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Free as a Bird, Chapter 6 Chapter Six

I was the last to leave the car before John was dropped off. I was now thinking back on this evening, lying in my bed in the hotel room I shared with Patty, and if I fell asleep some funny little scene would pop up and I'd dream about it. I I'd be in some woods again, running away as always. It would always be quite near a road but this time I stumbled over something and the whole place seemed to be filled with nettles.
"Ay!...Ouch!!" I called out.
"Who was that? Where are you?" I heard from the other road. It was just like when it happened, ten years ago. It was John's voice calling and he'd run over to me to see what happened.
"All these things sting my hands." I said.
"Well, that will be alright, if you just stand up. Or are you hurt?" I was bound to get up but right at the same time I was lifted from the ground.
"Just to help you," he said. And funnily enough the figure had changed. His face loked older. Until now it had looked normal, like the boy I knew but now it was exactly the same as I'd seen it today. I set upright to find out it was still five o' clock.

Minutes later I went back to sleep again.

Nightmares, how I hated them. Especially this one. I always hoped I would wake up before the awful end of it. But this time there was no alarmc lock to save me and no movement could get me out of this. I already heard the sound of footsteps in the distance, a car, a shrieking sound and then everything was suddenly so close to me. A man holding my hand trying to pull me away. People forming a mob around me while someone picked me up. Still he couldn't keep me from seeing....

A loud scream woke me up. It was followed by the sound of something droping on the floor. I found I was screaming myself awake, quickly turing over and covering my eyes with one hand. Another scream while I tried to push away the image, even though it dimmed on me that I was somewhere else now.
"Julia..." I sensed a hand on my hand, an arm around me. I recognzized the name I heard myself say, I knew the face I still saw from the back of my mind, it had been there befor, but not this pale...streaked....
"Alice....Alice, for Christ's sake, you're having a dream," a girl's voice, again calling my name though it mingled with someone elses. "Alice," she said. "Are you OK?" she added while I heard another voice saying it at the same time.
"You're looking awful, are you alright?" two arms around me. Paul...it dimmed on me...the guy I found in the first porch, only blocks away from that awful scene.
"It's awful...I'm sorry Paul...I guess we have to take her home," the other guy.
"John....where's John...he needs to know this...."
"Don't worry, I'll do that," Pete...was this Pete Shotton? John's best friend? Or Nigel Wally? Good that he was there...only he could tell this to John, either he or Aunt Mimi..."Never!" I thought...."If she can comfort someone, then a piece of concrete can do it too." I did hate her back then, didn't understand her ways with John, how she always seemed to have a comment ready for him....

Through these thoughts I heard myself crying.
"Oh please...Julia...." I said.
"Alice, wake up please it's me, Patty...you're in a simple hotel room, this was a bad dream OK....please?" I seemed to calm down. She sat down on the edge of the bed.
"You're just like a mother," I said softly.
"This is only reasonable," Paty said, giving me a glass of water.
"How could I just stay in my bed when you're having such an awful nightmare....what was it? Do you feel like....can you tell me about it?" I shivered while I felt a hand on my soulder. John...I thought...he would certainly understand this...or Paul. Then it donned on me. So that's how he recognized me, these knowing looks at John, this puzzled expression on his face...too bad I didn't even recognize him from that one awful day....Then I decided to try and explain it.
"It's....it's from eight years ago. I've seen a car accident...my best friend's mother was in it and I saw..."
"I got it," Patty said fast.

We sat there for a few moments until I started to yawn.
"I got a silly idea," she said stepping over to the edge of her own bed.
"Here...one of my teddy bears. I don't know why I took that along but I think it makes perfect sense right now." I started to laugh, hugging the thing while I went back under the covers. "Thanks..." I said, closing my eyes again.

Still the rest of the night was covered with a deep sleep until I suddenly heard Patty's voice again. "You know this hotel room seems quite luxurious by the way," she said.
"Why didn't you say that before?" I called out. "Maybe we chose the wrong one!"
"Did you find anyone lying next to you?" she said. I shrugged. If I'd ever thought I'd noticed something, then it had been in my weird dreams. And it sounded odd to me. I shouldn't dream of a person like that. And especially if it had always been one of my best friends, if not my one best friend. Still feelings seemed to have changed, at least for me. So why not dreaming about him then...dreams...oh yes, the nightmare.
"Oh yeah, I got it!" Patty said "This is......er, I wasn't supposed to say that. But it's at least the district where these posh hotels are, so maybe we happened to be very near them."
"They are here and you know that!" I called out. It made me only more eager to see them, to see John, I had to tell him about this night, about Paul's voice. I got dressed, while still wondering what the latter was doing in my dream.

I had to keep myself from running to the door, sure as I was that they were probably downstairs having breakfast so I might meet John before the filming started again. I wanted to meet him so badly, he ought to know about that dream...Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. "Alice?" I turned around. "John," I said, trying to stay calm. "You don't know how much I wanted to meet you."
"Hey, come over with me, didn't know you were...staying here." he said, waving in the distance at someone walking a few metres in front of us.

