THIS IS THE FINALE OF TOO MUCH RAIN. If you read it carefully, you will find the seeds of the new series I will start next. This one is a mushy and happy one, following all of the angst that preceded it. :)
WARNINGS: THIS IS ALL FICTION - but it's all love. :)
Late December 2001
London’s weather may not be at it’s best in December, if you only go by grey skies that got dark early accompanied by rain. But John Lennon felt nostalgia about it at Christmastime. Here he was in his cozy sitting room, warm and dry and watching the weather. Earlier in the afternoon he and Paul had taken a long walk in Regent’s Park after having a nice pub meal at lunchtime. Everyone they met as they walked had recognized them and showered them with warm knowing smiles, and wanted to talk and touch. John and Paul were very generous celebrities in that way. They worked very hard to always be pleasant to people who stopped them in the street. But mainly, they had a nice long crisp walk through the park, talking about their upcoming trip to El Nido with excitement, and some songs they were working on. In addition, John discussed how he and Mary were planning a huge dinner for the family on Christmas Eve and a family holiday trip for the New Year. There was something invigorating about walking in the brisk air in between rain showers, and then coming back to a warm and welcoming home. John was filled with a sense of contentment as he took a seat on the sofa facing the open flames in the fireplace. He picked up his latest read, a lovely little book he’d been meaning to read for months now about a scrappy little racehorse named Seabiscuit. Soon he was engulfed, because it was extraordinarily well written and engaging.
Paul had enjoyed walking and listening to John rattling on. It had filled him with warmth. The last few weeks, since he had finally poured out his heart to John and John had said all the right comforting things, Paul had felt an intense closeness to John. He always felt intensely close to John of course, but it never ceased to amaze Paul how much more intense his love could grow, even after all the years, and all the water under the bridge. In fact, Paul didn’t feel there was even a hair’s breadth between them now. They were not only the united front their friends and family saw, but they were also an organic whole, to which they alone were privy. After the walk, Paul had headed up to the music room, because he had been hit with an inspiration while they had been walking - the words ‘too much rain’ kept echoing in his head, and an unearthly chorus had filled his head. But even as he began pounding out random chords, he suddenly missed being with John. Uncharacteristically, he got up, left the room, and went in search of John. He found him sitting on the sofa with a blanket over his legs, reading a book, sipping a cuppa, and looking as snug as a bug in a rug. Paul smiled. He bounced into the room.
“Any room under that blanket for me?” He asked teasingly, as he moved in until he was next to John. John quite happily shared his blanket. In the last few weeks Paul had been more loving, and even at times even more emotionally needy than he had ever been to John’s knowledge. Maybe Linda had seen this side of Paul more often, but John had rarely seen it. Paul was snuggling in to his side, so John put his arm around Paul’s shoulders. They kissed. The smile Paul gave him was so uncomplicated, that it stirred John’s heart. “Whatcha reading?” Paul asked, his eyes twinkling.
“It’s about a racehorse,” John said. “A kind of cranky, beaten up juvenile delinquent who turned out to be a world champion because of the love of three different men.”
“Sounds a lot like you,” Paul joked, making John laugh. “I guess that makes me one of the three men. George and Ringo are the other two.”
“There’s only ever been you, Paul,” John said sincerely, and poked Paul on his nose. “But the book’s beautifully written. I’ve only gone 5 pages. I’ll start over and read out loud - how about that?” John asked
Paul was excited. “No one has read to me like that since me Mum, when I was 8 years old.”
“Just close your eyes and listen, then,” John said, and he went back to the beginning and began to read. Paul felt deeply cherished and protected at that moment, and he too was soon utterly engaged in the true-life story, starting with the dynamic and fantastical racehorse owner Charles Howard.
As John read, part of his brain was watching the scenario as if he were hovering over their seats on the sofa. And John felt, for the first time in his life, that he was really, truly and totally loved; that this love would last; and, that this love would be more than sufficient to satisfy all his needs. Never in his life had he felt that way, and his eyes filled with tears as he read, but they were good tears. They were tears of relief and joy. Finally, after 45 years, he knew he had what he had always wanted: Paul’s undivided and devoted love, entirely to himself. And the best part was, his immediate reaction to this thought was not a flood of fear and doubt. Instead, what he felt was peace. He could accept Paul’s love now, and know that it was true, and that he could count on it. It was an amazingly freeing realization. He reflexively hugged Paul’s shoulder, as he began to read about the broken down trainer, Tom Smith: the ‘lone plainsman’ as he was called.
