Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chapter 29

I cried half of the flight back to the states. What was my life going to be like without John? I wasn’t sure and that was terrifying. I arrived in New York at 1:00pm eastern standard time and Claude picked me up from the airport. It was strange being in America. It felt like a foreign country. Claude drove me from JFK to my new apartment in the city and, with my insistence, kept quiet most of the drive. I wasn’t ready to hear his “American speak.” I needed time to unwind. Time to adjust.

We got to my new apartment and as unhappy as I was to be there, I couldn’t help but smile. It was a really sweet little five floor walk-up with a fire escape covering most of the facade. It was so New York. And when I got inside, it felt like home. Vivienne had already unpacked and the place looked great. Claude knew I needed to settle in, so he helped me up with my luggage and then took off. I threw myself on my sofa and began to cry. I was having so many mixed emotions I didn’t know how to feel. I lay there and looked at the clock on my mantel piece trying to figure out what time it was in London. 6:00pm. It was still early. I called John, uncaring if Cynthia answered. I lived in America now. She couldn’t accuse us of anything. We were just friends now.

“Hello?” John answered.

The sound of his voice immediately lifted my spirits.

“Do you always answer your own phone? What if I’d been a crazed fan?” I asked.

“Well, you are, aren’t you?”


“You made it there then?”

“No, I’m calling from a phone box in Djibouti.”

“Figured as much.”

“Did you really?”

“Well, that’s generally what happens when people don’t let me see them off at the airport. Get on the wrong plane, you know. Happens more often than you’d think, actually.”

“What makes you think I got on the wrong plane?”

“Ah, meant to go to your booty, did you?”

“Yes, actually.”

It was good speaking to him. We hadn’t had a fun conversation in a very long time. Our relationship had become much too complicated for such light-hearted fluff. I longed for the days when we used to be able to joke around and hoped someday we’d be able to tease each other again.

“I miss you already, you know?” he said.

“I miss you too.”

“So, can I come see you? See your new place?” he asked.

“I told you that you could come anytime.”


“Tomorrow?!” I laughed. “Why don’t we give it some time, John? I’d like to settle in first.”

“Okay, but soon as you do.”

“You’ll have to stay in the guest room though.”

“Thought you didn’t have a guest room in this humble little flat of yours?”

“Then I guess it’s the couch for you, mister!”

He giggled.

“I’ll sleep anywhere, long as it’s near you.”

I didn’t reply. I didn’t want to go there. It was hard enough as it was; this new-found platonic relationship of ours.

“Okay, all right. I take it back. Don’t clam up on me now,” he said in a comical voice, trying to lighten the mood.

We talked for a little while longer and then I told him I was very tired and wanted to go to sleep. We said polite goodbyes and I climbed into bed. I was exhausted, but I lay there, wide awake. I could hear all the hustle and bustle of New York life below my window. I couldn’t believe I was there. I lay there, memories flooding my mind of the past couple of years and my time with John. As Charles Dickens had once written, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

John phoned every day after that, asking when he could come over. He always asked in a joking way, but I knew deep down, he wasn’t joking.

“We don’t go back into the studio until the twenty-fourth. I could have a full week in New York,” he said one day, sounding more serious than ever.

“John, I really don’t think it’s a good idea. It hasn’t been enough time.”

“Oh, come off it, Maggie. Time for what? I’m never going to get over you, you’d better just accept that. I’m sitting round here all day going mad. When I’m not speaking to you, I’m taking acid. It’s the only thing that seems to make me happy these days. And I’ve nothing to do, love. I want to come see you.”

“I know!” an idea suddenly sprang to mind. “This Japanese woman is doing a show over at Indica. Hmmm? Go visit John and Barry for the day? Besides, she’s great. Her stuff’s really comical in a sense, but she intends for it to be like that. I think you may already know her, actually. Paul said you gave her some lyrics?”

“Oh, that weird little Japanese bird? Yeah, I remember her. Looking for handouts and sponsorships like the rest of them. What do I wanna see her for?”

“I don’t know, John. Something to do? Something to distract yourself with? It’s coming up… should be in the next few days, I guess. I can’t remember when. I think you’d find her stuff interesting. I think she’ll be very popular in London.”

“Yeah, maybe I’ll check it out. Probably be fun to drop some acid and go make fun of her.”

“Be nice, will you? I know you’re not a fan of the avant-garde, but she seemed like a nice person.”

“Yes, mummy.”

“Okay, well I have to go. I’m helping Claude down at the studio today. Should be interesting. Wish me luck?” I said.

“Luck, love. You’ll be great. You should have as much faith in yourself as I have in you.”

“Thanks, John.”

“I love you.”


“What? I do you know.”

“We’re just friends now, remember?”

“Yeah, but I still love you, friends or not.”

“Do you tell Paul you love him?”

“Sometimes,” John giggled.

“Mmhmm. Look, I have to go. I’ll speak to you later, okay?”

“Okay, love.”

“Go to that exhibit and tell me how it was, all right?”

“All right, love,” he sighed.

John called me a few days later to report all about the “Unfinished Paintings” exhibit.

“You were right. It was marvelous. There was this ladder for you to climb up and posted on the ceiling was a tiny message you had to use a spy glass to read. And guess what it said?”

“Fuck off?”

“That’s what I was expecting too!” John laughed. “But no, it said, ‘Yes.’ How great is that?”

“Yeah, that’s fantastic! I told you she was good.”

John told me he had visited the gallery stoned, expecting not to like anything and, while he found Yoko a bit strange, he thought her work was really clever. He told me when he left, she had tried to get into his Rolls Royce and go with him, but John Dunbar wouldn’t let her leave the show! We laughed and talked a while more until John said he had better go to bed. And that was the first night we had said goodbye without John telling me he loved me. It broke my heart a little, but I didn’t mention anything to him. It had to happen sooner or later. We were moving on.

John started calling less and less frequently after that, and when he did, rarely mentioned coming for a visit anymore. He seemed hopelessly depressed and I couldn’t help but feel it was my fault. I didn’t know what to do, so I decided to do nothing. I cared about John deeply, but he wasn’t my responsibility. I trusted that his wife and the other Beatles would not let him self-destruct. Still, when he did phone, it was difficult to carry on a sensible conversation with him because he was so high. He was covering up his sadness with pot and LSD and pills, just as I had done. I understood completely what he was going through, but that wasn’t my life anymore. Though the drug culture was every bit as prevalent in New York as it was in London, I was steering clear of it. I refused to do that to my body any longer and it killed me that John was in so deep.

When we did speak, he would often mention Yoko. She had been posting cards through his letterbox. Things like, “Paint until you drop dead” and “Dance.” He seemed to be intrigued by her. Rarely a conversation went by without him mentioning to me that she had gotten in touch with him for backing one of her shows, or how they had run into each other at a Claes Oldenburg show. Had he replaced me with the strange little Japanese artist? If so, I was glad for him. I only wanted him to be happy. The only problem was that he didn’t seem happy.

Eventually all phone calls from John stopped. That, or I had simply been out when he had phoned and had missed his calls. Either way, I never called him, so in time, we stopped talking altogether. In fact, I hadn’t spoken to anyone in The Beatle camp in a very long time. I was quite busy with Claude, who had been right about my catching onto photography very quickly. I had picked it up in no time and was soon shooting everyone and everything. I had found a new passion. Eventually, my skills grew to the point where I was being asked to photograph events and happenings for The Village Voice, Claude having nothing to do with it. He was proud of me and told me he had no problem with my doing freelance. He was quite happy in his studio doing artistic photography of everyone who was anyone at the time. In due course, Claude and I parted ways very amicably and stayed in contact as friends from then on.

Christine and I completely lost touch. I heard from my mother sometime later that she and Paul had ended things after she had grown tired of all the other women. She eventually finished school, but decided to remain in Britain, having taken a job with the BBC. Sometime later she became involved with and ultimately married a radio host for the new BBC Radio 1 station. I hear they have children and are quite happy.

I kept up with The Beatles via the New York social scene, not that it would have been difficult to know exactly what was happening with them even if I had been a complete hermit. They were The Beatles after all. We were all amazed to hear Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and I persuaded the guys down the road from my apartment building, at the Electric Circus, to do a light show to the whole album. That was the first night in eons that I had done any drugs, but it was well worth it. My new friends and I took acid and listened to the melodious voices of my old friends flow from the speakers and waft around the room like a dream. We danced our asses off that night. It was magic. Pure brilliance! Later, I was proud to see they were attempting to take up spirituality and were getting involved with transcendental meditation. Knowing them, I felt like they needed something calming like that in their often chaotic lives. Then, I was devastated to hear that Brian had died. I knew they’d be destroyed and I wanted so badly to reach out to them, but in the end, I decided just to send flowers and a short note. Though I hadn’t been gone quite a year, it felt like a lifetime ago and I knew we all needed to just continue getting on with our lives without each other.

Sometime that same year I met a woman named Linda Eastman. She photographed horses and had an affinity for rock stars and the money to do what she liked. She had recently returned from London after having met Paul in the Bag O’ Nails nightclub and then again when she photographed all four of the boys at the press release party for Sgt. Peppers. I didn’t care to let on just how well I knew The Beatles, so I just let her brag, uninterrupted. The way she talked about Paul I suspected she may have been one of the women Christine had had enough of. Later, knowing her love of rock stars, I introduced Linda to my friend who was looking for a house photographer at the new Fillmore East concert venue. I had been offered the job, but was more interested in photographing “happenings.” I liked to be out and about and didn’t want to be stuck in one location all the time. Some years later in 1976 I was sent tickets and backstage passes to the first Wings show in New York, at Madison Square Garden. Of course I went, being personally familiar with half the band members. It was strange seeing Paul on his own, without the other four Beatles, but he looked great and seemed very happy. I stayed somewhat in contact with Paul over the years and sent him and Linda a gift every time a new baby was born, and occasionally attended a concert here and there. When Linda passed away, I was invited to the funeral, but couldn’t make it. Instead I donated a hefty amount of money to the charity of their choice and sent Paul a deepest sympathies letter.

