The Lennon Room

Leave a comment

March 5, 2013 by The Citron Review

by Joan Dempsey

 

The three things that meant the most to him are dead now: John Lennon, his wife Ellie, and the throat cancer he conquered six months back. Ellie’s funeral was just yesterday, and today he’s sitting in the Lennon room of their house, wondering what to do next.

Almost everything in the Lennon room was a gift from Ellie. On their second date she had presented the first piece, a ticket stub from a Beatles’ concert she’d gone to in New York. I’m going to marry her, he’d thought then, and two years later he had. By their fourth date he’d matted and framed and hung the ticket, lone witness to their first frantic lovemaking, which took two minutes of shoving against his desk. Now the desk is undisturbed, its surface papered over with portraits of Lennon pressed under glass.

The ticket stub has long been lost amidst the hubbub of his walls. He looks around and wonders suddenly if Ellie ever got tired of John Lennon. She never said and he never thought to ask. During his long battle with cancer, she’d brought him something almost every week, leaving it just outside the door: a vintage album cover, a signed poster, an original New York Times announcing Lennon’s death. It was the best thing he’d ever done, the project of framing and hanging, and he’d holed up in that room for far too long, right on through to the front page headline in their local paper: Albany Man Beats Back Cancer. He’d become a local celebrity because of his fight. People on the street recognized him from the newspaper photograph, a strapping man, ropey arms thrust up in defiance, each hand gripping the neck of a guitar. He’d framed that one, too. But then he was cancer-free, once again ordinary. He stayed off the streets, holed up in the Lennon room. After a while, Ellie had arranged for a hand-written note from Yoko Ono.

Today the crowded walls are too much for him. He closes the door on Lennon. Still holding the cold knob, he stands in the dark hall, waits for his eyes to adjust, and wanders into the empty house. For the first time he understands just how hard it must have been to get that note from Yoko Ono. He moves from room to room and, with mounting dread, searches for evidence of what he’s begun to suspect he won’t find: something cherished not by him, but by Ellie.

 

Joan Dempsey is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles, and in 2012 she was awarded a significant research grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation for work on Prelude: A Novel. Her work has appeared in The Adirondack Review, Alligator Juniper, Obsidian: Literature of the African Diaspora and heard on National Public Radio. She lives in Maine, and is currently at work on her second novel.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

🍋10th Anniversary

Fall 2019 IssueSeptember 23rd, 2019
66 days to go.

🍋 Instagram

We love inventive flash fiction at The Citron Review. Today's highlight is "Knitting." https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/knitting/ Carla Scarano D'Antonio obtained her Degree of Master of Arts in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. She self-published a poetry pamphlet, A Winding Road, and is working on a PhD on Margaret Atwood at University of Reading. She also contributes as a reviewer for The Blue Nib, London Grip, Write Out Loud, South and The /temz/ Review. #amreading #thecitronreview #summerissue #knittingstories #flashfiction
Our Creative Nonfiction Editor and playwright, Nathan Robert Elliott will have an actors' reading of his new play in Montréal at the Bibliothèque publique de Westmount Public Library on July 27 at 1:30pm.
We have some happy news to share! The Citron Review contributor Amye Archer has joined our Creative Nonfiction editorial team. Let's welcome her! Amye Archer - Author of Fat Girl, Skinny: A Memoir, and is the co-editor of If I Don't Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings. (Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2019). She holds an MFA from Wilkes University. Amye's work has been published in Scary Mommy, Longreads, Feminine Collective, Brevity, Marie Claire, and more. Amye is mom to twin daughters and wife to Tim. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania. Follow her at @amyearcher https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/one-week/ #briefliterature #cheerstotenyears #amreading #TheCitronReview #creativenonfiction
We're pleased to highlight creative nonfiction from Julie Watson. "Odds Are" is now available in our Summer Issue. https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/odds-are/ #amreading #flashcnf #summerissue #cheersto10years
Anita Goveas, @raspberrybakewell, has fiction featured in our Summer Issue. https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/coverings/ #amreading #flashfiction #summerissue #cheersto10years
New Flash Fiction from Mary Grimm, who has published a novel, Left to Themselves and a collection of stories, Stealing Time (which are both on Random House). She teaches fiction writing at Case Western Reserve University. https://citronreview.com/…/…/21/the-dream-of-her-long-dying/ #TheCitronReview #SummerIssue #Summer2019 #flashfiction #cheersto10years

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: