In May of 2005 I received a card from Studio One, New York, New York. I was too nervous to open it and waited until I got home from the post office where I had picked it up. When I did open it, I was struck in dumbfound amazement. This was incredible…
It started innocently enough the moment I sent a copy of my first book to Yoko Ono at the Dakota in November of 2004. I had just received the shipment of my first book via UPS and sent out many “sample” copies to many people. After about three months with no acknowledgement from Yoko, I’d more or less figured that my book had been lost in the plethora of gifts, cards and trinkets thousands of people sent to her, and forgot about it.
The card I was holding in my hand now, though, clearly showed me it had not been disregarded. It was a standard note card, 4” x 6”, with a small blue square in the top third of the card, printed below with the words, “a piece of sky”. This appeared at first glance to be nothing more than a standard thank-you card sent by Yoko’s office in response to people who sent in gifts. The exceptional thing about this particular card was the handwritten number written on the back. Quite plainly it was a phone number but that was all. Was card intended for a closer contact? Was it just a number accidentally scribbled on this card at some point and sent out without realizing? I was sure that the sender was a secretary of Yoko’s. Did she overlook the writing on the card when she sent it? I settled back into my chair, blown away by what the card seemed to imply.
Well, what would be the harm in communicating? No. No, I couldn’t. I laid the card aside and decided to bring it up with my husband at dinner.
“Look honey, just call the number and find out who answers. It’s probably just the copier guy anyway.” That was a typical problem-solving tactic of Tom’s. Why sit there supposing and theorizing? Just meet the problem head-on and do the obvious.
“But what if it is her number, her personal direct line?”
Tom gave me a look of disbelief. “Laura, just call it and if Yoko does answer, just say ‘oops, wrong number’ and hang up. Either way, you’ll know who the number belongs to, and I’m sure they get wrong numbers all the time, don’t you think?”
“Oh, Tom! Stop being so logical!”
I always hated that about my husband. Nothing seemed to faze him, least of all my love for John Lennon and the Beatles. Sometimes friends would ask Tom if it bothered him that I expressed such affection for the them, especially for John, and how he handled the fact I wrote and published a book about him and was working on another to boot! He’d just give them a deadpan look and say, “What’s to be jealous of? He’s dead and she’s married to me.”
That was such a double irritant – one, because of the look itself, but also because it sounded like something John would have said to his first wife, Cynthia. Of course I dared not tell Tom. If he knew, he might change his behavior, and on some level I knew that I got a huge kick out of being with a guy that unconsciously behaved like John Lennon, or at least seemed to from all I’d read about him.
Worst of all, Tom was right about the whole phone number thing anyway.
“I guess you’re right, dear. I’ll call tomorrow and just satisfy my curiosity, end of story. You’ve gotta admit, though, it is pretty cool to get this card in response to my book.”
“Sure, but a contract for more copies would’ve been better, wouldn’t it?” He laughed slightly, cocking his brow. (Damn! he did “it” again…)
“Just call and find out, but don’t wake me up at three in the morning because you’ve changed your mind again.”
“Tom, stop it! I’m not that bad!” I knew he was half kidding, but I gave him a swat on the arm anyway as we finished eating and began to clear the dishes from the table.
Next morning, after Tom left for work, I cleaned up the breakfast dishes and started the dishwasher. I had at least four hours before I had to get ready for my job as a waitress at the local Hard Rock, so I plopped down in the easy-chair near the phone with a third cup of coffee and picked up the card that was lying on the table next to the phone.
212 area code, so that is New York City, my cousin Amy lives there and since I’m in Florida I’m in the same time zone so… Oh, blast! Just pick up the damn phone and dial the number, Laura!
I took a deep breath, picked up the phone, and quickly, like ripping a band-aid off a cut on a sensitive spot of skin, I dialed the number and listened for the ring.
Riiing – one
Riingg – two
Riiinng -- three
“Oh, I’m sorry, I’ve dialed the wrong number.”
“No ya haven’t. Hello…”
I wasn’t too shocked by the English accent, but a shiver went up my spine and I hung up the phone. I took a sip of my coffee, holding it with both hands instinctively as I curled up in the overstuffed chair.
I must’ve misdialed.
Yeah, that’s what I did. Okay,
I’ve got to do this, so just calm down and dial slowly. I watched as if my hand
was disembodied from the rest of my arm and dialed. 2-1-2…
Riiing – one
Rii- “Hello, luv.”
“I- I -- who is this?” I blurted out rudely.
“I think ya know already,” said the calm scouse accent.
Regaining my own calm from his tone, I completely discounted my first impression and answered the voice. I knew what was happening.
“I’m sure I don’t know- is this a business?”
“Oh, have I reached a personal number?”
Now what is that supposed to mean?
I continued with the grilling of the person on the other end, whom I’d determined could only be a prankster within the Dakota accustomed to taking calls on this number for the express purpose of trying to freak out the bold fan attempting to talk with Yoko.
“So this is the home number of Yoko Ono?”
“Well, what, and exactly who, have I called here?”
“I know you want to believe, but I don’t think you will at first, Laura…”
“Now wait a minute! How do you know my name?”
“I’ve seen yer book an’ had the card sent.” Whoever this guy was his voice, his accent, his tone was a damn close match.
“And did you write the number down on the card too?”
“Nah, I had some one else do thet too.”
I didn’t know why but I felt a little more comfortable and became a bit bolder. “You wouldn’t by chance be from Liverpool would you?”
“Originally, aye, but I like New York too. I’ve adopted it as me hometown, but ya know that, an’ ya know who I am too.”
“Do I? I think I’d like to hear you say it.”
“Sure, it’s John.”
I totally expected that, and of course I didn’t believe it, yet my heart was beating as if I was actually talking to him, which of course was preposterous. He’d been dead for twenty-five years, after all.
“And your last name…?” I pressed.
“Well, luv, ya know its Lennon…” I didn’t answer. “Hello, are ya still there, Laura?”
I wasn’t sure what to believe, but heard Tom in my head. I had to follow what was logical. What this imposter was doing was wrong, but I didn’t want to be too mean to him on the outside chance that he might be a valid connection to Yoko.
“Yes, I’m still here, but I’m not too happy you’re trying to play a trick on me. If I play along do I pass the audition?”
He laughed, and that really freaked me out because it sounded like him even more. Then I recalled a time I’d read about when John rang up someone and sang to convince the person he’d called that he was the John Lennon.
“Look, Mr. Lennon, if that is who you are, why don’t you sing something for me.”
“I need money first…” He laughed again.
Again it spooked me because his response sounded just like it did on the films I’d seen so often, the one of the press conference when they landed at JFK in 1964.
