[personal profile] yes_2day
Okay, deep breath.  Going to try to post for the first time on JHP Dreamwidth style!  Here's hoping!

In this chapter, John and Paul get some bad news, and both visit their therapists - Paul for the first time in a few years. 

WARNINGS:  This is ENTIRELY FICTIONAL, and involves slash situations.  18 or older please.  :)


Chapter 153

 

 

November 29, 2001

London, 9:50 p.m.

  

         John was in the kitchen at Cavendish, and he was puttering around finishing the rinsing of dinner dishes and stacking them in the dishwasher.  In the family room, Paul was relaxing, surrounded by Mary, Alistair, his sleeping grandson Arthur, Stella and Alasdhair, James and Heather.  They’d had a long, leisurely dinner, and were laughing and joking.  Because of all their conflicting schedules, they had finally gotten around to celebrating a belated American Thanksgiving in honor of Linda and were happily relating Linda memories.  Mary, Stella and Heather had made all the foods Linda had made at Thanksgiving, and John had helped.  Even Paul had chipped in by making the mashed potatoes.  

 

         As John wiped down the last counter, the phone rang.  John picked it up. “Yes?” He asked. 

 

         “Is this John?” The young man’s voice asked.  He sounded shaken.

 

         “Who’s this?” John asked suspiciously.  How did these fans get their phone number?  How many times would they have to change their phone number?  

 

         “This is Dhani.  Harrison.” 

 

         “Dhani!” John repeated with enthusiasm.  But then he thought:  this isn’t going to be good news.  “Are you okay?” John asked, having digested how shaken Dhani sounded.

 

         “I’m calling to tell you my dad died.  About 30 minutes ago.”

 

         John’s heart nearly stopped.  Of course he had been expecting this call, but it was still a shock when it happened.  “Oh, Dhani, I’m sorry,” John finally found himself able to say. 

 

         “Do you want to talk to my mom?” Dhani asked, clearly on the verge of tears.

 

         “Yes, of course,” John responded.  He then waited for several moments until Olivia was on the other end of the line.  Her voice was nasal, as if she had been crying.

 

         “I’m just calling to tell you that George has passed,” she said softly.  “We’re here in your L.A. house, and his doctor has just pronounced, and the funeral home has just left with his...” Olivia’s voice cracked...“body.”

 

         John groaned, and suddenly felt his legs go weak.  He reached backwards until he found a kitchen chair, and then sank down into it.   “What can we do to help?” John asked, feeling helpless.

 

         Olivia sighed heavily.  “No one can help now, but I appreciate the offer,” she said. 

 

         “Was he still lucid at the end?” John asked.

 

         “Yes!  I almost saw a golden light around him!  He was smiling and full of love.  He was so...” Olivia broke down and began to cry.  John waited patiently, with tears running down his cheeks.  Olivia finally regained control of her emotions.  “He was so peaceful, so full of light.  I believe he reached Krishna consciousness as he died.”

 

         John couldn’t remember - from his time in the Ashram - what Krishna consciousness was all about, but he wasn’t about to say so.  He knew it was good.  He asked Olivia, “Are there plans for a service?”

 

         “We are going to bless his ashes in London on December 2nd,” she said.  “Then Dhani and I are taking his ashes to India, to spread them on the Ganges River.”

 

         “Are we invited to the London service?” John asked.

 

         “Yes!  Absolutely!  It is family and close friends only, so yes - you and Paul, and of course Ringo - are all invited.  I’ll give you more information when we have it.” 

 

         John hung up, and breathed heavily.  He now had to go and tell Paul.  He knew this would be difficult.  Paul took the deaths of his friends very hard.  He often broke down in sobs at times like these.  John got up and reluctantly headed for the sitting room.  He stood in the doorway and watched as la famille McCartney was doing its thing.  He reflexively smiled, sorry to disturb the vibe, but knowing that being surrounded by his family when he heard the news would actually be a good thing for Paul.  He approached the sofa where Paul was lounging.  He climbed over James, and sat down right next to Paul.  Paul looked up and met his eyes and smiled happily.  John leaned in towards Paul.  Paul thought John was being flirtatious and so he put an amorous arm around John’s shoulders.  John said softly,

 

         “I’ve just received some troubling news.” 

