Lynn sat on a tucked away bench in the misty rain. A few minutes earlier she had wandered into Regent Park. She had been drifting around London all afternoon in a daze and now the brilliant colors of the sky were blending with the earth lighting the f es of the passerby’s. Lynn saw couples holding hands with the marks of love on their faces, mothers with their children and various joggers sometimes with smiling pups on strings. She had never felt so alone as she did sitting on that bench in one of e worlds largest cities with people all around her. Even the birds in the sky had someone waiting for them back at their nest. Tears stung at her bright green eyes and she dropped her head to let her hands cover the visions in her eyes.
Meanwhile walking along the park’s path Paul McCartney grumbled about his unhappiness under his breath. His head had started to hurt. That day of recording wasn’t his most successful and to top it all off it was raining. It wasn’t a ‘drench you’ kind f rain, but the worst kind of all ‘misty rain’- you don’t know it’s raining until you get inside and notice the tiny droplets clinging to your clothes and skin. Paul decided to take Martha, his sheep dog, along with him to the studio that morning. He ought he would only be there a couple of hours to overdub his bass part to one of John Lennon’s songs. How wrong he was, nothing went right that morning. First one of his bass strings broke and the studio engineer had to go out and buy another. Then he machines wouldn’t work so they had to pack everything up and start again in another studio. Paul thought he’d never get out of the confining rooms and back to his cozy home.
As he and Martha stepped out of the studios Martha pulled on her leash in the direction of Regent Park and he knew it would be no use to say no. She wouldn’t be happy until she got what she wanted. The line of girls outside the studio screamed and rea ed to tear at him. Inside Paul was flinching from their touches, outside he was the polite, cute Beatle. Giving a thumbs up sign and “be gracious to the fans who give the money and keep us number one” smile. He wasn’t actually tired of the fans reac ons, he was still amazed every time they would act mad at just the sight of him and that the group’s records would still go straight to the top. Paul just wished he could limit the times when he was “Paul McCartney-Beatle”. If only they could recogniz when he was “Paul McCartney-man”. He didn’t like having to be “on” all the time.
“I could do with a bit of rest, girl.” Paul said aloud to Martha.
Up ahead he saw a bench with a woman sitting alone. She was stupped over holding her head in her hands, it looked as though she was crying. He wondered why.
“Think she’ll mind if we sit?” Martha looked up at her master then took off in the direction of the crying woman.
Lynn felt someone sit down beside her and she thought she heard something like the sound of a dog breathing through it’s mouth. “Must be a jogger,” she thought. Even though Lynn felt lonely she didn’t want to make polite small talk with a stranger. She continued to hang her head down not looking to see who was next to her. Suddenly she felt something wet and rough rubbing against her arm and the smell of dogg breath floating through the slits of her fingers.
“Martha, stop that!” Came a man’s voice.
She moved her palms and opened her eyes to see a gray and white sheep dog smiling back happily at her with it’s pink tongue hanging out.
“Sorry ‘bout that, luv. Likes strangers, that one does.”
For a minute Lynn sat staring at the mop of hair and tongue. The dog seemed to know what she felt and it’s eyes beneath the white fur were saying “it’s OK, everything will work out.”
“Martha, that’s her name?” Lynn asked the figure not turning to see who it was.
“Yes. . . you may pet her if you like, she won’t bite.”
Paul watched the girl lift out her hand and stroke the top of Martha’s head. Martha being the intuitive doggy that she was crept forward and laid her head upon the knee of the young lass.
She can’t be any older than I am, Paul mused to himself. Martha seems to be just what she needs right now. I wonder if there’s anything I could do to help?
“A wonderful sunset there is tonight, eh love?” Paul tried to strike up a chat.
“Hummm. . . yes it is. Finally an ending to this dreadful day, eh Martha?”
The girl responded like it was Martha that had asked the question and not Paul himself. She seemed to be distracted and unfocused on where she was and who she was with. The dog licked Lynn’s hand as if giving her approval to the girls statement.
“I’m Paul, by the way.”
Lynn could see out of the corner of her eye the man’s hand reaching out towards her. She turned her head and shook Paul’s hand. ”My name is Lynn.”
“I don’t mean to pry, luv, but may I ask why you’ve been crying?”
Lynn turned her attention back to Martha. “You don’t want to hear about my troubles.”
“I may be able to help. . .they say one feels better after talking about their troubles.”
