JOHN and I are in our Dakota kitchen in the middle of the night. Three cats — Sasha, Micha and Charo — are looking up at John, who is making tea for us two.
Sasha is all white, Micha is all black. They are both gorgeous, classy Persian cats. Charo, on the other hand, is a mutt. John used to have a special love for Charo. “You’ve got a funny face, Charo!” he would say, and pat her.
“Yoko, Yoko, you’re supposed to first put the tea bags in, and then the hot water.” John took the role of the tea maker, for being English. So I gave up doing it.
It was nice to be up in the middle of the night, when there was no sound in the house, and sip the tea John would make. One night, however, John said: “I was talking to Aunt Mimi this afternoon and she says you are supposed to put the hot water in first. Then the tea bag. I could swear she taught me to put the tea bag in first, but ...”
“So all this time, we were doing it wrong?”
We both cracked up. That was in 1980. Neither of us knew that it was to be the last year of our life together.
This would have been the 70th birthday year for John if only he was here. But people are not questioning if he is here or not. They just love him and are keeping him alive with their love. I’ve received notes from people in all corners of the world letting me know that they were celebrating this year to thank John for having given us so much in his 40 short years on earth.
The most important gift we received from him was not words, but deeds. He believed in Truth, and had dared to speak up. We all knew that he upset certain powerful people with it. But that was John. He couldn’t have been any other way. If he were here now, I think he would still be shouting the truth. Without the truth, there would be no way to achieve world peace.
On this day, the day he was assassinated, what I remember is the night we both cracked up drinking tea.
They say teenagers laugh at the drop of a hat. Nowadays I see many teenagers sad and angry with each other. John and I were hardly teenagers. But my memory of us is that we were a couple who laughed.