How to Survive All Seven Stages of a Brutal Breakup

How to Survive All Seven Stages of a Brutal Breakup

 

Everybody loves the 1962 classic “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” but singer/songrwriter Neil Sedaka didn’t get the story entirely correct. Breaking up isn’t just hard to do. It’s freaking torture. And almost everyone roaming the earth has gone through the seven stages of a nasty breakup at least once in their life.

But if you’re finding it difficult to bounce back from a breakup, go easy on yourself. Just like losing a loved one or a beloved pet, breakups bring up deep, deep emotions that can include grief. This is totally normal, and you need to give yourself plenty of time to grieve to really get over this hump. Knowing what to expect in each stage of the breakup recovery process can make it easier to ask for help from friends and family when it’s needed — and may remind you to be gentle with yourself.

And actually turns out that there is science behind why going through a breakup is so tough. In 2016, Stanford psychologists discovered that you are more likely to take a breakup harder if you internalize it, seeing the rejection as a reflection of your potentially flawed personality. In five studies conducted on 891 participants, people who felt their personality was fixed without the room for growth or change held on to a relationship rejection for much longer.

It’s hard not to feel the sting after a relationship ends, and it’s even harder not to take it personally. But understanding that it is possible to make it through and even see changes in yourself on the other side can make the grief gauntlet more manageable. Taking the time to heal can help, but if you find yourself stuck in anxiety, anger or depression following a breakup, it’s important to seek professional help. Sometimes, the perspective of an outside professional is just what we need to point us in a new, healthier direction

How to Survive All Seven Stages of a Brutal Breakup

 

Breakup recovery is a process, and as you’re putting the pieces of your life back together, you may have experienced one or more of these breakup stages by now:

 

1. Shock: “What the hell just happened?”

Shock is the body’s natural protection against pain. And when your relationship first ends, you just might not want to deal with what’s coming next. It may be too scary, too lonely, too confusing. A state of disbelief could last minutes, weeks or even months and likely lasts longer if you are on the receiving end of an unexpected breakup. Don’t be surprised if you feel a sense of blurriness about the actual breakup scene, a literal loss of breath, or trouble sleeping.

Do/Do not:

Do prescribe yourself calming cures like meditation or long walks.

Do not freak out. You will make sense of all of this!

 

2. Denial: “This is so not happening.”

Denial is rejection of reality and a storage of feelings. The thinking is that, if you don’t accept the heartbreak, then it didn’t really happen, thus leaving hope for reunion. During this stage of a breakup it is common to call, email or even Facebook-stalk — anything that feels remotely “normal” about the relationship — in an effort to put dealing with the heartbreak on hold.

Do/Do not:

Do open up to a journal or trusted friend to begin unleashing fears, identifying unreasonable thoughts and more.

Do not minimize the situation. Pretending your breakup doesn’t have to be dealt with will lead to emotional numbness and leave you stuck.

 

3. Isolation: “I just want to sit in this all by myself.”

Once you’ve recognized the breakup, you get into the dirty work: Dealing with the dissolution of the relationship. You may replay the relationship over and over in your mind, trying to pinpoint where it fell apart and how it could have been saved. Your thoughts may feel very scattered and disorganized. This stage of grief has you in withdrawal; you don’t even feel like updating your Facebook status or checking your voicemails. You may draw your blinds and not even want to leave the house. Sitting in silence, darkness or a pint of ice cream feels better than going outside and admitting to the world that, yes, it’s over.

Do/Do not:

Do take regular showers and create reasons to face the day (work, social activities).

Do not indulge in self-pity by letting irrational thoughts like “No one will ever love me again” take over.

4. Anger: “I hate you for breaking my heart!”

In this stage, your heart goes from sad to raging mad. It becomes fueled with anger towards your ex for whatever his part in the breakup was, and/or toward yourself for your part. During this stage of breakup, you may find yourself burning pictures of him, holding his stuff hostage, slandering him to his friends or worse. If you are angry with yourself, you may do a lot of self-talk — regretful thoughts and angry conversation with yourself. The deeper desire here is often to place blame.

Do/Do not:

Do feel, write or talk about your anger.

Do not act on it.

 

5. Bargaining: “What will it take to get him back?”

Sometimes involving prayers, this stage is often about getting your ex back, but other times, it is about absolving your own guilt if you did something wrong that caused the breakup. Desperate to negotiate with yourself or your ex, you may go to extreme measures to make deals or become something else (thinner, less jealous, etc.) to make amends — when in truth, it is just about making the current pain go away.

Do/Do not:

Do create a self-love list complete with what makes you happy and things you want for your future.

Do not include wanting your ex back in the above list!

 

6. Depression: “I will never get over him.”

You realize the magnitude of your loss in this stage of grief, and it can feel all too overwhelming. You may wind up in a state of deep sadness that can even resemble mild depression. At this point, recalling what your life was like prior to your relationship or what it could be like now can be hard. Just getting out of bed feels difficult, and you may even feel physical aches and pains perpetuated by deep feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and sadness.

