you’d rather not discuss it as well, that’s alright, too, you know. All I know is that it really must be eating at Paul cause he hasn’t spoken a word bout anything other than music all morning.”
“Ah ha. I notice some interest in the lad. Hmm? Well luv, I’ll tell you. ‘Yes, really.’ But I do you want you to understand that if you discuss something with me, it’s just between us and wouldn’t be communicated further than myself. It wouldn’t be right otherwise. And I’d expect the same from you.”
“Well, you certainly can be sure of me on that account.”
“Alright then, we’ve got it settled.”
“Certainly have,” I smile. A secure pact of friendship with John Lennon. What else could I wish for? “But I really should find my way back to where Patti and Pam had left me.”
“Yea. I should really be getting back to work. You should be warned though, we’ll probably be a while. We’re recording ‘This Bird Has Flown’ and this is George’s first time with a sitar.”
“So I’ve heard. Well, thanks for the pen and I guess I’ll see you later.”
“Anytime.” He smiles, tips his imaginary hat and disappears back into the room. I turn to the hallway I had come from and realize I’m lost. I search for a receptionist who looks at my tag and gives me directions. Great, just what I need---a new set of directions! Hopefully these will be easier to follow.
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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