Paul was still awake, and John’s scent had a calming effect on him. He was intently listening to John’s voice, and he heard and understood what John was reading, but on another level he was floating over the scene, feeling the symmetry of it all.
The book was a very fast read. When they got to the story of the jockey, Red Pollard, Paul perked up a bit. Pollard had a father who was highly educated but down on his luck. He had loving, supportive parents, but the times were against them. And Red was an intuitive rider - he understood horses on a level that few ever did. As John finished that chapter Paul said, “Of the three men, I think I’m Red Pollard.”
John chuckled. He knew why Paul said that; a jockey and a horse are partners. Creative partners. They have to live and breathe as one in order to succeed. But Paul still didn’t understand how all-important he was in John’s life. So John said, “Paul, you’re all three of them for me. Don’t you see it?”
Paul looked clueless.
“You are the owner, Charles Howard, who was willing to take a wild risk on someone no one else believed in. You enjoyed my restless, crazy nature. And you’re the trainer, who knew how to magically speak to a broken horse. You knew my pain, and you knew how to handle it so that I could heal. And, yes, you are most definitely the jockey, who controlled my creative energy and helped me become a champion. In the process, you became a champion three times over.”
Paul laughed. He said, “I’m starting to feel creepy about this.”
John laughed too. Then he said, “I’m only trying to tell you, in a very soppy way, that you are my everything.”
A few days later, Mary brought Arthur over to Cavendish to meet with John to make plans for the family Christmas extravaganza. They sat at the kitchen table for a good hour making plans and exchanging ideas, but then John made some coffee and they decided to talk about more personal matters as they watched 2 ½ year old Arthur playing on the floor with a collection of lovely miniature trucks that John kept in the house for Arthur’s visits. John adored Arthur because he reminded him of a baby Paul, and it brought out all the maternal instincts in John, who had finally been able to access and appreciate his nurturing side. Mary was enamored of John, and loved him with a whole heart. She had never seen the mean, nasty side of him that she had read about in books. She had only seen the loving side of John, and she adored him. She didn’t know how she would have functioned after her mother died if she didn’t have John to call every day to share her little trials and tribulations. John was always interested in her little issues, and had been generous with his advice and support. The truth was, John and Mary were in love: in a parent and child kind of way.
As they began to discuss issues other than their upcoming family gathering, John suddenly said, “Your dad and I - we’re in this really rarified place right now.”
“Oh?” Mary asked. “In what way?”
“We are just so in love. It isn’t like anything I’ve ever experienced before. I have no doubt - none at all - that he loves me, and he wants no one but me.”
Mary smiled. “The rest of us have known that for some time, now,” she chided.
“I get that, Mary, I really do. But there was this corner of himself that Paul was keeping from me because of our past history, and we sat down one night a few weeks ago, and we talked through it. I believe that we resolved all that old shit, and we are now on a completely different plane together. For the first time ever, I feel safe and secure in his love.”
Mary had teared up. “You put each other through some trials,” she said honestly, “but you are amazingly forgiving of each other. That is something remarkable that I have noticed about your connection. It is very unusual, in case you didn’t know. Not only do you two really get each other, you also adore each other - in a way that so few couples really do. I know my parents had a deep love affair and that they had a lovely, high functioning marriage. But what you and my dad have together... that is in a category all it’s own. I’m so happy you have finally both recognized this and are enjoying it, because the rest of us have noticed it for years.”
John sighed. “This sounds like a horrendous thing to say, but we lucked out with the timing of 9/11. If it had to happen, I am grateful it happened when it did. It swallowed the controversy over my little press outburst whole. No one has the appetite to pursue these celebrity issues in the aftermath of such a terrible tragedy.”
Mary understood what John was saying. “Yes, and when they do finally start asking about it again, everyone will have already digested it, and it won’t be as terrible.”
John chuckled. “You know that little radio show we did with Howard Stern in New York last October? Apparently it was the highest radio audience for the whole month of October, and that was in direct competition with the 9/11 news radio stations. We got a little thank you note from Howard for being so open and funny.”
“People just love you two,” Mary said softly. “I mean, wherever I go, people recognize me and ask about you both, and tell me how much they love you.”
“That’s what Paul and I are noticing,” John agreed. “There must be haters out there, but they don’t talk smack to us when they meet us in the street. They’re probably in their little hovels trolling the hell out of us on the Internet, but in person they don’t seem to have the courage to say that shit to our faces.”