Toward the middle half of 1968, all the buzz in the New York social scene was that John and Paul were in town promoting their new venture, Apple. One day Claude rang me at my new seventh floor apartment on the corner of Avenue A and East 7th Street to tell me John had been by asking about me. Because I was in a new relationship at the time I didn’t pursue John’s inquiries any further.

“Oh, really? That’s a shame. Would’ve been nice to see someone from the old crowd,” I lied to Claude.

The truth was that I was terrified of seeing John. It had been quite a while and though I was in a new relationship, I definitely was not completely over John, no matter how badly I wanted to be. I was afraid of what seeing him might do to me; what feelings might resurface. Over the next few days I stayed indoors as much as possible, steering clear of any hotspots where they might potentially show up. My new boyfriend, Ian, an art director at NYU didn’t ask any questions. He knew that I knew a lot of famous people, but I had never divulged to him my past relationship with John and I had no intentions of doing so.

Over the next few months I could not escape the news of John and Yoko. It was as if the world was obsessed with this new relationship. Eventually the news came that he and Cynthia were filing for divorce and hysteria erupted amongst fans and the media in general. I couldn’t help but think how glad I was that it wasn’t me. She was the most hated woman in the world. Late in October it was on the news how the two of them had been arrested on drug charges! Poor John. What had he gotten himself into? In November, another controversy: John and Yoko, naked on an album cover! I didn’t find the cover particularly shocking at all; John had figured out long ago just how much attention he could obtain by being controversial when his “Jesus” comments were blown so out of proportion, and he liked it. I did, however, find his appearance to be a bit shocking. He looked thin and his hair was stringy and unwashed. This was not the John I was used to seeing. What was happening to him?

By the beginning of 1969 I was becoming very involved in the anti-war movement. I had been photographing protests and peace rallies and everything in between. I had gone to talks at NYU and elsewhere around the country and overseas. Toward the middle of January, I found myself in Paris documenting the very first Vietnam peace talks. I left toward the end of January and had a layover in London, where I decided to stay and visit for a couple of days. I popped in on John Dunbar and Barry Miles, each in separate locations, Indica having been closed for quite a while. And then I decided to take a trip down memory lane, walking around past all my old haunts. I had a stroll up Piccadilly to Regent Street where I could hear music being played somewhere in the distance. A bunch of girls in mini-skirts rushed past me giggling excitedly amongst themselves and I decided to follow. We all ended up on Savile Row where a group had gathered, everyone seemingly staring up into the sky. The music had stopped momentarily and just as I was about to ask someone what was going on, it started again.

“Don’t let me doooooown,” echoed down from the rooftop above.

It was John.

“Don’t let me doooooown.”

And Paul.

And from the sound of the drums and lead guitar, Ringo and George too. The Beatles were performing live. Suddenly a chill ran through my body and goosebumps appeared on my skin. It had been a long time since I’d heard them play live. I felt tears filling up my eyes and I blinked them away. They sounded amazing. I stood around with everyone else and listened to them do their set. I took a few photos of the fans below, wondering if I should try and go up to say hello. Feeling it was probably better for everyone involved if I maintained my distance, I decided against it. I stayed until their set was finished and then, like everyone else, moved on.

In March it was announced that John and Yoko had married. I, on the other hand, had just ended my relationship with Ian. Our schedules were too different and we were both tired of never getting to see each other. John and Yoko were always in the news for one reason or another and there seemed to be a pretty unanimous feeling of hatred toward her amongst fans and the press alike.

I was getting heavily involved in the protest scene and my photography began to take a backseat. It was a welcomed change from all the rallies and demonstrations when I was asked to photograph the Woodstock Music Festival in August. It took forever getting out there as thousands and thousands of people attended and the roads were completely clogged with traffic, but it was well worth it when I finally arrived. Everybody who was anybody was there, except of course The Beatles, who I heard had been asked to play, but declined. It was fantastic. Three days of nothing but peace, love, and music.

In April of the next year Paul announced The Beatles’ split. The newspapers went wild: PAUL LEAVES THE BEATLES read one. YOKO ONO BREAKS UP THE BEATLES read another. In my opinion, The Beatles split up because they couldn’t hold it together themselves. They needed Brian and Brian was gone. I knew it would only be a matter of time when I’d heard Brian had died. John had been talking about leaving since 1966, there was no way they were going to last the course. So who got the blame? The one who announced it and the one who a Beatle left his wife for. I called it years ago and I knew I didn’t want to be either of the people in those headlines when the time came. While The Beatles’ lives were seemingly in turmoil, mine was thriving that year. I had a new boyfriend, Mike, a six-foot tall, tan, long-haired poet with wire rimmed, small rectangular glasses, dreadlocks and a beard. He was of Puerto Rican descent and he was absolutely beautiful. I had met Mike at a Black Panther rally at Yale University in Connecticut. He and Allen Ginsberg had chanted “Om” over the loud speaker for hours on end. He was a close friend of Allen’s, who had been a hero of mine for several years, and they were involved in much of the same social and political activism. Together, Mike and I bought this four-floor brownstone on East 35th Street, mere blocks away from the Empire State Building. It was a fabulous little house and I entertained there all the time. At this point my photography was being published everywhere and rarely a day went by when I didn’t see my name in one publication or another. Luckily though, all the press I received was positive, and even luckier was that the days of Beatlemania were well and truly behind me. Only very occasionally did some rabid Beatles fan remember my name from the papers all those years ago as having been seen going around with John Lennon. And when they did, I always just said, “Yeah. that was a long time ago,” smiled, and signed whatever it was they wanted me to sign. Thank God I was getting good publicity now and on my own merits! Life couldn’t have been sweeter.

For the next couple of years all any of us worked on was getting Nixon out of the White House. For my generation that seemed the only way forward. There were demonstrations and rallies taking place all over the country and I was there to document them. Luckily, Mike was able to travel with me most of the time, and even be involved, giving lectures and sharing his poetry. We returned to New York at the end of August, only to find out John Lennon was in town and was set to play at Madison Square Garden. Mike desperately wanted to go, despite knowing about John’s and my history. Well, Madison Square Garden was practically down the street from our house. Besides, I hadn’t spoken to John in years. So, we went. We went, and it was fabulous, and John looked amazing in his army jacket and round sunglasses, and I fell back in love with him just like I knew I would. And I was instantly heart-broken all over again. I wanted to vomit. I wanted to scream and cry and run home and climb into my bed and never come out. I was happy with Mike. I loved Mike. What the hell was wrong with me? Then Mike made things worse. He wanted to see if we could get backstage so he could meet John, though I pleaded with him not to. I didn’t want to speak to John. I didn’t want to hear his voice or to look into his eyes or worse yet, run the chance of being touched by him.

“Mike, I’d really rather not. Please. Let’s just go.”

“C’mon, babe. It was a long time ago, right? Ancient history. Please, I’d really like to pick his brain.”

“We probably won’t even be able to get anywhere close to him. I don’t know the people working for him anymore.”

“Worth a shot though, right? Please? For me?”

Before I knew it we were headed backstage.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Where do you two think you’re going? No one’s allowed back here unless they’ve got a press pass,” some large, muscly man said in a thick New York accent.

“But she is the press! She’s Maggie Jones, the photographer?” Eric said.

The man looked at me questioningly. I could tell he’d never heard of me.

“Wait here. Lemme go check if anyone knows you,” he said. “Hey, Phil, come stay with these two. I’ll be right back,” he said, gesturing to another muscly man.

It was no time before we saw him coming back and, to my horror, he was being followed by John and Yoko.

“Maggie!” John called out. “Fancy seeing you here! You should’ve told me you were coming. Would’ve got you front row seats or somethin’,” he smiled. “You know Yoko?”

Mike stood there with his mouth open.

“Yes, we’ve met. Hello, Yoko. We met once at John Dunbar’s place in London, Indica?”

“Yes, hello,” she said.

“This is… Mike,” I said. The words, “my boyfriend” seeming to get caught somewhere in my throat.

“I know Mike. Recognized you straight away with that daft hair,” John giggled.

Mike looked puzzled.

“John, be nice,” Yoko said under her breath.

“They publish your picture with that article you write in the paper every week don’t they? Yeah, I’ve read some of your poetry too. You’re a brilliant writer,” John said.

“Thanks a lot, man. Really means a lot,” Mike blushed.

I tried my hardest not to look at John as the two of them spoke. He could always read me like a book and I couldn’t risk it.

“Well, it was nice seeing you both,” Yoko finally interrupted the two of them. “We’d really better be going.”

“Yeah, all right,” John said, shaking Mike’s hand, then turning to me, as Yoko made her way back down the hallway. He leaned in, while shaking my hand and kissed me on the cheek. “You look amazing,” he whispered in my ear. Then said aloud, “Good to see you. We should get together. I’ll look you both up.”

“We’re in the book,” Mike said excitedly.

I could’ve been sick right then and there.

The next two months were rough. I had run into John and, as much as I loved Mike, I wanted him. I wanted him, but I knew I couldn’t have him. Had I made a terrible mistake? Was I going to resent every man I was ever with for the rest of my life, for the simple fact that they were not John Lennon? The John and Yoko stuff had mostly died down in the press at that point. She didn’t seem to be quite as hated as before. Couldn’t I have withstood a few years of public hatred in order to be with the man that I loved for the rest of our lives? How selfish was I? How completely fucked up? I could feel myself beginning to unravel and I knew I needed to rein it in. I needed to focus my energy elsewhere. So that’s what I did. I threw myself into getting Nixon out of office.

By Tuesday, November 7, Election Day had arrived and I went to cast my vote. Mike and I had been invited to different election results parties and felt obligated to attend both for one reason or another. Because he had been asked to speak at one, we decided he’d go to that party while I attended the other. That night the results were dragging on and on and we were all getting drunker and drunker as the outcome was not looking good. After a while John and Yoko came in and everyone perked up a bit, but not for long. Meanwhile, I was sweating in my seat, hoping he didn’t notice I was there.