“Sing ‘If I Fell’”
“Nah, how ‘bout “In Me Life?”
“That’s ‘In My Life’.”
As the words left my lips I clasped my hand over my mouth. How dare I correct him…but he didn’t seem to hear what I’d as he started to sing. “There are places I remember, all my life, though some have changed…some forever, not for better…some have gone, and some remain… So, does thet suit ya, luv?”
“Wow…um…okay, great, thanks! You know…”
“If you aren’t him, I’d still sure like to meet you, ‘cause you sound so much like John. How do you do it? Were you just born sounding like John Lennon? I gotta wonder what you look like too.”
“Well, luv, I look exactly like John, because I am John, an’ thet’s the reason I sound like ‘im too. ‘Cause it is me, ya see?”
I didn’t see, nor did I believe what I was hearing, but this fella was very good at sticking to his story. I had to give him that at least, and it seemed the more I talked to him the more I felt at ease, regardless of what he was suggesting. I decided to accept the ruse for what it was and ask the most obvious question considering the circumstances.
“I don’t really see, but how have you managed to do this? I mean being that you’re...” I hesitated, but he readily filled in the blank.
“Dead? Well, there’s sumthin’ I can’t explain to ya in terms ya’d understand. It’s like tryin’ ta tell somebody who’s never seen a telly how the images get there. I hope thet makes some sense.”
“I suppose, but still that’s a pretty amazing feat considering you’ve been gone for such a while.”
“I haven’t been -- ya know -- gone.”
“Excuse me? You mean you’ve been strolling around New York City all this time, and talking to people on the phone and...”
“Yes, an’ other places too.”
“Is that so…?”
Then some insane impulse got into me and I blurted out my uncensored thought. “So you’d come visit me if I asked?”
He didn’t say anything at first and I thought ah- now I’ve got him! But it was me he got in the end.
“Are ya askin’ me then?” I was stunned as he called my bluff and he rephrased his question. “Ya’d like it if I came ta see ya, Laura?”
“I, I… well…yes.”
I entered the bookstore that I had suggested as a meeting place two weeks ago in that remarkable telephone conversation. I was prepared for someone who bore a striking resemblance to him, but quite possibly not the same person I had spoken with on the phone. Had I been the first fan to ask him to carry the charade this far? Tom was convinced it was all a ruse and said I shouldn’t go. But the person on the phone did let me set the date, time and location for the meeting, and thus I felt safe and in control. I made it in a public place during the day and in my own town. If this man had any ill intentions, help wasn’t far away and I knew my own turf. If more than one person showed up, and I’d slip out to the parking lot and take off home before they even found me. I was also prepared for no one at all, as that seemed the most likely scenario, but my curiosity or my intuition, I don’t know which, kept me open, trusting and hoping that what that phone call proposed was true, unbelievable as it seemed. So here I was -- waiting, looking.
I carefully scanned nearby faces for anyone who looked different. I really didn’t know what to expect – a man, a woman -- certainly a disguise of some kind. I stopped looking around when an eager clerk thought my fervent searching meant I needed her assistance. I bee-lined up the escalator to any section away from the clerk, deciding it would be better to get involved looking for a few books instead of wandering around appearing like a stalking bookworm in search of a date. Then I could descend with books to peruse and wait in the café for whoever or however he chose to appear. I described myself as best -- rather, as honestly -- as I could, but he’d insisted he’d recognize me, yet one more astonishing aspect of that incredible phone call. Of course, I had no concerns about being discovered - or watched. That was, until he showed up. I snickered inside at that thought as I found myself in front of the bookshelves titled “New Age”.
Yes, this is good a place as any.
I started to pull books and read bits here and there, replacing and selecting at will. Just one more book from here and I’ll read a few pages of this one in my hand. Looking briefly to be sure I had the correct spine, I glanced down again at the book on spirit growth that was open in my hands. I had about three others on various topics tucked under my arm. Reaching for another book on the shelf, I met with another hand. An involuntary shiver shot through my body. Whose hand was this attempting to lay claim to a book I was hovering around? Who was eyeing the same book for perusal? Instinctively, I let go and apologized. “I’m sorry”
“Nah- I’m sorry, luv…” quietly apologized the voice that belonged to the hand.
I knew that voice! Lifting my head from his hand on the book, I gazed at the face that belonged to the voice. I could scarcely believe that this trite and typical way was how we’d meet. I had genuinely gotten lost in the pursuit of books for browsing. Oh yeah! That’s why I’m here. Without a gasp or as much as a whimper upon my realization, I softly spoke. “No- I know who you are. Can we chat here? Do we need to go elsewhere? Don’t take off your hat or your glasses or...” I trailed off.
“I wasn’t planning to.”
“Well, good. Best for you, anyway.” I didn’t know how I knew that, and looking at the man facing me it didn’t matter. This was no imposter.
“How can ya be sure ya know, luv”
Now he was trying to establish doubt? Again, I couldn’t deny what intuition was making me feel. I just spilled out my unfiltered thoughts.
“Because of that ‘luv’, and I’ve listened to that voice for too long over the years.”
“Know me as well as all thet, do ya?”
Willingly resigning myself to whatever this phenomenon was, I gathered my senses and pondered, discreetly looking him over. It seemed now that I had accepted who was before me, he was attempting to embarrass me, but I wasn’t about to let him play with my head anymore than he already was. Why on earth he had chosen not to correct what we all thought was the truth for the last twenty-five years, I couldn’t fathom, but here he was -- as solid and real as me, and if he was willing to risk the chance he’d be recognized, then he had to be ready for my willingness to challenge him trying to slip by me unnoticed.
Besides reveling in the reality that he was still alive, and suppressing the urge to shout to everyone in the bookstore about it, I was also enjoying the fact that he actually did show up, and wearing a similar scraggly beard to the one he’d worn in “Help!” no less. Then I had to hold back laughing outright, while in the back of my mind I wondered why he was letting me in on the secret. To say this was surreal was an understatement. Besides the beard, he wore a silly red plaid rag-a-muffin shirt covered by a rumpled white cotton jacket and scruffy, worn black jeans that made him look nearly like a homeless man. But the shoes made the outfit - flip-flops! How accurately Florida of him! And how did he top off this fashion disaster? A tightly woven white fedora with a black band. I recognized that hat! I’d seen it in many pictures from the late seventies. Obviously, he was familiar with disguising himself to escape notice, because no one was staring at us when I took a quick glance around the immediate area.
Though inside I was giddy and curious beyond belief, I knew that making huge overtures of hugs and kisses would bring us unwanted attention. I figured that in time he would reveal his reasons for contacting me, and maybe even tell me why he had faked his death. For now, though, this had to seem as though we were simply two people who’d met by chance over the bookshelves.
