Hold On (A John Lennon Love Story)
This story is all about John. No Paul or George or Ringo. (Sorry!) But it's not about you, like Your Beatle Love Affair or Baby It's You, it's about a girl named Elle who's known John forever. They fall in love, but of course, it can't be simple. It begins just before the Beatles become famous. It's a little edgier than my other stories, so warning: There is smoking, drinking, drugs, s_x and swearing in this.
NOTE: I tried to keep it as accurate as possible, but I don't promise perfection! :)
When I Was Younger
August 29th, 1946
â€œCome on, Elle!â€ 5-year-old John shrieks, his eyes filled with pure happiness.
â€œI betcha I can beat you there!â€ Elle shouts back, despite the fact she trails behind. But with a great burst of speed, the girl kicked up her tiny legs and catches up with him.
â€œIâ€™m faster than you!â€ little John shouts, but Elle speeds up once again, and this time passing him completely.
â€œHaha!â€ she shrieks a high laugh, turning her head back to see John get upset. But he doesnâ€™t. His face scrunches up in a determined expression, and with a deep breath, he gives it his all. And before she can think, heâ€™s caught up with her.
Beginning to panic that she will loose the race, Elle pushes her arms to her side instinctively, knocking John to the ground. He screams as he falls, and feeling guilt, Elle instantly stops.
â€œIâ€™m sorry John!â€ she cries before her friend can get upset. But John doesnâ€™t get angry, despite the new scrapes on his knees from the pebbles he landed on. He good-naturedly holds out his hand.
â€œYouâ€™re supposed to help me up,â€ he tells her, smiling.
Elle contracts his contagious smile and helps him up, knowing that is the greatest thing about John. He knows when you donâ€™t mean what you say or do. Itâ€™s as though he has another instinct to sense it.
â€œLetâ€™s run together,â€ he says once he is safely back on his feet, still holding his friendâ€™s hand. Elle nods, but John takes off before she is ready, and she stumbles behind, struggling to keep up, only their hands connecting them.
â€œCome on, Elle!â€ he cries, and the words of encouragement are enough to get her to catch up.
â€œI see it!â€ she cries, pointing ahead with her free hand.
â€œMe too!â€ John shouts excitedly, and the feeling of Christmas morning washes over the 5-year-olds.
In what seems like forever, they finally reach the gate at the end of the long path. A big red sign declares, â€œStrawberry Fieldsâ€ in white letters.
â€œWhy do they call in Strawberry Fields if itâ€™s where orphans go?â€ Elle asks John, their tiny fingers wrapped around the big black poles on the gate, separating them from paradise.
â€œI donâ€™t know,â€ John replies, watching all the children run around on the playground. â€œMaybe itâ€™s to make them feel better. You know, so they think theyâ€™re in a field of fun instead of at a sad orphanage.â€
â€œAh, so John and Elizabeth return,â€ a sweet voice interrupts their conversation.
â€œHi Miss Mary,â€ John greets the caretaker with an adorable smile that he knows she canâ€™t resist.
â€œYou two arenâ€™t supposed to come around here you know,â€ Miss Mary tells them, kneeling down to their level, the bars between them.
â€œBut itâ€™s so much fun,â€ Elle explains innocently.
Miss Mary sighs but smiles. â€œAlright,â€ she agrees, and opens the gate.
â€œThank you!â€ the both shout as they run past the woman, who canâ€™t care less about the fact that she has put her job in danger yet again by letting the children in.
John and Elle run and run and run. The climb up and down everything. They draw strange pictures in the sand. They pluck wildflowers from the ground, ignoring Miss Maryâ€™s past warnings not to. Elle gets scared at the top of the slide and John forces her down with a push, knowing sheâ€™ll shriek with joy once she goes down. Heâ€™s smart like that. Elle returns the favor by pushing him on the swings, despite the fact she can barely reach.
Too soon, Miss Mary calls in all the orphans around them in for supper and tells John and Elle they must go home. They pull out their adorable eyes and convince her to give them just a little while longer.
Sitting beside one another on the swings, their legs just barley scrape the ground as they lazily push themselves frontwards and backwards with their toes. They can see the sun setting, and itâ€™s a mixture of purples, blues, pinks and oranges. It looks like their many finger paintings.
â€œMy daddy said that the sunset was Heaven coming out at night for a little while to keep us believing in it,â€ Elle tells her friend, her light blue eyes still fixated on its beauty.
John doesnâ€™t say anything, but only stares at the ground, poking his toe into the sand beneath them.