“Do you believe this shite?” he said, angrily, pointing at the television. “How is it possible after everything we done? It’s a bloody set-up! It’s a fix!” he yelled. He was drunk.

After a time, his eyes locked on me and he came strolling over.

“Well, hello there,” he said.

“Hello. I didn’t realize you were going to be here.”

“Didn’t you?”

“No,” I said, becoming slightly irritated at the accusatory tone in his voice.

“Where’s your sensitive poet boyfriend with the stupid hair?”

“I seem to think people found your hair pretty stupid at one point,” I said.

John smiled at me and took another drink from the bottle he was holding.

“You stopped taking me calls… why?” he asked, lowering his voice.

“I thought you stopped calling me,” I replied, taking another drink of my beer.

“Thought you gave up boozing years ago? Back at it then?”

“No. Just a bit depressed,” I said. “Thought I could use a drink. You never stopped, I guess?” I felt light-headed.

“Oh, I quit the hard stuff. Heroin and that.”

“Heroin?! Jesus, John!”

“Hey, wasn’t easy getting over you, you know,” he said, resting his hand on my knee.

My heart was pounding out of my chest.

“Looks like we’ve lost the war,” he said, looking at the television, then back at me. “My mate’s got some mary jane in his bedroom. Fancy a joint?”

And without thinking, I replied, “I think I could use one, yeah.”

With that, John and I got up, both in a drunken stupor, and made our way to the bedroom, leaving Yoko outside with the rest of the party.

Sex with John that night was animalistic. We weren’t thinking about anyone but ourselves and our need and desire for each other. We both wanted each other more than we could put into words. We were ravenous for one another. He pushed me onto the bed and tore my clothes off and I did the same with his clothes. I couldn’t get my body close to his quickly enough. He ran his hands over me and I scratched and clawed his skin. He bit my hip and the inside of my thigh and I screamed, begging him for more. When he entered me, I was taken right back to London. Every time we ever made love flashed through my mind. It felt like home. We fit perfectly together and I missed that feeling. Our bodies moved quickly in time with one another, seemingly desperate to recapture what we once had, even if only for a brief moment. Finally, our passion culminated in one body-convulsing, mind-blowing, simultaneous orgasm; something I still had never experienced with anyone but him.

Afterward I kissed him softly on the mouth, but we didn’t speak. There was no cuddling. No “I love you’s.” I got up and put my clothes back on, completely ashamed of what we’d just done. We were caught up in the moment, drunk, and we let our feelings get out of control.

“I have to go,” I said.

“I’ll ring you,” John replied.

And with that, I left the bedroom, passing Yoko and everyone else at the party as I went. I was embarrassed. I couldn’t believe myself. It was 1965 in the backseat of John’s Rolls Royce all over again. I wanted to die. As soon as I returned home, I told Mike everything. As sensitive as he was, as understanding, and as forward-thinking, he was not okay with what I’d done and I didn’t blame him one bit. Still, I love him and didn’t want to lie to him. I couldn’t keep it from him. He moved out three days later.

And several days after that, John did call, to my surprise.

“I want to see you again.”

“I told Mike what happened,” I said.


“He left me.”

“Bloody bastard.”

“He isn’t, John. I am. We are.”

“Come off it, Maggie. We’re not.”

“John, I don’t even know you anymore. I haven’t spoken to you in years. We shouldn’t have done what we did. It was wrong.”

“Sod that, we were fuckin’ drunk,” John laughed.

“That’s not an excuse.”

“It is, you know.”

“Then why are you calling me now?” I asked.

“Yoko’s sending me to California.”


“She wants me to sow me wild oats and… well… I can’t do it here, can I?”

“What?!” I repeated. “She’s told you she wants you to go sleep around?”

“Yeah, and you’re the one I want to sleep around with!”

“HA!” I shouted. “No, I really don’t think that’s going to happen.”

“Fuck’s sake, Maggie, I’d forgotten how good it is with you. Come with me to L.A., please? Rich is out there. Trouble with his missus. It’ll be like old times!”

“In case you’ve forgotten, Lennon… old times?... Weren’t great! And, not to mention… once again… you’re married!”

John erupted in giggles.

“Don’t get your knickers in a twist, love. I’m allowed to shag, remember? Yoko knows about it!”

“Oh, that makes me feel so much better,” I said, sarcastically.

“Come on, Maggie. I miss you. I still love you, you know?”

“Don’t say that, John.”

“I miss being mates. I was really torn up when we stopped speaking. Thought you didn’t love me anymore.”

“I thought I didn’t too,” I said more to myself than anyone.

“Then you still do?”

“John, we can’t do this. Not again. It was too hard to get over you the first time. It’s not 1965 anymore. I’ve got to get on with my life.”

“Looks like you’ve done that. I see photos you’ve taken in the paper nearly every day. You’re really fantastic!”

“Yeah? You think I’m good?”

“Come off it, you know you are. I didn’t even know you could take photographs like that!”

“Neither did I,” I said.

We both laughed.

“You know I was in London when you guys played on the roof?”

“Get away! Why didn’t you come up?!” he exclaimed.

“I don’t know. The thought of seeing you again was too difficult, I guess. Too many memories.”

“You mean too many ghosts,” he said.

“Yeah. It’s really a shame how it all worked out for you all.”

“Well, we’re big boys. We’ll be all right… So, you coming to L.A. or what?”

Coincidentally enough, as things had always been when it came to me and John, I had just been asked by Capitol Records in Los Angeles to come and do the promo shots for Ringo’s new album. Now, whether or not I should have mentioned that to John was a different story.

“I might be working over there in the next few weeks, so maybe we’ll run into each other,” I said.

“Good enough, I suppose. Just remember, dolly face, I know you’re number now and can reach you at my leisure!”

I ended up turning down the job with Capitol and because of that didn’t see Ringo again until many years later when he formed his first All Star band in 1989 and played New York City. We went to see him in concert and I met his new wife Barbara and then we all went for a late dinner afterward. We kept in contact somewhat after that. Ringo is surprisingly big on technology and we email photos of our families to each other from time to time.

It is probably for the best that I didn’t go to L.A. though. God only knows what would have happened had John and I spent a significant amount of time together again. I couldn’t risk falling in love with him again just to end up hurt once more. It was the same situation as before, only this time he had a different wife. And I was an adult now, so I wanted to make the adult decision and stay away. From all accounts, including several drunken phone calls I had received from John himself, L.A. was complete debauchery on John’s part. Maybe it was my fault, I don’t know. But I didn’t want any part of it. Afterward he returned to New York; to Yoko, and set up a happy family, new son and all. I wanted to send a congratulations card and gift, but didn’t think Yoko would appreciate it very much, so one day in 1976 when John called just to talk, I asked him if he wanted to go for a walk in the park. He was elated; desperate to get out of the house. I met him at the Central Park Zoo and we walked around for a long time, talking and joking. I was glad we were able to be friends. And even more, I was glad we were able to be in public together without too much aggravation. After a few hours of wandering around aimlessly, I remembered why I had asked him there in the first place and we walked down 5th Avenue to FAO Schwartz. There, I purchased a giant teddy bear that John said reminded him of one a fan had given him in the early days of The Beatles. He thanked me and said Sean would love it. Instead of the two of us walking out of the store with the giant bear, John asked if they would deliver it and of course, they said they would.

Afterward we wandered around a bit more and made a pact with each other that we would meet at the Central Park Zoo on that particular day for the rest of our lives. No matter where we were or what was going on, or whether we had just seen each other the previous day, that day would be ours to be together. John and I shared a long and complicated history and I was overjoyed that we were finally able to be friends.

“Maggie,” John said. “If anything ever happened between me and Yoko, would you have me?”

“You mean if you left Yoko, would I take you in?”

He looked at me without speaking, refusing to confirm or deny that that was indeed what he meant.

“If I said yes to that, we’d be in exactly the same place I never wanted to be in, back in 1966. I never wanted to break up any one’s marriage, John. Not yours and Cynthia’s, not yours and Yoko’s…”

“Guess we just met at the wrong time in our lives?” he said.

“In your life, John Lennon, I’m not sure there ever would have been a right time!”

We both chuckled.

“In another lifetime then?” he asked.

When he spoke those words I was instantly taken back to our last night together in my apartment in London an entire decade before. He had asked me the same thing then. And that day, standing outside of The Plaza hotel, I realized I loved John as much at that moment as I had on that day in 1966, when he and I had sat on the floor crying on each other’s shoulder; but, things had changed and I had finally accepted that. I knew he and I would always love each other. I could feel it every time we were together. But, we had finally figured out that to remain in one another’s life, we had to keep things nonphysical.

John and I kept our pact and met at the Central Park Zoo every year for the next four years. He phoned occasionally in between, but we had our own lives and we accepted that we were no longer each other’s priority. I had finally met and married an amazing man, Sebastian, a writer for The New Yorker, and we married in the winter of 1978. The following spring our healthy baby daughter, Katherine was born. One summer day I phoned John and we took the kids to the park to play. John fawned over the baby like I had never seen before.

“She’s marvelous, Maggie. She looks just like you,” he said, smiling brightly. “She doesn’t know just how lucky she is to have you for a mum.”

I was so glad to have him in my life. Aside from my husband, John was probably my best friend.

That night in December, 1980, the man, the lover, the friend I had known for so many years was removed from my life forever. Heartbroken doesn’t even begin to describe the way I felt when I found out. Sebastian knew my history with John, but to him John was just an ex-boyfriend whom I’d been able to maintain a non-romantic relationship with. He didn’t understand just how deep John’s and my relationship went. I loved Sebastian. He was the father of my child and for that reason alone I had a connection with him that was different from that of any other man I had ever been with. But my connection with John went beyond that. Our connection had been apparent to both of us ever since the first night we had spent together. And the connection went deeper than sex. It was an intense connection that words couldn’t accurately define. It was like we were… soul mates. One person in two different bodies. We could read one another like a book. And we felt each other’s pain. And we anticipated one another’s needs. And we loved each other unconditionally. And we loved each other forever. When the news interrupted the programming that night on television, I stood there, mesmerized, unbelieving. I didn’t know who to call. I needed someone to tell me it wasn’t true. It couldn’t be true. I began shaking uncontrollably, tears streaming down my cheeks. I dropped to my knees and sobbed loudly.