“Thank goodness for that,” Mary said, shuddering at the thought of having obscenities shouted at one while minding one’s own business and walking down a street.
“We get some pretty impressive hate mail, though, and a whole lot of nasty trolling on the Internet. It’s really scary to see how many truly mean-spirited people there are out there,” John said. “The death threats have increased by over 30% since my outburst, I’m told.”
“Death threats?” Mary squealed. “You get death threats?”
“All the time, yes, and right now we’re apparently getting almost a third more than we normally do. Didn’t you know your dad got death threats?”
“I didn’t know!” Mary declared, horrified. This had never crossed her mind. She knew immediately that her parents had protected her from this information. How silly that she didn’t figure it out herself! “It’s horrible!”
John sighed. “It is horrible, yes, but it is just one more item in the cost of being in this business. You get a lot of money and adoration if you make it, but you lose all your privacy, they write horrible things about you and publish it, they trespass on your property and try to break into all your phones and computers, and on top of it they threaten to kidnap, maim, and kill you. It’s the kind of thing your dad and I had no idea about when we were teenagers wanting to make a record. Making a record seemed like a harmless pastime back in the day. All this other shit comes with it, though.”
Mary was aware of most of the downsides to fame. Add to that, customs officials trying to make names for themselves by throwing her parents in jail! But she must have blocked out the idea that anyone would want to physically harm her father. Who would want to harm him? He was so sweet! She had to physically shake her head as if to shake that image out of her body. “You’re both amazingly sanguine about it, though,” she said.
“We went through the angst of it back in the ‘60s. George, especially, was freaked out about it. But then we were famous at the same time that JFK was killed in his open-top car, and then Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated in ’68 I think it was. It was a very dangerous time, and even though we weren’t political figures, we were cultural figures that ushered in a lot of social change, which was not appreciated by many people who had guns. So, anyway, all the handwringing there was to be done about it happened back then. Then we just accepted it as part of the price of our success.” John stopped and then chuckled. “Well, Paul and I accepted it. George and Ringo - not so much.”
“I wonder why that is?” Mary asked, sincerely curious.
“Different personality types, is all. Paul and I like people, and we enjoy interacting with them. We don’t resent the fact that they want to talk to us, and touch us. We have no problem giving them autographs, or posing for photos. George is jus - shit! - was just allergic to fame. I keep forgetting he’s dead! It doesn’t feel real! Anyway, he enjoyed it at first, but after the JFK thing he became very worried that we would get shot. And irony of ironies, he’s the one who was accosted in his own home by a crazy man. And Ringo was cool with it all until he got tired of people interrupting his private moments, and he stopped doing autographs because he thought that his autographs would have more financial value if there were fewer of them. It was a point of pride with him.”
“That is so weird - worrying about the price of your autograph!” Mary said, surprised by this news.
“Paul thinks it is really about the fact that he and I made more money than the other two - because of our songwriting - and they were always trying to think of ways to increase their take - George did it by constantly suing us and trying to get pennies off the dollar off us, and Ringo did it with all these get rich quick schemes. Neither of those tactics really worked. Their fortunes are about one-seventh of Paul’s individual fortune, and one-third of mine.”
“Why were yours’ worth so much more than theirs’?” Mary asked.
“Most of the money came from the songs, Mary. Making records wasn’t a great way to accumulate huge wealth. The record companies saw to that. Touring was where the money was at, and George and I wanted to quit touring, and eventually Ringo and Paul agreed. And then, your dad was smart enough to hook up with the Eastmans, and they did way better with his money than the rest of us did with Klein. And then George got ripped off by his next manager, too. Ringo was profligate and invested a lot of his money in speculative stuff. Your dad, meanwhile, was tight with a peso and a shrewd investor. On the other hand, Yoko ended up with most of my money, and I started over with just my songs back in the ‘80s when we divorced. Then your dad and Uncle John took over my investments, and they have worked wonders, but mine was still less than half as big as your dad’s. Of course, since your mum died, our money is in one big pot, and we own it jointly in equal parts.”
“You do?” Mary asked, surprised.
John was worried. Maybe Paul didn’t want his children to know about this. “This happened about a year or so ago. He got tired of watching two fortunes - he said it was stressful - so he joined them. It doesn’t affect your family trust, though. All the trusts remained the same.”
