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In my life

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8 September 1988


Paul heaved a deep sigh as he flopped onto the sofa after a long, exhausting day. He lazily kicked of his shoes and tugged at the bright blue T-shirt he was wearing; untucking it enough to breathe more freely, but not enough to expose his abdomen. The last thing he needed was for the kids to not-so-politely comment on his aging figure. As he proceeded to make himself comfortable, events of the day played through his head as if he was watching a rerun on the telly.


Evaluating his public performances was normal for Paul; even after having lived in the spotlights for nearly 30 years straight, he still felt self-conscious about how people perceived him. After all those years, he still feared people wouldn't like him, wouldn't like his work, wouldn't want to work with him. On one hand, he knew it was silly to be that insecure after everything he achieved. On the other hand, he simply couldn't wrap his head around it all, still thinking of himself as that cheeky bloke from Liddypool.


Him and me, that was a distinction he learned to make very early on. Without it, he knew for sure he would have lost his sanity long ago. People didn't always understand or appreciate how he could be Paulie the Scouser one moment, and Macca the entertainer the next, morphing from one persona into the other in the blink of an eye. It was almost like pulling on a jumper. It was his armour, his coping mechanism. But underneath the ‘thumbs aloft’ visage, the self-doubt never went away.


Interviews in particular still had an impact on him. Usually, he would get asked the same stale questions, to which he had a stock answer. He always made sure to show that Beatle charm they had come to expect of him, cracking a joke and flashing a wink here and there to satisfy the audience. As boring as those rehashed questions were at times, he was very careful not to show exasperation at the lack of ingenuity, no matter how difficult it could be to feign genuine interest at times.


Every now and then, a new question or topic would come up, something he hadn't been asked a million times before, requiring him to come up with a good answer without allowing too much insight into his real self. He always relived those, analysing them, making sure he hadn't said anything stupid or too controversial. The last thing he wanted was to provide the media with ammunition to shoot him down like they always seemed so keen on doing.


Paul rubbed his eyes sluggishly. Earlier that day, Rona Elliot had interviewed him, about some book someone published about John. Paul couldn't really remember the author's name, nor did he care all that much. Something with an A, he thought, not bothered to try and recall the rest. He mentioned the name in the interview, only to allow that small nugget of information to escape his mind immediately afterwards. It wasn't important, really. Most of the book had been rubbish anyway, which was hardly surprising given the sheer amount of bilge written about the Beatles. Yet some of it wasn't very far from the truth at all. Unfortunately, the questions had been about the one thing he couldn't be honest about – wouldn't be honest about – to anyone.


When the inevitable question about John was presented to him, he had felt very uneasy, knowing the David Frost show had a big audience and realising he had to be convincing in his act if he wanted to avoid suspicion. So he made very sure to ham it up, giving them a full dose of the ‘cute Beatle’ charm, hoping to extinguish any rumours the book might instigate. “If he was homosexual, I'd’ve thought he'd've made a pass at me in twenty years, darlin’!” Paul could hear himself saying it, his whimsical gesture eliciting laughter from his interviewer.

He sure hoped it had been enough to hide the anxiety he had felt and that he wouldn’t be confronted with the subject again. Paul wanted to take this particular secret to his grave, like John and he had sworn to do those many years ago. Another sigh escaped Paul, as he slowly drifted off to sleep.