Lynn turned her head sharply to the man next to her. “You really want to know what’s wrong with me?! Why would you care, from the looks of you, you probably have everything you want in life.” She had no idea what this man wanted from her. She just wi ed he would piss off so she could wallow in her self-pity and madness. Lynn looked into the man’s eyes to find an element of surprise and hurt, then she wished she hadn’t been so sharp with him. “I lost my job a month ago and now this morning my landlo told me I have two weeks to get out of my flat. I have no job and now no place to live. My life is no more and I wish there was some way to end it.”
Paul was taken aback by the girl’s last comment. Could she mean to take her own life? I have to do something to help her out. “Surely there must be someone who could help you out, a friend or family member?”
“No, there’s no one. My parents are dead and I’ve left all my friends back in Scotland. I came to London to make a life for myself, but I’ve managed to screw it all up. It’s getting hard to be someone and I don’t even know who that someone is.” Lynn stomach started to growl for the third time that day. She laid her hand over her stomach as if she was willing it to stop.
“Are you hungry, luv?” Paul waited for a minute for Lynn to answer and when she didn’t he gently took ahold of her hand, “Come with me, my housekeeper has prepared a wonderful dish for me tonight and I know there will be more than enough for me.” Pau stood up to face the melancholy woman still holding her hand he gave it a gentle tug to let her know he meant what he said. Martha even got in on the act by nudging Lynn with her nose. The young woman rose without a sound and began to follow Paul like lost puppy follows a kind stranger home.
Paul and Lynn walked the few blocks to his house on Cavendish Avenue through the bustling streets of London. He would look back at the blank face of the woman following him and thanked the powers above for giving him a roof over his head and a lovely b ch of friends and family. Paul still held her hand as he lead the way home walking at a fast pace that he hoped wasn’t to fast for Lynn.. The last thing he needed now was a reporter to come along and start snapping pictures. How would he explain to eryone especially Jane that he was just trying to help the young woman out?
Lynn felt Paul’s fingers around hers and wondered when the last time a man had held her hand with love. “His hands are those of someone with self-confidence,” she thought, “powerful and strong, a man who knows what he wants and goes after it.” As she alked behind him she noticed people particularly woman turning as they passed to stare at them. She didn’t know why they were doing so and in her mind she was yelling, Fuck you! You with your love. I am not an unfeeling, uncaring person, She t d herself. I am down, but I can get up and shine once more. Can’t I?
You see over the last few months Lynn had lost confidence in the human race. Even now she didn’t know why she was allowing a perfect stranger to take her to his home. He probably wants to have sex with me, She figured. That’s all they ever want. It could have been that she didn’t have any place to go, or that she hadn’t eaten all day, or even had a decent meal for weeks. When she saw the look of hurt in the man’s eyes after yelling at him, deep in her being (the part of her that still believed n goodness) she knew he wouldn’t hurt her.
Her life began to detilarate two months after she started her personal assistant job. Mr. Brown, her boss, a slightly over weight man with the beginning signs of balding made a pass at her. It happened late one night. Everyone in the building includi herself were preparing to leave for the day. Mr. Brown walked out of his office asking Lynn to stay late drafting a letter for him. She said goodbye to her fellow coworkers and gathered her pencil and pad. She took her usual position, sitting poise to take down the dictation. After he finished spewing out the letter’s contents, Mr. Brown walked over to a small table where he kept scotch and whiskey. “Have a seat on the sofa, Lynn and I’ll make us a couple of drinks to celebrate the end of another uccessful week.”
“I don’t think I should be drinking, Mr. Brown.”
“Oh, just one won’t hurt.” He poured two full glasses and sat down on the sofa patting the cushions beside him for Lynn to join him. She didn’t feel comfortable doing so, but if it made him happy and her home faster she didn’t see any harm giving in.< They sat in silence while sipping the scotch. She noticed Mr. Brown’s eyes trailing down her body and then up to her breasts to stay. He reached over taking her glass and disposed of hers and his on a table. “What a beautiful woman you are. Such sil skin.” Mr. Brown stroked her cheek.
Lynn sprung back. She twisted in her seat trying to get far away from Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown’s sweaty, fat hands wrapped around her waist and he pulled her to him. Pushing her palms against his chest Lynn tried to get away, but Mr. Brown was stronger t n he looked. His dry, chapped lips sprung unto hers. A vile feeling from the very pit of her stomach rose up. Then one of his hands clutched her breast, rubbing and squeezing. Lynn managed to shift her lips and bit down on his lower lip. He let go her and screamed out in pain. “You bitch!”
