Categories > Celebrities > Beatles

Clean Break

by thedeadparrot 5 reviews

An ending before a beginning.

Category: Beatles - Rating: PG - Genres: Drama - Characters: John Lennon, Paul McCartney - Published: 2005-07-05 - Updated: 2005-07-06 - 556 words - Complete

John likes the feel of New York. It's much different from Liverpool's rougher, quieter ways, London's old world glamour. New York is chaotic and loud and /American/. It's discarded newspapers on the sidewalk. Screaming car horns. The man who gives you the finger when you say "Good morning."

He likes it there. It fits him. In New York, he can tell people on the street he's bigger than Jesus and all he'll get is funny looks and a whispered "He's finally lost it." How can he not love this place?

When Paul visits, he brings the familiar, and yet unfamiliar, feel of England with him. He brings wet sidewalks, softened vowels, droll humor. It's refreshing and jarring all at the same time.

They sit in John's studio and listen to music. Paul leans back and says, "What's it like here?"

John shrugs, "It's a good place. Why?"

Paul shrugs as well. "Thinking about getting a flat here."

John nods. Water under the bridge and all that. They ended a long time ago. They're both over it. No need to dwell.

But John wants to keep New York for himself. Central Park in the morning. The smell of street-vendor pretzels. A country going through a chaotic adolescence. These things don't belong to Paul.

Paul studies him quietly before saying, "If it makes you uncomfortable, I won't." He leans back in a familiar, Paulish way. His hands propping him up, his arms not completely stiff.

At the familiarity of the moment, John feels the ache for England. New York will never, could never, that for him. He misses it: the tea, the almost stiff politeness, the black umbrellas. Paul is all of these things and more. He's the Beatles and all the pleasant and unpleasant associations, "I Saw Her Standing There" to "Let it Be".

Paul gets up to sit next to him. Their arms touch.

Nothing is said. The music ends, and the soft, even breathing fills the room. There's a reserved, careful air between them where there used to be vibrant energy and ambition.

"You really like it here, don't you?" Paul asks.

John nods and resists the familiar urge to just touch him. To make this real. To make this the same as it's always been. "I feel like I belong here, like I've been accepted."

Paul smiles and sings quietly, "'Come in,' she said 'I'll give you shelter from the storm.'"

John smiles as well. "Blood on the Tracks."

Paul laughs, and it's like it was in 1964, when it was all new, and they were in a hotel room talking about The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan instead.

John leans over and presses his lips to Paul's cheek. Paul doesn't pull away.

They sit there like that for a moment before Paul gets up and announces that he needs to get going.

"I'm glad you came," John tells him. Paul smiles and kisses him on the lips. It's not a beginning, not re-igniting with a spark something that died out years ago. It's merely closure. John can taste rolling hills and Union Jacks on Paul's lips and knows he'll never crave them again.

As Paul walks out the door, he gives a quiet, "Goodbye."

After he finally leaves, John watches the sun set over Central Park and feels completely at home for the first time.

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