I could scarcely believe it, but all my doubts had drained away and everything that had happened was for real. Wouldn’t Tom be surprised! But would he allow me to tell my spouse, and then again, would I want to? I was just so overwhelmed that it really was him and not a pathetic phone game! Someone there at the Dakota must’ve thought I’d earned this honor. I’d never been more delighted that I’d sent a book to Yoko than I was at this moment.
My long pause prompted him to question me again. “Well, do ya, luv…?” he pressed.
I knew I needed to focus more on the conversation, so I figured treating him like a regular guy (as difficult as that truly was for me) was best. “Well, actually, I do. All the TV and radio -- you know…”
“Oh yeah? Not likely you was ‘round fer the original broadcast.”
“No, but you have heard of tapes, CD’s?”
“Aye, an ya have a load of um with me voice, do ya?”
“I think you know that’s true. Now-“
“Have a chat?”
“‘Bout what? Me voice?”
“Ha, ha… No… How about this book?”
“Because apparently it intrigues you, and it obviously intrigues me.”
“Yeah, it does. Then how ‘bout a coffee, luv?”
”Sure, let me buy you a cup. Or are you an old-fashioned guy?”
“Nah, but I will if ya like.”
“If I like? I bet women buy you things all the time.”
“Hmmm..” He nodded and broke into that unmistakable smile beneath the bristles of mustache. Dear God! That smile I’d seen in so many photographs through the years…if I had any shred of doubt it was him, he removed it with that sparkling, suggestive grin.
I darted back my own jab with cocked brow. “How about Dutch!”
“Right then, let me take yer books an’ I’ll let ya treat me!”
“Sure thing…” I giggled as we descended from the upper level via the escalator of the store and headed for the café.
Since the phone call, I’d had about a thousand questions swirling in my head, but I thought it best at this point to tend to the task of purchasing coffee. As I took a place in line, he went to sit at a table off near the magazines, out of the direct public eye. Fortunately, it wasn’t a terribly busy time -- Thursday mid-morning. Sort of why I picked this day and time. I blessed the fact I had weekdays off, this could never have happened on the weekend.
“Yes, ma’am, may I help you?”
I hadn’t realized my turn had come. “Oh, um, yes- two coffees- uh- today’s special, whatever…”
I leaned back from the counter to spy if he was still there. I met his stare. Even though he had sunglasses on I could tell he was watching me- and only me. For a scant second I was frightened by the intensity, but recovered to my senses when the clerk plunked my two coffees on the counter and waited for payment. As their steamy aroma wafted to my nostrils, the coffee brought me out of the dream spot I temporarily occupied.
Damn! Can’t get that caught up in those eyes! And I can’t even see them yet! Okay, just calm yourself; he’s just a guy- a person, and here for a reason. You’ve talked with him on the phone, so chill. Yeah, just a person who was so fuckin’ famous that women screamed themselves to frenzy at the very mention of him and his band in the 60’s, and everyone else thinks he’s been dead for years and…Shit! You’ve got to play it cool… 1…2…3…peace… tranquility…
I paid for the coffees and went to the condiment station to add sugar and cream to mine. I wasn’t sure how he took his, so I just brought the sugar and a couple of creamers to the table.
When I put the cup down in front of him, he said, “Ah, thanks luv…mmmm smells good. What kind is this?”
“Uh, the coffee kind…the special.”
“Okay.” He drew the coffee close to his lips and lightly sipped through the false hairs.
I tried not to be mesmerized. I kept reminding myself that he was just someone I met at the bookstore who happened to like many of the same books I do. I was glad he kept his hat and sunglasses on along with the facial hair- it did help... I did dare him to come here alone, and he did appear to be just that, alone. Surely he would tell me if others were to be expected, wouldn’t he? At this point it didn’t matter for squat though. I was just so glad he came, that it was him! I was sure this was what winning Lotto was like, and I’d hit the jackpot big time!
We spent the next hour or so chewing over what he and I separately had picked out from the shelves. No one really took notice, for which I was extraordinarily grateful to God. At last, we got to the book Creative Visualization, the one that had started our chance encounter.
“So why this one?” he asked me.
“You first…” I goaded, quietly sipping the remaining coffee in my cup.
“Well, I believe it works…you?”
“Yeah, I do, I think, but how can you be so sure?”
I could see his eyes thru the dark glasses. We had been connecting in conversation and the sunglasses had slipped just a tad, so I could plainly see his eyebrows and part of those amazing cinnamon brown eyes. Lowering his head, he gave me a direct look right into my gray-blue ones, and I felt their shot penetrate me to my core.
“Just because I am…”
Now I am hearing Twilight Zone music in my head…I couldn’t think of a response to that. There was a slight tremor in my voice as I said, ”Oh well, then perhaps we’re done here?”
“I think we are, luv.”
Again he shot that dazzling grin at me through the false beard. I couln’t help it- I reacted in kind back at him. As I got up he touched my hand, and the most incredible chill blazed through my body as if I’d been surged by a bolt of electricity. I broke into a brief sweat, leaving all the books behind. He got up too.
“Well, thanks for the conversation, it’s been a real trip.” I offered my hand and he shook it, and again the electric bolt shot through me, but it became a buzz as he sustained the cordiality. He let go and I smiled and turned from him.
I was thinking, he’s gotta go his way, right?, but as I moved towards the exit he followed me. “Yes it has. Mind if we go for a stroll outside?”
This I hadn’t expected at all. I thought the time in the bookstore was great and that our meeting was over. I thought surely he had to grab a cab or get to the hired limo he had waiting around the corner, to do the other more important real reason he’d come here. I was stymied and stunned.
“Um, uh, yeah, sure…no prob. There’s a park just on the other side of the street by the parking lot.” Now I was really wondering what the hell was going on! What in blue blazes, besides his faked death, do I talk about? I certainly didn’t want to be the one to bring that up. Well, it wouldn’t matter, because if he’d been talking to me this long and still wanted to carry on more who was I to argue? I couldn’t be the lone reason he was here, could I? I guess we had become a bit close in some sense, but how…and why me?
I would’ve thought that many gifts and affections, like my book, had passed through the Dakota’s mail, hundreds, thousands even. I knew what I thought of him and I supposed that having read my book, he did too. And with that thought, I broke into a slight sweat. It wasn’t exactly a thoroughly historical sort of highbrow text, my book – no, it was quite the opposite in some parts. I twisted at my wedding ring, thinking I should probably call hubby’s cell phone and let him know where I was, but I wasn’t compelled at all to talk to my spouse right now.
A topic came to mind quickly enough. So as we strolled the small park I started to discuss poetry. “So do you have a favorite poem?”