“Oh, God!” I screamed.

Sebastian came running in. “What happened?” he asked.

I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even think.

Sebastian looked at the television and understood.

“I can’t believe it,” he said, stunned.

He bent down and took me in his arms.

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry,” he said.

That night part of me died and I would never be the same. John had changed my life in so many ways. He had shown me love like I had never known. He had brought me both immeasurable joy and immense pain, both of which I may never have experienced had I never met him. And what is life really without experiencing all the emotions it has to offer? Most of all though, through being with John, I grew as a person: in wisdom, in strength, in spirituality, and in my ability to love and be loved. He taught me about life. Without him I would never have been the person I had become and I thanked him for that. I miss him every day. He was the undeniable love of my life. And maybe… in another lifetime… we will finally be able to be together.

Chapter 28

“New York?” I repeated, almost as if to nobody.

“London’s over, kid,” Claude answered.

He then said something about being really excited and how he’d contact me soon with all the information I would need for the move. I hung up the phone in a daze. I had just accepted a position that required me to move to New York City? And soon, by the sound of it. I couldn’t believe it. What was I going to do? How was I going to tell John?

On Sunday I stayed in all day waiting for John to call. It was his birthday and I wanted to be sure and wish him a happy birthday. Because Paul was busy composing music for the film, The Family Way, he and Christine had decided not to go to Spain after all, which was no disappointment to me. By midnight he still hadn’t phoned, so I decided to go to bed. At 12:30am my telephone rang. Luckily I was still awake, though lying in bed, in complete darkness. I contemplated not answering the phone, but decided against it. I dragged myself out of bed and, annoyed, made my way down the hallway to answer the phone.

“Hello?” I answered, irritation in my voice.

“Hullo, Mmm…aggie,” John slurred on the other end of the line.

I sighed into the phone.

“Well, aren’t you going to wish me a happy fuckin’ birthday then?” he asked.

“It’s 12:30 here. It’s not your birthday anymore.”

“Bollocks. It’s half past one here and it’s still me bloody birthday. It’s my bleeding birthday ‘til I wake up the next morning.”

“You had a good time then, I take it?”

“Tell me happy birthday,” he said.

I sat there in silence. It sounded to me he’d already had a happy birthday. I wasn’t sure why he needed me to wish him one.

“Tell me happy birthday,” he repeated.

I sighed heavily into the phone.

“Fuck’s sake, Maggie, tell me happy birthday!”

“John, I can’t call you at your villa in Spain, because Cynthia might answer the phone. Fine. I’m okay with that. I understand the way things are. But then I couldn’t tell you happy birthday when I wanted to tell you a happy birthday. So instead, I waited here all day thinking you’d probably call so I could wish you one. You didn’t. Just now I was in bed. Trying to go to sleep. It’s 12:30 here. It’s not your birthday anymore.”

“Tell me happy birthday,” he said.

“Oh for God’s sake, happy fucking birthday!”

John started laughing wildly. I wasn’t amused.

“Too busy drinking to call, I guess?”

“Oh, come off it. You know it’s hard for me to phone from here with her around all the fuckin’ time.”

I debated whether or not to tell John about New York right then, but in the end, I knew it wasn’t the right time.

“It’s hard and I hate it and I hate not having you here on me birthday. I miss you,” he said.

“I miss you too,” I said.

The last couple of months apart had really put a great deal of strain on our relationship. We hadn’t spoken to each other much and when we did, our conversations often ended in an argument about one thing or another. Through all the strife however, I still loved him madly. And just then, when he told me he missed me, I could hear the love in his voice too. Our fighting over the past several weeks had been the result of our sheer frustration over the seemingly unsolvable predicament we had gotten ourselves into. Though our conversation had gotten off to a rocky start, we talked into the wee hours of the morning. We laughed and cried about everything that had been going on with both of us and it felt just like old times. It was so easy to talk to him. I should have told him about New York right then, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I loved him so much. Every breath I took was for him. How could I leave him? It was an impossible situation.

A couple of weeks had passed and, as good as John’s and my conversation had been on his birthday, and as much as I really didn’t want to, I was moving forward with the plan to move to New York. In doing so, I told absolutely no one in the Beatle camp; not even Christine. I didn’t want to risk the possibility of word getting around to John. I wanted him to find out from me, but not over the phone. Our relationship was much too deep for me to spring the news on him in such an impersonal way. He deserved more. Unfortunately, the time for me to go was getting nearer and nearer and I wasn’t sure exactly when John was coming back. I had asked him a couple of times, but he was always rather flippant in his response, telling me he would be back “once the film was done.” I think he didn’t want me to know exactly when he was coming back in order to spare me from having to countdown the number of weeks I still had left before I could see him. So instead, I was at home counting down the number of days I had until I would maybe never see him again. It was absolute torture. I felt like I was lying, not only to John, the love of my life, but to everyone in my life that was most important to me.

One day my parents phoned and, though there was every probability of them telling Christine’s mother, even though I asked them not to, I chose to go ahead and divulge my plans to them.

“You’re coming home?!” my mother squealed, elation in her voice.

“Well, if by home you mean America, then yes,” I answered calmly.

“When did you decide this? Or better yet, why did you decide this? Is everything okay? You’re not in any trouble? On second thought, I don’t care. My baby girl is coming home!” she said without taking a breath between questions.

“I don’t know, Mom. It all happened sort of suddenly. This photographer I know just told me he’s setting up a studio over there and that he wanted me to work with him.”

“Photographer? What do you know about photography?”

“Well, nothing really, but he trusts that I’ll pick it up.”

“How well do you know this man, Maggie? I mean, he just offers you a job without you even having any qualifications?”

“What if it all goes belly up?” my father’s voice rang in. He was obviously listening over my mother’s shoulder.

“Then it goes belly up,” I answered. “And I’ll figure something out from there. But it’s a great opportunity. I didn’t see how I could say no.”

“You don’t even have a degree to fall back on now that you loused that up,” my father said.

“She doesn’t need a degree. She’s very bright. And she can always just come home and get a job here if things don’t work out in New York,” my mother replied.

I could tell that was really what she was hoping would happen. She’d love for me to have to come home with my tale between my legs.

“Henry’s girl is doing some real work,” my father said.

“Oh?” I asked. I had no idea who Henry was, nor did I care.

“Well everyone’s so against the draft these days, so she’s out registering boys who want to go out and fight for this country.”

“Oh, Maggie doesn’t want to do that,” mom said. And then, without giving me a chance to reply, continued with, “I hear Edith’s daughter just got a job in the television shop downtown. They received a whole shipment in of color televisions!”

“Now that’s a job that has no future. Television, hmph. Rots the brain,” dad chimed in. “Signing our brave youngsters up for service, that’s a job a person can be proud of.”

“What is there to be proud of about sending people off to die?” I asked. “At least television can bring people some enjoyment.”

“Listen, young lady,” my father started.

“Oh, who wants to think about that now,” my mother interrupted. “War… such a nasty business. Now, Maggie, you just keep us informed.”

“I will,” I replied, thankful for the change of subject.

I hung up the phone with only one thing on my mind: there was no way I was going to move back home. No matter what happened in New York, I was never going to live with my parents again and that was for certain.

Since I was already a U.S. citizen, there wasn’t much for me to do in order to get ready for the move to New York other than to notify my landlord and to arrange a moving company to ship my stuff overseas. This time I wouldn’t need permission to enter the country, much less to live there. I was going “home”, though it sure didn’t feel like it. I’d come to think of London as home. I was comfortable there. I knew a few people who lived in New York and I had been there several times, but the idea of living there, while somewhat exciting, still seemed frightening. A New York model, Vivienne, whom I met while I was in Paris, and had stayed in contact with, had been looking for an apartment for me in the city. Space was a bit more expensive in Manhattan than it was in London, so I was going to have to downsize considerably, but that was fine with me. She found me a little apartment on the third floor of a building on 8th Street, near Broadway, on the edge of Greenwich Village. Vivienne said it was a quaint little place in a happening area, so I told her to sign the papers, sight unseen. I only hoped she knew what she was talking about.

On Saturday, the 29th, George and Pattie stopped by for a visit. They had been back home from India for about a week and wanted to tell me all about their trip. Pattie brought me this colorful Indian tunic that was long enough to be worn as a dress. I oohed and aahed over it for a couple of minutes before George interrupted.

“Eh, Maggie, I don’t mean to alarm you, but I think someone’s nicked all your stuff.”

“What?” I asked, not thinking.

“You mean you hadn’t noticed?!” George exclaimed.

“George, that’s not very polite. Maybe she’s going for a minimalist look,” Pattie smiled.

My heart sunk. I had become so used to the idea of moving, I had forgotten I hadn’t told anyone else about it. They were the first people that had been over. I struggled with how to answer while George wandered off.

“Here, here, I’ve found it. It’s all in boxes in the other room,” he said.

“Don’t tell me you’re moving again?” Pattie asked. “This place is fab. You couldn’t ask for a better location than right across from the park!”

“Yeah, where you going then? No one’s said anything to us about you moving,” George said.

“Um… well…” I hesitated. “That’s because no one else knows.”

“You what?” George said. “Not even John?!”

I shook my head slowly.

“Oh, Maggie,” Pattie said, eyes wide. “Where are you going?” she asked, in a way that told me she was afraid to know the answer.

“Okay, you guys, I’ll tell you. But you must promise to keep it under your hats.”

“Come off it, Maggie, you know you can trust us. But why you’re keeping it a secret in the first place, I don’t understand,” George said.

