32. See Yourself

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It's easier to tell a lie than it is to tell the truth,
It's easier to kill a fly than it is to turn it loose,
It's easier to criticise somebody else,
Than it is to see yourself.

'That'll be the day, when you say goodbye, yeah, that'll be the day, when you make me cry-'

Sick humour, impromptu choruses of Buddy Holly songs and joy. Unfiltered, unbridled, glad to be alive joy. We're okay. I'm okay. George, Minnie, we're all okay.

As soon as we're back on the ground the teasing starts, the jokes, playing it down. The plane landed, shakily, but intact, fire engines and police cars waiting for us. Minnie grabbed hold of me like I was a runaway toddler, Cat wanted to call her boyfriend, John demanded brandy - everyone could do with a drink - but there's no time for anything. We have to get to the venue for the shows.

There are Beatle fans at the airport. They're quieter than usual. I wonder if they knew what happened, if they saw the smoke from the plane. The boy's cars are waiting for them. We'd usually travel separately, somewhere behind them, but in the noise and chaos of landing, someone decides we can all go together. Probably just to get us out of the airport. We squeeze into a car. There's room for six in the back, and there's eight of us, but no ones complains about the lack of elbow room. I'm squeezed in near to one of the doors. Minnie on one side, George still on the other.

'You were crying!'

'I was not!'

'There were tears in your eyes!'

'Fuck off, you were screaming like a little girl!'

'You were too!'

'John tried to open the bloody door!'

'What were you gonna do, John? Float down to the ground?'

'I wasn't worried.'

'Like hell you weren't!'

'Minnie was worse. Did you see her?!'

Minnie just smiles, like she's above it all, like what they're saying doesn't touch her, but she's not left my side since we set foot back on the ground. Her arm is still wrapped around my neck, like it has been since we were allowed to unfasten the aeroplane seat belts. She looks at me and I grin at her. I feel like I haven't seen Minnie properly for ages. She's been around, but the only proper conversation we've had was when she asked me if I was pregnant. It's since I got married. I've not seen her as much, I've lost touch with her. I don't even know what's going on in her life. I resolve, silently, that after this tour I will make more time for Minnie. Sod Ricky and everything else.

'I feel sick.'

'How do you think we'll get to LA? Tonight?'

'We'll probably fly.'

'What? Really?'

'How do you think we'd get there? We can't exactly walk.'

I turn around, twisting out of Minnie's headlock. Cat is in the opposite corner from where I sit. I try to catch her eye but she's not looking. She's sitting with Bet, with her head down. She's quiet, not joining in with everyone. She still looks shell shocked, a bit tearful.

I feel awful because Cat and I hadn't spoken much after last night. If we had crashed - if that had been the end - and it could have been, couldn't it? Then those silly things we said, about George over the monopoly board, that would have been the last things we'd said to each other.

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