“Ah, well…rather like the one where ya apologize ‘bout …”
“Oh no, I meant of your own poems.”
“Me? Hmmm, I like the ‘Toy Boy’.”
“Yeah, it was gonna be the beginnin’ of a new book, after ‘Spaniard’ ya see, an’ well, I never got ta do more.”
“Well, that’s a shame- what’s it about?”
“I’m surprised, Laura. Yev not heard of it?”
“Well, no you didn’t finish the book, how would I know?”
“Got in an American magazine…sometime in ‘65, I seem ta remember.”
“And the magazine?”
“Shit, nah, don’t remember thet, maybe one of them ones fer birds. Ya know, we were in joost one or two back then and since...”
“Yeah, I know – you don’t have to be sarcastic. I was just curious. So what is the ‘Toy Boy’ about?”
“About a boy an’ his toys- what else? Ya silly girl…” he laughed at me.
“John, really, tell me please…”
“All right then -- the toys talk, thinkin’ the boy isn’t alive, ‘cause they only see him when he’s asleep, but ya see, the shoe knows better. An’ when the boy decides ta tell his mum an’ dad he thinks his toys are alive, they send ‘im off ta the shrink.”
“Yikes, glad I never told my parents.”
“Ya had livin’ toys too, did ya, luv.?
“Oh sure and they all had names.”
“Course! How else would they know who ya was talkin’ to?”
We laughed and he smiled broadly. I was delighted to know about this poem but I wish he’d recalled what magazine it was in.
“So what ‘bout you, Laura- favorite of yer own?”
“Hee, hee- would you be surprised it wasn’t about you?”
“Oh, dear God! Stop the presses! Laura wrote a poem not about me?”
Again I burst out laughing, and he joined in. “No really. It’s called ‘Life’s Amusing,’ and it just sort of flowed out so easily and worked so well as a metaphor for life.”
“Quite simply by using rides in an amusement park as ways of living your life.”
“Go on…” He slowed his walking pace and I did too.
“Okay, um- a merry-go-round just goes in circles and sometimes life can be that way too. Or a really fast life, whizzing from place to place, never really taking time to stop and smell the roses? That’s like a big steel roller coaster with corkscrews and huge drops, see?”
“Uh-oh, very clever, Laura. And which one are ya…”
“Well, I’ve always loved wooden roller coasters with the banks and turns, no topsy-turvy stuff, but still quite exciting.”
“I see. Would ya also say people are like thet too?”
“What, like rides?”
I thought a minute. “Sure, why not, I guess.”
“So if yer a wooden roller coaster, what do ya say I am?”
“Oh-uh- I guess for a while you were the steel coaster, yes?”
“Sure, thet makes sense, but now?”
“I’m sure I don’t know…”
“Sure ya do- at least I know what ya’d want it ta be…” He grinned that mischievous grin and we stopped walking completely. We stood near a large pine tree close to the woodchip-covered path. I blushed from his look, shrugged my shoulders and looked at it.
“The wooden roller coaster…?” I said to the ground, then looked up at him.
“Aha- I’d say bumper cars- cause it’s been nice runnin’ inta ya. But yeah, I’d have ta say I’d love a ride on a wooden coaster too. Ya wouldn’t mind if I rode with ya, eh?”
I blushed again and tried to avoid his intimation but it only made things more embarrassing. “Uh sure, but you’d have to keep your hands inside the car at all times.”
And as soon as it was out my mouth he jumped on its rude reference.
“I was plannin’ on it!”
And as quickly as he had taken it to the gutter he brought it back
“Well, sure ya wouldn’t want yer hands ta get bashed bankin’ in them curves.”
Or did he? Either way I was going to change the subject, but he was on it before I could, and what a question he posed.
“Do ya believe in God then, Laura?”
“I- ah- yeah, ‘course I do.”
“Like a big old bearded fella in the sky?”
“No, no – more like an omnipresent loving energy who has many names really, wouldn’t you say?”
“Dare I answer, or will ya do me in like they did in ‘66?”
In his tone he just managed to inject humor into what, I felt, was a most serious discussion. I forced a small chuckle but then adamantly spoke the truth. “John! Heavens no! I’ve spent too many times trying to make people understand why your statement was so correct and still then…”
“Some people never do get it, do they?”
“Yeah… but I always told you- like to your picture- when I thought you were, you know…”
“Yeah… that you never left the pockets of hate you worried about so much then, but lorries full of love everywhere you went with your music, especially when you wrote ‘All You Need Is Love’!”
“Well, thanks, luv it’s what I felt was- well-is true. Was thet yer favorite song of mine?”
“Mostly but oh- man, there are so many…”
“I know luv, I know, I’ve heard thet more n’ once…”
We laughed again as we walked the park a bit more. He really made me feel at ease, like I’d known him for sometime but how, why- well, I’d worry one day about that but not now. I’d never thought I’d laugh so much in one afternoon. Eventually he had to duck in the public restroom and I used the opportunity to do the same. Coffee has that affect on folks.
I was waiting near the water fountains when I saw him exiting the public restroom minus the beard and mustache. He explained it was rather too itchy and he couldn’t take it. We settled on a bench and proceeded deeper into our conversational meanderings. Finally, with no concept of time, we got up from the park bench we’d been so rooted to and I reached to shake his hand again. He whipped me into an embrace this time. The electric bolt multiplied, and my entire body was trembling, then buzzing from his hug. It was the sort of hug a grateful good old friend would give to another. I relished it, and made a point to memorize the feeling of his affection, and I returned the kindness even as I was being blown away by the experience.
“I know ya wanted that.”
“Too obvious, eh? Did you?”
“Very much, luv.”
Suddenly, I felt brazen from his desire to hug me. “Well, then being so obvious again- may I kiss you?”
“Aye, but be gentle…” He shuddered and feigned anxious pain.
“Uh-um…Right-“ I realized he was putting me on, and went for it.
The electric bolts were now a whole storm surging wildly through my body. His lips pressing against mine were warm, moist and inviting. I surrendered to his lead as he opened his mouth, luring mine too. The embrace was much more romantic now, and his hands traveled to my lower regions. I could only reciprocate. Overcome by his power I felt nearly limp but managed to brace myself and returned his tongue’s advances with my own. Oh, this is supreme heaven! I thought as we parted for breath.
“Wow! You’re not shy at all, are you?”
“I think ya know me better.”
“Ha! Yeah, I shoulda known better…”
“Oh, that’s bad, Laura.”
Our boisterous laughter freely danced across the grassy park and between the trees. I put on a bit of scouser for him. “Sorry, couldn’t ‘elp it luv”
“Nah, don’t be mocking me accent.”