Mary said, “I’m not worried about the trust, John. Daddy has been incredibly generous to my siblings and me. I just didn’t know that you’d combined your money like that. I think it is a great idea - less work for Daddy and Uncle John!” Mary smiled brightly to show that she meant what she said, and John was relieved.
“I shouldn’t have said anything; it was for Paul to say something. Please don’t repeat it to anyone else,” John said seriously. “I’m an indiscreet person. Your dad is kind of used to it, but I’m trying to be more mindful about it.”
Mary laughed. “He adores you just the way you are,” she said firmly. “Even when you really piss him off he can’t stay mad. He’s like that with everyone, generally, but he is especially like that with you!”
John paused for a moment and said, “You kids have all been so generous to me. It could have been different - because I barged into your parents’ marriage, disrupting everything. Do you mind telling me the truth - are any of the four of you upset in any way by it? I don’t want to assume they aren’t. It would be very important for me to try to speak with them if they aren’t happy, to see if we can find a way to deal with their hurt feelings.”
Mary teared up. “John,” she said firmly, “I would absolutely tell you if any of my siblings resented you, or resented how the whole thing played out. In the beginning, yes, when we found out about the nature of your relationship, Heather was upset. But that was just because she is so super-sensitive, and she was always intensely close to our mother. Stella and I had a few moments when we worried about our mum. But it has been years since any of us have had those feelings. Heather really adores you, and does not blame you for anything. She saw for herself that it didn’t make a real difference to our mother, and to our parents’ marriage, and that you also brought a lot of good stuff into our home. You have a lot of joie de vivre, John - you brought a lot of laughter and silliness into our lives, and we all love it.”
“I brought a lot of grief to your parents, though. I think they hid that from you,” John confessed.
Mary laughed. “Yes, they protected us from a lot of stuff, but the fact is - for us - it balanced out. You know? And clearly my mother and father both adored you, even with all the craziness, so it isn’t something you should waste any time feeling guilty about.”
“I just can’t see myself being so open and generous as you are. I really resented my stepsisters, because they had my mother and I didn’t. And they also had a father who took care of them, and I didn’t. I carried around a lot of hurt and resentment over that, so it seems amazing to me that the four of you are so generous of heart.”
Mary got up, rounded the table, and gave John a loving hug. She whispered in his ear, “We all love you like we love our dad, and like we loved our mum. You’re no different to us. Stop worrying.”
John couldn’t help it - he began to weep. Mary tried to shush him with affection. John finally was able to say, “I just don’t understand it. I don’t think I deserve it.”
Mary continued to hug him, and said softly, “Just accept it. You don’t have to understand it, do you?”
That Same Afternoon
Paul had felt bad about how he had abruptly stopped his session with Marc Stevens, so he had decided to go visit him one more time to explain how it all worked out. He felt he owed the man at least that much. So he had gone to Marc’s office, and been ushered in by the therapist, who was looking at him closely because he didn’t know what to expect. Paul smiled at him to show no hard feelings.
“I was worried you wouldn’t come back,” Marc said with a sheepish smile. “You seemed very upset with me when you left last time.”
Paul smiled and said, “I was upset with you. But in the end it was my own fault I was so let down. I had expected magic to happen, and we’d identify the issue and address it, and then it would be solved. I wasn’t interested in going through several months of therapy and still not knowing what the problem was.”
“You seem very light-hearted, I must say. What’s going on?” Marc asked curiously.
“That night - when I got back from our session - John kind of persuaded me to open up. We had a very good discussion, and at the end of it, all my resentment was gone.”
“Just like that?” Marc asked. He was skeptical.
“No, it was a prolonged and difficult conversation at times, but I managed to tell him why I was upset, and he was able to say the words to help me get past it all.”
Marc was dubious that there could have been a cure-all so easily obtained from one conversation. “How so?” He asked, trying not to sound skeptical.
Paul said, “I think mainly it was my fault. I had kept those feelings so deeply buried that I had never given John a chance to explain. I guess I hadn’t wanted to look that vulnerable in front of him, because when we were younger, he used my vulnerabilities against me.”
Marc said, “And now he doesn’t?”
Paul met Marc’s eyes and said directly, “He really doesn’t do this to me with any specific intention. I was ultra sensitive about the whole Beatles-vibe thing, but his fair point was that we all skewered each other over each other’s perceived weaknesses all the time. We really didn’t mean anything by it, except to keep each other in check.”