“Because I don’t want anyone telling John before I do. And I don’t want to tell him over the phone.”

“But if you’re just moving round the corner or something?” Pattie said, a pleading look in her eyes.

“Maggie?” George said.

“I’m moving to New York.”

“Bleedin’ hell! And you expect me not to tell John?!”

Pattie stood there, agape.

“Look, I just don’t want him to find out from someone else before he hears it from me. And this is kind of a big deal, so I’d like to tell him in person. The problem is that he won’t tell me when he’ll be back home. Do you happen to know?”

George shook his head.

“But surely you won’t be gone long?” Pattie said. “And, he can visit you there and you can visit him here. It’ll be fine. I know people who make it work.”

I didn’t respond and George just stared at me. The optimistic look on Pattie’s face vanished as she understood that I had no intentions of trying to make it work. Then, as if from nowhere, tears began to well up in her eyes.

“Oh, Maggie!”

And as she moved toward me to give me a hug, I followed her and also began to cry.

“We’ll miss you!” she said, squeezing me tightly.

“Why are you doing it?” George asked, a cold tone in his voice.

“Because I can’t do this anymore, George,” I replied.

“But he loves you. And you love him. I know you do!”

“I do, but it’s not fair to either of us anymore. Or Cynthia.”

“Get away, you know the score, Maggie!”

“George, I’m sorry you had to find out first. It was wrong of me to tell you before I told him. I shouldn’t have put you in this position.”

“Isn’t there anyway you two could make it work?” Pattie asked.

I smiled at her and shook my head slightly.

“Right, Pattie, we’d better go,” George said.

She hugged me again and made for the door.

“We will miss you, you know, Maggie? It’s not every day any of us can find a mate like you. Sorry things had to work out like this. We only wanted you and John to be happy. We all love you. Take care of yourself, yeah?”

He turned to go and I grabbed him and hugged him. He had a thin frame and he smelled of incense. I squeezed him tightly, teardrops falling onto his denim jacket.

“Keep in touch?” I asked.

“Course,” he smiled, and then turned to leave.

And that was the last time I ever saw George Harrison.

Exactly one week later, on the next Saturday I was getting rather anxious as I only had a few days before I was set to leave and I still didn’t know when to expect John back. He was still being vague with his return date. Luckily though, it didn’t appear that George had told John about my move. Poor George. It was really asking a lot for him not to divulge such important information to someone who was like a brother to him, but it was a testament to his character that he kept the news to himself. Everything in my apartment was packed. In fact, the things that weren’t completely necessary were already gone. I had only the essentials left. I was going to ship the rest the day before I left. And I was ready to leave. I had finally spoken to Lydia and explained to her that I was moving to New York and would no longer need her services. To my surprise she was perfectly cordial and wished me well. In fact, she said she’d love to come visit me in the city if I’d have her. I told her we’d have to see how it went. It’s not as if she and I were ever on friendly terms. She was my agent and I was frequently annoyed by her. That was pretty much the extent of our relationship.

There came a knock on my door that put the fear of God into me. I wasn’t expecting anyone. Who could it be? With my heart beating a hundred beats per second, I slowly opened the door.

“Roll out the barrel, we’ll have a barrel of fun,” Paul and Christine stood there singing the words to the popular wartime song, wearing barbershop quartet hats and pinstripe vests, hands out in a “ta-da” fashion.

“What in the hell?” I asked.

They broke up laughing.

“Hey, no need for the language, we’re just having a bit of fun,” Paul laughed, pushing his way past me into my apartment.

“Where’s your furniture?!” Christine exclaimed.

“What are you two doing here?” I asked, annoyed. They had nearly given me a heart attack thinking they were John.

“We come to ask you if you want to…” Paul started.

“Uh, I’d like my question answered first, thank you,” Christine interrupted.

“…go to Paris with us tomorrow,” Paul finished.

“Oh, you want your question answered, do you? I haven’t heard from you in over two weeks, so-called best-friend of mine. And you just show up here asking if I want to go to Paris on such short notice?”

“Where is your stuff?” she repeated.

“New York,” I answered.

“What’s it doing in New York?” Paul asked.

“I’m moving there in a few days.”

“What?” Christine asked, obviously shocked.

“Look, I haven’t heard from you in a long time…” I started.

“When were you going to tell me?” she asked.

“Better yet, when were you gonna tell John?!” Paul asked.

“I don’t know,” I said, frustrated.

I wasn’t prepared for this. I had to think. When was I planning on telling Christine, my best friend for over a decade? I hadn’t thought about it. I hadn’t heard from her in a while and I was hurt. I felt unloved. Unwanted. I just wanted to go to New York and forget about everyone and everything. But now they were standing in my living room, obviously upset, and I had no answers for them. I felt awful. I wanted to run away.

“Maggie, love, you can’t leave without telling John,” Paul said, a serious look on his face.”

“I don’t believe you!” Christine yelled. “You’re so selfish.”

“I’m selfish? You didn’t know, Christine, because you haven’t been around! You don’t care about anyone anymore but Paul. And that’s fine, I get it. But don’t call me a bad friend for not reaching out to tell you something that was happening in my life, if you haven’t shown an interest in months!”

“Don’t you dare try to put this on me, Maggie! You’ve been so high and drunk all the time I just couldn’t relate to you. I didn’t know how to be around you anymore. I didn’t know what to say or do. I just had to distance myself from you.”

“Yeah, well I’ve been clean for weeks, but you wouldn’t know that either.”

“Girls, I’m very sorry you both have hurt feelings, right? And, I may be totally off here, but I think the bigger issue is that you’re about to leave and I know for a fact that John has no idea because I spoke to him a few nights ago and he didn’t mention a thing. Now, that is the biggest load of bollocks going at the moment, in my opinion. So, what gives, Maggie?” Paul said, obviously annoyed.

“It’s like I told George…” I started.

“George knows?!” Paul squealed.

“He and Pattie stopped by last weekend and I had to explain to them where my stuff was.”

This was getting complicated. I never meant to throw George under the bus. I knew the guys normally told each other everything and I should’ve known how Paul would feel that George hadn’t told him. I shouldn’t have said anything, but it just slipped out. I had kept it from them all so John wouldn’t find out; to make things easier. But, it only seemed to be making things worse.

I sighed, audibly.

“Oh, well we’re very sorry this is all so exasperating for you, Maggie,” Paul said sarcastically, rolling his eyes.

“Paul,” Christine said.

“No, it’s not right, Chris. She’s got to tell John,” he demanded.

“Tell John what?” a voice said from the front door.

John was standing in the doorway. His hair was shorter in the back and around the sides and he was wearing little round glasses with wire frames. He had on a blue sweater with a cream scarf and blue, purple and white striped pants. I thought I was going to faint. My breathing became shallow and a pain shot through my chest. I was having a panic attack, or a heart attack. Either way, I hoped it would kill me then and there. I sat down on the floor, hung my head between my legs, and took deep breaths, trying to calm myself. John ran over to me.

“Maggie?!” he exclaimed.

“Should we phone someone?” Paul asked frantically.

I shook my head.

“If she even still has a phone,” Christine muttered under her breath.

“Maggie, love? You all right?” John asked, worry in his voice.

I felt like I was going to vomit, but I nodded my head at him anyway.

“She’s fine. She’s just having an anxiety attack. And serves her right,” Christine said.

“Anxiety attack?” Paul repeated.

“Yes, she’s panicking. Aren’t you, Maggie?” Christine asked.

I nodded, my breathing slowly returning to normal.

“Not quite the reaction I expected,” John looked up at Christine and Paul and chuckled. Then he added, “You been burgled?”

“Uh, think we’d better go, Chris,” Paul said.

“Fine with me,” Christine said. “See you guys… or maybe not,” she added as they left my apartment.

“Maybe not? What’s she on about?” John asked. “And what are you doing having a panic attack at the mere sight of me? I’m not that frightening, I hope?” he asked, taking me into his arms.

I began to sob.

“Christ, I missed you. Feels like eternity since I’ve held you,” he said, kissing my forehead.

“John,” I whispered.

“There, there. You all better now?” he asked, raising my chin up to force me to look at him.

He looked beautiful. He was slightly tanned from the Spanish sun and his hair was fluffy in a way I’d never seen before. He looked almost like a different person.

“John,” I repeated.

“I love you,” he said, leaning in to kiss me.

“I love you too,” I said when we’d separated. “But there’s something I need to tell you. I didn’t want to tell you over the phone.”

“Don’t tell me you really have been burgled?”

“No,” I said.

This was it; the greatest dilemma of my life: to stay or go?  Was I really going to tell him I wanted to end it? I didn’t want to end it. In fact, I wanted desperately to not end it. But, I knew it didn’t matter what I wanted; what either of us wanted. I took a deep breath,

“John… I was offered a job… in New York.”

He looked at me with a puzzled expression.

“And I’m taking it… I’m moving to New York in a few days.”

“You’re having me on?” he said.

Tears began streaming down my cheeks.

I shook my head, “I have to go, John. I can’t do this anymore.”

“What the bloody hell are you on about, girl? Can’t do what anymore? I haven’t seen the sodding likes of you in nearly three fucking months!” he raised his voice.

“John, please don’t do this. I don’t want to fight.”

“Don’t want to fight? I rushed over here just after we got in! I wanted to tell Cyn it was over soon as the fucking plane landed, but I remembered how you asked me not to. So, soon as I put me bleeding luggage in the house, I fucked off over here because I was so bloody desperate to see you. I been dying in sodding Germany and Spain for months not seeing you; barely able to speak to you. Dying of not being with you and the second I walk in the fucking door you tell me you’re moving to blinking New York fucking City? Aaaah!” he let out a guttural moan and cupped his face in his hands. “Are you trying to kill me? Because that’s what will happen if I can’t be with you, Maggie. I’ll fucking die,” he started to sob.

“John, please don’t,” I said, wrapping my arms around him tightly.

We sat there sobbing together until neither of us had anymore tears to shed and then we sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity. Then finally John spoke.

