No More Lonely Nights - Chapter Twenty-One

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24 December 1962.

Liverpool, England.

ALLIE: My father presented me with two options last week- one, go to the States for Christmas with him and my mother and stay with Marion and Andy in New York for two weeks, or two, stay here by myself in Liverpool and spend the holiday with all my friends here.

Which one do you think I picked?

So yes, here I sit at home, getting everything gathered up to go to Paul’s for the next two weeks. My parents left bright and early this morning to catch their flight out of Heathrow, and I am thankful I did not have to be on it with them. I’m looking forward to the holidays here in Liverpool, spending Christmas and New Year’s with all the people that matter. I’ll be spending the morning with Paul tomorrow before we all meet up at the Lennons’ house for dinner. What better way to spend Christmas than that?

I zipped up my suitcase and set it by the front door along with the cardboard box I was using to hold everyone’s gifts. There were mostly wrapped packages for Paul in it but I also had things for John, Cyn, Ringo, Vi, George, Pete, and Megan as well (my father had given me quite a bit of money to use for shopping, and I had bought everything when my mom wasn’t watching me like a hawk). I returned to my room and collected my smaller suitcase, my purse, and my black wool winter coat before opening the front door and stepping out into the chilly December air. I opened the back passenger side door of the car and stowed my bags on the back seat, walked back onto the porch and locked the front door, then got into the car. I cranked the ignition and turned on the heat then backed slowly down the driveway, mindful of any stubborn patches of ice that had missed the salt sprinkling my dad had performed last night.

I drove through the streets of Liverpool, holiday music coming softly from the car radio, gazing at all of the lights and greenery and colorful decorations glimmering in the shop windows. A gorgeous Nativity was in front of the Catholic church, lit by several strategically placed spotlights. I made a mental note to ask Paul if he wanted to go to the Christmas Eve mass this evening (we’re both Catholic but not exactly the most observant followers of that particular faith; we both should probably do better), not just because I wanted to attend but also because I needed to attend.

I made it to my destination a few minutes later, and I got out of the car, leaving the box and my two suitcases for Paul to help me collect later on. I walked inside quickly, not wanting to be out in the bitter wind any longer than I had to. I climbed the stairs and found his apartment door unlocked. I turned the doorknob and stepped inside to find him stringing colored lights on a small Christmas tree parked in the corner of the living room. He was listening to Handel’s ‘Messiah’ and softly hummed along with the choir’s voices coming from the record player. He hadn’t noticed me yet, and I didn’t want him to, either. Paul looked absolutely adorable standing here decorating the tree, humming along with the music, a look of sheer concentration on his face.  He looked up a moment later and saw me, a smile lighting up his face. “Hello, Allie,” he said, setting the rest of the tangled string of lights to the side and pulling me into his arms. “I’m so thankful you’re going to be here with me for the holidays,” he continued. “Quite fortunate that your father gave you a choice.”

I kissed his cheek and smiled. “I didn’t want to go to New York anyway and my dad knew it. I would much rather stay here with you and everyone else.”

He nodded. The ‘Hallelujah’ chorus had just started, and Paul smiled. “That’s rather how I’m feeling at the moment. Hallelujah because you’re here.”

I laughed and kissed him again, content to stay held in his arms for however long we both desired. The music in the background seemed to fit our mood to perfection, for though, even though I knew the song was about Christ, I also knew it could be applied to other situations of joy. Such as now. Spending the happiest holiday of the year with the person I loved the most in the world was definitely a moment that could be defined by one word- hallelujah.

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