So she fires up the car after some more kissing and off we go to Dave and Buster’s. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a big arcade down on the waterfront. It’s got a big restaurant area, a section with a bar, a billiard room, and in the back, this giant area with all sort of games where you can do just about anything. But you can also win a bunch of tickets and then turn them in for shitty prizes. The place is great for families and couples because there is tons of stuff to do and everybody loves it. We powered up our cards with points and went to town. She did really good on some games and I got 500 points on the Wheel of Fortune game.
I think our favorite game there, hands down was Jurassic Park. I love dinosaurs and all things Jurassic Park. Cherie loves games where we can team up and just shoot the shit out of stuff with automatic weapons. It was glorious. I read somewhere recently that if you do something exciting on a date, they will associate you with excitement. Bear this in mind. We are getting lost in the game, taking out raptors and T-Rex’s right and left. We kept re-upping with our cards, to keep the game going. We did this several times because we were having so much fun, until we realized that a couple of little boys were waiting to play. We hopped out and turned our weapons over to them! We both agreed we could have sat in that booth all day destroying Jurassic Park and it’s inhabitants all afternoon if we had the time and money.
We had earned a bunch of points but we were really there just for the fun, and never redeemed them for any of the junk they had in their little prize shop in the back. Maybe next time if we need a couple of plastic spiders or teddy bears or decoder rings.
So after two hours of games, we headed to the parking garage to fetch the car. At this point Cherie has been with me for over 4 hours. I check with her to see how she’s with time and all, and she’s fine. Being from Pottstown, She doesn’t know the city like I do, so I’m her co-pilot and navigator. We’re heading west on Spring Garden, and I have her throw a left on 19th street. I figure that’ll bring us right down into center city and we can get some sort of dinner. We get to Vine, and there’s a detour. Okay, I get it. Lot’s of construction going on in Philly. City is growing. That’s a good thing.
So now we’re heading west again. But we can’t turn left again anywhere. The Police have more streets blocked off. We get out to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and everything is still blocked off. There’s some sort of event going on out front of the PMA. Lots of people and little white tents. If Cherie had been on her own she would have been totally lost. We kept heading west unable to turn left and head back. I suggested we turn right and go north. We drove up a winding street out in Fairmount and I had her turn right on Poplar. That’s how far North we were.
Although we were basically driving around for an hour, I liked that Cherie described it as a road trip. I told her if she just stayed on Poplar and kept going, we’d get back to center city. We chatted about different things, work, school, family, etc. At some point I told her my ripped pants story. She laughed and asked where the hole had been in the other pants. We had been a little frisky earlier and there had been some suggestive flirty talk so things had changed a lot since 1:30 this afternoon.
I told her about this guy I used to know who always thought about things mathematically. So if you went on a date and you were out for say, 2 hours, that was just a date. But if it was longer, like say over 4 hours he would count that as 2 dates. Make sense? It did to him. She says, so technically we’re no longer on our 3rd date we’re on like our 5th. I laugh and say yes, according to my friend.
She goes, “show me where they were ripped.”
We stop at a light and I take her hand, and slowly raise my left leg and place her hand there under my crotch. I know this is an extremely forward move, but it was playful and I think she really wanted to touch me. So I say, “right there.” She says, “okay” and rubs the spot gently. The light turns green and she has to focus on driving. We laugh about the whole silly hole thing. We basically spent the next 20 minutes looking for parking. Maybe it was a half hour. But instead of it being stressful and annoying like you would think it would be, it was a lively road trip as she called it. We were just enjoying each others company and were having a good time. Cherie is so patient and laid back. It’s wonderful.
It’s dark now, and we finally find a spot for the Saab down at 23rd and Christiansen. She’s like, “are we really far away from everything? Because I don’t know the city.” I exclaim, “After that trip, I don’t even know where I live anymore!” We laugh and smooch and get out of the car. I ask her if she’s hungry and she says yes. We’re walking north on 23rd street now. I see this guy walking carrying a pizza box. I tell her that whenever I see that it always makes me smile, want pizza, and maybe follow him. I ask her if she could go for some piping hot delicious pie. She says she can and I tell her I know just the place. They do brick oven and they even have a bar there.
We go into Mix Pizza at 21st and Chestnut. I’m a big fan of this place. She doesn’t want any weird kind of pizza even though they can make you any combination of sin you want on your oven baked pie. She’s so easy to get along with. We order an 18″ half pepperoni, half plain. My favorite. She gets a root beer and I get a diet coke. I look at the cocktail menu. She asks me if I want a drink and I tell her I don’t. I just don’t feel like drinking. Little does she know, she’s the drug I am currently on.