“Don’t you love me anymore?” he whispered.

It was then that my heart shattered into a million pieces and I knew it would never be whole again.

“With every fiber of my being,” I replied.

“Then how can you do this to us?” he asked.

“Because, John, you and I are not the only ones involved.”

He didn’t respond. We’d had this conversation before. There was no reason to rehash it.

“In another lifetime?” he asked, after some time had passed.

I only nodded my head, unable to speak.

John stayed the night that night and we stayed up all night talking, sharing our hopes and fears for the future. We promised each other we’d remain friends and he promised me he’d never love another the way he loved me. But I couldn’t make the same promise to him. Not because I didn’t believe it was true, but because it was much too painful a thought. He made me promise he could come and visit me whenever he was feeling lonely, to which I agreed, but only as friends. I told him I never wanted to lose him as my friend and he promised to call every week to update me with what was going on with everyone. He made me promise to phone the moment I got settled in New York and I told him I would. On Sunday morning, John wanted to make love, but the idea of experiencing that connection we had to each other when we were physical made my heart wrench. I told him we couldn’t; that we were just friends now and, as difficult as it was for both of us, we didn’t do it. We wandered around the park for most of the day and then went out for a bite to eat. By the time we got back to my apartment, we were both exhausted from having not slept the night before, and the sheer emotion of it all and we passed out in each other’s arms, not waking up until the next day. Monday I had to finish shipping the rest of my belongings back to the states and I couldn’t bear for John to be with me when I did it, so we said our goodbyes.

“‘Til we meet again, Miss Jones,” he said in an uppity tone of voice.

“Don’t know where, don’t know when?”

John giggled, and then pulled me to him kissing me with an intense passion.

“I love you more than you will ever know” he whispered in my ear.

I felt a lump rise in my throat.

“I’ve never been made to feel more loved in my entire life, John Lennon. And I will never love another man the way I love you.”

I had promised myself I wouldn’t speak those words, but in the end, I couldn’t help it. I wanted him to know just how much he meant to me. We kissed again, tears trickling down both our faces.

“Look what you’ve done now, love. You’ve gone and messed me makeup,” he said in an effeminate voice, rolling his eyes and wiping the tears from under them.

I giggled and kissed each of his damp cheeks.

“Do be careful, love.”

“I will.”

And with that, John left my apartment. Luckily I had things to do to take my mind off events, or I probably would have spent the rest of the day sobbing. After I’d taken care of the last few things on my “To-Do” list, I decided to phone Christine. No answer. I suddenly remembered she had gone to Paris with Paul. I felt awful for not telling her goodbye, so I wrote out a long letter and caught the tube over to St. John’s Wood, and posted the letter through her letterbox. It wasn’t my favorite way of telling her after all we’d been through, but I explained everything in detail, so hopefully she’d understand. After that, I was totally drained, so I returned home for one last night.

My flight left Tuesday morning, promptly at 9:30am. John had offered to take me to the airport, but I couldn’t bear it. It had been hard enough to say goodbye to him at my apartment; I didn’t want his face to be the last thing I saw before I left London. I was afraid if he was there I might not be strong enough to get on the plane. I was afraid I might just stay in his car and ask his driver to take us to the end of the earth somewhere where no one knew his name or that he was married. Somewhere where no one had ever heard of The Beatles. But I knew that no such place existed and so I told John thanks, but no thanks. I wanted to be alone. To make a new start of it on my own. And so I did. I caught a cab to Heathrow, through Notting Hill and Kensington, past the locations of parties and photo-shoots, through Hammersmith and Chiswick, past the memories of drug-filled nights and shouting matches, through Brentford and Lampston, past the anger over other women and the hurt of losing a child.

It may have been the swingin’ place to be at that time, but for me Claude was right; London was over.

Chapter 27

I was wrong. Christine was no help at all.

“Just tell him what’s been going on, Maggie,” she said. “Honesty is the only way to maintain a relationship.”

It was the most generic advice anyone could’ve ever given me. I wasn’t sure what was happening with me and Christine lately. It really felt like we were drifting apart and her spending all her time with Paul didn’t help matters. Still, I understood. She was in love and I was happy for her. But I wasn’t happy and she didn’t seem to care. The old Christine would have come straight over and we would have stayed up all night talking and working the problem out. But she wasn’t the old Christine. She was quickly becoming a different person than the one I grew up with. Not that it was, in some way, a bad thing or that she was now a horrible human being. It was just that living in London and hanging around The Beatles, we were both growing up and in many ways, growing very far apart.

So with John out of the country, Christine M.I.A., George and Pattie in India, and Ringo and Maureen playing house in the suburbs, I was alone most of the time. The next few weeks were probably the most difficult of my life. Everywhere I went and everything I did attracted only bad press and all the drugs and alcohol I was doing didn’t help matters. Eventually, I decided the best way to solve the problem was simply to not go out. So that’s what I did. I stayed in, drowning my sorrows in booze and pills, day after day. John phoned occasionally to let me know what a bore he thought shooting a movie was. He had done it before, of course, but not without the other three Beatles. He couldn’t stand all the sitting around and waiting. He also told me how much he missed me and how he couldn’t wait to be with me again. I missed him too, but I was growing tired of it all. Tired of sitting alone in my apartment. Tired of not having him with me. Tired of having nothing to do. Tired of sleeping until late in the afternoon, then popping pills, smoking joints, and drinking all day and into the night until finally I’d pass out, only to repeat the same cycle the following day. I held off telling John about my little indiscretion with David Bowie, but eventually, as I expected, the news reached him.

“What’s this shit I’m reading about in the papers?” he asked.

“I don’t know, John. The Spanish are a strange folk,” I replied, somewhat belligerently.

“Come off it, girl, you know what I’m talking about. You and David fucking Bowie!”

“Ah, took a while to reach your shores, didn’t it? Guess the Spanish aren’t quite up on their English gossip.”

“It’s a bloody English paper I’ve been brought! And a sad fucking thing too! I had to find out from these bloody bastards, instead of you! What the hell are you playing at?”

“Oh come on, John. It’s not as if you haven’t done it,” I kept pushing.

“I haven’t, actually,” he said.

“Oh no? Not even with your wife?” I hissed.

John lowered the tone of his voice, but his anger was quite clear, “That’s different and you bloody well know it.”

Often my conversations with John ended in us getting into a fight and him slamming the phone down. What was happening to me? I seemed only to be living for the day he would return from Spain, but for what? So we could get married? Live happily ever after? I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Perhaps that was why I felt sad and angry all the time lately? And perhaps that was why I seemed to be picking fights with John every time he called? And perhaps that was why he was calling me less and less frequently?

One day when John called I told him that when he returned to England, we really needed to talk. That this wasn’t working.

“Maggie, please don’t do this,” he said softly into the receiver, sounding as if he was getting choked up. “I really can’t take it right now. I feel so lonely down here. Seeing you again is the only thing keeping me sane. I miss you so much I can barely function. You’re the only thing that makes me happy.”

“John, we can’t keep this up. It’s no good for either of us.”

“What do you want, Maggie? Whatever it is you want me to do, I’ll do it,” he pleaded.

“It’s nothing I want you to do, John. All I want is you. You know that. But it’s just not sensible anymore. It’s destroying us both. I haven’t been sober in weeks. I haven’t gone to school. I haven’t worked. Thankfully Lydia must still have me listed under her agency, or I’d probably have immigration pounding down my door. Everyone’s got their own lives. I haven’t seen anyone. I’ve barely even heard from Christine! My parents call and I tell them I’ll call them back but then I don’t. I just sit here drowning my sadness, day in and day out.”

“Shit, love, I’m so sorry. I’d no idea. Sounds like you’re in as bad shape as me.”

“Worse, I think. At least you’ll have a movie to show after all this!” I tried to force a small laugh, but John didn’t laugh.

“I know what I have to do, Maggie.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“I’ve got to tell Cyn.”

“John, you can’t.”

“It’s the only way, love! Enough fucking bollocks now!”


“Look, I’m not having a row with you about this, right? When we’re through here, and Cyn and I get home, I’m going to sit her down and tell her I want a divorce.”

“John,” I repeated.

“No, I’ve had enough. You’re the only woman I’ve ever loved and I’ve had it to here with this shit. I want us to be together and that’s that.”

“John,” I heard a male voice in the background say.

“Look, love, I have to go. I’ll see you soon,” he said, abruptly ending our conversation.

I slowly hung the phone up. What had just happened? He couldn’t tell Cyn. He wouldn’t. Would he? All this time I had wanted nothing more than for John and me to be together, but when I actually heard him speak the words, with such finality in his voice, I was completely terrified. I had a mental image of John telling Cynthia he was leaving her for me; Cynthia, in turn, running straight to the newspapers, tear-stained cheeks; calling me out to the world. Me, the home-wrecker, the supposed friend of the family, the whore! If The Beatles were receiving hate mail and even death threats for a simple misunderstood comment, what would their fans do to me? String me up? Crucify me? I wanted to call him back. I wanted to beg him not to do it. I wanted to tell him everything would be okay. That we could keep everything just as it was and it would be fine. But most of all, I wanted that to be the truth. Unfortunately, I knew we couldn’t keep going the way we had been. I also knew nothing was going to be okay for anyone. No matter which way this was going to play out, people were going to get hurt. Our story never had a happy ending coming. Not from the very start. But was telling Cynthia about us, and John and her ending their marriage really the ending that I wanted? I wanted to be with John, sure. There was nothing more important to me. But as important as being with him was to me, The Beatles themselves were just as important to many more people the world over. Brian was right. Something like this could ruin them. I couldn’t be that selfish. I couldn’t ruin John’s marriage and his career. We’d definitely never be happy after something like that. How could we be? I’d be harassed the world over as the woman who broke up The Beatles. What kind of life could we possibly have? Our relationship, as strong as I knew it to be, would never be the same. It could never withstand something like that. No, the thing to do was to get out before John had a chance to end it with Cynthia. Maybe some years down the line we’d meet up again like in some beautiful serendipitous love story. Or maybe, after a long enough time had passed, we’d eventually be able to get over one another and find love for ourselves again. Love without such tragic complications.