 

         Paul’s eyes went from playful to worried in the space of a second.  “What?” He asked.

 

         “George.”  John said the word softly, sympathetically.

 

         Paul’s eyes seemed to grow to the size of platters.  All the merriment leaked from his face, and he looked stricken.  “Dead?” was all he could manage to ask. 

 

         John nodded in the affirmative.

 

         “Oh, no.” Paul moaned. 

 

         John embraced Paul.  Paul’s kids had been watching this interaction first with that ‘oh-no’ expression kids get when their parents are about to be affectionate with each other in front of them, and then, as things progressed, with growing concern.  Stella finally asked, “What’s going on?”

 

         John announced to the room as a whole, “George Harrison - he just died.”

 

         “No!” Heather cried. 

 

         At the same time, Mary said, “Oh, no...”  She was looking at her father with concern written all over her face.  She got up and sat on her father’s other side, and wrapped her arm around his middle.  “Daddy, I’m so sorry,” she whispered.

 

         Paul was weeping.  He couldn’t help it.  He had known that George was going to die, but it still hit him very hard when it actually happened.  John was whispering to him softly, and tears were in John’s eyes as well.  The rest of the McCartneys moved in closer to Paul and John, forming a protective circle.  There was a solemn silence as Paul tried to get his emotions under control.  He didn’t want to cry in front of everyone, but he could hardly help it.  George - his little baby brother - was gone.  It was so fucking unfair!  He pulled himself together and said,

 

         “If anyone ever was prepared to face death, it was Geo.  He was incredibly brave.” 

 

         John understood exactly what Paul was saying, and nodded in agreement.  “He was spiritual.  He believed that shit, and it helped him.”

 

         Paul said, “It wasn’t ‘shit’, John.  It was real to George.  Maybe I don’t understand it, but I respect it.”

 

         John was nodding in agreement and said, “I didn’t mean anything by it.”

 

         “When is the service?” Paul asked John.

 

         “They are having a brief blessing of his ashes here in London on the 2nd.  We’ll get details later,” John responded.  He added, “She and Dhani are taking his ashes to India, to let his ashes loose in the Ganges River.  That part is private - just them.” 

 

         Paul repeated “India,” very softly, as a flood of memories overtook him. 

 

         Paul’s children were amazed at how delicate their father seemed, and how strongly John was supporting him.  It was the opposite of what they’d usually seen in the past - their father as the strong one, supporting a weaker John.  The only other times they had seen it was sometimes during their mother’s illness, and in the months just after her death.

 

         “Do they really want us at the London service?” Paul asked, hardly believing it. 

 

         “Olivia specifically said so,” John assured him.

 

         Paul nodded, and allowed his face to fall into the palms of his hands.  He shuddered.  “Why does it hurt so much when I knew it was going to happen?” He asked.  He didn’t really expect an answer.  He was basically railing against fate.  No one answered him, because they understood the context. 

 

         John’s feelings were a lot more complicated.  He had never really been as close to George as Paul had been.  When they were teenagers, John had been 2 ½ years older, and that was a huge age difference between teenaged boys.   George had followed him around on dates, and had more or less idolized him.   Then, in Hamburg, George had become the mascot of the older cooler people that joined their entourage - the so-called Exi’s.  They had all treated George as a long-lost little brother, and spoiled him thoroughly.  John smiled at the memory.  It was hard to be really close to someone who thinks of you as a kind of god.  The relationship never was balanced.  When George wanted to balance it later - to step in to Paul’s shoes and become John’s partner - John could not even consider it.  By then he had decided to be Yoko’s partner, anyway.  This had hurt George quite a bit, and then George’s long period of bitterness began.  When John had failed to show up for George’s New York Dark Horse Tour concert performance, George even read John the riot act.  After that they had drifted apart, and had not really connected up again until those disturbing weeks surrounding the whole Nigel affair.  This thought made John wince, and the whole Anthology mess.  On the other hand, in the last few years, George had been more like his old self.  John had forged a working relationship with him - in the sense that the relationship ‘worked’, but it was a fairly superficial thing.   So how did he feel about George’s death?  Right now what he primarily felt was sympathy for Olivia, Dhani, Paul, and Ringo.  They were really going to miss George in a way that John thought he would not.   He was very sorry, of course, that George had been visited by the scourge of cancer and had to die so young.  He didn’t wish that fate on anyone, much less someone he loved.

