Time, critics, and the obsessive tended to lift John Lennon's status into the realm of genius. He didn’t mind it too much, he supposed, apart from when his privacy came second to his legend--he had claimed the existence of his own genius, screamed it in the faces of teachers, relative, friends alike back in the early days before Beatlemania and the rest of his damned life presented enough evidence against the opposing team.
Proof of the defense in the court of life:
Grammies by the mantle-full. Achievement awards for more lifetimes than he‘s had yet. A couple of Oscars. Recognition for his activism. Too many other awards for things he didn’t know he deserved, but he, mere genius, long ago learned that he didn‘t decide these things. A year or so ago, MTV bestowed him with their Ultimate Legend Award, one of only two ever given in their history (the other owned by his sometimes-friend-depending-on-their-last-phonecall Paul McCartney), and, according to them when he had gotten the announcement in the mail, probably the only two they would ever give. During the ceremony, he had gotten a wonderful ass-kiss of a speech from one Bono that basically lauded him as a Rock God from on high, come down with blessings of peace, love, and eternal music.
Or some shit like that.
The basic in and out of it was that the world at large saw him (and Paul, he supposed) as a genius. A mix of fanaticism and his self-imposed hermitages over the past 40 years helping to solidify the rock-jesus mythology, he supposed, irony not lost to him.
The idolatry bothered him mostly in that he knew the truth, that he had his flaws and more than a few inabilities, things that haunted him. Things that he was particularly bad at. The comfort of crying women was one, as he was reminded last night at the 02 arena, huddled under a make up desk with a scared girl, craving a cigarette.
Another one was Goodbyes.
Standing on the sidewalk with Gaga at his side as they waited for her ride to whisk her off to Heathrow and then to Paris, John Lennon had no fucking clue how he was supposed to feel.
They meandered just outside of a London café near Gaga’s hotel, morning light dim and the sky its usual shade of pale blue-gray. This time he had been the one to fetch her from sleep, demanding coffee and a final chat, and though he could see the circles under her eyes (past smeared make up--he supposed she had toppled into bed straight after coming home from her concert), she grabbed a purse, a jacket, and came with him. They spent their time sipping caffeine on the terrace, Gaga with her own teacup with a fake diamond at the bottom of the glass, Lennon with a paper cup adorned with a flower he had picked from a nearby plant box for the sake of image.
They talked about plans for the next year, watching each other over their drinks, feeling some sort of shared embarrassment over the events of the past few days. They didn't talk about the fact that she would be leaving within an hour or two, that everything had been long-since packed and driven out. That she was one of the last 'packages' that the Haus had to deal with in London, and her delivery boys would arrive to fetch her not long after they would finish their drinks.
He found it strange, the familiarity five days could build between two people. But he supposed it made sense. They had shared experiences, concerts and photoshoots and superstardom, no matter how many decades stood between their respective geneses.
And of course those few minutes spent in each others company, tears, fears and hello here is my heart, look at it, examine it, listen to it beat, learn its patterns, and listen to its weaknesses, a murmur and a palpitation here and there while I try to hide it away behind sunglasses and a cool exterior--oh you want to share yours too? Well I suppose that's okay. Let me take a look and see, let me know you.
They waited for the car. People stopped sometimes, asked for autographs, but the early hour and Gaga's invisible security kept whatever crowds might have formed at bay.
John didn't know how to feel. Should he be happy? Why would he be happy? Happy for the time they spent? What, five days?
Should he be sad? Over five days? Wasn't even a week.
Should he be indifferent? Fuck, fuck no. No indifference. This wasn't an embassy of people who wanted to shake your hand and cut your hair; this was a friend.
At 71, John Lennon had said many goodbyes. He knew the pain and inevitability of them, had stroked George Harrison’s hand days before he passed, watched them bury his mother and his uncle and his friends, watched May Pang disappear to Los Angeles to work for some movie star, gained and lost and gained again Julian and Cynthia.
Goodbyes were an all-to-familiar part of his life.
He still didn't know what to do with them.
"They're almost here," she said. She put her blackberry back into her purse, and he nodded his head.
"Suppose it's almost time then."
Oh fucking hell.
"Will you be in New York anytime next year?" The words stumbled from his mouth--personified, he supposed they would have the grace of a one-legged man on ice skates.
Gaga didn‘t seem to care. She laughed. "I live there."
Fucking hell. John wondered how he didn't know that.
Another short quiet.
"Will you be in New York sometime next year?"
He felt a short prick of paranoia, and wondered what she could have meant. She knew him well enough from a general point of view (had shown him her tattoo, the peace sign on her left wrist, that she had gotten in tribute of him), and would know of his life in New York. She knew Yoko, had visited the Dakota when he partied somewhere in Scotland in an early leg of his current Lost Weekend. Did she mean to ask if he would return to Yoko yet? The roundabout imagery surged in his mind for a second, the 40 year ruts in the trail. Was she suggesting that he needed to go back?
(because he was getting fucked up and old on this vacation away--he imagined the words on an iphone screen, from some Paula Cracker or whatever stupid handle the messenger would always have, sans-serif words on a white screen with more judgment than a man seven decades into his life deserved)
Was she asking when he was going to grow the fuck up?
He remained quiet for a while, jaw clenched, thought of how he'd reply to that loaded chestnut, before glancing at her, and calming down again.
This wasn't twitter demanding him to return to the status quo that 40 years had created for him. It was a friend asking when she would see him next, if their paths had a chance of crossing again.
"Probably," he replied. She smiled.
He opened the SUV’s door for her, playing footman to the princess for the few seconds they had left--before midnight came and drove Cinderella away and the fairytale ended with the dusty thump of a closing book. Have a good flight. Watch out for them frogs, they can be wily. Laughter, shut up, John, there's nothing wrong with France. Tell that to Ringo.
She put one foot in, hesitated. John let out a breath. He thought of the hotel again, vaguely, wondered if things would fall back to the way they had once she left. How much longer would this Long Weekend last? How many more bars would he visit, and how many more months would he spend away from New York and Yoko and Sean, and how much older would he grow clinging to cushions in a hungover hug, slumped on a hotel couch--
She kissed him straight on the mouth.
It lasted a second, followed by a tight hug, and another kiss on the cheek, but Jesus fuck, the surprise John felt rising in blood to his cheeks was enough to chase away those thoughts for a little while longer.
They had a proper goodbye this time, I'll miss you's and all, please visit me sometime, please. I'll be sure to. I'm sure Yoko and Sean would want to see you again. I'll want to see all of you. Visit then, darlin, visit.
"Don't call before dropping by, though," John told her in a half joke, as he finally helped her into the car proper, not giving her another chance to jump out and attack him again (though, with the smear of lipstick on half of his mouth, he wasn’t sure if he would mind). "Surprises keep me young."
He still didn't know how goodbyes were supposed to make him feel, even as he watched the black car drive off, keeping a sharp eye on it until it disappeared into a turn. Whatever emotions churned in his stomach were a homogeneous soup whose ingredients he couldn't differentiate from one another upon inspection. A big fucking bowl of feeling-broth. But maybe that was how it was supposed to be.
At the end of that day, all he could identify were the clear feelings that yes, of course they would see each other again, and that the London fog had held him here long enough, thank you.
The start of a beautiful friendship, he thought to himself with just a hint of his usual cynicism, and he walked back to the hotel to pack.
yaaaay that's the end of the London story, I guess, and tomorrow is the end of finals week. Thank God amirite.
ALso, don't be bothered by Gaga kissing John on the mouth U_U she kissed Kermit the frog on the mouth too.
Anyway i had fun with this. Thanks for tuning in. There may be more later.