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Free as a Bird, Chapter 7 Chapter Seven

The moment of release actually came during a lunch break. Again Patty almost literally picked me up from the grass and went off into a corner with me.

"I...it didn't work." she said. I trembled all over, suddenly too impatient to wait any longer.

"OK, so just tell me about it, give me the crap right now, straight away without any further..."

"Well, if that's what you want..your time over here is up." I looked amazed at her even if I knew very well what she meant.

"What?" I said.

"You're supposed to leave...next Friday. That's four days of filming left. Alice, they quite literally said they simply don't need you here."

"They...who, the Beatles?" I said

"No, of course not!" Patty called out. "How can you think of that, they wouldn't say something like that, especially John." I blushed.

"And you?" I said. Patty looked away for a moment.

"Sorry," I almost whispered. "I didn't mean it to sound...I honestly won't take it bad if you'll stay on the set...so please don't feel guilty."

After that I tried to make some light out of this. "After all..it's you and George having some more chance to..."

"Yeah....that's another thing." she said. "But first you...It's the director and some of the crew...George just overheard something and...well...."

"Is it because of John?" I said.

"John?" Patty looked amazed at me.

"Oh no, there's nothing going on, it's just...it still could give some rumours, you know."

"Oh c'mon, you're just friends!" Patty called out.

"That's what I think, you never know what these directors...."

"Alice, it's definitely not that." she interrupted. "It's just that....the filming for all the extras is over and..."

"And I"m the youngest, and still in school," I sighed.

Patty shrugged. "I honestly tried my best to change it, I mean, it's not that they called me a professional, they're not letting me stay because I'm better (I felt she probably said this to make herself believe what she was actually saying), or at least I hope that's not the reason, it's just...." She sat down in the grass next to me. Then something hit me. I heard footsteps in the distance. "I tried it, I gave them a speech they will never forget. They can kick anyone off the set," she blusehd for a moment. "Except for the Beatles themselves..." I chuckled.

"Harrison, you mean," I said. "You wanted to say that." She blushed, that's where I wanted to have it.

"Anyway," she said, half laughing and giving me an elbow. "They can take away any of those extras but you...." She posed. "You found someone special here, you've found John,....well, I didn't say that of course, I only told them you're a wonderful acttress but I don't think that's the main reason." I felt something choke up inside. "I only hope they're not passing it on to the Beatles before you have a chance to tell it." She added. "I just hope John doesn't know it yet." I was amazed how right she was. How could she possibly know about me and John being such close friends.

"You got the point," I said. "I only wonder how you can see all this."

"Quite simple, I just see it." Patty said. "I've seen you two together, I was with George in the lounge and John and Paul where talking about you, I think they really love you in some way." I blushed, felt warm inside.

"They know me," I said. I was stunned how easy this acutally came from me. This was probably the third person within a few hours who actually got to know this. "I've known John since I was small. I lived in..."

"Let me guess...Liverpool." Patty interrupted. I laughed out loud. "Your accent shows, I told you you sound alot like them." We both started to laugh and then got up. I heard a whistling sound in the distance. I knew I'd heard it before. As a matter of routine, I stoppped and turned my head, listening to where it came from. It made me think of Pete Shotton, of John and him together, just calling me over for a walk. God, how long ago was that? There it was again, a bit longer now. And after that I heard my name. The sound seemed to come from far away, from the other side of the field. Or maybe even from years ago. This was one of John's familiar signs. I'd often heard that when I was in the park. Just a way of calling me over to come along. It was the one thing I heard that night outside my window in Liverpool. That last night in my bed in the middle of a row of beds. The night before I had to leave........

That night I was lying in my bed, bound to go to sleep. I'd turned twelve today, and the party was a bit bigger and louder than last year. Not only because this was a special age, but because there was something ele to celebrate. They'd found a real home for me, with two parents and even a sister. And four grandparents, and a whole bunch of uncles and aunts with their kids and...I sighed inside, thinking of that. Then I turned over. Something made me stop while I was still on my back, ready to roll over to my other side. I was lucky my bed was close to the window. A cool breeze blew in through a split in the curtains. There it was, the sound of a bird.

"How can a bird be up that late?" I wondered. It was half-past ten. Again I heard a soft whistle, followed by another one, and then a knock on the window. I got out of bed and tiptoed over to the other side, soflty in order not to wake anyone.

Peeking through the curtains, I saw two guys standing on the little plateau of grass undereath the window. I could immediately make out John's face.

"What are you doing here?" I whispered. "Gosh...I'm only in my nightgown."

"Well hurry up then,"John said. "C'mon, outside."

"What?" I said.

"Later...just try to dress as soon as you can and then meet us downstairs. Or...no, wait, just get out of the window." That startled me.

"John for Christ's sake, it's too high for me," I softly called out, trying to keep my voice as low as possible.

"Never mind...I just don't want you to get caught in the hall or else..."

"Oh well, never mind," I suddenly said, feeling some excitement inside me. This was a challenge, and also a surprise. It made me curious, what did they all have in mind for me? I heard someone turn over at the other side. "OK...wait a bit," I said softer than ever. I moved away from the window and went over to my cloths. My coat was downstairs, so I had to settle for only my summer dress. It couldn't be that bad, it was mid-August so it could still be warm. I quickly put on my dress over my head. I knew my sandals made a lot of noise on this floor so I took them in my hand and walked back to the room. I shivered near the window; it wasn't as warm as I expected.

"Here...catch," I said and threw my shoes out of the window. I heard some shuffles downstairs and someone started to laugh a bit too loud. "Jesus, what was that for," John said. And then a bit further away, "Sorry Paul, I really didn't expect that to land on your head." I blushed though I knew they couldn't see that.