I couldn’t think anymore. I was totally numb. Was I really going to do it? Was I really going to leave John? I didn’t know. But I did know I needed to get out of there. I put on my ankle boots, grabbed my rain jacket, and made for the door just as the telephone rang again.

“Hello?” I answered, really hoping it wasn’t John.

“Maggie, it’s Paul.”

“Oh, Paul,” I sighed. “Good to hear from you. Is everything okay?”

“No, actually. We’ve just been informed Brian’s had an overdose and is in hospital.”

“Oh my God!” I exclaimed. “Is he okay? I thought he’d gone out to Spain to be with John?”

“Well, he was supposed to, but he never made it. It was an accident, of course and they say he’s fine, but he’s recovering in hospital. Chris wanted me to check if you wanted to go with us round there and look in on him?”

“Oh, no I don’t suppose I better had. Thank you for thinking of me, it’s just… well, I’m not exactly Brian’s favorite person. Please do send him my best wishes for a speedy recovery though,” I said.

We hung up the phone and I stood there for a moment in a state of shock. Overdosed? What if he had died? What on earth would The Beatles do without Brian Epstein? It was unthinkable.

I will admit that somewhere there was a part of me that was a little thankful for Paul’s news. Not because I wished anything bad would happen to Brian, but because it momentarily relieved my mind of thinking about my situation with John. At the same time though, it made me take a long hard look at myself. What was I doing? I had told myself long ago that I got all the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll out of my system when I was a kid, but ever since I’d been involved with The Beatles it was like I was that out-of-control teenager all over again. I looked at myself in the mirror: unwashed hair, dark circles under my eyes, ashen skin, and sunken cheeks. I looked like hell. I went straight back to my bedroom and grabbed all of the bottles of pills from my dresser and my nightstand and threw them in the trash. I then went to my kitchen and threw out my bottles of liquor as well. I put on my rain jacket, grabbed the bag of trash and promptly left my apartment. Enough was enough.

I didn’t have to go far to rid my life of my bad habits. Hyde Park was across the street from my apartment and I saw a trashcan near a park bench. I walked over and tossed my garbage into the waste basket. It was a beautiful, late September day. Cool, foggy and misty, but just so London. I sat down on a bench and watched a nearby family playing together with their dog. How lovely it must be to have such a simple life. To be with the person you love and who loves you in return. To have a couple of children together. Children who your love created. To have a cuddly pet to take for walks and to play with in the park on a lovely autumn day. To have a job that satisfied your need to feel like you’ve accomplished something worthwhile. To have the privacy and security of your own home. To have friends and family who support and would do anything for you. I watched that family for what must’ve been an hour, thinking what their lives must be like and comparing that to my own life. Suddenly, the steady September mist turned into a downpour, so I headed for cover. The tube station was nearby, so I decided to go underground. I rode the Central Line east, past Stratford, de-boarding at Woodford, only to re-board at the same station and go back exactly the direction from whence I’d come. I was like a little lost child, unsure what the future held, scared, alone, and hopelessly confused about everything. I changed at Holborn and, without thinking, boarded the Piccadilly Line West. I got off at Piccadilly Circus and came up for air. It had stopped raining. I wandered down Piccadilly Road. The sidewalk and street were soaked, but glistening as the sun tried to peak through the clouds. There were surprisingly few people about, but I suppose that was normal for a weekday. Unlike me, people were at work or school, leaving only little old ladies and privileged mothers pushing strollers, to wander the streets. I popped into a couple of stores, but didn’t feel much like shopping. This was virtually the heart of Swinging London, but at that moment, I felt anything but swinging. I loved London but perhaps my time here was up? I turned onto Duke Street and headed down past Jermyn Street. Such a familiar area, yet I realized as I walked, how rarely I saw it during the light of day. Before I knew it, I was turning left into Masons Yard, headed for the Indica Bookshop. Barry Miles, who ran the place, backed by John Dunbar, Peter Asher and Paul, greeted me as I came in.

“Maggie! It’s been a while since we’ve seen you round here. Where have you been hiding?” he asked.

“Hiding is exactly right!” I said with a hint of a smile.

“Want to come back for a cup of tea?”

I looked around the store, which was virtually empty that afternoon, and knowing this group, figured tea didn’t really mean tea at all, so I declined the offer.

“Oh, no thanks,” I said.

“You sure?” he asked, a puzzled look on his face.

“Yeah, I’m really not up for it at the moment.”

“All right. No worries. What are you up to then?” he asked.

“Just wandering around today,” I replied, picking up Reality Sandwiches by Allen Ginsberg and thumbing through it. I stopped and read the words aloud:

“… all movement stops

& I walk in the timeless sadness of existence,

tenderness flowing thru the buildings,

my fingertips touching reality’s face,

my own face streaked with tears in the mirror

of some window—at dusk—

where I have no desire—

for bonbons—or to own the dresses or Japanese

lampshades of intellection—“

That was exactly how I felt. Published in 1963, Ginsberg was writing about me! Or, at least it felt like he was perfectly describing my own feelings. My Sad Self, indeed!

“Yeah, Ginsberg’s the best,” Barry mused.

Somehow I had forgotten he was standing there and, with Ginsberg’s words still ringing in my ears, replied only with,

“Is John downstairs?”

“Yeah, feel free to go down. He’s down there with some Japanese bird.”

“Japanese bird? They’re not…?” I gestured only with my eyes.

“Oh, no!” Barry laughed. “Nothing like that. At least, I don’t think so. No, she’s going to have a show at the gallery in November. I suppose she’s just checking out the space.”

“Oh, all right then,” I smiled at him.

Barry was a nice enough guy, but I didn’t know him that well and was not really in the mood for small talk. I headed down to the basement with the hopes of finding John Dunbar elbows deep in some project I could help out with. The thought of getting lost in the world of the avant-garde, and temporarily forgetting about my predicament with John, was extremely appealing. When I got downstairs, however, I was met not only by John Dunbar, but also by Robert Fraser, dressed head-to-toe in a flashy pink suit, and a small waif-like Japanese woman, with thick, long wavy black hair, who was dressed all in black.

“Oh, hello,” I said, suddenly feeling slightly awkward, as I had obviously interrupted something.

“Mags! Fancy seeing you here!” Robert called out, coming over to me.

“Hi, Bob. Barry didn’t mention you were here,” I replied. Everyone called him “Groovy Bob” but I felt like he knew how groovy he was without me mentioning it to him, so I opted for just plain old “Bob.”

“Oh, Barry. Yes he doesn’t know. I must pop up and say hello before I go.”

“My, how polite of you,” I teased. I was feeling better already.

Robert was such a breath of fresh air. Educated at the prestigious Eton College, where everyone from The First Duke of Wellington to the fictional character, James Bond, had attended, Robert was a notable art dealer who had his own gallery on Duke Street, right off Oxford Street. He was a huge trend-setter in London and a very fashionable, larger-than-life, openly gay man. When he walked into a room, people took notice. He was definitely a favorite amongst our crowd.

“Missed you the other night at The Scotch,” he said. “An American fellow played. Jimi-something-or-other; I don’t know. Colored bloke.”

“Brilliant guitarist,” John chimed in, heading over to us.

“Hi, John,” I said, and leaned in to kiss him on the cheek.

Ever since I met him one night at Paul’s, I had had a little crush on John Dunbar. He was so studious-looking in his thick-rimmed glasses, but he always wore the hippest clothing and had a long, shaggy haircut much like The Beatles. He was married to Marianne Faithfull, though I knew that didn’t mean much to either of them at the time, as she had been dating Mick Jagger for a little while and he was a notorious womanizer. John wasn’t particularly famous, except amongst our clan, but you always got the feeling he intended for it to happen that way. He had a fabulous eye for art, not to mention poetry, and all things “cool” in general, and he was very well respected for that reason. I always had the feeling that John probably knew more than all of the rest of us put together. To use Ginsberg’s poetry, John was the definition of an “angelheaded hipster.”

“All right, Maggie?” he asked.

“Better now that I’m here,” I answered. “But I didn’t mean to bother you. I can come back later.”

“Don’t be daft, silly girl,” Robert answered. “I was just showing Yoko John’s space. She’s going to show here in November.”

“Oh?” I said.

“Yeah, Yoko, come meet a friend of ours,” John turned and gestured for her to come over.

Yoko was standing with her back to us, staring at a blank wall. All the walls in Indica Gallery, floor and ceiling included, were painted totally white. She jumped when John spoke to her, as if she hadn’t realized we were all in the room with her, then turned and seemed to float over to us. I could barely see her face, as her hair hung moodily over it, obscuring it from view. She seemed such a small, dark figure in the bright white room. What was it with this girl? I felt like I recognized that name: Yoko, but I wasn’t sure where I’d heard it before.

“Maggie, this is Yoko Ono,” John said, once she’d reached us.

“Hello,” I said, extending my hand.

“Hello,” she said, grabbing my hand delicately and giving it a little shake.

“Maggie here’s a great lover of the avant-garde,” John said.

“Well she’s a bit of an artist herself, in a way, isn’t she?” Robert chimed in.

“Oh?” Yoko said.

“Yes, our Maggie is quite the fashion model, and if fashion isn’t art, I don’t know what is. The definition of self-expression,” he continued.

I smiled.

“Not to mention a film star,” John added.

“Hardly,” I said, and embarrassedly rolled my eyes.

“Maybe you would like to buy one of my pieces,” Yoko said in a rather thick accent.

“What kind of art do you do?” I asked.

“Yoko’s a conceptual artist. I think you’d really dig her work. She’s going to have an apple on display and anyone can buy it for £200,” John said.

“An apple?” I said, wondering if they weren’t pulling my leg.

“Mmhmm,” Yoko answered. “It embodies the life cycle: birth, decay, death, then rebirth.”

