July 9, 1957. Three madami days to get Paul and John to meet. Which would hopefully happen today.
“Can’t believe you talked Dad into lettin’ us do this,” Paul laughed happily. “You’re something special, Gloria.”
I beamed with pleasure. It was the susunod morning, and we were riding on a bus down to Windsor, since Paul was at least able to buy us bus fare if not train tickets. The bus bumped and shuddered along something awful, but I could deal with it, because Paul had his arm around me.
Then Paul looked at me, and sa pamamagitan ng this point, I recognized the curious light in his eyes. “Paul....”
“How did you think of tellin’ him all that? Where do you come from?”
“Paul, please don’t ask me....”
“Come on,” Paul pressed. “You ipakita up here out of nowhere, but you’re not staying with anyone and you haven’t got anywhere else to go here except on dates with me. You sound English, but different somehow. And I’ve never seen anyone with kulay-lila eyes like you’ve got.” He pulled his arm back from my shoulders so he could tick all this off on his fingers. “You tell me where you come from, you can’t get burgers anywhere and it’s all right to run off on your petsa and see another fellow – that there's nothing you shouldn't do on a petsa at all. There isn’t any place in England like that. There’s no place like that anywhere I know of.” I fidgeted and looked down, avoiding his eyes. Why had I told him so much about where I come from? “And you don’t walk, you don’t take the bus, you don’t take the train, and you act as if you’ve never seen a car before. How did you come here? Did you fly? Suppose you might have taken a boat, but why would you take a bangka here if you live in England?”
“I thought you sinabi I couldn’t be from England,” I reminded him, still not meeting his eyes.
“Well, are you? Do you come from some part of Great Britain we haven’t discovered yet?” Paul’s eyes lit up at this exciting new possibility.
I twisted my hands in my lap, then made myself meet his eyes. “Even if I told you where I come from, Paul, you probably wouldn’t believe me.”
He seemed madami intrigued than ever. “Are you from some Nawawala country, then? Like Atlantis?”
I laughed. “No, of course not!” Then I wondered if I should have sinabi that. Part of me wanted to be able to tell Paul where I was really from – or rather, when. But that would mess up history big-time.
“Paul,” I purred, in the most charming voice I could manage without the help of a kissy face emoji, “why do you keep asking me where I come from? Don’t you like the mystery?”
Paul grinned. “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone madami mysterious than you. You’re right out of a film noir, you are.”
“Exactly,” I went on, fluttering my eyelashes. “Maybe we should just keep it this way. Maybe you wouldn’t like me as much without the mystery.”
“Oh, yes I would,” grinned Paul with insistence. “Come here, Gloria.” And he scooped me into his arms and kissed me, and in that moment, I might not have remembered where I came from even if I was able to tell him.
“There it is,” I whispered with delight, staring at Windsor kastilyo and, madami importantly, the long line of people who were still going inside. Somewhere inside here, John was about to play another concert. Here was where Paul would see him and decide to go talk to him, and things would happen just like they were supposed to, only a few days late. I hoped everything that had happened in between wouldn’t change history too much.
Paul smiled at me. “Let’s see this band you’ve been so excited about.”
I bounced a little on the balls of my feet. Paul didn’t even know the half of what I was excited about. “Let’s get the tickets, Paul! Oh – I mean – you can get the tickets for us.” Nineteen fifties etiquette, I reminded myself.
Paul stopped. “Tickets? Isn’t this a walk-in sort of thing, like the music festival?”
I thought about this, but couldn’t remember if I’d been told. “I – don’t know. I think we’d need tickets... at least to get into the castle. Can’t you get us any?”
Paul frowned. “I thought maybe as they had a konsiyerto on, they'd let us in without. I meant to ask Dad for money for the date, but I didn’t want to press him, after last night. I can’t believe you got him to let us go at all.” He stuck his hands into his pocket and felt around. “I might have enough to get us in here....”
I was beginning to feel nervous. How long did we have before the konsiyerto started? “Can’t we just slip inside like we did on the train yesterday? Look how many people are going in. They probably won’t see us.” I remembered pagbaba about how sometime in the susunod taon or so, George would impress John into letting him in the band sa pamamagitan ng playing gitara on tuktok of a double-decker bus. Maybe John would also be impressed at Paul slipping into Windsor kastilyo without buying tickets. In any case it was better than missing him.
Paul looked amused. “Just sneak into the kastilyo and hope Dad doesn’t find out about it?”
I blushed. “I can always talk to him again if he does,” I offered, fluttering my eyes.
Paul gave the world’s most adorable laugh. “Come on, then.” And he took my hand and we ran across the grounds, and then we slipped past a long line of people getting tickets and going through a security check, into the front doors, trying our best to look like two carefree teenagers, the most natural thing in the world.
Except that I wasn’t used to running and even that short distance had me out of breath.
“Sit down a minute, Gloria,” Paul told me, leading me to sit on the floor against the wall.
