While recording a song for Linda, Paul remembers a certain memory.
Paul hummed quietly while he strummed his acoustic guitar.
"For if I ever saw you, I didn't catch your name, but it never really matters, I will always feel the same..."
He had been tinkering with a new song for quite some time and was trying to find the perfect lyrics.
"Love you forever and forever, love you with all my heart, love you whenever we're together, love you when we're apart..."
Whatever he wrote, he figured the lads would like it and consider putting it on the next album.
"And when at last I find you, your song will fill the air..."
Whether it made the final cut on the album or not, he didn't care. He just wanted to get everything perfectly, from the beginning verse to the final chords on his guitar. It was his special song for his future bride, Linda, after all.
"Sing it loud so I can hear you, make it easy to be near you..."
Although he wrote this song with Linda in mind, he couldn't help but think of another love he had for someone dear to him.
"For the things you do endear you to me, oh you know I will..."
And, when he thought of the other person, a memory of some sort flashed into his mind.
Satisfied with his work, he decided he would record it the next day when he felt more refreshed and less sleepy. He locked his guitar in its case and got up to stretch. Just realizing everyone had left, he walked over to get his jacket and leave.
As he put it on, he noticed a small, clear pink container lying next to one of the stools and approached it with increasing curiosity. It was a container of blowing bubbles Heather had given him a few days ago. Smiling at the toy, he reached down to grab it. The clear container with a pink cap and wrapper that read "Bubbles" was more than halfway full of the sudsy liquid he and his future daughter had blown while she and Linda visited him at work. He remembered in between breaks, they blew bubbles all around the studio to lighten up the ongoing gloomy mood of The Beatles as their career was rapidly running to a stop. On days like these, he didn't care about the goofy things he did with her as long as they enjoyed themselves and brought a little cheer to the bands' increasingly miserable days. This act happened to hit the spot. John and Yoko even laughed and blew from the wand a couple times when the young girl came up to them and offered them a try. One of their bubbles floated towards Ringo's drums and startled him as he read a book. Another came towards George, and he popped it with his guitar pick wincing and giggling at the tiny sound it made. It was a sight to be seen and had unfortunately never been talked about or photographed because everyone had forgotten that day, and Linda had run out of film.
It was then Paul had realized there wouldn't be many uplifting days like that for a long time. Even though it was true, it did not mean he couldn't cherish them in his heart for the rest of his life. He also realized that no matter how upset he got with his mates or how annoying Yoko was getting every time she walked in with John, he knew he would always have memories like these to hold onto.
Still smiling, he suddenly remembered another time he blew a container of bubbles with a small child.
"Now Jules, you've got to stop shaking the bottle or you'll get yer hands soaking wet. And, you know your mummy and daddy wouldn't like coming home to see you with messy hands, would they?" Paul asked taking the boy's sticky hands and attempting to settle him down.
"No Uncle Paul," Julian said as he stopped shaking the plastic bubble container he received as a gift from Paul. The lid was loosely screwed on from the previous hour of blowing bubbles at the front porch of the Lennon household. Paul babysat Julian that afternoon while John and Cynthia went on a brief visit to Aunt Mimi's, and the couple was expected back soon. It had been a while since Paul had seen the boy, so he decided to give him a little present he could play with during his visit. Already, they had gone through half of the container before they stopped to take a quick dinner break. They were just about to finish the second half at the moment.
"There you go, son," he smiled at the child while they unscrewed the lid together. "Remember what I told you. Hold your wand like this and blow on it softly."
"Like this?" Julian demonstrated blowing a dozen bubbles from the blue wand.
"Good work, Jules! Look at them go!" Paul clapped. The younger boy hopped up and down on the wooden steps from the praise he received.
"There's so many!" he exclaimed reaching out to touch one of them. It burst once his tiny finger came in contact with it and made him giggle. "Your turn Uncle Paul."
"Okay! Here I go." Paul took the wand, stirred it in the mixture, and blew towards the front lawn. Julian leaped up and ran to catch them chuckling loudly as the bubbles popped in between his hands. Martha, who was calmly lying on the porch with them, got up and began snapping at the bubbles and popping them with the tip of her black button nose.
Just then, John's Rolls-Royce rapidly pulled into the driveway. Paul looked ahead to see a bitter John slam the front door shut and a concerned Cynthia scuttle out on the other side. She was trying to get his attention, but Paul had a feeling she wasn't going to succeed that easily.
"John sweetie! Please calm down. You're taking this too seriously," Cynthia pleaded to her infuriated husband who continued pacing towards the amused child, adopted uncle, and panting sheepdog on the porch.