“John, you know I wouldn’t. It’s rather infectious, ya know”
“Aye, just ya watch it or I’ll hafta plant another of them kisses on ya t’ shut ya up.”
“Oh do, would you?”
“Hey, I’m not that easy.”
“Not like it’s still the sixties, luv.”
“Oh stop…I think you enjoyed shocking the hell out of me, yes?” A huge grin lit up his face when I said this and seemed to make his whole body smile. “Just like you to try it…”
“Worked, didn’t it, luv?”
I laughed in spite of myself. “Yes, you did and I must thank you for that.”
“Anytime at all…” he sang softly
“Oh no, no more please…”
“Hey, I’ve become a Beatle fan too, ya know- over the years.”
“So I’d read somewhere. Anyway, you really are quite nice.”
“You thought I wasn’t?”
“Never…did- no- I mean, it’s just now I know for sure what I thought was true all along.”
“That I’m just nice?”
“That you are so natural and unexpected…funny…thoughtful.”
“Shit, ya make me sound like an ad fer a singles column.”
“No, I mean you don’t hide yourself away.”
“Naah, don’t go there again- ya mean I’m ‘what you see is what ya get’, eh?”
“Well, I may need ta do sumthin’ about thet later.” he laughed.
I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but I figured it was time to part ways and I had to make some move towards home now as I worked on Fridays.
“I hope I can see you later, ‘cause I really should get home.”
“To yer man, eh? He’s not the jealous type, is he?”
“Well, he’s not the type to deny me a meeting with a friend, even if it’s some other guy.”
And as soon as I said friend, I thought it strange -- yet it felt right.
“Lucky I am then. He’s a right gentleman, lettin’ ya come out ta meet me an all. Do ya think he’d mind if ya took me back to me hotel?”
“Probably not, since he’s out of town on a week’s campout.”
“Oh? Is thet why ya invited me down fer today? Ya bein’ alone and all.”
“Well, I just figured it would be easier on me, not worrying about getting home to make dinner and such. You know, I really didn’t know what to expect, if it was even going to be you. I mean, everybody thinks…I mean, for twenty-five years….I just thought…”
I couldn’t bring myself to finish saying it no matter how I started. He definitely sensed my discomfort and I hoped he’d simply come out with it himself.
“Well, we did talk on the phone too, and yer the one who mailed the book t’ the Dakota.”
“What I read…”
Oh God! He had read it!
“…was right surprising, or at least meeting ya now and seein’ how ya are with me is surprising.”
A lump formed in my throat, but I gulped it down and remained focused. “Really…what did you expect?”
“I expected ya t’ run in the opposite direction…either that, or maul me the minute ya laid eyes on me.”
“Really?!” I crossed my arms, narrowing my eyes a bit, less concerned about his charade since 1980 and more curious about his opinion of me.
“Yeah, but I can see ya weren’t bullshittin’, now or on the phone. Yer a strong one an’ thet’s why I had t’ kiss ya.”
“Oh, I see…so you were looking for my boundaries, eh?”
“Yeah, but ya laid inta me once I advanced, not like most fans I’ve met. ‘Specially fans who’ve written stuff about me the way ya do, luv.”
Just then the skies above Orlando opened up one of its late afternoon downpours. I hadn’t noticed the clouds building up to this storm all the while we had been talking. We stood there for just a second before we both realized we’d get soaked if we spent any more time out in the increasing rain.
“Well, I guess I’m taking you to the hotel now.”
“Seems ta be likely. Ya wouldn’t leave me in the rain ta wait on a cab, would ya, luv?”
“Hell, no! Follow me.”
Quickly I led him over to where my car was parked in front of the bookstore. I unlocked the passenger side and ushered him in. Then I unlocked and jumped in the driver’s seat. Somehow I felt a bit more in control than I had all day so far.
“Ya know, I’m not surprised, luv.”
“Yer license plate…”
“Oh that…well, of course.”
“Clever ta drop all the vowels.”
“Yeah, you’d be surprised how many people I tell it stands for ‘British Telephone and Light Service FaN.’”
We both laughed and I started the car. The rain was coming down pretty hard, so I just sat for a few minutes with the defrosters on, though I moved to a more secluded part of the lot and re-parked. I reach to turn on the radio but John beat me to it. “Rain” poured out of the speakers, even as the real rain continued outside the car.
“I never liked thet one, bit of a knock off. Paul made me save it …”
“Well, I like it. I enjoy the tonal qualities it has. Allows me to sort of trance and lead to meditation.”
He laughed lightly, “People always seem to see more in me songs then I do. Are ya trained in music?”
“A bit, but I wasn’t trying to be technical, just telling you how the song affects me. You must realize they do- affect people, I mean.”
“Apparently, t’ inspirational heights, unless I’m missin’ sumthin?”
“No, you’re right on, but I know you must’ve been inspired at times. You can’t write songs and lyrics like you did…and not be inspired.”
“Yeah, sure, but it’s funny what can inspire ya, and t’ do what at times…”
He trailed off and drew closer to me over the seat to kiss me again. This time he availed himself of the skin on my neck, which had been moistened by the dripping from my damp hair. I took in a slow breath to savor his scent. I let him have his way on my earlobes and neck, returning with equal thirst was becoming clearer by the moment, what we sought to quench.
“Yer not like most fans, ya know,” he said when we came up for air.
“So you mentioned…”
“Well, most fans thet are birds. Yer not exactly jumpin’ me, but yer not shy either.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment on my ability to perplex.” I laughed and started the car, the wipers, and clicked on the knob for the headlights. “Besides, John, the last thing I’d want to do is make you uncomfortable.”
I knew he was trying to make me feel uncomfortable. How he could screw with my head like this and yet get me to feel free enough to talk like old mates? How did he do what he did to me? I’d read so much about the contradiction in him, and now face to face with the man it was easy to see why so much was written about this aspect of him. It intrigued me and if I was right, he seemed to be equally as intrigued by me the more that I stood up to his torturous sexual mind game. Maybe it was the challenge to shock me that he sought more than the actual intimacy he lavished on me. At least my comment kept him silent until I approached the exit from the parking lot to the street. I was wondering where to drive.
“So, where are we going?”
“My house is a couple of miles east up the road but…”
He cut me off. “Nah, let’s go ta me hotel. Thet way I can get sumthin’ dry on- uh-“
Now I cut him off. “All right, John. I’ll dry my clothes off at the laundry room in the hotel then and…”
I just let my words hang there. He nodded slowly and seemed slightly taken aback that his intimation didn’t shock me, or maybe he was shocked by my quick thinking solution of the hotel laundry. Whatever it was, I also had read of his legendary desire to shock people, especially women.