 

         Slowly, the family members peeled off to disappear to their various homes or rooms within Cavendish.  James was lying on the sofa and watching television when John persuaded Paul to go up to bed.  

 

         After the lights were out, and they were lying in each other’s embrace, Paul said to John, “Lately I find myself tearing up for no good reason again.  I’m thinking I need to go see my therapist.  What do you think about that?”

 

         John just barely stopped himself from whooping out the Greek word “Nike!”  Instead, he said as passively as he could, “I think that’s an excellent idea.”

 

 

 

*****

 

Hare Krishna Headquarters

London

December 2, 2001

 

         John and Paul arrived at the Hare Krishna temple in Central London.  They were met in the vestibule by a few members of the religion, who directed them to an anteroom where Olivia and Dhani were sitting already, meditating.  Because the service was an intensely private one, John and Paul went through the blessing of the ashes as quietly and respectfully as they could.  Afterwards, they hugged Olivia and Dhani in the hallway and quietly left.  The next day Olivia and Dhani would be leaving for India, where they would spread George’s ashes on the Ganges River.

 

*****

 

Dr. Marc Steven’s Office, London

December 4, 2001

        

         Marc had been pleasantly surprised when Paul McCartney had called him and asked if he could have a few appointments to “deal with some issues.”  He thought seeking assistance in this way was a sign of good mental health.  And truthfully, he had missed Paul.  Paul had been a model client, and an extremely interesting one, too.   Marc of course had watched the craziness of the July press conference on the Internet, and had laughed his ass off watching it.  Paul had been amazingly calm and even amused by John’s display; but Marc wondered if that was only skin deep and perhaps Paul was upset about it.  Then, of course, Marc had read about George Harrison’s death.  He supposed that might have something to do with Paul’s “issues” as well.  No way of telling until the man got there.

 

         Again Paul sat in his car in the underground parking garage.  He did a few minutes’ worth of meditation to calm himself before he emerged from the car.  Then he moved towards the elevator, and up to Marc’s floor.  He paused briefly before entering the anteroom, and then paused again before hitting the buzzer to indicate he had arrived.  It was only a few seconds before Marc opened the door and invited him in.

 

         The tears that rushed to the back of his eyes upon seeing Marc surprised Paul.  They were tears of relief.  Here was someone he could talk to who wasn’t emotionally involved with any of the players, and whom Paul implicitly trusted based on past experience.  He had to stop himself from giving Marc a big hug.  He knew that was frowned upon in the psych biz. 

 

         Marc said, “It is good to see you again, but I am sure it is not a terribly good time for you.”

 

         Paul found his comfortable spot on Marc’s sofa again, and said, “Yeah.  Things have been very confusing lately.”

 

         Marc decided he would not anticipate Paul’s “issues.”  He would let Paul raise them, as he felt comfortable to do so.  Instead he said, “You wanted to meet with me about some issues that are concerning you?”

 

         Paul becalmed himself and tried to get back into the mindset of a therapy patient.  He said, “Yes.  All kinds of stuff are getting thrown up.”

 

         Marc said, “Well, we’ll take this stuff one bit at a time, to make it manageable, shall we?”

 

         Paul nodded his agreement.  He wasn’t sure where he wanted to start.  But obviously Marc was waiting for him to say something. 

 

         “I guess you must have heard about George Harrison’s death,” Paul said.

 

         Marc nodded in the affirmative.

 

         “About three weeks before he died, John, Ringo and I went to visit George at the hospital in New York.  We all knew it would be the last time we would be together, all four of us.”

 

         “That must have been heavy,” Marc commented.

 

         “Yeah, but George was so - relatable - that it wasn’t impossibly awkward.  It was just that...” Paul came to a halt.

 

         Marc waited patiently.  When nothing came forth, he prompted, “Just what?” 