"Ev'ry time, Cyn. Ev'ry time we go visit that old hag, she always has something insulting to say about me. 'Oh John, why couldn't ye do this right?' 'Oh John, why coundn't ye do that right?' 'John, why couldn't ye be like yer Uncle George?' 'John, why'd ye drop outta school an' join a band? Ye don't even sell quality music,' 'Why couldn't ye get a decent job you'd be happy with instead of travelin' the bloody world only to get chased by screamin' girls, get drunk off yer fat arse, and fool around with some floozy women every night? You're not even happy with yer job,' Doesn't she know I fucking love me job?" John yelled forgetting to acknowledge the other three. Cynthia followed him into the house.
"She only says these because she loves you," she told him closing the door.
"IF SHE REALLY LOVED ME, SHE'D FUCKING SHUT HER MOUTH AND LEAVE ME ALONE!" John bellowed loud enough for Paul, Julian, and Martha to turn their heads and hear. Julian clasped his hands to his ears and squeezed his eyes shut hoping his father would stop yelling at his mother. Paul noticed the frightened boy and hugged him in his lap. He could hear the couple's (specifically John's) voice increase, but couldn't quite make out what they were saying. He guessed it was another one of John's rants about how Aunt Mimi claimed he didn't appreciate anything she did for him as a teenager. Martha walked over and sniffed Julian's hair before the boy shooed her away.
"Martha no!" he scolded, "Go away!" The dog whimpered and lied down next to the two. Paul glanced at Julian.
"It’s okay, Jules. She's just trying to help," he said steadily rocking Julian. Julian calmed down in Paul's warm embrace and raised his head.
"Uncle Paul, why do Mummy and Daddy hafta fight all the time?" he asked.
"Well, when Mummy and Daddy can't agree on something, they think the best way to handle the problem is to fight," Paul stated. "What they don't understand is that fighting doesn't solve everything. It only hurts us and the ones we love."
"Mummy and Daddy hurt Julian when they fight," the boy said.
"Do they hit you?" Paul asked concerned.
"No, just their words hurt. They yell and scream and throw things at each other. Sometimes, Mummy and Daddy get so mad, Daddy sleeps on the couch. Sometimes, he goes away and comes home in the morning." Paul recollected those nights of John storming over to his Cavendish house after a brutal yelling fest with Cynthia. The two best mates would share cups of tea and cigarettes as Paul would try to soothe his older mate with deep conversations about how he would stand by him through thick and thin. Every now and then, after John had cooled down that is, they'd talk of fun times they had together and the catchy music they dug as kids. He knew just how to transform John from a self-pitying, stubborn tyrant to a serene, caring husband, father, and companion. Tonight, Paul figured he was going to have one of those nights with him.
Paul jolted after he heard John swing the squeaky front door open. His face was pink and covered in sweat from taking out his anger on poor Cynthia. His body shook as he pulled out a cigarette, lit a match, and began to smoke.
"Julian," he croaked, "I think it's time for you to say goodnight to Uncle Paul and Martha."
"Okay Daddy," Julian responded turning his head back to Paul's. "Goodnight Uncle Paul," he said hugging his favourite adopted uncle. Martha stood up and licked the child's face as if to say goodnight, too. "Goodnight Martha," he giggled. Paul returned a smile.
"Goodnight Jules," he said. "I'll see you around. Maybe I'll come back tomorrow if your folks let me, yeah?"
"Yeah!" the boy beamed as he stood up and headed for the door. "I love you, Uncle Paul!"
"I love you, too Jules!" Paul called from the porch as the door closed. He stood up to brush the dirt from his khaki trousers and glanced up at John who in return chuckled at him.
"Y'know how much I envy you for getting along so well with him," he puffed slightly smiling at his best mate.
"Yeah, and you know how much I envy you for 'aving such a sweet son like 'im," said Paul taking a fag John had offered him. "But, what can I say? Like father like son, yeah?"
"More like uncle like nephew," John snapped tapping his ciggie with his fingers.
"What do you mean by that?" Paul asked.
"Nothing. Well, it's just that," John sighed. "Honestly, Macca. Am I as awful as everyone thinks I am?" Paul stood to face John.
"Of course you're not. Why would you think that?"
"I dunno. I just feel like," he said as he removed his granny glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose, "Like ev'ryone I love gradually becomes afraid of me. Then, they treat me like I'm not even human. They think I'm some crazy monster. Once they enter my life, I transform into this hideous creature that they don't want anything to do with." The older man looked straight into the younger man's eyes. "An' when I try to tell them I love them an' 'ave feelings, too, they look at me like I've gone completely bonkers and disappear from my life completely."