Marc wasn’t convinced. “You seemed extremely hurt by it.”
Paul nodded in agreement. “I was. But I want to put it behind me. I’m prepared to believe that John didn’t mean to fucking cut my heart out by his behavior.”
Marc looked at Paul in alarm, and Paul laughed. “I guess I’m saying that I was looking at those memories through the eyes of a teenager, and perhaps I was a bit insecure and overwrought at the time.”
Marc chuckled, but he felt he had to sound the warning alarm. “Deep pain like that doesn’t usually evaporate with simple apologies and explanations. There are usually other forces at work - perhaps even unrelated to John, by the way - that create those emotional crescendos.”
Paul was looking stormy. He had reached a place of perfect peace with John, and it seemed as though Marc was trying to muck it up. Why would he do that?
Marc noticed the storm clouds and said quietly, “I think you should stay in therapy for a while, Paul.” Paul’s head shook ‘no’ involuntarily, and Marc noticed that reflexive action. “Deep problems don’t solve themselves overnight,” he repeated softly.
“It seems every time I leave here I feel worse than when I came in,” Paul snapped. “When I thought I felt as low as I could go, you made me feel worse. And now when I think I am happy and it is all good, you’re bringing me down. Why are you doing this?”
Marc sighed. This was heavy sledding. “Our emotions aren’t like buttons on a dashboard. You can’t just push them on and off. They keep running even when you think you’ve turned them off.”
“And what feelings are we talking about?” Paul challenged.
“You have some deeply felt resentment and it is connected to John. You don’t want to feel that way because you love him so you do everything you can think of to ignore it. You need to sit down in detail and flush those feelings out. Not with John - dear god no - but with a therapist. My suspicion is that what you’re upset about isn’t literally about John. He really doesn’t have much to do with it anymore, in my opinion. This is your problem, you’re keeping it alive for some reason, and you have to deal with it because I swear someday - maybe a month from now, or maybe three years from now - John is going to say or do something objectively innocuous and you are going to spiral into a depression again. If you think I’m not helping you anymore, I can give you some names of other therapists that you can try. But I strongly recommend that you stay in therapy until you root that out.”
Paul had been listening with growing concern. Marc was someone he trusted, and the words he was saying rang true. Paul knew he had a tendency to avoid unpleasant realities. And John had always known how to say the right words to convince Paul to forgive. Paul had always wanted to forgive John, so he allowed himself to be sweet-talked out of whatever emotional injury he might have sustained. And now he did feel really close to John, he did trust him not to pull the rug out from under him again. It made sense that the resentment that periodically oozed out of him was self-manufactured and triggered for some obscure psychological reason that he could not understand. If he didn’t do his best to understand it, the resentment would come back time and again, and damage the most important relationship in his life. Without thinking any more about it, Paul said,
“I’ll stay with you.”
“So, I’m staying in therapy,” Paul said, seemingly apropos of nothing, as he joined John at the dinner table.
John looked up, surprised, but in a good way. “I’m very pleased to hear that.”
“Only once per week,” Paul said.
Only? John thought. This caused a little stir of concern - was Paul still upset with him and that is why he needed to go back to therapy so often?
Paul saw what was on John’s mind as if it were written on his face. In a way, it was. “It’s not about you, or us,” Paul chuckled. “It’s about me. It’s stuff I’ve got to deal with and Marc is someone I trust to help me do that.”
John released a very relieved smile. “Marc is my hero,” he joked. “Hey, is Marc married?”
“Yes,” Paul said, wondering why on earth John had asked. “Why do you ask?”
“Well, Fiona is one of those perpetually-picking-the- wrong-guy kind of women - beautiful, smart, sexy, but clueless about what is good for her - and I thought maybe we should hook her up with Marc.”
Paul laughed out loud. John was such a fuckin’ tonic. Then he stopped laughing and allowed a horrified expression to cross his face. “Can you imagine what they’d say to each other about us while lying in bed?”
John made an equally horrified face and said, “You’re right - excruciating pillow talk! Not one of my better ideas.”
A Few Days Before Christmas
“So, we’re having a huge family Christmas,” John was saying, “and then over the New Year we’re taking the kids on a holiday to Bermuda, and after they all fly home again, we are going to our private home in the Caribbean for several months. Don’t worry - we’ll call in for our therapy regularly. We’re going to write a new album, and just spend time together.”