 

         Paul had already organized in his mind how he wanted to parse his problems out for Marc.  “When the four of us met in George’s hospital room,” Paul said, “there was a kind of weird dynamic.”

 

         “Weird how?” Marc asked.

 

         “It was like all four of us reverted back to the people we were in the early ‘60s.  Suddenly, all the growing up we had done in the meantime seemed to evaporate.  Except George; he remained his mature self.”

 

         Marc leaned forward.  This was interesting.  “How so?” He asked.

        

         Paul allowed his mind to flow back to the day in George’s hospital room.  He said, “John became the bully he always had been in those days.”  Almost as soon as the words came out of his mouth, he felt shocked.  He looked at Marc with sincere shock.

 

         “A ‘bully’?” Marc asked.

 

         Paul’s conscience was doing a crash and burn.  Should he have said something so negative?  Should he have parsed his feelings on the issue?  Well, too late.  He had already blurted out his true feelings. Paul responded, “He could be a bully back in the day.”

 

         “In what way?” Marc asked.

        

         Paul looked at his hands.  It felt disloyal to say these things. But he did want to get this poison out of his system so that he could move forward in his life with John without the ugliness dragging them down.  He said, “It was weird.   Right away, as soon as we were all four together, it started again.”

 

         “What started?” Marc asked, with just the right amount of disinterest in his tone.

 

         “It was like I was the uncool, the too enthusiastic, the too square one,” Paul said.  His voice had cracked a bit when he said the word ‘square.’  “In the past, he never lost an opportunity to point out to the others around us that I was not as cool as him.”

 

         “That must have been very painful,” Marc said.

 

         “I didn’t really acknowledge it at the time,” Paul revealed.

 

         “What was ‘it’?” Marc asked neutrally.

 

         Paul had to think about that.  The whole thing felt so disloyal.  He said, “John wanted to put me down in front of others.  It is something that he did for the whole time I knew him in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s.  I guess it was 23 years of being subtly and no-so-subtly isolated and marginalized.”

 

         Marc was taken aback.  This was quite a disclosure.   He asked, “What do you mean by the words ‘put me down.’  Do you have some examples of what you mean?” 

 

         Paul sighed heavily.  He often wondered if he was overly sensitive, and so if he shared the information with others, they would think he was overreacting.  For that reason he hesitated before explaining his concerns to Marc.  Still, he felt he should make the attempt.  “It was little things.  He would sort of eat away at my credibility when others were around.”

 

         “In what way?”  Marc asked objectively.

 

         “He would say things like, ‘Paul thinks everything about the Beatles is perfect.’  Well, that wasn’t true!  I loved the band -of course I did - but I wasn’t blind to our faults!  I just thought if we worked hard enough we could correct most of our faults!”

 

         “Can you give me another example of what he might say?” Marc asked, trying to get a handle on the issue.

 

         “Well, for instance, he was asking each of the four of us to say what was the best memory we had of the Beatles - this was in George’s hospital room - and when he got to me he said, ‘Paul will take forever because he will say everything was great from 1963 to 1968.’  It made me seem - I don’t know - shallow.  Like I had no understanding that there was always bad with the good.”

 

         Marc understood Paul’s point.  There was a kind of slighting superiority in John’s comment about Paul’s feelings about his memories of the Beatles.  But he suspected this was just the tip of the iceberg.  He asked, “How did that make you feel - when John said that?”

 

         Paul sighed heavily. “I felt like a fool:  a clueless fool.  That is how he wanted me to feel all those years...”

 

         “Why would he want you to feel like a fool?” Marc asked objectively.

 

         “He wanted to feel better than me,” Paul answered without thinking.  He then added, with more thought, “I don’t think he did it consciously.  I think he wanted other people to think I was lesser than him, because he couldn’t bear for anyone to maybe think I was as good as him.”

 

         “You say this happened in the past.  Does John ever do this to you now - in the present?” Marc asked.

 

         Paul thought about that.  “No, not anymore.  But as soon as we sat down in that hospital room, all four together, he reverted back to that old pattern.”

 

         “Why do you suppose he did that?”

 

         Paul was stumped.  “The only thing I can think of is maybe it is subconscious.  The effect we have on each other brings out those old patterns.”