We sat down at a table in the back. I sighed softly, but it was audible to John.
"What's up?" he said. Paul sat down across from me.
"I...had a dream...a nightmare." I said. I shivered lightly when I thought back of it.
"Was it about us?" Paul asked. For a moment I couldn't find the right words. I tried to push back the tears.
"Alice," John said, "if you can't....I mean it seems you need to share it with someone but if it's too much, just," I shook my head.
"It was about your mother." I said. "It's something I never actually remembered very well until...until last night." Then the words seemed to flow out of my mouth, though not particularly in the right chonological order. I at least was able to tell them the story.
"I was there, I was actually there when it just happened. Paul, I've known John since I was small. I've lived in Strawberry Fields and....I think his mother actually found me and got me there..."
"I didn't know that part," John called out, he was indeed a bit excited.
"I'm not sure of course, it's just that memories of long ago...they're coming back to me at once. Since I came here, I actually found parts of my youth back. I never expected to meet him, even when I knew about the Beatles, I still thought it could be someone else."
Meanwhile Paul kept staring at me.
"You mean you've actually...seen everything?" he said softly. "Is that the nightmare you talked about?" He looked a bit concerned. I nodded my head, again at a loss for words while I tried to find John's eyes. They'd surely help me to get back into my usual speech mode.
"It came right into my dream, it was all so real...." For some reason tears welled up in my eyes.
"I never told anyone about it, it seems I've just tacked it away somewhere until...."

I felt John's arms around me at once." It felt good to have someone like him near me, now I felt so small at once. Paul walked over and sat down on the other side of me. They both stared at me while I cried my way through a sad ballad.
"Do you know I still miss her?" I said.
"Me too," John said. "She was so fond of you....I sometimes took you along to her house, remember?" I nodded.
"I always found it much better than Mimi's place," I said. It made John chuckle for a moment. Then he squeezed me.
"You were really supportive back then," he said. "You actually wanted to get someone to find out who was behind that stupid action."
"I should have cared more for you," I said while tears still ran down my face. "Good this makes me feel so melancholic, all those old songs on the radio."
"It's a breakfast program," Paul said. "They have a wonderful timing with things like this." I sensed the smell of toast and tried to get away from John's arms while someone came up with a large plateau of food.
"Never mind, Thanks," John said, and the man walked away.
"Do you want something to eat?" John said.
"Aren't we late for the film?" I asked, while I checked my watch.
"So what, to hell with that." John said. "It's you we're takin care of right now." I smiled while I took a sip of orange juice.
"I don't know why I sudenly heard your voice, in that dream," I said, with the last words looking at Paul.
"You were actually comforting me Paul, and here I thought I'd never seen you before."
Paul seemed in deep thoughts for a moment. "I think I got it," he said slowly. "Listen, this was something that's been on my mind since yesterday. John told me how you two knew each other already, how small the world is at all, and I actually thought I'd seen you somewhere, I kept thinking it was probably during the Woolton Fete....in fact it's been something else." I looked at him for a moment. "I think you're right, Alice, this acutally refreshed my mind." He took my hand.
"You're still like that, do you know that?" John said. "You're just a very sensitive person." I fell silent after this.
"I think it's because I've never really had someone to lean on." I pondered. "Except for you of course." I stared at John.
"You've meant so much to me...."
"Shall I...leave the stage for a while," Paul said getting up. I didn't even pay attention and after a few more seconds he walked away.
"That's Paul," John grinned. "I'd be such a bastard to just sit there and eat my piece of toast while everyone around me was going private." "Really?" I said.
"No....no, of course not, you know me."
"Sure I know you," I thought but I was too shy to say that out loud. In fact my grin already showed it.
"No you're wrong with that." John said. "You actually don't know half of me yet."
"I promise you...I'll search for it." I said. We both laughed out loud until we found out it was indeed time to go. I emptied my glass of orange cuide and stuffed the last half of toast in my mouth while we walked away.

Patty met me in the halwlay and looked a bit strange at me. "What, is there something I should know?" I said. "Or is it..." It suddenly dawned on me how this could mean soemthing serious, she stared at me for a moment, as if she needed to tell me something, than her eyes changed.
"Acutally it's...it's George." she said. I could feel it wasn't that but this was at least something else she wanted me to know.
"HE asked me for a date." I started to giggle.
"Hey...I thought I was the one...." I quit half-sentence. I was bound to call out that I should have researched things first and then go back to him before he'd actually do something about it.
"What?" Patty giggled getting it in completely the wrong way.
"You think George had his eye on you?" At that moment he was walking right behind her. I tried to get her out of a fit of hysterics but it wouldn't work.
"This is so funny.." she said. "I only hope we won't become rivals...oh I actually don't think so. I just hope he'll notice it from your side cuz...I'm not really in for it." I pulled her back into the main hall again while the others were going outside. John waved at me as a gesture to make me hurry up.
"He was practically within your reach while you said that," I hissed. "And forget it, I'm not at all after him."
"Sorry," she said blushing at once.
"Oh, I'll closely watch this unfold," I said. "I don't believe a word of what you just said."
"It's serious, I already told him..."
"Poor thing," I said. "It shows how eager you where to share it with me...you are still impressed by it, right?"
"Yes, truth be told, I am...flattered, honoured in fact."
Believe me, you will fall soon." I said. I indeed sensed it. Why else was she so insecure about things?
"Any more news?" I said, suddenly remembering the way she looked at me at first.
"No...not really." she said. "I'll get back to you later OK?" I couldn't help the next sentence. "So there is something in store for me?"
"Alice please...I'm not dropping hints...OK, yes, there's something going on but I'm still trying to get it out of the way and...you'll hear from me as soon as we've got more time." Then she suddenly walked away. She was obviously to afraid to tell me about this. I wondered what was actually on her mind. If it had to do with me, then why wouldn't she come out with it at once? I feared for the worst, for my friendship with John having leaked out into the open. But then again, who couldn't get acquainted with the Beatles if they were on one set with you? Then it suddenly occured to me, never in these two days had anyone said a word about how long we'd actually stayed here...



Chapter Seven

Written by Yvonne. May not be reproduced without the permission of the author. Permission may be obtained by e-mail.

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