Lynn stood up swinging back her hand as far as it could go and brought it down across his cheek. The sting from the impact reverberated down her arm to the end of her spine. She ran to the bathroom still tasting his blood in her mouth, vomiting everyt ng in her stomach. The next day the other women working in the building would look at her and speak in whispers. After a half day of enduring the treatment she confronted them all. Susan, the leader, told of how she saw Lynn kissing Mr. Brown. Of co se Lynn deniaed the accusations. It didn’t matter, they all hated her because she would speak her mind and not pretend she was their friend. Two weeks later Mr. brown fired her.
Paul found the key to open his gate and shuffled Lynn passed the swarm of girls he and the other Beatles nicknamed ‘Gate Birds’. He turned around once she was in the safety of his court yard and just before the gate swung closed he gave his charming sm e and a thumbs-up. The Gate Birds yelled and screamed at the sight of him and as he turned the latch key to the front door he thought he heard one of them say, “Where’d you pick that one up, Paul?”
Paul frowned muttering under his breath about how he wished the damn birds would leave his personal life alone. Just because they bought the albums and went to the concerts they thought they owned him and had a right to interfere with his choice of fri ds, girlfriends. Scrutinizing the very last drop of him, they did. All in the name of love they thought, well he could tell them a thing or two about love and what they felt wasn’t anywhere near it.
“Have a seat anywhere you like and I’ll see if Mrs. Higgins left instructions on how to heat the dish up.”
Lynn examined the sitting room and choose the tan, plush sofa. On the center wall of the room was a massive fireplace. It seemed to take over the room and would swallow her at any moment. For a fleeting split second she thought of fleeing, but then e jolly sheep dog came bounding into the room and flung herself at Lynn’s side. The immense gray body took up the whole sofa not in use by Lynn, it’s heavy breathing falling on her unclothed thigh made Lynn calm and the first time in weeks she felt saf Lynn bowed her head down to the curly mass of hair and buried her nose in it inhaling the natural smell of dog.
“The meal is in the oven,” Paul called out as he rounded the corner. He saw Martha laying on top the sofa and pondered when she would learn not to get on the furniture. “Martha, down!”
“Oh please let her stay.” Lynn pleaded.
“Ok Martha, you can stay where you are while Lynn is here and then it’s on the floor with you.” Paul didn’t know why he gave permission to the dog, it wasn’t as if she even listened.
“You are a good doggy, aren’t you.” Lynn said cuddling the dogs enormous head in her hands.
“Is there no one I could call for you?” Paul asked again in desperation. He had no idea what to do with the girl, but he knew somehow he had to help.
“No one in my world but Martha and me. . . and you of course. Who are you anyways, who is Paul when he’s at home?”
“James Paul McCartney, a young lad from Liverpool who has somehow muddled through life until he found himself here on Cavendish Avenue.” Paul felt confident in saying his full name. Lynn hadn’t recognized him yet and he didn’t think she would.
“James Paul McCartney.” She rolled his name off the tip of her tongue. At the back of her brain a picture formed and bulldozed it’s way to the surface. “Not The Paul McCartney as in Beatle Paul McCartney!” She heard herself shout. Mar a laid a paw on her leg giving a couple short barks. “That would explain why people kept looking at us on the street and why there is a group of girls standing at your gate.”
“I’m afraid you found me out, luv. Should have told you straight in the beginning, I should’ve but I couldn’t risk you going mad on me. Please try and control yourself, I couldn’t take a hysterical woman right about now.”
“Control myself! What do you think I would do, throw myself at you just because you are half of the great Lennon and McCartney writing team? I may be a poor, homeless woman at the moment but I still have my morals and pride, sir.”
“I didn’t mean. . . oh, never mind.” Paul stood up from his chair clasping his palm over his forehead looking down at the carpet below. His head now started to pound harder and he wondered if he had anything to take the ache away. “I can’t even meet bird without thinking she will go mad at the sight of me,” He half said to himself.
“Did you say dinner is warming up?” Lynn felt sorry for Paul and wanted to bring the conversion back to something simple. A topic the both of them wouldn’t have to think to participate in.
“Yes, it should be almost warm.”
