- July 15th, 2012
3. Apple Christmas Party (not the Hell's Angels one)
George turned his head and saw me. He excused himself from the two men and came walking towards me. I made a move to grab Nancy's arm, but she had already moved further away in order to make room for George. He stepped into the waiting gap and placed his arm around my waist. He gently pushed me into the narrow area where the filing cabinets made a small box square. This almost made a separate room, we were cut off from the larger room where couples were frantically dancing. George stepped in front of me and leaned on the wall. He then pulled me closer in front of him.
"I'm drunk, so I need to prop myself up," George explained. "If I don't lean on the wall, I think I'll fall over. I haven't been this drunk since I was fourteen." George started giggling.
"I'm sorry my letter was so strong, but you really pissed me off that night."
"Yeah. I was confused by your letter," he said. "What did you think I said?"
"You said 'it's warm in there'---the studio. It was like you were putting us down for waiting out in the cold for you. I mean, I know you don't encourage us to wait out for you, but I thought you didn't mind. It really hurt our feelings that you were putting us down for it."
I was breathless from my long speech. The anger was rising again, and I didn't want it to. he was really being very nice.
"That's not what I said, and that's certainly not what I meant," he smiled in a conciliatory way. "the heat had been turned off in the studio. The thermostat was broken or something. We were freezing! When I came outside, it seemed warmer out than in. I looked into the studio and the orange lights made it look so warm and cosy. What I said was 'It looks so warm in there.' I was making a statement. It LOOKED warm, but wasn't. Of course, you weren't to know that. But I'd never put you down. What you do is your choice, not mine. But since you brought it up, I think you should quit waiting out. I mean you can't get anywhere with it, can you?" He smiled, putting his face close to mine. His right hand, index finger only, stroked my left breast, hesitated on the nipple. Somehow it seemed innocent, like he was offering comfort and no more.
"How could I stop waiting out? I'd never see you again," I said.
"Just WALK AWAY, like the song says," he laughed. (Margo later gave me the Matt Munro single). "Anyway," he said seriously, "if you think of me, I'll be there. I'm with you always, in here," he tapped my breast gently and removed his hand.
"I'm not sure what you mean by that. It would be impossible to 'get over' you. Every time I turn on the radio, I'll hear your voice. How can I forget someone I hear all the time or see in the papers?" I looked at him. He was listening intently, staring deep into my eyes. Was he just trying to focus, or was he trying to read something in my eyes that was not in my words?
"I'll always be with you. We're part of each other. I wrote a song about us the other day. It goes like this: 'I,I, love you. You, You, You love me.' We're together always. We're in each other. You don't need to see me walk out of a building, do you?"
"I don't know, George. It's nice of you to think of me as a part of yourself, but I think I'd miss SEEING you."
"But if you need me, I'll know and I'll come. What more can I do?"
"I'm not asking you to do anything," I said.
"Yes, you are. You all are. You put a subtle pressure on me just by being there. I can't take each of you, or even just the girls that like me, on a six-month cruise around the world. Can I?"
"I'm not asking you to. We don't mean to put pressure on you."
"I know you don't. I enjoy all of you being there, saying hello and goodbye. But I also want all of you to get on with your own lives. I mean, you, for instance. You know who you remind me of?"
"No, who's that?"
"Pattie's mother, my mother-in-law."
"Oh, gee, thanks, George. That's great. You probably hate her."
"No, no. There you go again---jumping to conclusions. I like Pat's mother. She's pretty in a classic way. What I mean is: you should be married with three children," he smiled. His eyes looked like he was pleading.
"Find me a husband and I'll consider it," I laughed.
"Well, there's lots of guys here, in this room, who fancy you. You block them all out to talk to me," he said. Then he added, "I've got to sit down before I fall down."
I pulled a chair over for him. As he sat down, he saw Margo. "Margo!" he shouted. She looked at George and then at me. She smiled, winked at me and looked at George.
"Here," he said, holding out his empty glass to her. "Can you take this?"
"Once a kitchen help, always a kitchen help," Margo whispered in my ear as she took the glass.
I noticed that George was looking at Janet. She had just arrived from New York for a month of Beatle-watching. She was hovering close by and kept staring at us.
"You know," George said. "The New York girls won't speak to me. Why do you think they won't talk to me?"
"First, Apple Scruffs see you on a day-to-day basis, not once a year, so we're more comfortable with you. Second, do you try to talk to them?"
"Yes, I do. I try 'hello' and 'how are you?' and they just look at me. They say nothing and they stare at me like I'm speaking a foreign language or something."
"Maybe you are!" I laughed. He looked so hurt, so I quickly added, "they're just embarrassed about you. They don't know what to say, that's all."
"What about my embarrassment?" he retorted. "I get embarrassed too, especially when I speak to someone and they just look through me."
I looked around the dance room, I couldn't hear the tinkling of glasses anymore. The room was empty.