Paul remembered having a similar discussion like this with John after Julia and Stu died. The very two people in John's life whom he loved dearly had walked away from him never to return. For days and weeks, John blamed himself for Julia's death and shunned anyone who came to give him their condolences. But even at a young age, Paul was stubborn and wouldn't stop visiting John despite the multiple times the grieving teenager told him to piss off. When Stu died, John didn't have anywhere to go but pubs and brothels to numb the pain. These places didn't stop Paul either, and within days after their arrival to Hamburg, John found himself in his hotel room resting his aching head in Paul's lap and slurring about how he wished he could have stopped Stu from staying behind. Paul made sure he returned to their hotel room each night and stood by him in every pub, loo stall, dressing room, or where ever he was needed. By now, he knew the drill and started his speech by tossing his fag to the side and taking his best mate's hand. He led him to the edge of the steps and sat down. There, he picked up the remainders of Julian's bubbles, unscrewed the cap, and started stirring up the soapy mixture.
"John, do you remember when we were kids, I promised you I would never leave you? Not even when you cried at Julia's funeral, or when we learned Stu had died?"
"Do you remember what else I said when I made that promise?"
"You said I was your best mate for life, and that you loved me."
"Did I keep my promise?"
John's frown curved into a petit smile as Paul gently blew multiple bubbles from the wand. Paul looked at him from the bubbles with a sincere look on his face.
"Well? Did I keep it?" he asked. John's only replies were a growing smile and an affectionate hug that Paul more than kindly returned.
"You're never going to leave me, are you Macca?" John whispered into Paul's ear.
"Not until the day I die, Johhny."
"And would if I do? I mean, would if I go before you? Will ye love me then?"
"I will. Even if you leave me behind, I will always feel the same."
They held onto each other until Martha nudged her cold, wet nose into John's ear and tickled him away from Paul. Paul laughed more than John did as they stroked her head and decided it was time for her and Paul to head home.
"Tell Jane I'm sorry I kept her love away from her tonight," John joked.
"Ah, don't worry. She knows I was in good company tonight," Paul winked. "Well, I guess this is goodnight and goodbye until tomorrow."
"Alright son. Get home safe an' sound for me, will ye?"
"Of course. Goodnight Johnny!"
"Goodnight Macca," John reached out for another hug and whispered in Paul's ear, "I love you."
"I love you, too," Paul whispered back squeezing John tightly. After they let go, Paul climbed into his car with Martha and drove home.
Paul's flashback faded when he heard someone enter the recording studio. To his surprise, it was John minus his Yoko.
"Oh, hi Paul," he said unbuttoning his tan jacket. "Didn't realize you were here."
"Yeah. I was just leaving actually," Paul said placing the bubbles and his hands in his pockets. "Forget something?"
"Yeah, Yoko left her purse in here an’ asked me to fetch it for her," John said looking under chairs and behind instruments.
"Oh. Is she in the lobby then?"
"No. She's in the car. We're going to the new cafe a couple blocks away from the studio, an' she left the bloody thing in here."
"I see," Paul said checking the floor and chairs next to him. Something leathery and black caught his eye causing him to say, "Hey, isn't that--"
"Yes it is!" John interrupted darting to the black piano stool where her purse lay. He bent down to pick it up, and Paul clasped his hands together.
"Great! That's great, Johnny." John looked up at Paul. It had been a while ago since Paul had called him Johnny. Too long for a while ago as a matter of fact. Adjusting his granny glasses, he half smiled and continued to look at the younger man.
"Yeah. It is, Macca." The two men stood warmly facing each other until the trance was broken moments later. "Well, I'd better get off. Yoko's waiting for me, y'know."
"Alright then. Have a good time."
"You're welcome." Paul took a few steps towards John, and the two headed for the door. Paul was just about to open the door when John spoke from a few steps behind him.
"I, I guess this is goodnight and goodbye."
"Yes, I guess so."
"Until tomorrow, Paul?"
"Until tomorrow, John."
"You promise you'll be here?" Paul smiled and turned around.
"I will, John. I will."
John smiled back stepping closer to him. He patted the younger man's shoulder and walked out the door. Paul clutched onto the bubbles he kept tightly in his pocket. He took them out and, after turning off the lights, unscrewed the pink cap. Pulling the matching pink wand out, he blew it gently and watched the multitudes of rainbow bubbles float across the room and pop against the instruments. By the time the last bubble popped against his guitar case, both men had left the studio.