“It sounds luscious,” Fiona said. She loved all the “we’s” John had crammed into three sentences. She could tell that John and Paul had really and finally created a single unit out of their relationship, and she was happy how uncomplicated it sounded (for a change).
“Did I tell you that Paul is going to therapy every week?” John asked.
“Several times,” Fiona said, chuckling. “I think you want to talk about it with me, because you keep bringing it up.”
John laughed and said, “The problem with you is, you know me too well. All my little strategies and schemes.”
“So, what do you want to tell me about it?” She asked.
“He says he is going to work on his own issues, and it has nothing to do with me, or ‘us’ except to help him be a better friend and partner to me. Does that sound believable to you? Do you think he is protecting me from some awful truth?” John looked hopeful. He wanted to be reassured.
“It sounds totally believable,” Fiona said firmly. “Paul holds things back, and you hold nothing back. You have opposite afflictions. And there is a reason why Paul holds everything back, and it probably has nothing - or at least very little - to do with you. He’s smart to keep working the problem even though he is feeling better. So many people make the mistake of quitting therapy when they are feeling better, but long before they’ve really addressed the root of the problem that sent them to therapy in the first place.”
John nodded, relieved. He knew he was an insecure and unpredictable person and would always be. But at least now he had tools to help him deal with his crazy moods and fears when they came over him. Life was a lot more peaceful now that he understood why he went on these little emotional excursions. That’s probably the same kind of peace that Paul wanted from his therapy. John then said softly, “The thing that I love most about it is, he wants to fix himself so we can have a calmer, happier life. I think that is beautiful.”
Fiona smiled with great affection at the no-longer-impossible John Lennon. “I think it’s beautiful, too.”
New Year’s Eve
The crazy party would start after dinner. John, Mary and Stella had smuggled enough fireworks on to their private plane to blow up the entire island. (Paul would have had a fit if he’d known: Fireworks on a plane!!! Are you all fucking crazy?) The family party included everyone this year - John and Paul, of course, but this time Julian was there with his mother Cynthia and his stepfather - the one Julian really loved and appreciated. Sean and his girlfriend also made it, and James was there, of course. Mary and Alistair had brought Arthur, along with a surprise for her family, and Stella was there with Alasdhair, who was now feeling completely at ease with this odd collection of family members. Even Heather was there, looking happier and healthier than she had looked in a long while. She was finally coming out of the dark tunnel she’d entered when her mother died. And this year, their two ‘brothers’ were also there - Jason and Gerry!
But before the party, they first had dinner. “So,” John announced to the huge family gathered around the large farm kitchen table, “2001 was a bitch of a year. I say good riddance!”
“Here! Here!” Stella shouted. “Let’s toast 2002 and hope it will be a better year!” She suggested defiantly.
“I’ve got a toast for the New Year which will prove that 2002 will definitely be a better year,” Mary declared standing up. Everyone else stood up for the toast.
“Here’s to our health, our happiness, and our growing family!” She said.
“Growing?” John asked dumbly.
“I’m pregnant,” Mary said shyly, smiling happily.
“Oh! This is great! To the new little Macca!” John cried and everyone drank their wine to that except Mary, who settled for fizzy water.
Paul went around to give Mary a big hug. He whispered in her ear, “Your mum would be so happy for you.”
Mary blinked back tears. “I know.”
The family never could hold a somber note for long, so soon they were laughing and joking and passing the food. Paul leaned back in his chair and took it all in. He saw John at the opposite end of the table, being his irreplaceable self: warm, funny, charged with brilliant electricity, and wildly attractive. This is the rock upon which I built my church, Paul thought, smiling gently as that phrase came shooting out from his past to surprise him this evening - a relic, no doubt, from his childhood catechism classes. Then he turned to the ‘congregation’: six children and their lovers, a grandchild - er, two grandchildren! And even his old friend Cynthia. And Jason and Gerry - friends who had brought him back together with John, and then had helped hold them together for twenty years. Here they all were in someone’s beautiful home on an exotic island, and Paul knew that his coffers were overflowing with gifts - money, awards, success, and lots and lots of love. In that moment, despite all the losses he had sustained in his life, Paul could hardly believe he had been given such a full and rewarding life. And all of it based on the simple fact that one day, almost 45 years earlier, he’d had the good sense to go to that damn fete with Ivan Vaughn.