"Where's everyone gone?" I asked him.
"Oh, upstairs, I guess. There's a cabaret. Do you want to see it?"
"No," I said. I looked around. I was alone with George. I couldn't believe my luck, but then again I could be alone with him even in a room packed with people. Then I thought I might be boring him: maybe he feels he's stuck with me.
"Of course, if you want to see the cabaret, please do. You don't have to stay here with me," I said.
"No, I don't want to see the show. And," he smiled. "I'd rather sit here talking to you."
I was sitting on the floor beside his chair. "Oh, I forgot," I said as I reached behind me to get the box. "Your Christmas present," I added, laying the box across his knees.
"Thank you," he said. "What is it?"
"You should wait until Christmas morning, but I'll tell you. A book I've made for you."
"That's different. You made it for me?" I nodded. "Then I want to make sure it's safe," he said. He stood up and opened a drawer in the file cabinet and placed the present inside. "I'll collect it tomorrow when I come in. I'll be sober then," he laughed and sat back down.
The room started filling up again. I could see Margo and Jill sitting at the opposite end of the room. Jill waved. I smiled in return. Then I saw Margo signal frantically, pointing behind me. Too late, I saw Janet approach from behind me to sit on the floor in front of George. George looked as annoyed as I was, and he moved his feet under the chair so as not to touch her.
"Hello, George. I haven't seen you tonight," she said, fluttering her eyelashes and attempting to giggle.
"I don't know how that can be. You've walked by several hundreds of times and seemed to be trying to get my attention," George said.
Janet placed her wine glass on George's thigh. She then tipped the glass, so the wine seeped into his jeans. As if this wasn't enough, she started wiping his thigh with exaggerated strokes of her hand.
George grabbed her hand. "That's fine, Janet. Leave it," he said. "It'll dry by itself."
"Oh, George, I'm so sorry," she cooed.
"I bet you are," he said and looked at me.
I was fuming. Not only had she interrupted our conversation, but this scene with the drink made me want to choke her---preferably by ramming the glass down her throat. George noticed. He laughed and stroked my cheek gently with the tips of his fingers.
"It's OK. Don't worry," he whispered. "Janet," he called loudly, "You're a groupie, aren't you?"
Janet looked astounded, but her sudden stammerings of "No, you're ah, mistaken" were a definite sign that George was right.
"Yeah, you are," he continued. "I remember. New York. Backstage at a Cream concert. I went to see Eric. And you went off with one of the boys," he laughed.
Whatever was happening, it was hitting home. Janet became nervous. She vehemently denied every word George said. She denied it so strongly that I knew it was true.
"Did I tell you the girls from New York don't speak to me?" George turned to me.
He winked. He knew he had told me about the New York girls, but he wanted Janet to hear. She was from New York and it seemed George was making a subtle insult.
"I don't think they understand me," he said and looked over at Janet.
She still wasn't moving to leave. George looked annoyed.
"Carol, I'll see you later. I'm going to get a drink and circulate." He got up from the chair and walked through the door into the bar room.
4. A couple of nights later around 7:30 pm, after I had eaten, the doorbell rang. I went to the front door. When I opened it, there he was grinning from ear to ear. He had short cropped hair, shorter than I had ever seen it. His rumoured big ears were showing slightly. He had on a thick turtle-neck sweater, jeans and a long mid-calf quilted coat.
Before I could gather my wits, George stepped into the threshold and threw his arms around me! I was shocked. I hugged him back. We stood like this for several minutes. Then he stepped back to look at me. I was wearing jeans with a soft, fluffy pink sweater. I was embarrassed. Here was George, with me, alone. Now what?
"Come in," I said. "My room's just at the end of the hall."
I led; George followed. My room was tiny. When you walked through the door, the bed was in front of you. Book shelves were behind the head of the bed, lining the window. There was a sink, cooker and wardrobe going around the three remaining walls of the room. The only place to sit was the bed.
"Can I take your coat?" George slipped out of it in an embarrassed, shy manner. I hung it up on the back of the door. "Have a seat," I said, gesturing to the bed.
He sat on the very edge, as if frightened. It began to hit me that he was as nervous about this as I was. This took a while to seep it. I somehow had the idea that, as a Beatle, he was used to women, women's rooms, etc. and he would always be charming and oozing with casual lightness in such situations. But looking at him now, almost shaking with nerves, I realized he was very normal.
"Would you like tea or coffee?" I asked him.
"Tea would be nice. Thank you," he smiled. He looked relieved to have something to say.
I had a huge box of matches for the gas cooker. I was nervous, too, and making tea had never been my strong point. I picked up the box and when I opened it matches fell all over the floor. The box had been upside down when I opened it. I was so embarrassed, but George roared with laughter. I laughed, too, and then I knew the ice had been broken.