I ask her if she’s ever had anchovies and she says they’re nasty. I agree. I go on to tell her this story about this girl I used to go out with when I was in California in the early eighties with my band. She loved anchovies. So we would order a pizza and her half would be anchovies and mine would be plain. But the horrible rub was this. The pizza is hot in the box when you get it. That nasty, salty anchovy juice would bleed over into two of MY slices. So technically she was getting 6 slices and I was getting only 2 slices of what I liked. It was gross. But I loved her so it didn’t really matter. She asked a little more about her. I told her I was 19 at the time and she was 18, and that I had met her through a girl I worked with at this restaurant. I also told her I relieved her of her virginity. I didn’t mention that she was black. She was my first black girlfriend. I don’t know why, but things are still new and I just didn’t want to get her gears turning that maybe black women are a fetish or a thing that I jump into once every decade or so. I know, it doesn’t make sense, but I have to be careful with this lady’s heart.
The pizza comes and we tear into it. It’s delicious. She picks up her slice and starts eating it but it’s hot. I tell her to be careful that the hot cheese doesn’t slide off and slam into her chin, burning her beyond recognition. We laugh about it. I of course am eating mine with a knife and fork. Cherie’s amused about this but says she likes that I am such a neat eater. Most men devour and attack food. I carefully dissect my food and then consume it. She doesn’t care and compliments me on being so sweet and such a gentleman. It’s nice to be appreciated. At the end of the meal we still have 4 slices left. When I go to Mix and I’m really hungry, I normally get the 12′ pie. I can crush that thing. I figured there were two of us and I didn’t know how much she would eat. But we’re basically done. I ask the guy to wrap it up. He says it’s still good for later. I agree.
I pay the bill and head back to the car, which is far away but it’s a nice clear night. I’m carrying this big pizza box as we walk south on 21st street. I have suddenly become the man I see on the street that I want to follow. I’m the guy with the pizza. I ask her if she wants to take it home and she says not really. I’m not really a leftovers guy, and don’t feel like carrying this huge box anymore. I want to hold hands with Cherie.
We get to 21st and Sansom and I tell her I want to make a quick stop. She’s fine with it. Just like she’s fine with everything. I may have never met a woman who is this easy-going in my entire life. I hang a left on Sansom. I tell her how much I like Sansom street. It’s just this little narrow street between Chestnut and Walnut but it has so many different cool places on it. The Ritz movie theater, Helium Comedy Club, performance spaces, bars, restaurants, record shops, a comic book store, a gay porn place, I mean everything. I should do a chapter about a tour that I take and go to every place on Sansom in a day.
We get to 19th street and walk past Cavanaugh’s bar. There’s an alcove that appears to be a loading dock for the back of maybe Boyds department store on Chestnut. There’s usually a few homeless people getting some shelter in there. I see a man, in ragged clothes with a pile of his stuff. He’s not one of these street grifter types we have here in Philly. This man is really homeless. I cross the street, with baby in tow, and approach him with the box in front of me. “Did somebody order a pizza, half pepperoni?” I say, offering the box to him. His eyes light up, and a smile appears on his weathered visage. He takes the box and thanks me. “You’re welcome. God bless you.” I say as we walk away. I look back and he is tearing into the pizza.
“You’re a good guy.” she says, rubbing my back with her hand. I smile and say, “Movies, arcade games, road trip, pizza, and feed the homeless? I’d say this has been an epic date.” Cherie agrees. We walk hand in hand all the way back to the car.
I know I’m writing about my personal life and the experiences I’m having with women in my life here in the City of Brotherly Love, but I’m not one to kiss and tell. I’m trying to keep this story classy. It was late. Somewhere around 10pm. We made out in the car for a bit. The radio never came on once. Not even when we were on our road trip. We were just enjoying our time together. A friend of mine had asked me recently that when I went on these dates with these women, did I miss them after the date was over? Was there a longing for them. I flatly told him, I sort of enjoyed my time with them, but for the most part I was relieved it was over. I could go back to the batcave, have a drink and a cig and get back to my quiet life. But this girl was different. It’s like we didn’t want the night to end. We would have just sat in her car and made out like a couple of teenagers. There was a point in the night when she just had that dreamy look in her eyes. I could see it and I know I had it too. That feeling is magic and hard to find at my age. But it was late, and she had to drive back to Pottstown. I wanted to be considerate of her time too. She drove me back to Rittenhouse and we said our good nights. More kisses.
We decided that because of our busy schedule this week we couldn’t do a lunch. But we did nail it down for next Saturday. So this is moving forward. I asked that she please text me when she got home to let me know that she arrived safely. She promised she would. I got out of her car, and went into my building.
Wow. That was a 10 hour date. May be a record this early in the game. Feels like a match.
I went into my apartment and turned on some lights. I went back downstairs, and she was gone. I stood on my stoop and lit a cigarette. It tasted glorious. I just wanted to be out in the fresh air and pull on that cig, basking in the afterglow of a perfect day with a lovely charming, woman. I’m having real feelings for this girl. Will it last? Who knows. I’m just going to enjoy this and let the universe unfold as it should. If it works out will she want to get married and have kids, and then it will end like the last three?
Probably. But for now, love is in the air and I breathe it in deeply, and blow it out in a cloud of smoke into the autumn evening.
P.S. I did get that text from Cherie and hour later and she was safe and sound. We agreed the day was epic and amazing. I wished her only sweet dreams that night. Maybe I would dream of her too.
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