Emotional Breakdown at the Paul McCartney Concert
Laura Jane Faulds
-No I told her no. No, mine.
-No, mine. No I would have told him, had he asked me Did the sun shine gold that day. And if he’d asked me how I stay so happy all the time, I would have said “Repression.”
-I told her it felt like Christmas morning that morning, while I said I’d woken up at 6:30 that morning. I was too excited to sleep!
-I didn’t tell him anything. I’d woken up and thought, I don’t want to go to work. And then I’d thought, Oh, no work, today’s Paul. I wished I could call in sick to Paul, and go to work instead.
-She was an endangered species and she knew it. Everybody’s telling her Outstanding, because she’s drinking cheap champagne. She takes bad care of herself; She is methodical kind of, I thought, as she waved her arms in the air- a silent beat in the melody of the day. Her wrist collapsed. It fell limp as if she'd tired of it, or forgotten. A true Daughter of the Morning, wearing her bad day on her sleeve. She just swigs it straight and glares and it’s confusing, because she has a tattoo that says McCartney on her arm.
-A street I didn’t want to walk down, on a day I didn’t want to walk down it.
-On your way to doing something you didn’t want to do, with people you didn’t want to do it with. I know, I know.
-He cut his hair. It’s ugly. I like him less now. His cheeks are shaped like pierogies, have they always been? This morning’s mold on top of my strawberry yogurt was a flat teal dandelion, and then my roommate gave me guff for not marching methodically down the street to Magnolia to demand a full refund. But I never do that kind of thing, never bargain down vintage clothing or antiques. Never buy antiques. And when I went to the washroom, my heart flushed down my body in shock and girlish agony- “Do I smell?” But it was only Joe’s towel, and that’s the kind of guy Joe is. The kind whose towel smells.
-Joe is so nice and funny and being so nice to you right now. You’re ruining this for everybody.
-But, from my perspective, everybody’s ruining this for me. I don’t want to share the Beatles with you finks. I need to stop breaking my neck to maintain friendships with people I don’t want to be friends with. Helen- you know she talks all over town about you? She told her friend to tell my friend’s too good for Pete. Pete’s an asshole, she told her to tell me. She told me if I want to find a good man I need to work out and eat healthy and go out every night and talk to every guy, that’s what she did, and now she doesn’t eat healthy and never goes out and dates Joe, she’s happy. That advice was so incredibly inapplicable to my life. Does your towel smell? Did you know that I’m crying behind my sunglasses? And in the future when I’m unadorned will I wonder do I let him go or do I fight it?
-You are coming across so sullen right now.
-Because I’m sullen.
-Well stop being sullen!
-Well you’re making me sullen.
-Well you’re making yourself sullen.
-I’m not even sullen at all. I’m elegiac.
-Tough love, Baby. Tough love. Today’s golden. Jupiter’s rollies are a new kind of shining golden Zig-Zag you’re apparently impressed by, and on his t-shirt is a little cartoon of an appleman. He’s my best friend (Jupiter, not the appleman), but Boy am I peeved off by his passive-aggression sometimes! In life! All my best friends are trashtalkers and I’ll never be my bad choice of heroes David Bowie, but they’re my friends and with my friends my allegiances lie. I don’t even like ice cream! There’s nothing I can do to cajole you black-headed sucky baby crying babyishly behind sunglasses one deck chair away although I know I somewhat want to. She’s fascinating, but- ethically- I can’t do it. I believe I am not stooping down to her level.
-Elegiac, lessened by a compensatory cocked eyebrow. And I know you and you know me. I can envision a droopy dog old man standing on a stage five hundred feet away from us, singing songs I know like they’re my wives. He’s sung them so many times he can’t believe them. It doesn’t sound that good to me. I’ll treat you to a crow’s foot.
-She made more eye contact with that appleman than she did with anyone else that day. She sucked melted chocolate almond chocolate off her fingers. She looked down at the ladybug crawling up her index finger and mouthed one-two-three-four-five-six-seven black dots. I liked you. You were sweet.
-The way we forgive ladybugs for being bugs, because they have polka-dots. So cute! Like puppies. Did you wear those boat shoes purposely to disgust me?
-Look at the giant cucumber growing in the garden.