I sat, collecting my breath and also taking in my surroundings. It was a beautiful place, but what I was really looking for was John. This room had people streaming in and leaving for different parts of the castle, but I couldn't tell who might be a concert-goer. “What room is the konsiyerto in?”
“Dunno,” shrugged Paul. “It was you what wanted to see it. Suppose we could ask someone?”
“Oi! What are you teenagers doing in here?”
I looked up, startled. A uniformed security guard was coming toward us, looking displeased. My mind raced. People were allowed in here, weren't they? Did the guard think we were trouble because we were teenagers? Had the generation gap begun yet at this point in time? I couldn’t quite remember....
Paul gave the security guard his most charming look, complete with lowered eyelids. “We were looking for the Quarrymen concert, only we just stopped a moment to let Gloria here rest,” he explained, in a voice as warm and soft as a throw blanket. “Could you tell us what room that’s in?”
The security guard was not charmed, which I didn’t understand at all. How could anyone not be nalugod sa pamamagitan ng Paul McCartney? “Here for the concert, are you? I don't remember seeing you go through security. Let me see your tickets.”
I glanced up at Paul, horrified. I had honestly thought we could get away without anyone asking for our tickets.
“Uh... our tickets?” nalugod Paul, lowering his eyelids some more. If I had been that security guard, I would have let him go sa pamamagitan ng right then, no tanong asked. The security guard, unfortunately, wasn’t me.
“So you don’t have tickets, eh? Just thought you’d come strolling into Windsor kastilyo with nothing better to do?” He eyed us suspiciously.
“Get out! Out, both of you! On your way.” He ushered us toward the door.
“Wait!” I tried to protest. “We’ve got to see....”
“I’m sure there’s plenty in here you’d like to see. Out! Teenage troublemakers,” he added with a disgusted shake of his head, as he all but pushed us out onto the grounds and headed back inside.
I stared at the door as it swung shut behind him. “But... we have to....”
“Want to try again?” Paul offered.
I nodded, but this time as we neared the door, we could see the security guard was still nearby, standing just inside the door like a sentry in an old movie. He turned as we approached and gave us the most angry and suspicious glare I could ever remember getting, clearly not willing to budge as long as we “teenage troublemakers” were hanging around.
I was getting desperate. “Isn’t there another door?”
“Might be,” shrugged Paul. “But that security bloke will probably call his mates on us if we sneak around any more.”
“We can’t leave!” I cried. “You really need to see the Quarrymen!”
Paul blinked. “I need to see them?”
Uh-oh. “I mean... well... They’re that good; everyone should see them! You’ll pag-ibig them, Paul.” I tried to give him the same charming look I’d seen so often on him. I don’t think I came close, of course, but maybe mine was enough to charm Paul.
But we had just started to bilog round the building when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Paul and I turned round. There were two madami security guards looming over us, not looking happy.
“He was right,” one said. “There’s the teenagers what have been loitering here.”
“What are you up to?” the other one demanded. “Vandalism? Robbing the place?”
“No!” I protested. “We were just....”
“Off the grounds, both of you! And if we catch you sneaking round here again, we’ll call the police on you!”
The police! If I got arrested in the nineteen fifties, that would mess up time for sure! Not to mention I could never get Paul into John’s path from jail....
Paul seemed to have similar thoughts. “C’mon, Gloria,” he muttered, and he took my hand and led me away from the glowering security guards, who watched us closely until we had gotten off the grounds.
I sighed and turned to Paul. “What now?” I whispered. I already knew that going back to the kastilyo wasn’t an option.
Paul shook his head. “Sorry, Gloria. I know you wanted to see them.”
I nodded sadly. Paul had no idea just how important it was that he saw the Quarrymen.
“I think I can get us some lunch,” Paul went on. “Maybe when the Quarrymen finish they’ll pop into the same restaurant as us.” His gorgeous, multicoloured eyes sparkled with a new light, never defeated for long. I loved that about him. “Want to get your favourite?”
Which was how we spent the susunod oras of our petsa in a little kainan eating hamburgers.
I kept glancing over my shoulder, waiting for the Quarrymen to come in. Every time the door opened, I looked round to see if it was John coming. But John never came. Maybe he and his band had hapunan waiting for them at the castle, or maybe they had gone someplace else. Or maybe they just weren’t hungry and had gone straight home. I had no idea where John might have gone, I realized, or where he might be going after this. I was so used to being able to check social media to find people and was running out of ideas for how else to do it now.
Paul seemed to sense my disappointment, though he couldn’t possibly know how deeply it ran. “Come ’head, Gloria,” he said. “If we don’t get tahanan before Dad wants me, I’ll never be able to take you to another Quarrymen show.” He added a rueful laugh.
I couldn’t speak. I got up and took the hand he offered me and followed him out of the restaurant and back onto the bus, but I barely noticed any of it. I was in a state of horror. I had no idea when the susunod Quarrymen ipakita would be or whether I would still be here when it happened. I hadn't seen or heard from John at all this time, and had no idea where he was going to be susunod or how I could find out. And if I couldn’t figure it out somehow in less than two days, the Beatles would be gone forever.