As promised, Cherie and I coordinated a Saturday to spend some time together on Saturday. If you’ve been following this series you’ll know we both have very busy schedules.
Normally if there’s been a long gap of time where we haven’t seen each other, Cherie gets a little withdrawn. It’s a coping mechanism to protect her heart.
But I saw her a few weeks ago, and sent her a lovely bouquet of flowers for Valentine’s Day last week. So she seemed very happy about that.
Around 1pm she texts me that she’s parking her car at 16th and Fitzwater. I tell her I’ll start walking towards her.
It’s a rainy day so I take my umbrella. I round the corner on 16th street and head south. I walk about a block when I see her. She looks great as usual and I’m happy to see her and her big blue umbrella.
We walk together and chat. We get to my street and she asks, “What are we doing?”
“I’m taking you out to brunch.”
“Okay. Because I have to go to the bathroom.”
“No worries. A few blocks up here is the Sofitel Hotel. Best bathrooms in the city.”
“I don’t need to go any place fancy, I just need to go when we get to the restaurant.”
She seems quiet and guarded.
“Are you okay?”
“Yea, fine. My stomach’s been bothering me. The usual stuff. I’ll be alright.”
Maybe that’s why she’s being quiet. She drove all the way down here and she’s not feeling 100%.
“Are the flowers I sent you still alive?”
“Oh, they came and looked like they were already dying.”
“Yea, they were looking wilted.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t want you to be upset.”
“Aww honey, I’m sorry. I had no idea.”
“Well, I contacted Pro Flowers and told them what happened and they brought me a new bouquet last Tuesday.”
“Oh. Great work. They were better?”
“Not much. But it was the thought and what you wrote in the card to me that made me so happy, not the flowers.”
“I may call and discuss this with them. Thanks for telling me, dear.”
We get to Marathon at 16th and Sansom and we look in the door and it’s packed. We head over to Square 1682 on 17th St. Not crowded.
The hostess takes us to a nice table for two by the window. Perfect.
I’m doing my nervous talking thing and Cherie is just being kind of quiet. I try not to say anything to crazy or sexual, because even though Cherie is a very sexual woman, she feels it’s improper to discuss bedroom activities in public.
I respect that. But sometimes because I love her I get worked up and something inappropriate slips out. She’s roll her eyes and just says, “Stop!”
She’s not angry, but she doesn’t like it. So I try to keep things light and focused.
Our server comes by. A very sweet ginger kid who I’ve never seen before. He pours us some waters and I chat with him.
“This is where we first met. Honey, do you mind if I tell the story?”
Cherie smiles and waves me on.
“It was a day like today. Rainy. She was 40 minutes late. But… She drove all the way down from Pottstown, doesn’t know the city, and struggled to find parking. Keto the chef held brunch out for me and extra 10 minutes, and she made it! We walked around the Square and shared an umbrella. So romantic. Then I took her to Barnes and Noble across the street and we had coffee. It was a lovely first date, and now here we are a year and 4 months later still going strong.”
She has the salmon salad. (Exact same thing on our first date!) I went with the fluffy French toast.
Lunch was great and I think she was feeling a bit better because she was eating something healthy. She still didn’t seem herself. I thought about because of the rain and the umbrella we didn’t embrace or even kiss when we saw each other today. Something’s off. Maybe it’s just her health and stress.
We’re near the end of our meal when the waiter, (Brian) returns with two flutes of champagne. I guess my story really touched him. I’m surprised and delighted. We toast and both take a sip. It’s all about the clink. Cherie is not really a drinker and has to drive back to Pottstown later. So a sip is all she really takes. I don’t mind. I’m just happy to be here sort of celebrating our 16 month anniversary at the first place we ever met.
I pay the bill and thank Brian and we head back to the apartment. Cherie is still quiet and guarded. It’s okay. She’s suffering from stress, and stomach disorders beyond my control.
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