â€œLetâ€™s share secrets,â€ he suggests suddenly, still not looking at her.
â€œOk,â€ she agrees.
â€œYou go first,â€ John says, finally allowing his eyes to meet hers.
â€œThatâ€™s not fair, you want to, so you have to go first,â€ Elle argues, not because she really wants him to say something first but because she hasnâ€™t yet thought of a secret to share.
â€œNo, please, you go first, Elle,â€ John begs his friend. â€œI really want to tell you mine last.â€
â€œFine,â€ she agrees, just having come up with something. â€œAre you ready? And you have to swear not to tell anyone.â€
â€œI promise,â€ he agrees, holding out his tiny pinky finger for her to lock with. She takes it, and still holding on, she reveals.
â€œYouâ€™re my best friend.â€
John smiles a holy smile due to many visits form the tooth fairy. â€œReally?â€
â€œYeah,â€ Elle says. â€œBut boys and girls arenâ€™t supposed to be friends, so donâ€™t tell anyone.â€
â€œI wonâ€™t,â€ he swears.
Neither of them know that boys and girls can be friends, even best friends, but their innocence and ignorance to what the real world was like has not yet been exposed to reality. They will learn, one day.
â€œYour turn,â€ Elle tells him, making sure he doesnâ€™t skimp out on his end of the deal.
John sighs, his stomach beginning it hurt. He didnâ€™t want to tell anyone, but he had to, and Elle was the only person he could think of.
â€œYou canâ€™t tell anyone either,â€ he stalls, his stomach pain growing.
â€œI wonâ€™t,â€ she promises, just as he had. It was only fair.
â€œOk,â€ he whispers. â€œMy mummy and daddy broke up.â€
Elle doesnâ€™t know what to say. Such a subject is way beyond her years. She canâ€™t even begin to comprehend what that really means.
â€œReally?â€ she finally says something.
â€œYeah,â€ John says, his eyes staring at the ground again, ashamed to admit such a thing to her. â€œIt was scary. Daddy asked me if I wanted to stay with him or my mum, and I didnâ€™t know what to say. I wanted to stay with both of them, but I felt bad because daddy hadnâ€™t seen me in a while, so I said daddy. But I felt even worse when mummy walked out crying, so I chased her and told her I wanted to stay with her instead. And it was weird, but she didnâ€™t look at me, she just kept crying and walking down the road. So Aunt Mimi picked me up and told me we were going to her house, which is where Iâ€™m at now.â€
Elle says nothing, fixated on the drama that was little Johnâ€™s story.
â€œAnd you canâ€™t tell anyone, but I started crying. I donâ€™t cry ever, but I was really sad. I miss them,â€ he finished. It doesnâ€™t seem like the ending, but it was. There was no more to Johnâ€™s tale. He looks near tears now, but he refuses to cry again. In his mind, strong boys donâ€™t cry, ever.
â€œMaybe they just had a fight,â€ Elle suggests, willing to say anything to make John feel better. â€œMy mummy and daddy do sometimes, but they always make up. Maybe yours will too.â€
â€œMaybe,â€ John half-heartedly agrees, looking up to gaze out at the sunset, lost in his own troubled mind. Itâ€™s fading away. Less oranges and pinks splatter the sky, now itâ€™s mostly blues and purples. Tiny twinkles begin to pop up. They are the stars.
â€œWe better go home,â€ he suddenly says, jumping off the swings. â€œMimi will get real mad if Iâ€™m not home soon.â€
â€œOk,â€ Elle agrees, and runs quickly behind her best friend through the gate and down the long stone path again.
The trees that surround them look darker and scarier then they did an hour or two ago, and Elle wants to hold Johnâ€™s hand again, but she would never admit either. She sees John ahead of her, his figure shadowy in the dark with only the street light at the end of the tunnel of trees as a guide. But heâ€™s there. She can feel him. And thatâ€™s all she needs to feel safe again.
Once they finally reach the end, both of them feel sad and lonely at the thought of being separated for something as silly as the sky and how dark it is. But alas, John must go right and Elle left or face frightening consequences.
â€œGoodbye best friend,â€ Elle says to John, and wraps him in an awkward but sweet child hug.
â€œGoodbye best friend,â€ John repeats to Elle. â€œThanks for listening to my secret.â€
And before she can tell him that she loved that he trusted her with his secret, he quickly pecks her mouth and runs off, rounding the corner and disappearing.
She can still feel his lips on hers. Heâ€™ll never know just how much that meant to her. And he doesnâ€™t.
John still doesnâ€™t know how much it meant to me.