 

         Marc nodded his head and said, “That sounds like a good working hypothesis.  But why do you suppose you let it bother you so much, seeing as how he doesn’t do this normally any more?”

 

         Paul was shaking his head back and forth in negation.  “I don’t know!  I became so angry!  I hadn’t been that angry in a very long time.  Especially not at John.  It seemed like everything that came out of his mouth was either patronizing or insulting to me.  And, frankly, our old friend Richie - that’s Ringo, our drummer - he was papering over it as well.” 

 

         “Papering over what?” Marc asked.

 

         Paul had let that slip.  He had shifted gears in his mind and hadn’t realized he had done so until Marc pointed it out.  Now he had to explain about the whole Allen Klein mess.  “As you might remember, since we discussed it a little bit in my earlier therapy sessions, the four of us had a huge dispute about management of the band starting in 1968.”

 

         Marc nodded.  Of course he remembered it, although the past discussion had not been in great detail.

 

         Paul continued.  “After our first manager died suddenly - we kind of rambled around for a few years on our own, and I did most of the management work.  The others couldn’t be bothered.  They said they wanted to do it, and we divided up the work, but then the other three just stopped doing it.  And it all fell on me.”

 

         “That must have been enormously stressful,” Marc commented.

 

         “It was a very bad time for me.  My personal life wasn’t going so well.  You and I talked about that before, if you remember.  But anyway, John hooked up with Yoko...”

 

         Marc was remembering the web of women coming in and out of Paul’s life at the time, and Paul’s painful choice to end the sexual relationship with John.  Maybe he and Paul hadn’t spent enough time on that period in their original sessions together, Marc considered.

 

         “...And Yoko started in on him - you know, don’t let Paul have all the control, you can’t trust him - playing on John’s anger at me and on his fear of being left by people he cared about.  She wanted to move in on the Beatles and somehow make it her thing, too.  The rest of us didn’t like that, but...” Paul stopped for a moment and willed himself to slow down.  He had been speaking in an ever-faster cadence.  “...George saw the rift between me and John, and even though he objected the most to Yoko’s presence, he also saw his opportunity to try to take my place in John’s creative life.  That is how John wooed George over to his side.”

 

         “You believe John ‘wooed’ George?”

 

         “I do, yes, because back then George couldn’t stand Yoko, and I can’t think of any other reason why he would side with her against me.  I know for a fact he asked John to be in a group with him after the Beatles ended, but he didn’t want Yoko in it, and John would have none of that.  And frankly, I don’t think John wanted to be in a group anymore. But George had this other motivation.”

 

         “I see,” Marc said.  “Was there something about George’s presence, do you think, that caused these old memories to surface?”

 

         Paul sat still as he considered Marc’s question.  “Maybe,” he finally responded, although he didn’t sound too sure.  “George apologized to me.  It was very sincere and he really meant it, I could tell.  It meant so much to me, and I am so grateful to him for doing that.  But Ringo and John’s reactions to George’s apology were like there was nothing for them to apologize for.”

 

         “Why did Ringo vote with John and George?” Marc asked.

 

         “Ringo hates dissention.  He hates arguing and debating.  It makes him nervous.  I think he did it because if he voted with me it would be two against two, and the fighting would go on indefinitely.  But he has rationalized it all now, and in fact he blames me.  If only I hadn’t tried to hire my in-laws, it would never have happened.”  Paul’s voice was again picking up its tempo, and his resentment was beginning to show through. 

 

         “It is a valid point, though, don’t you think?  The others might not want to have your in-laws managing their affairs,” Marc said calmly.

 

         “I was coming from this place where I had been handling the business by myself with only our friend Neil Aspinall to help me for two years - this was 1969 - and the other three had shown no interest at all in any of it.  The Eastmans were willing to give us a 10% management deal because of my relationship with them, when all the other potential managers wanted to charge 20%.  I also knew enough about the business to know that they were very, very good at what they did.  I had never experienced distrust from my mates before.  I didn’t think they would distrust me so much.  It was a very bad surprise to find out that they did.”

 

         “That had to hurt, but - again - it isn’t all that unusual for people not to want someone else’s in-laws in control of their business.”  Marc was holding Paul’s feet to the fire on the issue.  Paul needed to be able to see it the way his band mates saw it in order to understand more fully what might have driven them to vote against him. 

