Stalker, Scene 45, Give Peace a Chance

(Dear Reader, have you missed any earlier scenes? Catch up with this link: Stalker)

Fall 2009,  New York City

It’s a small canvas bag from New York’s St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. The bag, wrapped in plastic, behind glass, is the last item in the exhibit.

“Do you know what this is?” Ms. Ono asked. “When John passed away, the coroner’s office took all his clothes. And I was called in, and they just gave me back this brown paper bag. It was very hard for me, but I insisted on having this bag in the exhibition. I think it’s a very good lesson for people to know what violence means.”                                                                             Yoko Ono to Allan Kozinn, New York Times, 9 May 2009, regarding the exhibit,  John Lennon –the New York City Years

Where was Stalker?  He was on a bench, watching one of the videos.  Or, was he gazing at Lennon’s piano, at the cigarette burns?  He wasn’t beside me when I came to the end of the wall, and saw the bag.  Lennon’s last clothes.  The bloodied eyeglasses.  The tribute by Yoko.  Her saying that this bag was all she was left with.  At the end, all they could give her was this bag.  The irony, I thought.  Lennon, the legend, reduced to humble remains.  How could it happen?  The rest of the exhibit was his life; but here, finally, I felt his death.

We are so small and vulnerable.  Even the richness of a soul like Lennon’s, the depth and complexity of a bond such as John and Yoko’s — even their bigness could not surmount the smallness of the body, the shortness of our existence. 

Picturing Yoko, left with just the bloodied remains, I cried.  I stood in front of the glass and the bag and her message against violence and I pictured her left behind and trying to be brave — she knows everyone hates her, deep down, they resent her! — and my tears flowed and then I felt the sobs come.  How many people were in this room, watching the video screens with the movies, the home movies, the tenderest moments made public (isn’t that what an artist does?), giving homage to the piano as though John’s spirit still banged at its keys?  A large room, crowded room.  It was okay with me — I’m a public crier — I cry without shame, anywhere, anytime — but I feared Stalker would be embarrassed by me.  I walked to a corner and cried into the wall. 

Give Peace a Chance

Stalker found me.  Looked at me with a question.  Silently I led him by hand to the last exhibit.  I pointed to the bag.  I could not say anything; I tried but nothing came out.  He saw my tears.  He eyes said he felt for me.  For his hero.  He took me in his arms.  I cried into his shirt, the shoulder of his black shirt.  “My Yoko,” he whispered.

My tears were for his bag.  I feared one day, I would be left with his bloodied clothes.    I knew that one day, the hospital would be bagging his clothes.  His glasses. 

“My Yoko,” he whispered.  He took my hand and led me out of there.  But I was forever Yoko.

 . . . to be continued

Also — Stalker, the Soundtrack

Also — Answers to readers’ questions about Stalker

© Barbara E. Berger, 2011, all rights reserved. “Stalker” is a work of fiction.


About B. E. Berger

Making life better by sharing stories and pictures.
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4 Responses to Stalker, Scene 45, Give Peace a Chance

  1. Layla97 says:

    I was immediately brought back in time when I read the first few sentences. It was over 30 some odd years ago when we were driving a friend home to Yonkers on the Bronx River Parkway. There was a 10 car accident that December. We were car number 7 in the pile-up…not so lucky seven. We managed not to hit anyone on the iced highway but skidded sideways so that we were facing broadside. The next 3 cars that hit totally demolished the car–the windshield, the dash board was gone…no where to turn off the ignition. My young husband slumped over into my lap, I felt some blood run down my chin from the glass that shattered. He died within 5 minutes. Twenty eight people involved in the accident—one person died. It was in car number seven.
    At the hospital they stitched me and sedated me…called in our families….I was handed his ring, his wallet and his coat while my parents carried me out in the cold. Earlier that evening there was another human being, warm and alive. Now I was left with those three things.
    Today and most everyday when I look in the mirror to brush my teeth or hair I see a small scar above the left side of my upper lip. Everyone else claims not to see it and I believe them. But I see it every day and it reminds me of how my life was transformed and I would forever see the world with different eyes. This post was heart wrenching but reminds us to cherish every moment.

    • B. E. Berger says:

      Oh, Layla. My heart goes out to you. I have chills reading your post. You have expressed an experience that is beyond words. Please know I carry your story in my heart from now on.
      Cherish every moment. Every one. Together. Peace.

      • Layla97 says:

        Thank you for the heart-felt words. I was compelled to write because although I can’t say I know how Yoko felt like that night I can say I know the experience and some of the emotions are shared.

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