I always cross the street


This entry was written in 2004 and posted on my original blog at Diaryland. Those entries are still available to read but I wanted to put this one here, also.
I have been putting off writing a new entry for the past day and a half, hoping that the inspiration for something witty and amusing will strike me. (But, then, since it never has before I don’t know why I persist in my naive optimism.) It’s not happening, though. I have something on my mind that I really want to talk about and I cannot — will not — be able to write anything else until I get this out of my system. I’m funny that way. So I’m just going to bite the bullet and go for it. And no one will quite “get” it, and most will probably skim it, quickly click away, and think something along the lines of, “Hoo boy, what a nut.” The phrase “get a life” may even come up. Whatever. I am what I am. So here goes.
This past Saturday, October 9th, would have been John Lennon’s 64th birthday. I suppose it’s because of that he has been on my mind moreso than usual. He is a part of our everyday lives, here, anyway. From the framed Beatles picture to the print of the “Imagine” mosaic from Strawberry Fields to the books lining my shelves to the Beatle movies that Madalyn asks to watch just about every day — John is always here with us and not a day goes by where we don’t think of him.
But for whatever reason, the past few days he hasn’t just been a fleeting thought during the course of the day. He has been a constant presence in the house, permeating my thoughts while I’m awake and while I’m dreaming.
Now here is where I cue the, “My God, lady, get a hobby,” attitudes. I will save everyone the trouble. Oh, it’s so weird to have such an emotional attachment to a person you’ve never met. There must be something lacking in your life for you to fasten onto a famous person in such a way. If he were still alive he wouldn’t know you from a hole in the ground. What kind of airy-fairy wannabe are you? I think that pretty much covers it.
In answer to all those things all I can say is I don’t understand it, either. I don’t know why I feel the way I do about the Beatles in general but John in particular. I don’t know why I would never have named my son after a family member but did name him after someone I never met and never would have known in a million years. All I know is my emotional attachment goes beyond just, “Oh yeah, John was a great musician and performer.” It is so much more profound than that.
John Lennon was a beautiful person, inside and out. And I love him for it. I love a person who I never met, who didn’t know I existed, and who has been dead for nearly 24 years. I am not talking about a romantic crush, here. This is not an “if John were alive today I would marry him” kind of thing. I am speaking of loving someone as a person, because of who they are — the way you would love a family member or a best friend. Wishing you could be around them and just talk to them. NOT placing them on a pedestal — knowing that they are human and have foibles and hangups and maybe some not-so-nice traits, acknowledging that fact, and treasuring them for what’s behind those imperfections.
I make no apologies for this. It’s not something I go spreading about. It’s not in my nature to share something so personal. I am actually red in the face right now at the thought of my mom or my husband reading this. As if there is something of which I should be ashamed! There isn’t, and I know it, but sharing things this close to my heart is just not in my nature.
I am pretty good at not letting the reality of things sink in. Things hurt me so deeply that I keep them at arm’s length and don’t allow my mind to wrap fully around the concept. It saves me a lot of pain. So it’s easy for me to go about my business, week after week, seeing John’s image around the house and half-believing that he is out there somewhere, alive and well. But then, every so often, there’s a moment where I’m caught off-guard and reality slams me into the ground. And that’s when I truly grasp the fact that John is dead. He is not here, he will never be here again. All he wanted was peace and for everyone to love each other and an evil, evil man shot him down in the street like a dog. And my God, that is so f*cking unfair.
And then there’s the other realization, the one that he didn’t die instantly. I didn’t know that at first. I used to think he was shot through the heart or something and was gone in an instant. But, no, he remained upright and conscious, for a little while. He staggered up to the guard shack and said, “I’m shot.” And then my Johnny bled to death in the back of a police car. And I don’t understand why. I don’t understand how someone could do this to that beautiful man. I want to pound my fists into the face of the person that did it and scream, “How could you? Why did you take him away from us?”
When I walk down W. 72nd Street in New York City, and I pass the Dakota, I won’t walk there. I won’t stand on the sidewalk where this ugly, evil thing happened. Maybe it’s superstitious but I always cross the street. I don’t want to touch the place where this happened.
Then there’s Strawberry Fields, which is where I’m invariably headed when I take that walk. John is there. His presence is palpable. And, oddly enough, it’s not sad, even though it’s within shouting distance from where he was shot. It’s a quiet, peaceful place. Just like John would have wanted. Someday I want to go there on John’s birthday and be a part of the gathering that always takes place on that day.
So why am I writing all of this? I really don’t know. It has been in my brain and would not go away. If I am embarrassed to even think of my loved ones reading this, one can imagine how I would feel about actually saying any of this to them. Usually I am content to live with my thoughts but, for some reason, at this particular time, they had to come out. Who knows…maybe it was John, himself, encouraging me to write about it. If anyone knew about writing to express one’s feelings, it was he. I’d like to think that, wherever he is, he keeps tabs on what’s going on in the world.
Either way, I just want to tell him “thank you.”


About msmaryb

I'm a native Californian who lives in Oklahoma. I'm a full-time student, pursuing a Bachelors in Anthropology, following which I hope to attain a Masters in Archaeology. I have three kids, one husband, no pets, and a lot of friends - most of whom live inside my computer. I love to read, write, watch tv (shut up, we can't all be brain surgeons), shop, and travel. I'm trying to set foot in all 50 states before I die. I have 38, so far. I love the Beatles and Maroon 5, and if you think those two things are incongruous, well, they are. But that's me. When I love something, I love it 100%. I don't do anything halfway. I want to know everything there is to know, so I'm trying to cram as much into my brain as I can in the short amount of time I'm allotted in this dimension.

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