Chapter twenty six (part B) : 1973, Leap in the Dark

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John was curled up in bed, buried underneath a blanket that was half-smothering him, lying very still and pretending to be dead. It was overly dramatic, he knew, but he certainly felt as if he were dead. May poked her head in, asking whether he was okay, and he rudely told her to sod off. She complied without a word, the fondness of their early weeks together now completely gone.

John rolled on his front and pressed his face against his pillow, focusing on his breathing. His pillow didn't smell of George, it smelt of John himself, his fear, his anger, and that made him feel oddly bereft.

George had left four days ago and John had had to muster all his willpower not to cling to him, grab his clothes, grab his legs, even fucking crawl on the floor and beg him to stay. He would have, if it had had any chance of making a difference. But John knew it wouldn't have so he'd just sat there in George's car and watched him walk up to the airport and disappear inside of the ugly building, not looking back.

It had felt like getting his heart ripped out of his chest, quite literally. John had sat in the rented car for a long time, stunned by the pain, before he'd managed to drive home, dimly nodding to May and collapsing into bed, face-first, feeling numb. His body and mind had stayed that way for a while, before the longing had started again.

Everything reminded him of George. Everything he saw, he wanted to share with George. He tried to picture what George was doing, at Friar Park, spending whole nights half-sleeping and half-awake, in a strange agitated state, his brain still churning but too far gone into sleep to be logical anymore, his thinking patterns twisting and looping. The future yawned ahead of him, beige.

He'd started up on whiskey, then. Entire bottles of it, until his brain blanked again and the longing disappeared as he floated, drunk. Pot produced much of the same effect, smoking until he felt queasy and weak, stumbling out of bed to take a shower and biting his lip against the tears, against the need to just sit down and wail against the white tiles. His nasty old friend, heroin, was just around the corner as well, and John knew it too well, toying with the idea of it, with the bliss it would bring, the relief from his pain.

He hadn't quite broken yet, mostly thanks to his ability to picture the look on George's face should he learn about it. George didn't like heroin, he'd lost too many of their friends to it.

John pushed the blanket away and stared at the phone. He needed to do something about this. He couldn't just go on and lay there for the rest of his days, thinking that he'd made the biggest mistake of his life. He couldn't bring himself to call George, still. And to say what, anyway?

Yoko.

Yoko would understand. She would tell him what to do, soothe him, nurse him back into being able to exist without George again. She'd done it when they'd broken up, teaching John how to live without her. Perhaps she could do it again. Perhaps she would even take him back, now? John sat up in bed suddenly. She would, wouldn't she? After all this time.

He grabbed the phone with shaky hands, dialling her number, pushing his unkempt hair out of his face. 

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Yoko had known that life without John would be difficult even before she'd asked him to leave, and the first few months after he had flown to L.A. had been rough indeed. In spite of the distance between them, Yoko staying on the East Coast while her estranged husband sunbathed in the land of swimming pools and movie stars, their emotional connection had stayed strong, persisting through countless phone calls, sometimes as many as a dozen a day.

It had been difficult to disentangle herself from John while being constantly in contact with him, through the separation had helped, to a certain extent. She had had more time to embrace her artistic side, the part of her she felt had been stifled for the last couple of years in her marriage to John. She'd also begun to go out more often and was now seeing another man.

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