 

         Paul nodded sadly.  “I eventually realized it was a no go with the Eastmans.  So I suggested that we find a third candidate - someone all four of us could get behind, but John and George said, ‘no, we want Klein.’  We ultimately agreed that Klein would be the manager, and the Eastmans would act as financial advisors, but then John and Klein cut the Eastmans out and never consulted them.  One thing that bothers me about Ringo is he always says that stuff about my in-laws but he forgets that I offered another way out - maybe a third choice we could all agree on - and he didn’t support me in that, either.” 

 

         “Group dynamics can be very complex.  So you think John was motivated by his anger towards you for ending your personal relationship with him, and by wanting to make you feel the pain that he was feeling.  And George was motivated by his desire to finally be John’s best friend and partner - a role he might have coveted for years.  And Ringo was motivated by his intense dislike of dissention, and a desire to put an end to the fighting.”  Marc had summarized the situation very well, Paul thought.

 

         Paul added, “Ringo assumed that once the decision was made, I would ‘come around.’  He didn’t know me well at all, apparently.  I was never going to ‘come around’ to being treated that way by my friends.”

 

         Marc nodded and then asked, neutrally, “So what was motivating you?”

 

         Paul stopped short at that.  He had felt that his motivation was obvious.  “I didn’t want the Beatles to end, and I wanted us to be in charge of our own financial affairs with assistance from professionals with a proven record.”

 

         “I’ll be the devil’s advocate here...” Marc started.

 

         “I thought you already were being one,” Paul joked nervously.

 

         “Fair enough.  But let’s look at it from John’s point of view.  You were clearly the love of his life.  You were - he believed - his soul mate.  And you rejected him.  That is how it felt to him.  And of course we’ve established that John’s great fear in life is the fear of abandonment, so you making that choice was his absolute worst fear come to life.  He was also doing heroin - you told me that before.  And heroin strips the user of his ability to make rational decisions. He was suffering, and when a person like John suffers he needs to make others suffer too.  Your completely logical desire to continue in your job - business as usual - and pretend that nothing deeper had ever happened between you two would be a nightmare scenario for him, don’t you think?”

 

         Paul had listened intently to what Marc had said.  In apparent agreement with Marc’s comment, Paul added, “He said to me in one of the meetings, ‘I have to stay in the Beatles so that you can have your job?’  That was nasty and humiliating.  I didn’t have a response.  I got up and left - I rushed home because I was crying, and I didn’t want people to see me.”

 

         “See, what I take from that is John resented you seeing him as a meal ticket and just a friend and business associate.  He needed and wanted so much more from you.” 

 

         Paul’s eyes were watering up again.  “I’m useless.  I just start weeping for no good reason.  It’s like after Linda died...” Paul was angrily rubbing his tears away with the ever-present tissues.  “I have no idea why I’m crying now.”

 

         Marc gentled his approach.  “I’m not suggesting you did anything wrong.  You had to do what you had to do at that point in your life.  But at that time John was the one who was hurting the most, no matter what he put you through.  You had your work, your wife, and your children.”

 

         “John had work, a wife and a child, too...” Paul pointed out.

 

         “Except those things did not bring him the comfort they brought you.  He needed and wanted different things.  He strikes me as an all or nothing guy.  He wanted you - and that would be his work, because you would be his partner, and you would be his spouse, because he wanted to live with you and only you, and you would be his best and closest friend.  A one- stop shop!  And I’m suggesting that the loss of all that is what fueled his rage, and why he visited it upon you so relentlessly.”

 

         Paul didn’t disagree with Marc, but he was feeling a little put out.  He wasn’t getting the sympathetic agreement with his point of view that he had expected.  Was he that off the mark in feeling wronged?  He decided he should clam up.  There was no point in saying anything more, only to be told that his feelings were an over-reaction or less worthy than John’s.  So he pulled his feelings in closer to him, and shut down.

