the return of dulcinea

ONE DAY, I stopped into Abbey Road Studios. McCartney was there, as usual. He likes to get in the studio before the rest of his bandmates. He was seated with Linda, and showing her the chords for a song he called, “Don’t Go Chasing Polar Bears.” It seemed odd to me that Linda was still alive and Paul looked so young, and then I realized that it was 1968 all around me. It was also kind of strange that he wouldn’t release that song for another dozen years on McCartney II. The more I looked at Linda though, the more confused I got. Because Linda suddenly looked like my mother, but just as my mother would have looked at that time. What was my mother doing with Paul McCartney in Abbey Road? I left the music studio and went back to my hotel and rode the elevator up to the fourth floor. This turned out to be the same building I had lived in as a freshman in college, Thurston Hall on F Street in Washington, DC. It was just as I had left it, filled with trash and roaming co-eds, like some kind of posh university version of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Dulcinea passed me in the hallway. She looked fine as always, with her straw-coloured hair, but she was chasing a small child, and I could see she was expecting more. “I have twins on the way,” Dulcinea said. She was wearing some kind of creamy Victorian dress, with a corset and full skirt. I felt excited and miserable seeing her all the same. “Well,” I said under my breath, “I hope you are happy now.” I found out later that Dulcinea had been having an affair with her history professor, and that her father had with great haste arrived to the university to shoot him with an old pistol. Dulcinea ran from the whole thing, and nobody knew where she had gone. Probably back to Spain. Later, I recounted the story to some friends at a café. Old Grace Slick herself was there sitting in the corner, listening to my tales of McCartney, Dulcinea, and murderous fathers, and started cackling to herself. “What’s so funny?” I asked the ancient Jefferson Airplane singer. “Life is funny,” she said. “Well, what else do you expect men like me to do,” I said, “when all of you girls are so damn beautiful.”

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