I kept a confident posture in the driver’s seat as he directed me, poorly, back to Interstate 4. Fortunately, I was not about to get lost in my hometown of fifteen years, so I simply ignored him without his realizing it. As we approached the touristy hotel-laced area of town I realized that I did at least need the name of the hotel. I was good, rather intuitive even, but not clairvoyant.
“The name of the hotel you’re staying at, John?”
“Um.. the Hilton? Near that Mickey Mouse park. ya know-“
“Oh. I know exactly where that is on Hotel Row…”
“Nooo…” I saw him looking at me as though he didn’t have a clue.
“Well, how about the building- you recall what it looks like?”
“Yeah, a big southern plantation house.”
“Oh, the Grand Floridian?”
“Yeah, thet’s it, luv! The Grand Floridian.”
“Okay, well, that’s on the Disney property so I’ll take this exit.” I turned off I-4 to the purple road signs that marked Disney territory. “Can I ask you something, John?”
“Are you here in Orlando to do
something- um- other than…”
Now that did shock me and he knew it. He was looking directly at me when he said it, taking off his sunglasses for emphasis. Then that classic grin crossed his lips. He had me then. I slowed to a crawl and stopped at the red light. I looked away from the road to gaze into those eyes, which were all the more dazzling in person than one could ever imagine from a photograph. I broke my own trance to speak.
“Okay John, I’ll play along, but I’m just giving you a ride to the hotel. Then I’ll need to get home directly and change myself.”
“Right, luv.” He agreed, but I could tell that he didn’t believe me. He was now calling my bluff by simply agreeing with whatever I said with my mouth, because my body was obviously sending some very different signals. I persisted.
“We’ve had such a lovely day, and I shouldn’t take any more of your time. You could still catch a show or go to one of the parks for the evening. Your disguise today was quite convincing to the unaware, you know.” Well, that whole spin sounded stupid even to me, but still he just smiled.
He reached over to play his hand across my right temple and through my hair. Oh God! There was that shivering bolt of hormones again. My face flushed, red hot, and there was no way to hide that from his proximity to me. I stopped talking and let the remaining songs on my “John Winston Volume II” tape remain as the only sound in the car. Thank God there was some sound, but it was only making me respond even more to his physical presence. My heart was beating faster as the song “Dizzy Miss Lizzie” started and I pulled into the parking lot of the Grand Floridian. He directed a pantomime grunt my way that corresponded to the ones in the song. Shit! More hormones released and other signals of my own arousal within. He was not making it easy for me to just drop him and go.
As I pulled up to the elaborate canopy drive at the hotel’s entrance I noticed that the rainstorm had subsided down here. I got out the driver’s side to open the door for him but he did it himself and got out. He had put his hat and sunglasses back on. I glanced down at his disappearing lap as he stood up, and I knew I shouldn’t have noticed, but I did anyway. Well, at least I wasn’t the only one getting charged up. That evidence alone made me feel a little less embarrassed about my obvious excitement on the final mile of this trip.
He took my hand to shake it and I, unaware if he had seen me notice his desire, looked into his eyes behind the dark specs.
“Thanks fer the ride an’ the visit over coffee an’ books, luv. Yer right, it was a luvly conversation with ya, as it was over the phone an’… it’s been great t’ meet ya in person.”
“Uh yes, you’re more than welcome, John. The pleasure is all mine though, honestly. How could I have ever known you would be so accommodating as to meet me here? I can’t thank you enough for the time and effort on your part.” My words were so cordial and opposite of the feeling I was desperately trying to hide, the still unanswered question I wanted to ask. Why did you fake your death?
I took his hand to shake it one more time and he gave me a squeeze, I squeezed back. Then for whatever impish impulse got into me, I had to give him a bit back of what he dished out. I rubbed my middle finger in his palm. His hand flinched slightly. He looked in stark surprise over the sunglasses, drilling into my eyes with his.
“That’s my job, luv!”
I put on a huge grin of my own and retorted, “Well, somebody had to break the tension, eh?”
“Who’s tense? Joost you, luv. Now go park yer car an’ meet me up in room 1404!”
I was so struck with the forwardness now that I just had to confirm what I was hearing.
“You’re not messing with me, are you, John? Setting me up?”
“Joost meet me up there an find out or leave, either way.” He had dropped my hand. He seemed to demand and dismiss me in the very same breath. Did he care or didn’t he? I was just another lark for him, but I wasn’t sure until he said, “Come ’ead, Laura, an’ please yerself if ya dare.” He laughed a bit and added, “I’ve liked ya ever since I read thet nasty book of yers an it’s got me curious.”
He was curious! With that he swiftly turned and walked through the sliding doors. He managed to enrage and compliment me all at once. But I knew that was his way- as much as I’d researched, and from friends who had met him before 1980. I wondered if they would believe me. Did one or two of them know? Still, none of that mattered now. Because he had read my book, I had to have known somewhere in my mind how this would turn out. I wanted to do this and he knew it. Why else would I have so conveniently chosen this particular week when Tom wouldn’t need to know? I felt a pang of guilt at that thought. I hopped back into the car and parked before I could let it sway my current intentions.
With my clothes still a bit damp from the rain despite the 20-minute drive, I walked into the Grand’s lobby welcomed by the chill of the air-conditioning always on in Florida. I approached the bank of elevators and took one to the fourth floor. As I followed the tasteful directional signs to 1404, I firmly decided not to hem or haw about this anymore. I was not going to be shocked by anything – I’d just accept it for what it was and once I stepped into that room I would take advantage of whatever was offered. If this was my big Lotto win of life, then I intend to enjoy my winnings, and like an experience in Las Vegas, what happened here would stay here! So I didn’t hesitate to knock on the door, and nor did he to open it. It was as if he’d sensed the decision I’d made in the hall.
I was not surprised to see him in a white hotel robe; after all, his clothing was damp too. He offered me second the white robe he was holding as he closed the door. No explanation was needed.
“I’ll just be off to the loo to change into this and I’ll be out.”
He nodded. “I’ll fix us some drinks, then.”
What he was fixing was irrelevant. I was drunk already on my circumstance as I gracefully strolled to the bathroom and closed the door behind me. I removed all my damp clothes and hung them neatly as possible over the shower bar to hasten drying before I got to the laundry service. I had a hunch it wouldn’t be the first thing on our agenda. The rumpled clothes pile on the floor had to be his, and I did something totally silly. I picked up the plaid shirt from the pile and drew it close to my face, taking in his scent. Like I said, silly, but oh-so-satisfying to linger briefly when I knew that shortly I would be embraced by the body responsible for the scent.