"They just give a lot of noise here inside," I said. "I'll wake someone up while I'm walking around with them."

"Never mind," John said. "Just come over to the other side...and don't be afraid...there's some solid ground under my feet so I can just pluck you out of your seat and take you away."

"I got it," I said. "Alright Peter Pan, here I come." I added while I softly opened the window a bit further. It was a large opened window and I was far too small to get stuck. Still I saw the ground on the other side was quite low and shivered a bit. But there was a nice little piece of lawn right under it as if it was made for people to land on it. It looked soft to me, and it made me feel a bit more safe. At least I wouldn't get hurt when I slipped. And John was there as well so I shouldn't worry at all. With my hands on the small windowsill, I took off and threw my legs over the other side. I found my feet dangling on the other side at once, a cold wind brushing over them. The windowsill on the other side was a nice little seat, but in my speed I almost slid off it and lost my balance. Just in time I found four arms around me. Then I was dangling between two figures while I suddenly closed my eyes...I noticed them taking me down and walking over to the edge. Then they sudden ly jumped off it and landed on the street. Two arms left me, the others were still around me. I opened my eyes and fell against John.

"Wow....you've got a lot of courage." John said, pointing behind me.

"That was higher than I expected."

"So you are a brave one." I said, blushing a bit. "Did you cover your bed?" Paul said on the other side of me. "No....yes...er....oh well never mind." I said, hoping I actually had covered it, but inside knowing that one of the "mothers" would only come in the next morning at eight.

They where all there, standing around me. John, Pete Shotton, Stu, Cyn, Paul...all except George.

"He needs some sleep." John said. "He's been out of his mind for days."

"Yeah, it's a tough job playing in the Cavern day after day," Paul chuckled. I shivered a bit, still feeling a bit cold in my dress while my feet where still dangling above the ground.

"Oh here, your little sandals." Paul said. I pulled them on and then looked aorund.

"So what is this all about?" I said.

"You," John said. "Just a little ceremony....we wanted to be together with you befor you leave."

I sighed and looked at the sky. "Gosh..." I said softly.

"Yes...stars," John said, squeezing my hand. I sighed again. If we could only go to Julia's house. It would be the perfect way to end this period of my life.

We passed the building and walked on down the street. I was amazed, here I walked inbetween John and Cyn, a few feet smaller than both of them and minutes ago I was still in my bed not even knowing this would actually happen.

In the hours that followed, I tried my best to enjoy myself, inbetween the sad feelings of having to say goodbye in a few hours. We'd gone into the Grapes, a little pub I'd never been in before. "Never mind," Cyn said. "You'll surely like it."

Walking inside I was hiding behind John's back, afraid that someone from the bar would catch me and throw me out immediately. I was surely far too young to be here.

This was a night of many events. Here I had my first sip of Scotch and Coke (which made me fall backwards and roll against John while it seemed to burn away in my stomach), the first small drag on a cigarette of John's, the first time I kissed his cheek, all this in between many fits of laughter and moments of falling into his arms bursting out in tears. By the time it was over three, I felt I really had to go. I'd be a wreck if I didn't get enough sleep and I wouldn't be much better after a travel to London.

"We'll follow you, I promise." John said. Paul nodded and the others chuckled first and then cheered in response.

"When they get big...they're gonna live close to you," Cyn said. "And I'd love to see you again so I hope it happens."

"Believe me...you don't want John as a next-door neighbour." Pete joked. Everything they said wasn't in a particular order, all the usual goodbye prhases where mixed with jokes and laughter until we came on the corner of vale road. Paul had already left for the latest bus, Cyn had planned to spend the rest of the night with John in his room and went ahead, and here Pete went the other way, giving me and John a long wave.

"So...." I said. I stopped right there while JoHn suddenly pulled me close.

"Here," he said while my head fell on his shoulder. We stood near the side of the road while I sobbed, or some reason everything seemed to fall apart.

"Don't leave me there, please?" I said.

"I'm sorry...I think I have to...." he said. "Damn, I hate this!" he suddenly called out. "I told you, I'll be there soon, trust me."

"Sure?" I said.

"'Course, just a matter of getting away from that mousehole of a Cavern to some big club in London." I laughed for the firs time.

"I knew a small side-door," John said. "And then you're right in front of the stairs." I knew what he meant. It was the easiest way to get me back inside without someone noticing.

"When they see you, just tell them you went down for a pee or a glass of water," I nodded. "Good one? It is close to the bathroom, isn't it?"

"You've been there?" I chuckled. I knew that very well, he'd been inside a few times. Some of our patrons, or rather matrons, didn't really like him or other guys like him but it didn't stop me from staying in touch with him.

We'd walked the few yards to my old home, slowly, just to stretch time.

"Hey, I'm giving my self a day off tomorrow, just to see you off at the station," he gave me a bit of a shy look. "I don't know if you can...stand that?"

"Well I got through all this," I sighed. "So it should work." When we were at the door my voice suddenly got stuck. After another hug I felt tears slide down my face......

********

My mind had been in reminiscing mode for a short moment, just to go over this, untill suddenly, "Alice?" I jumped up from the grass. I was sure I'd been standing on the lawn making my way over to John while something must have called me away from it. I felt my cheeks redden while tears still streamed down my face.

"What the hell...." John started. He folded his arms around me. "I've been standing here for over five minutes and you where...just asleep or something?"

"I don't know...I heard this one familiar whistle and I just walked on...but it kept reminding me of...." my voice faded.

"I knew you'd recognize that," John smiled. But I felt bad inside, suddenly realizing some similarities, something very similar betwen this last memory and a day in the near future.



Chapter Eight

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

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