“I’ll go check it, you can set the table and wash your hands.” Lynn instructed Paul.
Lynn found the kitchen by using her nose. A wonderful essence sailed down the hallway making Lynn faint from hunger. She opened the oven to find a white, square, glass dish filled to the rim with delicious, assorted vegetables and meat with a bubbli white sauce. She found a fork and plunged it into the center and stuck the dripping liquid in her mouth. The thick sauce burned her tongue, but she didn’t care. She could have eaten the whole dish by herself.
Paul obeyed the lass’s orders and washed his hands in the downstairs loo. The last time he remembered a woman telling him to wash his hands before dinner was his mother. He and his brother Mike would lay out their hands for her to inspect before they uld sit down to dine. Before attempting his next chore he downed two headache tablets with a glass of water. In the kitchen he found Lynn opening cabinets and rummaging through their contents. “What are you looking for, luv?”
“The tea, I can’t find it anywhere.”
“I used the last lot of it this morning. I think I have some wine. It would be more appropriate since we’re celebrating.” He walked over to the refrigerator. He hoped what he had in mind would cheer Lynn up.
“Celebrate? Celebrate what, that I’ve been in your house for twenty minutes now and I haven’t gone mad or stolen anything?”
Paul set the full bottle of wine on the counter and closed the refrigerator door. “You haven’t stolen anything, have you?”
“No of course not, and if I did do you think I would tell you?”
“Good point. Now back to your first question, we’re celebrating the fact that this is the first day of the rest of your life.”
“Don’t tell me your one of those.”
“One of what?”
“Optimist. Can’t stand those kind of people, I can’t. They think the world is all roses. Well, I have news for you, the world isn’t made up of love, roses and sunshine all the day long.”
“What is it made up of, then? Please teach us o’ master.” He closed his palms together and bowed at the waist as if he were speaking to an Indian guru.
“Crooks, thieves and hypocrites. People who say they want to help the world and then look the other way when a tramp stretches out his hand.”
“That’s a fine view.”
“Well it’s my view. Now, stop your larking ‘bout and get that table set.”
Paul once again bowed at the waist and said, “Yes your ladyship, right away.”
Lynn smiled at how Paul was behaving. He was making her forget the worries on her mind and best of all he was fun to argue with.
“Now that’s something new.” Paul said taking down the plates.
Lynn lifted a hand up to her face to fill her lips turned up and her cheeks pushed out. “So I am. Thank you.”
“For what?” Paul asked.
“For helping me to remember what it feels like to be happy.”
“It was my pleasure. I hope to see that smile more often.”
Paul and Lynn sat at the kitchen table eating the pleasing meal made by Mrs.Higgins. Lynn ate until she thought she would burst from fullness. Paul didn’t seem to mind her eating so much. He sat and talked with her until she was finished. After Lynn nsisted on doing the dishes herself, Paul made a small fire in the sitting room and found himself a cozy place sitting on the floor resting against the sofa. Lynn found her old place on the sofa with Martha sleeping beside her. Paul refilled both of eir wine glasses and continue to stare at the flames soaring up. He knew he had to make a decision on what to do with Lynn. A plan formed in his head and he went over it several times to make sure it would work out.
“Lynn, I’ve been looking for a personal assistant for sometime now- someone to keep up with my appointments, stuff like that. I’m not doing this out of charity or because I feel sorry for you, it’s just that we’ve been getting along so well. I’ll give ou the job if you’ll take it.”
Lynn mulled the idea around for sometime. She could have a job with one of the most famous men in the universe. She knew he would be a grand boss to work for, unlike Mr. Brown. “Thank you, Paul. I am a hard worker and very well organized. I won’t le you down.”
Paul turned his turso around looking into his new assistants eyes. “I know you’ll do a brilliant job.”
“A dead fucking, brilliant job, if I do say so myself.” Lynn felt pround of herself at that moment.
“I’ll help you find a new flat or talk to your landlord for you.” “Don’t bother with him, I never liked that flat anyways.” Lynn set her wine glass on the table beside the sofa and folded her knees into her chest letting her head fall on Martha’s back. A surge of gratitude welled up in her heart. Salty tears burned t her eyes. Lynn reached across Martha and lightly laid her hand on Paul’s shoulder. She waited for him to turn around before she said, “I think my view is beginning to change, I can see the sun slowly rising to a brand new day.”