-I can’t see it.
-I can’t help but make fun of you. It’s literally located directly in front of your eyes. It doesn’t make any sense that you can’t see it.
-I saw the words that existed in place of it, and they were nasty. You could use it to hurt people in such nasty ways. Plus, everybody kept calling Paul McCartney “Macca,” which I hate.
-Good arms choice, tattoo locations. Superfan.
-I covered them up with my hands. I was so ashamed.
-It’s gotta be McCartney on the left, because he’s left-handed.
-I wanted to slice my skin off.
-I’d said, Maybe Paul McCartney’s the Devil.
-And then you’d said sinister, and I loved “sinister” so much, the word “sinister.”
A slinty-eyed word for crooks and finks.
-One day, you will all drive minivans.
I mean, no you all won’t. That will be the final fray of the only rope you’ll find to hang on to. So, friends, you won’t drive minivans, because you’ll know yourself well enough to know you’re not the kind of men, women, who would. You’ll buy cooler cars than minivans even though minivans would suit you better, so way to inconvenience your future families guys, but you’ll never let go, so that’s okay. The longer you don’t buy one, the closer you will remember what you wish it would have felt like when you were young and golden and in bands, but you never were, you just told yourself that. And one day you will tell your children about what it felt like when you were young and golden and in bands, who in real life never made it, but for them you’ll exaggerate the truth, make it seem like you were more popular than you were. Why not? They’ll be the only people who’ll ever care.
-And imagine having to be those five people surrounding you while you are thinking that?
-I’m trying. But and one day when you realize- do you want me to tell you I told you so?
-I’m ignoring you. Remember the part when we’re in the kitchen?
-Of course I remember the part when we’re in the kitchen. When I ignored you.
-When I ignored you.
-The most disgusting egomaniac answer to a question I didn’t even ask.
-You want the man to chase after you and I know that about you. What can I do to get you satisfied? How can I fix this? What? No.
-Pete, Pete, stop tough loving me! If only you knew. I don’t care about Paul McCartney or anything and it’s scaring me. I’m more alone than if I were alone. You don’t understand- I’ve seen through everything! And this is the first day of it. I’m mumbling Fuck the Beatles muddledly under my breath in my head, like a child crayoning all over the kitchen walls for cruel kicks. Fuck the Beatles.
-I’m not going to go along with this. I’m not going to go along with Fuck the Beatles.
-But if I could just explain it-
-But you didn’t.
-But I didn’t, and I don’t regret it. I regret coming here at all. I thought it would be self-sabotagey if I didn’t, but I’m thinking, now that I’ve made it this far- slam you, damn you, I’m a loud hot bubble made of soap. I think this all is actually so cool of me.
-Own your own home, Beatles Girl. The more pro-Beatles Beatles-related opinions you spew, the better I’ll like you.
-The less you like me, the better. I’m so super-guiltless right now. Hey, Juniper. I like your leather skirt.
-I know you’re being a bitch in your head when she admits it’s actually pleather and from H&M.
-Oh-ho-ho! Like, don’t I know it! Oooh, Girl- we’ve all been there. Girl, I’m trying.
-You’re getting a little drunker; warming up or cooling down. For a second I can see that you’re trying and it feels like, for a second, you may actually succeed. So while I was punishing you for failing I’m now rewarding you for being sweet, properly, how I like you this way. Sam, now you’re doing this the right way, see, the sentences you speak are so good just if you speak them, the way you said Eight hours of sleep… my never-ending dream, I’m perceptive and I could pick out the ellipse in your delivery. And that’s why I said what I said to you. That’s why I said You’re a writer. I knew how hard you were trying, so I was giving you a prize.
- I have always known what you are capable of. Out of all the people, I’m the one who’s most fiercely on your side. And now you’re rejecting me? In front of all the people? Boozehound! Sellout! But you know what really kills me? That we call The Beatles The White Album. Why is there a rule you have to call it that? That’s not what they named it. If I named something something, and then people called it something else, that would make me mad. From now on, when people say The White Album, I’m going to say “Oh, do you mean The Beatles?”
-I’m just a lad and a cad. I’m in my prime. I don’t want to squander my youth.