John saw Paul’s eyes misting up, and understood the feeling. He had it too - there was nostalgia in the room, along with the kismet. He felt both things. His eyes met Paul’s and they both knew. They’d shared a charmed life. Sometimes the magic was bad, but as a whole it was overwhelmingly good.
New Year’s Day
John and Paul woke up in each other’s arms. A pinkish sun was flooding through the gauze curtains in this rented master bedroom. John had awakened first, and was thinking that in a few days he and Paul would be tucked away in their hideaway in Costa Rica and no one in the world would know exactly where they were. It was a delicious feeling of freedom, and he looked forward to it. Paul stirred in his arms.
“Hey, babe, awake?” John asked softly, as those incomparable eyelashes flew up to expose those incomparable eyes. The eyes smiled.
And then they seemed to ask a question: what should we do?
“Let’s just lie here a little while,” John answered the unasked question.
Paul did that cute cuddly thing he always did when he was snuggling in to John’s side, and this made John smile again. He pulled Paul closer. “You know, I’ve been thinking...” John started.
“A-oh,” Paul chuckled. John pinched Paul’s upper arm as a punishment.
“It occurred to me at dinner last night - when we were all around the table, almost everyone we love - I can write it now.”
“Write what?” Paul asked, his mind going immediately to songs.
“My memoir. I can tell the truth now, can’t I? We’re no longer living a lie.” John’s voice sounded stiff, as though he were on the verge of tears.
Paul pushed himself to lean on his elbow and stared into John’s face. Paul’s eyes were serious. “We never lived a lie, John. I wish you wouldn’t say that. We lived together privately. It was always just our private world, and nobody needed to know about it.”
“Would it upset you if I wrote about it?” John asked shyly.
Paul smiled comfortably. “I have never censored you John, and I never will. I promise you that.”
“But you’d rather I didn’t write about it?” John asked, worried now.
“I want you to do what your heart desires. Friends, lovers and partners - they do not stand in each other’s way. They help each other accomplish their dreams. And if your heart desires to write about it, then you absolutely should write about it, and I will do whatever I can to help you accomplish it.”
Slow tears were wending down John’s face now, soon to be matched by Paul’s tears. John’s heart was full. They all said - all those people who were apparently cleverer than everyone else - they all said that if you didn’t get unconditional love from your parents as a baby, you would never get it in any other way. But John knew for a fact that this glib saying was at least 1% wrong. He did not have unconditional love as a baby - heck, he barely had love period from his parents - but he had somehow known when he first laid eyes on a young Paul McCartney that he had found the person who would give him unconditional love. He even remembered what he had written in his journal the night after that fateful meeting, as he tried to describe the feeling that had swept over him as the strange, beautiful, enchanted boy approached: Here is my future coming to meet me.
That’s where I’ll start our story, John decided.
A Plane Over the Atlantic Ocean
Heading from Bermuda to New York
“They’re even more mature than we are now,” Jason bemoaned. “I can hardly stand how perfect they are. I’m afraid they won’t need us anymore.” He was joking, and Gerry knew it.
“They’re magic people, not just them, but all the people they have collected around them,” Gerry opined.
Jason looked at Gerry in open surprise. Gerry wasn’t given to flights of verbal fancy very often. He said, “Their chemistry and charisma do seem to spread to their friends and family. Do you suppose that all of them and us are that delightful too, or do we only become enchanted when we’re in their presence?”
“You’re asking me, basically, if John and Paul have a magic wand,” Gerry chuckled.
Jason laughed. “In a way, I am, I guess. Think of it - the whole world worships them and their music. They changed the course of history, in a good way. And they have built such a great personal life together against all odds, and have raised wonderful children. Maybe they do have a magic wand.”
Gerry smiled but said, “They’re just people, but they are very charming and gifted people. To me it seems that in their work and in their life they are a complete whole, because one is strong where the other is weak. Thus, it is a perfect unified whole. I suspect that is why just about everything they touch turns to gold. They’ve got all the bases covered.”
Jason was laughing at Gerry now. “Now you’re even using sports analogies. What’s wrong with you tonight?”
“I think I’m still enchanted by that fucking wand,” Gerry declared grandly. He waved his glass of champagne around extravagantly as he said this.
“Now an honest-to-god swear-word! Is hell freezing over?” Jason giggled.
“Don’t worry Jay, it’ll wear off by the time we land in New York.” With that, Gerry winked at Jason (much as Paul might have done to John in the same situation), snapped open his newspaper emphatically, and began to ostentatiously read.