I wrapped myself in the robe. The warmth of the ample and soft terry cloth felt delightful over my still moist and rather cool skin, transforming me from uncomfortable to luxuriating in a generous hug. While I attempted to fluff my hair, I thought of our conversation in the coffee shop of the bookstore and in the park. I was beginning to realize that both of us were more emotionally open to one another than I anticipated. Again, that feeling of old friends who had to unsuspectingly find each other after a lifetime of being apart overwhelmed me. I felt a tingling all over, and figured I’d better get back out there before he thought I was hiding.
As I exited the bathroom, he greeted me with a drink. I felt relaxed and comfortable, taking a sip and I hardly flinched at the ample amount of vodka in proportion to the cranberry juice and sat down on the couch.
“How did you know this was one of my favorite drinks?”
“Ya mentioned it in the park, remember…first time ya got pissed…?”
“Oh yeah…” I pointed at his glass. “Well that must be a Scotch and Coke then? Not changed over the years?”
“Nah, joost Scotch. I don’t really want it, I’m joost bein’ polite so ya don’t feel like yer drinkin’ alone, eh?”
“Well, that’s awfully considerate of you, John, but I’m still sitting alone.” I raised my eyebrows and smiled. My, my what a few sips of alcohol could do to excuse such boldness!
He laughed and sipped his drink, then put it down on the end table between the couch and chair, got up and sat to my left. I put my drink on the coffee table and settled in closer to him. That was enough to cue his desire. Gently slipping his hand between the folds of my robe he squeezed at my breast. As he drew me up to his lips I met the soft curves of the smile he made and I slid my tongue in to part his slightly open mouth wider. Our tongues danced in a passion of lust that seemed to take too long to arrive…at last it did. Breaking the kiss, he said, “Mmmm, I wanted to do thet more when we were in the park, Laura.”
“Yeah, me too…just, I didn’t want to be too forward, attract attention, you know.”
“Thet’s why I knew ya’d drive me here, luv. I feel so much from ya, for me. Is it the fame, the money?”
“You know that’s not true- you did read my book…”
“Repeeatedly…Ya want more then…?”
“Oh God, yes…you?”
“Ya hafta know ya wouldn’t be here if I didn’t, luv”
“Mm-hmm.” I nodded.
His closeness activated shot a delicious energy to my sexual hot buttons. I could feel wetness tingling between my legs. How could I ever imagine such a situation could be possible? Totally impossible, really…but oh, he was so…yes…
He was massaging both my breasts now, and moved lower to orally pleasure the nipples. Waiting for this delight, I sank back into the cushy couch pillows further and let the robe fall open more on either side. The garment was still tied at this moment, and he quickly undid the belt and afforded me the opportunity to do the same to his robe. Adjusting myself on the couch, I lay down fully, one leg off the edge. He settled on top of me, our naked bodies heating one another, and his hardness was pressing down on me, blazing wave after wave of pleasure over our skin, melting together and so much deeper. Our hands entwined, then released to embrace. As we hugged our nakedness closer and tighter it caused us both to sweat more. Taking a deep breath, he pressed himself against the soft inner flesh between my thighs, enticing, “Not nervous are ya, luv…”
He seemed to want me to show some kind of fear, but I had none for him. All I could feel was the pure passion of what was about to occur. “No. Why ever should I be? You feel so…natural to me.”
“Like ya said, I’m a natural kinda guy”
“Indeed you are.”
“Do ya have any objections as yet?”
I lightly laughed at his question. “Now, why would I, love?”
“Well, I wouldn’t want ta do anythin’ to offend, ya know.”
“Shhh…we both want it, right?… just be yourself, do whatever moves you…” I trailed off before I vocalized the other thoughts racing through my head.
“I’m tellin’ ya luv, thet would be me a long while ago but truthfully, it’s up ta you.” He eased off of me, sitting up. I sat up next to him, puzzled.
“Why?” He seemed to know that inside I was still wrestling with the reality that I was about to commit adultery, if I hadn’t already, being tipsy and dressed only in a robe with a man I wasn’t married to.
“Well, ya should know thet if we do this, it won’t be like it was.”
“You mean, you’d say something to…”
“No, thet’s not what I’m talkin’ about.”
“What then, what won’t be like it was?”
“If we finish what we’re doin’
here, then it gets…well…complicated.”
“I think ya know too well what my past is to ask thet, eh?”
“True…so what is it really? Am I not attractive enough, not sexy?”
“Oh Laura! How can ya say thet after all our talking’ an’… Look, I want ya ta know I care about ya, an’ I’ve lived enough of the life ya’ve read about. I’ve had twenty-five years ta change. Ya need ta know I love ya, an’ it’s because yer a great woman an’ more than just a tart ta pull. I hope ya can accept thet an’ understand, there’s more here than sex. It’s better. Ya must know thet.”
I was stunned and definitely not prepared for this. He just said he loved me, but how could he say that, having just met me face to face today, after a single phone call two weeks ago and from reading my book? I’d been so dazzled and expected it to play out like the encounters alluded to in so many books about John, yet here he was basically saying, no, because he respected me. And how could I debate he’d changed? Neither I, nor anyone else I knew, was aware of any changes he’d gone through in the last two decades. What could I do but accept him at his word? I was compelled to ask him about the future of our friendship, since we had felt so comfortable together on the phone and today.
“Better than what? So does that mean we can still be friends and even be closer without, you know…?”
“I think you’ll feel better thet way…”
I thought of the consequences with Tom, the never telling, the guilt, my subsequent behavior towards him due to my infidelity. “Yeah, you’re right, I will. I was beginning to put on just a bit, the drink was helping.”
“I know, an’ I never want ya ta be anything but real with me.”
“You’ve got it, John! You be real with me too, though.”
I passed off the chill from that comment to ask him why. “Then, being real, why did you lead me on?”
“Ya started it with the kiss, an’ before it with the book. I was joost helpin’ yer natural curiosity, but when ya’re home again…I think ya know it’s better thet ya only tasted the wine an’ didn’t get pissed on the whole bottle.”
“Okay, I get what you’re saying, but can we still say…dance?”
“Sure, luv, cause ya really want thet.”
I wasn’t sure how he knew my thoughts but I could only conclude years of being with many women caused that. I stood up from the couch and he did too. He grabbed the remote off the coffee table and turned on the stereo in the cabinet where the television was. We moved to the middle of the room. He held me as we started slow-dancing to the music flowing out of the stereo’s speakers.
When I fall in love…It will be completely…or I’ll never fall in love…
Was this what was happening? Were we, had we been in love on some level all this time? Like old friends? Yet as he held me there was definite romance. I was perplexed about these feelings from him because I wanted to play them out, but he was right about my discomfort. So I simply enjoyed what we did.