George leapt off the bed, still laughing, and bent down to help me pick up the matches. We placed them back in the box.
"George, I'm so sorry, I don't entertain much."
"hey, that's okay. It doesn't matter. I do it all the time."
I lit the stove, put the kettle on and sat on the bed to wait for it to boil. George sat back on the end of the bed.
"You look very well," George said.
"It's you I'm worried about," I laughed. "that picture of you in the paper looked so awful."
"Oh, the accident," George sighed and leaned back on the wall. "I ran into a roundabout at 90 mph! The roundabout had been moved!"
I laughed and said, "What do you mean, the roundabout had been moved? I heard you hit it because of the electricity black out."
"There was that, too." There were no street lights. But there was construction work going on. I knew the work included the moving of the roundabout but I thought it would be positioned further up the road. Instead, they moved it back down the road. All of a sudden, in the dark, I was on top of it and I couldn't stop. So I ploughed into it!"
"What did you do when you realized that you had had an accident?"
"Well, I hit my head on the windscreen and my ribs into the wheel. I didn't know I was hurt, though. But when I looked over to check Pattie, she was out cold. She was slumped over the gear shift. I knew I had to phone an ambulance. I tried my door, but it was stuck. So I had to get out of Pat's door and she was in the way."
"What did you do then?" I asked.
"I tried to move the back of her seat further down on her gently, so I could crawl from the back seat and out her door. It worked; I got out."
"Didn't that force her even more down onto the gear shift?" I asked.
"I don't know," he said. "I tried to be careful, but I knew she needed help so I had to get out."
I asked him if she was okay now and he said she had spent two weeks in a nursing home.
"She was okay," George said. "She had concussion and some broken ribs. I was worried while she was lying unconscious, but once she came to I knew she was okay. She's back home now and she's fine."
"How are you?" I asked. He looked very pale and thin.
"I had eight stitches in my head," George said. "They had to cut a section of my hair to get to the cut, so I had the rest cut off." He moved his hair back off his forehead, and I could see the scar.
"that's not too bad. The scar will fade more and more. Anyway, it's covered by your hair."
"Yeah. The cut didn't bother me. But I've had some trouble with my shoulder since the accident," he said.
"yes, I guess I had it stiff because I was holding the wheel with this arm. When I collided, I didn't feel anything at the time. But I started getting a stiffness, and even some pain, if I played the guitar for any time at all." George began to rub the shoulder.
"That could be bad, since you're a guitar player," I said. "What are you doing about it?"
"I'm going to a doctor who deals with injuries like this. He's the physician to Liverpool Football Club, and he sees this kind of thing all the time. He massages it."
"I went to my usual doctor today for a check-up," George said cheerfully.
"Is everything okay?"
George started giggling. "The minute I walked in, he said 'Take all your clothes off'. He then gave me a complete examination."
"maybe he was worried, after the accident and all," I suggested.
"Maybe," George agreed. Then his voice lowered, as if sharing a deep, dark secret. "He stuck his hand up my arse!"
"A rectum examination," I offered George the correct term.
I could tell by George's expression that he had never heard of it and was very suspicious.
He said, "I don't know what it's called. I just knew I couldn't believe it was happening. I felt he was molesting me."
"It is a routine examination," I told him.
I was sitting with my back to the bookshelves and was a bit surprised when George, without warning, leaned over my lap to grab a book off the shelves. The book was a large hardback about Krishna. George opened to the introductory letter he had written for the book. He set the book between us and read his letter out loud, pointing with his finger and emphasizing certain sections.
"Each soul is potentially divine," reminded me of the time he gave me Yogananda's book. he had said then, "God is in all of us." George had also said he wanted to see Christ. In the book, he wrote "If there's a God, I want to see him." At the Christmas Party, George had told me if I thought of him, he would be with me. He writes of God, "He is actually there, actually with you."
Krishna had associations with the milkmaids. Among these maids was his favourite, a girl called Radha. When George finished reading, he closed the book and said to me, "I want you to be my Radha." I was silent---did this mean George thought he was Krishna?
"I'd better get going," George smiled and stood up.
It was late now. He'd be expected home. After he put on his coat, he turned to face me. I was standing now as well. He looked shy. he stepped towards me and placed his arms around me. He pulled me close to him. I thought he just wanted to hug me, as he had when he arrived. But he kissed me. Needless to say, I happily responded.
Two things amused me and endeared him to me more than ever. One was I had expected George to be Mr Cool and yet, when he nervously moved forwards to kiss me, he stepped on my foot. Again, he was more nervous than I was. Second, George smiles with one side of his face. It's a kind of crooked, shy grin. He kisses the same way, using one side of his mouth. It somehow suits him.
When he left at the main door, he pulled his collar up to hide.
"You'd better hide," I laughed. "Jane Asher's mother lives across the street."
"Oh, God," he laughed. "I'll see you soon," he said and left.