 

         Marc saw the shut down and cursed under his breath.  He had thought that Paul was strong enough to have his memories tested by alternative ways of looking at the facts.  But apparently that was not the case.  He needed to do something quick to bring Paul back out of his shell.   “Of course, your feelings were and are valid.  You can’t experience the pain someone else is suffering.  You can only experience your own pain.”

 

         Paul’s eyes were closed off and suspicious now.  He was regretting coming here.  He was more confused than ever.  Maybe these angry feelings were completely without merit.  But why did he feel so hurt by them if that were the case?  He decided he’d said enough for one day, and he wasn’t entirely certain he’d be back.  The session ended, and he trailed dejectedly to his car.  He could feel the black mood moving in on him.  This happened every few years.  It happened whenever he felt helpless and not in control.  By now Paul had figured that much out.  And between John’s unilateral public disclosure about their relationship, followed almost immediately by 9/11, then followed again almost immediately by George’s last illness and death - well, Paul had felt nothing but helpless and out of control for months now.  He sat behind the wheel in the parking garage for a good 15 minutes trying to summon up the will and the energy to drive back to Cavendish. 

 

*****


 

         “I’m actually heartened by the fact that he chose voluntarily to go back to his therapy,” John was telling Fiona.  “George’s final illness and death really set him back.  And it seemed to pull out some bad memories from the end of the Beatles, too.”

 

         Fiona said, “I thought you two had dealt with those issues.”

 

         “I thought so too,” John said, “but I should have known I’d gotten out of that too easy.  I think he just swept his feelings under the rug, and now they keep popping up and overwhelming him.”

 

         “Have you brought the subject up with him?” Fiona asked.

 

         “I tried.  He told me he wasn’t ready to talk about it, and I should give him some space.”  John looked both frustrated and afraid.  “He is acting like himself, though, and so it is easy for me to pretend that nothing is wrong.”

 

         “But you know you are pretending,” Fiona finished for him.

 

         John nodded in the affirmative.  “I think we keep pushing this shit down, every time it pops up.  I think we’re both complicit in not addressing it.  We think it will do more harm than good to talk about it.” 

 

         Fiona was proud of John’s statement.  At least he was seeing his role in the breakdown of communication, even if he hadn’t yet accepted any blame with respect to it.  “What is your best guess about what is bothering him?” Fiona asked.

 

         John sighed heavily as he thought.  He finally said, “I think he still feels ostracized by the three of us - well, I guess it is two of us now.  I think he has never gotten over us all being against him.”

 

         “That would be a very hard thing to get over, I would think,” Fiona pointed out.

 

         John nodded fatalistically.  “I did it on purpose - I isolated him on purpose, and encouraged George and Ringo to participate.  I was on drugs, I was mentally ill, and I was on a rampage.”

 

         “Did you ever tell Paul that?” Fiona asked.

 

         “Yes, I did, but I don’t think I really got through to him.  I think he can’t help feeling a deep sense of betrayal, and that he does his best to bury it.”  John was starting to feel hopeless and depressed.  He began to worry that there was nothing he could ever do to make up to Paul for the whole end-of-the-Beatles debacle.  Paul had taken it so personally.  But, if John were being honest with himself, he had to admit that he intended for Paul to take it personally.  He wanted to inflict as much pain on Paul as Paul had inflicted on him.  The only leverage he had left was Paul’s beloved band - the Beatles - so John had wielded the band as the ultimate devastating weapon, and slashed away at everything Paul had held dear.   It had seemed a fitting revenge at the time.  But he had long since realized that all he had accomplished was to push Paul further away from him, which was the opposite of what he had ever wanted.

        

         “I think you should raise the subject with Paul, and be very open and gentle with him.  What he needs from you is a sincere apology.  It may work wonders,” Fiona said.  “But you can’t bully him into talking about it.  Gently, gently, like you would approach a very skittish and shy horse.”

 

         John smiled at the image of Paul as horse.  It would have to be a particularly beautiful horse, with a heavy mane of thick black wavy hair, and huge eyes with long eyelashes.  He chuckled at the image.  “I know what you want me to do,” John admitted honestly, “but I’m afraid that my fears will overcome me and I won’t act in a mature way.”

 

         Fiona smiled affectionately at John.   She said, “If you want to fix it once and for all, I believe you can do it.”

 

 

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