“Ah,” I said. “That’s really clever. The humor, of course, being that someone should actually pay £200 to essentially watch an apple rot.” I hadn’t meant for that to come out as rude as I was afraid it might have sounded. I actually thought the idea was really smart and thoughtful.

“Exactly,” Yoko giggled, putting her hands together to cover her mouth. “They’re mostly unfinished pieces. I have a board everyone can hammer a nail into and a blank canvas everyone can take a turn brushing a stroke of colorful paint onto.”

“And the painting is ‘finished’ when someone buys it,” I said.

Yoko nodded.

“Brilliant, eh?” John said.

“Very much so,” I replied.

I was impressed. Not only did this dark and mysterious little Japanese lady have a sense of humor, but she actually was very thoughtful. There was a certain cleverness and freshness about the pieces she described that I hadn’t felt about much of the work I had seen recently. We all four stood around talking for a while until Yoko had to go. Then Robert asked if I wanted to accompany him over to The Scotch for a drink or two and though it wasn’t open yet, I knew they’d let him in. As I was trying to lay off the stuff, I turned down his offer and instead headed for home. By that time, it was really nice out. Cold, but sunny and just beautiful. I decided to walk home. The long walk would do me good.

When I finally got home the doorman told me that Paul and Christine had stopped by and asked that I call them. I was worried it was about Brian, so as soon as I got in, I phoned Christine’s. There was no answer there, so I tried Paul’s.

“Hello?” A woman answered whose voice I didn’t recognize.

“Yes, is Paul or Christine there, please?” I asked.

I could hear Paul speaking quietly to the woman in the background and then, “Hello?” he answered.

“Paul? I tried to call Christine’s but she didn’t answer, so I figured I’d try here.”

“Oh, she’s not here just now, love. Gone round Rich and Maureen’s to see little Zak.”

“Oh. That must’ve been why she left the message for me to call then? I was worried it might be something about Brian.”

“Yeah, I think she wanted to see if you wanted to go round with her. And don’t worry about Brian. He’s all right. Taking it easy just now, but he’ll be fine.”

“Well, that’s good,” I said, feeling slightly awkward. If Christine wasn’t there, who was the woman who had answered the phone? I was sure I didn’t want to know, so I didn’t even bother asking.

“Where were you then when we came round your place?”

“Oh, I decided to pop over to Indica and visit John. ‘Groovy Bob’ was there and they introduced me to this avant-garde Japanese artist that’s going to show there, Yoko Ono.”

“Oh, not her again,” Paul groaned.

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, she contacted me a while back about getting some original music scores for some book she’s helping John Cage put together. Well, I didn’t know the blinking bird. For all I knew she was going to sell them on the black market or something, so I turned her down. Told her to contact John instead. I think he gave her the words and music to ‘The Word’.”

“Oh, that must be where I’ve heard her name. I thought I recognized that name, Yoko, but I couldn’t remember where.”

“Yeah, she’s been going round to everyone since, trying to get money out of them for one project or another. I dunno. I suppose that’s what these artists are like though. Have to find funding somewhere. Why not try every rock star in London?” he laughed. “Takes a lot of bollocks though, I must admit.”

“I have to say, I was intrigued by her art though.”

“Oh, it’s already up is it?”

“No, she was just telling me about it. Robert and John told her I was a model and actress, so I’m sure I was just one big pound sign to her after that!”

We both laughed at that. I told him a bit about her work and he seemed curious, which I figured he would be. He said he and Christine were talking about possibly going to Spain with Rich and Maureen for John’s birthday and asked if I wanted to go along if they decided to. I told him I’d think about it and then we hung up. I wasn’t going to Spain. No way. No how. I had no particular interest in being caught in any sort of uncomfortable situation with John in front of any of the rest of them, especially Cynthia.

Several days later I saw Brian on television answering questions about whether or not The Beatles were splitting up. Brian, who was supposed to be recuperating from his ordeal, had to come out to deny the rumors and reassure everyone that The Beatles were very much still together, but just working on individual projects at the moment. He looked awful. I felt so terrible for him. I knew just how he was feeling: The Beatles didn’t need him anymore. I knew how he was feeling because I felt the same way. It had been days since I had heard from anyone and that included John. George and Pattie were still in India, Ringo and Maureen had already left to join John and Cynthia in Spain, Paul, according to Brian’s press conference, was working on musical scores for a movie and Christine… well, I guessed she was busy with school. As for me, school was officially finished. Since I had stopped the drugs and alcohol and had been clean for nearly a week, I had decided to try and put my life back together. I phoned the university to inquire about my enrollment, but found because of my long-term absence, I had been classified as having “officially dropped-out” and was removed from their rosters. I was informed, however, that my records would be available did I choose to reapply elsewhere. That word, “elsewhere” told me I wasn’t welcome back at that particular university and I can’t say that I blamed them. My parents were beyond disappointed in me and I can’t say that I blamed them either. Then again, who needed school? I was getting an education in the school of life.

With school no longer an option, I figured I had better try and get into contact with Lydia. And I did, try. But I can’t count the number of times her receptionist told me she wasn’t there and she’d have her call me back. There was another person I could try, and though I was more than embarrassed, I was running out of options.

“Hello?” I heard Claude’s voice on the other end of the line.

I swallowed hard.

“Hi Claude? It’s Maggie.”

“Maggie, baby! How in the hell are ya?” Claude replied cheerfully.

“Oh… well… I’m okay.”

“Haven’t heard from you in a while. How’s life treating you, kid?”

The last time I saw or spoke to Claude was the night I showed up at his house completely wasted. I had made a total fool of myself throwing myself at him and then slapping him when he rejected me.

“Claude, look. I acted like a total asshole the last time we saw each other and I just want to apologize.”

“Water under the bridge, kid.”

I couldn’t believe the way he was acting; so nonchalant about what had happened. It made me feel even worse. Even more embarrassed.

“Claude…” I started, not wanting to be let off the hook that easily.

“Maggie,” the tone in his voice changed, “You were smashed. You didn’t know what you were doing. It’s not a big deal. I’ve forgotten all about it. Really.”

The sincerity in his voice warmed my heart and put me at ease. What’s done is done. We were moving on.

“So how’d it go in America?” I asked.

“Not bad, not bad. The show’s pretty far out. There’s one cat with these big pointed ears. Half alien!” he laughed.

“Sounds… interesting?” I giggled.

It was really nice talking to Claude. Familiar and comfortable.

“Yeah, really interesting. But surely you’re not just calling to find out about ‘Star Trek’?”

“No, you’re right. I’m calling to see if you might know of any work going?”

“Oh, I know of a lot of stuff going. I mean, there’s stuff happening everywhere, kid. The question is, Maggie, when are you gonna stop working for other people?”


“I mean, okay, I’ve just had the brainstorm of brainstorms! Look, I’ll be straight with you,” he said, excitedly.

“I wish you would,” I answered, a bit confused.

“After I left the set of ‘Star Trek’, I made a short stop in New York before heading back over here. Well, when I was there I stopped by The Factory, you know, Andy Warhol’s place. And I was looking around and he had some amazing stuff going. He’s been photographing this chick, Edie Sedgwick a lot. I guess she’s his muse or something. He’s really a capable photographer. Anyway, he had these shots about that David Bailey did of him and his ‘factory people.’ They were brilliant, Maggie!”

“Oh, I love David Bailey. His photo shoot with John and Paul is probably one of my absolute favorites of either of them.”

“Right. The guy’s a genius. So suddenly, it hits me like a ton of bricks! BAM!”

I jumped as he startled me.


“I’m over the biz, Maggie.”

“What?” I repeated.

“I’ve had enough of this commercial photography racket. I want to focus all my time and energy from now on, on the absolute art of it.”

“The art of…?”

“Photography!” he laughed. “What do you think I’m talking about?”


“I looked around The Factory at all those wacked out, clueless, phonies and thought, ‘I can do this!’ But more like Bailey. More real. Warhol’s great, but his fucking factory people are a load of bullshit. And you’re my muse, Maggie. You’re my Edie. Only, it’s suddenly occurred to me that if I was going to have you involved with me, I’d really prefer it if you were totally involved.”

“Claude, what are you talking about?” I was completely lost.

“I’m going to start my own studio, Maggie and I’d really like you to be involved.”

“But, I don’t know anything about photography,” I replied. “I’m a fan of the medium, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge.”

“Yeah, but you know the scene, kid. You have contacts and you have a great eye. You’d be like my right-hand man. And I know you’d learn as you go. You’re really bright! Before too long you’d probably know more than me!” There was a level of excitement in his voice that I had never heard before.

I was really proud of him for deciding to do something like this and I knew he could do it. He was very talented and he already had so much professional commercial experience under his belt, why not foray into artistic photography? I was definitely a fan of photography, and I knew Claude was a good photographer; but, as into art as I was, photography was not a medium I knew too much about, other than whether or not I found an individual photograph personally appealing. And I certainly didn’t know anything about taking pictures, other than snapshots here and there, which I did find quite appealing. I did know about being on the other end of the camera lens, but I wasn’t sure how much help that would be to Claude, as he knew a lot of models. And as far as business, well, what help would I be there? I couldn’t even finish school, how would I be able to run a business? Still, Claude’s enthusiasm was so contagious that, when combined with my present need for something to get lost in, I was completely swept away in the excitement and found myself saying yes before I had even asked any questions.

“Fantastic!” he exclaimed.

“When is all this going to happen?” I asked, overjoyed by the prospect of finally having something positive to do.

“Soon, soon. We’re already packing up the office here and the other one in Paris.”

“Packing up?”

“Yeah, I figured one studio will be all a struggling artist like myself will be able to afford at first,” he laughed.

“Where are you moving to?” I asked, confused by the sudden news.

“Why, the place where it’s all happening, of course,” he laughed.

“Mayfair?” I said slowly, hoping he wasn’t about to say what I knew he was.

“No! New York, chickie, baby.”