We headed down Chestnut Street to Mix. I love Mix. It’s just slightly outside of the Rittenhouse bubble. How can you not love a place that has a full bar and serves delicious reasonably priced brick oven pies? Sure Zavino is good down at 13th and Sansom, but I’m not going down there. Too crowded, and too expensive.
We get there and head to the back room. The front of the house looks like a regular pizza place, but you keep walking, and the back is a bar with tables. We grab a high top and look at the menus. It’s clear to me a great weight has been lifted from her shoulders. We order up and sip our beers.
Piping hot delicious pie comes out and all is right with the world.
“What’s better than pizza and beer?” She says, as we tap bottles and take a swig. “Free pizza and beer,” was my reply. She laughs and looks at me while taking a pull from her Corona. “Hey, how come you didn’t ‘Super Like’ me on Tinder?” She quips, smiling.
“What? I don’t ‘Super Like’ anybody.”
“Come on. You must have at least tried it once.”
“Don’t you only get a few of those? You can’t ‘Super Like’ everybody, or people would do it.”
“See? You know about it, so you must have done it at least once.”
“Okay. Maybe once. Now that you mention it, I may have ‘Super Liked’ somebody just to try it.”
“Do you remember who?”
“Maybe it was some really hot little Asian chick.”
“Oh, so you’re into Asian girls.”
“Who isn’t? They’re adorable and smart and nice.”
She laughs. “Did you ever date an Asian girl?”
“I did. When we first got to L.A. I did.”
“I thought you had a steady girlfriend out there?”
“I did. But it was before her. I was 19 years old. Back then the drinking age in New Jersey was 18 and I was legal, but in California it was 21 so I had to get my friend who was 21 to get all of our alcohol. So we were in a bar one night checking out some bands. He got the drinks and brought them to the table and I told him as thanks, I’d bring us some talent to the table.”
“Talent?” she inquired.
“You know what I mean. I went downstairs and met these two sisters. The Yukomatos. One was my buddy’s age and her little sister was my age. I told them we had a table upstairs and asked them to join us and they did. It was easy back then.
” So what happened? Did you guys sleep with the sisters? I think I like this story.”
“No. Well yes. My buddy slept with the older one eventually. I didn’t sleep with the little sister.”
“She was in love with this older guy that she was banging.”
“Really? I like her already.”
“Oh thanks a lot, you’re happy I didn’t get any loving.”
“No. Think about why I like her…” She gives me that grin and those eyes.
“Ohhh…” I am smiling now. “So how did it all end up?”
“My buddy would ask me to leave our apartment some nights so he could throttle big sister. I remember he used to put a sock on the door knob to let everybody know it was off-limits.”
“Oh my God, that is so college.”
” Well he went to college, I didn’t, so I guess he had a move.”
“You never tried to get baby sister into bed?”
“No, she liked making out with me and stuff, but not much else. Just dating stuff, like going to record stores.”
“So nothing ever?”
“Well, we fooled around some, but she used to like this thing where I stuck my tongue in her ear for periods of time. It used to really drive her nuts. I’ve never met anyone since then that was into that.”
“So her heart belonged to some older guy, huh?”
“Yep. I think she said he was in his thirties or early forties. At the time I just couldn’t understand that. I mean, she had this young, lean rock guitarist, lion cub right in front of her. Me with my long blonde mane of hair and all.”
“Yea, but you were young and inexperienced. Maybe she wanted a man.”
“Well at the time I didn’t understand why she would want that. I was right there.”
“Well, I’m sure he had things that you couldn’t provide.”
“Oh, you mean like expensive dinners, and jewelry and stuff like that?”
” No. Maybe she wanted a gentleman that would take her to the museum, not just to impress her, but could actually appreciate the art, and talk about it. Maybe he took her to the ballet and the symphony. You don’t know. I’m sure she was attracted to you cause you were cute, but maybe she loved him, and that’s why she reserved that part of herself only for him. You might have just been her boy toy.”
“Probably. But I enjoyed being with her because she was cute and nice. I hadn’t ever kissed an Asian girl. I like things that are new and different.”
“Do you see the correlation here?” She says inquisitively.
“I do, Rebecca.”
Were these girls smart?”
“Of course, they were Asian. Their parents worked in pharmaceuticals. They lived out in Washington Hills. That’s a nice area. I’m surprised somebody didn’t call the cops when my 1969 Volkswagen mini bus rolled up, and a German and an Irishman jumped out and went into the house. Their parents were away a lot. Palm Springs and Vegas mostly. They had an intercom in their house. I didn’t even know what that was.”
“Why would someone have that?”
“It was a big house. They had money. I would get on the intercom and pretend to be their father to scare my buddy when he was upstairs in the bedroom fooling around with big sister. I would be like; “Dude! We have to get out of here! Their parents are home! Then I would do an impression of an angry Asian man hollering over the intercom that he was going to kill the dirty Irishman that was deflowering his daughter with his samurai sword.”
Rebecca lost her shit right there. She was laughing so hard she choked on her pizza. It reminded me of when I used to do funny bits at the dinner table with my Mom and sisters. I would actually try to get them to spit out their food, or even better make them laugh so hard they passed something through their noses.
“Oh my God, that is crazy. You’re so funny!” she said.
I have heard that so many times before from women. I would say it is my gift, but it is just the way my mind works. Sometimes people mistake light heartedness as immaturity or simplicity, but they’re all wrong. To be truly funny you have to see the sadness and pain of the world. It’s all time and irony. A mind that can laugh at tragedy. One who can make light of things that are painful or embarrassing is an open mind. One who can laugh at himself. It’s like all great theater. Joy and tragedy. I was so happy to make lovely Rebecca laugh. I haven’t felt this kind of joy since my ex girlfriend Michelle, when we used to talk about everything. And I mean Everything.