“Stardust” started to play over the radio. What were the odds! I knew that was his favorite song, at least it was before… We stopped dancing and he looked into my eyes.
“Ya know, all things happen fer a reason, luv.”
“I know. That’s why I had to read the book on creative visualization.”
“So ya could visualize bein’ with me like this.”
“Yes, and feel…”
I began to tear up. “Is there something stupid in that?”
“No, because it’s what I was hopin’ fer too…with…you.”
I continued to mist up trembling, trying to hold back, not for my silly notions but because of the sincerity in his voice, which was right behind the more powerful emotion of love. We held each other as our desires met, piquing in depth. He led my head to rest on his shoulder and comforted me.
“Shhh…I know ya can’t believe it, but I’ve felt something from ya since thet book. Then ya called the number an’ ya went on faith. An’ the corker of today… we’ve had sooch a fun conversation. I feel I’ve know ya fer a long time, or like we knew each other before. Tell me thet’s not stupid.”
I shook my head, “Not at all.” I turned to kiss his cheek.
“See, ya agree. D’ya have any idea how refreshing it is ta have someone thet sees beyond the image? Ya do get it, an’ I’ll always love ya. We can’t be separate now. Our spirits ‘ave found one another now, an’ we can never leave thet way.”
“I can see that, yes.”
Though I wasn’t completely sure of exactly what he meant, I got the gist of it, knowing how spiritual he was. I guess that didn’t change about him. I was willing to bet that whatever was the truth was about his twenty-five years in hiding this was part of it.
I hugged him and again we lingered in the emotions. “Thanks John, for being just…well…you.”
I broke our embrace to get a sip of my drink and clear my throat some from heart to heart chat. He went to pick up his drink as well. “I’m glad ya decided ta be just yerself too, luv.”
“Hey, oh- I can’t belive this…”
“You liked my first book? That’s nothing. I’ve got my new book downstairs in the car, proof copies. Tom helped me with graphics this time and my work is so much better. I’d be so honored if you’d look it over- ha, ha- being about you and all…” I was filled with excitement about showing him, and sprinted into the bathroom to dress again.
“Sure, luv,” I heard after I’d closed the bathroom door behind me.
I was glad I’d hung my clothes over the shower bar as they had dried enough to be comfortable again. I dressed quickly, energized by the thought of sharing my second book with him. I threw open the door, and when I came out my exuberance brought up short. I was surprised to see John fully clothed in a pair of black boots and dress pants, a white shirt and a black velvet blazer, in the process of tying a thin black tie in front of the mirror. Had I been in there longer than I thought? I also spied that famous leather cap lying on the dresser in front of him.
“Wow! You’re a fast dresser, have you decided to go out after all?” I wasn’t going to assume he was taking me anywhere, but I was hopeful.
“Ya might say that…”
“Well, I won’t keep you too long, I’ll just run down and get the book, won’t take me but a minute.” I turned to open the door.
“Thet’s all right, luv. I’ve seen it,” he said calmly.
“Well, that’s silly, it’s totally new …” I turned back around and could not believe what I saw. “How…can…you…” I stammered. Holding his cap in his right hand, he looked exactly as he did in “A Hard Day’s Night” and I mean exactly. Not a day past 23 and one-half, the age he was when he made the film!
“Surprised ya, did I?”
“Um, well…I…” I trailed off and stood silent for just a minute, looking at him. This was always how I imagined him in my poems and stories, my favorite time in his life. He smiled.
“Nah, ya know. I can see it in yer eyes, luv.”
I smiled. I did know somehow, and I only asked to confirm my feelings. “So, you’ve been around me since the first book, eh?”
“No, I think ya know when…”
“Oh? Since…in my car that day, when I wished for ‘Imagine’ to play on the radio and it did?”
“Yeah, that’s when ya knew. Actually, I’d been watchin’ since ya turned thirty. Waitin’ I was.”
Then I was fully cognizant of his true nature, and now it all made sense. I wasn’t frightened in the least, simply in awe. Feeling his love and my love for him. Then, I had to ask, as I knew it took a great deal of effort for him to appear like this.
“So why me?”
“Yer gonna laugh, luv.”
“Well, that’s okay, I’ll still love you.” I smiled again not being able to hold it in.
“Well, why not you…”
We hugged, and he kissed me once more, and it was like being held and joined with a pulsing energy, radiant with so much life that I was drenched in its glow. No words could adequately describe what he did and the rush of peaceful satisfaction that followed was beautiful. I knew then it was time for him to change from his altered state.
“I’ll see you later then, yes?”
“Count on it, luv.”
I went for the door again and didn’t look back. I knew he’d followed me.
“Ma’am, Ma’am?” I heard a woman calling to me as I headed for the elevator. “Excuse me but how is it you are leaving that room?”
It was the housekeeper.
“Oh well, um- I just had it for last night. It’s okay you can clean it, I’m just checking out.”
“Ma’am, that isn’t possible. Please give me the key. I haven’t cleaned that room in a week, it’s not scheduled to be occupied until next month. They’re repairing damage from a cracked pipe that leaked through the wall.”
She held out her hand for the key. I had nothing for her. I apologized, “I’m sorry, I don’t have one.” She gave me a suspicious look. I opened my purse. “I’ll be happy to let you see… here, my pockets, my purse is too small. I really didn’t know. If I told you why- how – I got in there, I’m sure you wouldn’t believe me.”
I could tell she was curious, but she threatened me too. “I could, or I could call Security…”
“No, please don’t do that. I’m leaving, but what would you say if I told you I just had a conversation with a ghost in there?” She turned, looking down and around the hall, then back at me, wide-eyed and tense.
“I’d say you’re crazy and leave! But I do believe you. I knew this place was haunted! Go! Go and take whatever you met in there with you!”
I wanted to tell her that I already had, but she shooed me away and went back to her cart. Looking a bit fearful and wheeling it sideways in front of her for protection, she passed by slowly, hugging the wall opposite room 1404.
I proceeded again towards the elevator. The down car arrived and I got in. When the doors closed I couldn’t help laughing. I knew he was laughing too, because I could feel it, along with the love, and knew I never wanted to do anything to change that.
Sharon Richards lives in Orlando, FL. She holds a degree in Broadcasting but her heart is held by John Lennon. Spending years as a video production assistant and a decade in corporate America one element was consistent, she was always writing. When her business writing collided unexpectedly with her passion for John Lennon’s music, an explosion of creativity resulted. “I've never been so passionate," Sharon says. " Studying John Lennon changed all that. Inspiration is certainly at the base of most of my work. I hope Beatle fans are open to it and enjoy reading my work as much as I have enjoyed writing it."
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