-I’ve already not squandered my youth, which is why I need to stop seeing you, ever. I no longer have to worry about whether I squandered my youth or not. I didn’t.
-We’re walking. We’re walking down the street. We’re walking to the Air Canada Centre, to go see Paul McCartney.
-You sold me out.
-I know. I sold you out while we were walking.
-Things started getting really bad while we were in the underground tunnel. The cars drove wicked fast, and I was all, I will not serve! Or was I, “Are they noticing?”? “What will they say when I am gone?” What? I don’t know, I guess.
You know what I am? You know what I’ve learned? Nothing means no one doesn’t love you. But what does it mean? If I don’t get to sit next to Pete, if Pete isn’t walking next to me. Am I fat? Why do these people do these things? They’re thinking about my face. Why does the way I walk mean something about their own lives? I have felt my face turn white enough times to know what colour my face is. The underside of all my skin is growing grass. It’s killing me. All this hoopla and chaotics and this giant poster of Paul McCartney on the side of the building and all the grasshoppers cheeping. Joe and Helen spliced on the escalator, and what did you do? Nothing; you’re just another nothing-doer. Clearly I pick the wrong guys. Like, why does every dude I ever date do the exact opposite of what I would like a dude to do? Because I pick the wrong dudes. You know nothing about me. I might pass out. This building is scary, the ceilings are too high. I pictured it as being outdoors but it’s indoors. The stairs are too steep and it’s possible I could die here, I bought a ticket, and then my ankle swerves and I fall ten thousand tiers down stairs steeper than a mountain, land dead at Paul McCartney’s feet and my neck broke, and that’s the story of how Paul McCartney found out about me: because I died in front of him. At the Paul McCartney concert.
-We’re not sitting next to each other.
-Paul releases a crazy-classy public statement speaking elegantly of how tragic my death was. She was a young writer, full of promise, who loved the Beatles. She had a Paul McCartney tattoo on her arm.
I want people to stop knowing “The Beatles” about me. I need “The Beatles” and “me” to stop being just one thing. No more Beatles, No Beatles. No Beatles Allowed! It’s so embarrassing. I don’t want to see Paul McCartney. I think I put too much pressure on myself to be too much greater than anyone really is. Really, people just tell you you are.
-What is happening to you? I don’t understand how this happened. Why did you leave? Was it because of me?
-I needed water.
-You’ll regret this.
-I called you.
-I think you should come back.
-I left my ticket.
-Where are you?
-I don’t want you to read this and believe that you mattered. I want you to know that it could have been anyone, you were just the one who happened. This device just happened. It was the clearest way to communicate the way I wanted it to be said.
-Just come back.
-I never saw Paul McCartney.
-You hung up on me.
-When I see myself leaving, I see myself in a different dress than the dress I wore. The vintage nightgown, with straps of pale cream ribbon coming down into a v-necked bow. The bow is fraying because it’s old. The dress is old and beautiful. It’s tiered twice and the tiers are curly ribbon. It’s such a pretty dress on me.
-I sat back in my chair and relaxed, like an old fat cat. Sam, you’re a bitch. You made it so weird for everybody. You made it impossible for us not to talk about you. We had a good time, but your absence was louder than the songs, and now you’re gone. I knew what you were doing.
You’ve made yourself a legend.
-I’ve made you a legend! You’re in a story!
-That day was golden. Sam, you were wrong.
-Everything of that day that was gold was counterfeit. Some people come into your life and don’t bring anything good. You’re a mean guy, Pete. You’re mean, and I agree that you should not have to help me deal with my problems, which are petty compared to your coldness. It must feel so awful! I hope you warm up one day.
-I woke up that next morning and I woke up to make ice cream and I made it. I never took her advice and, probably, I made ice cream for the rest of my life. Maybe I progressed a little, within the ice cream company- maybe I managed it. Every night I come home from work and smoke pot and occasionally I think about her, and I think-
“That girl’s nothing but a whole lot of trouble.”
-No, Pete, yours. Yes. I’m the exact amount of trouble that I’m worth.
Laura Jane Faulds is a Toronto-based writer of French-Moroccan descent. She is inspired by John Lennon, Brian Eno, apple bongs, sangria, the Muppet Babies, and the sky.