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.


  1. this made me cry like a little baby, it's so good i can't take it. thank you

    1. Thank YOU! I'm so sorry for the delayed response. For some reason this thing doesn't alert me when I've received a comment. I appreciate you reading it very much and I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to comment! :-)

  2. This is the most amazing fan-fiction I've ver read! It sounds so realistic, without any temporal or fact inaccuracies. I've loved it, honestly! Only the end seems a bit forced, as if you were in a hurry to finish the story off! You could have been his May Pang (whom you don't mention at all), but still, it's great! I envy your talent for writing, how you account for details! All in all, the best JOHN fan fiction on the net (most fan fictions focus on Paul). Congratulations!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read the whole thing! Yes, everyone can tell my story was a bit rushed at the end. (Oops) lol. But, honestly, it was the first fan fiction I had written and the first piece of writing I was THAT close to finishing. I had "shelved it" for quite a while and I just wanted to FINALLY finish something, so yes, I admit, I did rush it. Maybe later I'll find the motivation to go back and flesh out the ending. For now, it will suffice. I really appreciate your kind words. I LOVE getting feedback. Thanks so much again!