Rebecca was ripping into her slices. Baby was happy. She seemed liberated from tonight’s heartbreaking tale. I love to see a lady eat. I hope I can cook for her one day.
“Okay, so what ultimately happened to the Hiroshima twins?”
“Well my buddy went back to Belfast to study law to become a barrister and I kept in touch a little bit with the sisters.”
“That was the end of it?”
“Well one night big sister calls me and says that there is some great band playing at Madam Wong’s East in Chinatown. So I go, and she and baby sister are there and the three of us are hanging out. I’m burning pretty clean that night because I’m driving. Now my buddy has been gone for months. Baby sister isn’t into me at all. I’m fine with that, she’s still with older guy. What if that dude was married the whole time and she’s just his side piece? That would be crazy, but I wouldn’t rule it out. So baby sister ends up leaving and I hang with older sister. She’s a great girl, and ex-girlfriend from one of my best friends in the world. We’re living it up and dancing, and having a great time at the show. I wish I remember who was playing. But if I can’t remember they couldn’t have been that great. I’m happy to be with her and then she tells me something. She says that when we initially met, she was really liking me. She wanted me but settled on my buddy when she saw I was into her hot younger sister. I ended up making out with her that night. There was some grabbing under the table but not much else. I wasn’t that into her but she was a sweet girl. I liked that fact that she was always into me though. We both had a great time and then she went home. I never saw either of them again.”
“It’s still a good story.”
“I guess. One of many. One of the more tame ones.”
“Well I was in a band.”
“Ok, rock star, but I still liked the idea that the younger sister was in love with the older gentleman. She knew what she liked.”
“Do you go on Tinder a lot?”
“Hardly ever now. I can’t really be bothered with it. It seems so superficial.” (Bold Faced Lie. I’m writing a dating blog!)
“Me either. I’m kinda done with it. You’ve been amazing tonite. Thank you so much for seeing me, and listening to all of my woes. I feel so much better. I’m glad I let it out. I hope you’re not freaked out by it. I know you didn’t ‘Super Like’ me on Tinder but I’m glad we met just the same.”
“Well for the record, you didn’t ‘Super Like’ me either.” I laughed to make light of this nonsense.
“I know it’s all so silly.”
“Well if it’s any consolation, Rebecca, I’m not afraid to say that I super like you now and hope I can see you again soon. Youre smart and beautiful and I’ve really enjoyed our time together. The museum was amazing because of you, and tonight has been wonderful. I’m just happy to be with you. There. Complete vulnerability, okay?”
“I know we didn’t do the Fringe Festival but I was just trying t think of stuff to do with you and then I went through my crap. Can we plan something soon?”
My heart is soaring. “Of course. Let’s text and or call. Whatever you want Rebecca. To be honest with you I dated an actress for a while and she liked all that Fringe stuff and I kind of hate it all. It’s fringe for a reason”
“I agree. Maybe we could go to the movies. I don’t care what we see. I trust you’ll pick and it’ll be good. I’m thinking buttery popcorn and candy.”
“I’ll find something good. Maybe I can email you a few previews and we can agree on something.”
“No. You pick. We’re both busy. We’ll make it work. Let’s do a Saturday matinée and then grab drinks afterward so we can chat about the film!”
How great is this? Did I rub a lamp and did this girl come out of it? We crushed most of the pie. She says how she’s going to be fat from eating so much pizza, but I assure she won’t gain any weight if none of her girlfriends see her do it, so it doesn’t count. Like eating Snickers bars or drinking alone. Oh, wait, that second one is something else.
The bill comes and there is some pie left and we ask for a box. I say to her how it’s funny that the first part of our second date was her story, and then part two was somehow a tale from my past. She says how she would like to hear more of my stories and is fascinated by life and different experiences. She says she would love to travel, but it’s expensive. I tell her I just got my passport for the first time. She says she likes to go to the seashore and I hold back that there is a shore house in my family a block and a half from the beach in North Wildwood. Too early. I like to play some great songs, but don’t play the hits too early. Let’s see where this is going. If it somehow progresses, I’d love to take her to the shore. Just to take a break from the city, and commune with nature by the sea. Oh, who am I kidding? It’ll look like a hooker hotel room in Jersey City in the heat of the night.
I insist on paying. Rebecca giggles and tells me I have to pay because her credit card may be maxed our from her last transaction. “Totally worth it.” She says. It’s late. She has to work tomorrow and save lives. I have to write about this. We walk outside and Philadelphia is surprisingly quiet for once. I’ve had a lovely time with this treasure. The night is clear and the buildings are familiar. I have been on this odyssey for the last ten years and all I can think of is ‘Here we go again’. But I love the euphoria of this moment. The exhilaration of new love. I know that’s what it is. No one has said it. She may not even know what it is. She has had a measure of the pain and searing anguish of love with Derrick, but here it is again. She seems interested in me and may not know what kind of animal she has caught in her snare. But I’m willing to be caught and ready to go.
“I’ve had a wonderful night with you.” She says, taking my hands in hers. She looks up at me. Her eyes are dark and full of light. I don’t question what is happening. “Thank you so much for your time tonight. I can’t thank you enough. I feel like you fixed me. I have been wearing armor my whole life and when I take it off I always get hurt. I feel like I’m safe when I’m with you.” She lifts her hands slowly and gently touches my cheeks and kisses me gently. Her kisses are soft and sincere.
That’s the difference.
There’s no faking that. Ever.
Stay tuned for The Return of Rebecca, Part 3 in Two Weeks!
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