Do/Do not:

Do surround yourself with positive people and lots of sunshine.

Do not fall victim to unhealthy behaviors such as binge eating or drinking.

 

7. Acceptance: “I understand why I was with him, why I’m not now, and that I will be better than just OK.”

The acceptance stage of a breakup makes all the other really tough ones worth it. This is the one that finally gives you that welcome sense of exhalation. You come to realize what the past meant and what the future can hold. The sun begins to shine, and you begin to feel like yourself again, ready to move onward and upward.

Do/Do not:

Do celebrate getting through your breakup.

Do not be surprised if you still feel moments of sadness from time to time; it’s normal. Just keep on your positive path!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

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Annabelle – Epilogue

“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

It was about 6 months later until I saw her again. I was working for a local publication, and my boss asked if I’d check on their booth at an event in University City. It was on a Saturday in the spring of 2015. They would normally have a booth set up at some sponsored events, and they’d have a couple of interns man it.

Since I was new no one would recognize me there, so I could see that the magazines were displayed and the swag was out, and that the interns were doing their jobs.

I met with my friend Carla for a few drinks that evening at The Continental bar in midtown. Now that I think about it, I had spent the day with Kylie, (See: Kylie – Broken Wing) and had to ditch her to go meet up with my good friend Carla.

We had a couple of drinks and wound up chatting with a couple of gals we would meet up with later. After about an hour we hopped in an UBER and headed out to University City. We got there and when you live in Rittenhouse in center city, going out to University City is like going to a different planet.

I was expecting a straight up festival, with beer and food, but all that was out there was a bunch of families, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cart and a big stage set up. Oh, and our little booth off to the side.

Carla and I were clearly disappointed. We thought we’d be chugging free drinks and stuffing our heads with chow. We go over to the booth and check it out. I chat with the interns and everything seems to be in order.

The show starts and it’s some sort of musical number.

“Carla. I need to get out of here now.”

“This thing sucks. I agree. But it seems like something’s bothering you.”

“See that girl right there? The one on the left in the show.”

“Yea.”

“That’s Annabelle. My ex-girlfriend.”

“Oh the girl who was standing over there before, staring at you since the minute you got here?”

“She was?”

“I didn’t even see her. How did you…?

“Women can sense these things.”

“Let’s go.”

The next time was  a month or so later when I went to a beer garden that was my account at the publication. They invited me down to their place of business for some free drinks. I can’t pass that up.

So I get there and have a few drinks at the bar, and who the hell comes out to entertain everybody?

Yep. Same musical troupe, and there’s Annabelle. I watched the show a little bit, but it was so awful, I had to get out of there. Their stuff is so silly it’s absurd. I think the only reason the troupe exists is so the lead guy can run around in public in a fucking dress.

It was killing me to see her and I needed closure. I texted her and said I wanted to meet up and chat. We set it up and I met her at a bar in Northern Liberties. (Which I hate)

I had one before she arrived. She gets there and we go to a table and sit down. She orders a drink and said her stomach has been bothering her. She says it’s from all of the junk food she’s been eating down at the beer garden where her troupe has been performing all month. I think she’s full of shit. She always pulls health issues or headaches to get out of stuff.

I begin to recount all of the stuff she did after she broke up with me, and how much it hurt me, and how adults don’t do that to each other. I told her how much that hurt me for months, having her rip open the sutures that were trying to heal in my wounded heart.

She said she was sorry she hurt me, but really didn’t show any real emotion. I believe simply because she isn’t capable of it. When you don’t know who you are, where you’re going, or what you want in life, how can you possibly know what anyone else around you is feeling? Annabelle only sees what she wants. She hasn’t a clue that her selfish actions can really hurt a person that is close with her.

She told me that she had moved, and was going to buy some shitty house but her parents told her they didn’t want her living in that neighborhood, so they bought her a nice house in a better part of town. I suppose since they’re rich and she’s the only one of their kids that’s a financial failure, they felt they had to step in. So she lives on the first floor, she has taken in a roommate who lives on the 2nd floor and uses the basement for her photography stuff.

She has the roommate because she obviously can’t afford the mortgage. Who has roommates in their thirties?

“I don’t really have to work that hard anymore or make a lot of money. Because I don’t have the bills I used to have.”

(Yea, because your parents bought you a fucking house.)

She left after the one drink and I walked her outside and she got on her bike.

“You’ll have to see my house.” she said as she rode off.

No thanks, I thought to myself.

Well, so much for closure.

Her apology was hollow.

About a year later this woman I know who works in the arts hit me up at the publication I worked for at the time. Trixie wanted some love from our magazine to promote a little art performance she had written. I asked her if there was any budget to advertise and of course she said no. These “artists” never have two shillings to rub together.

So I talk to my editor and since we support the arts, she said she’d be happy to write a little piece about it and put it in our events calendar.

I called Trixie and told her that the piece would run for the two weeks before the event. So it would be in our magazine twice. She was very happy and thanked me for the free support/advertising.

So on opening night of the show I decided to check out what I had promoted for the last two weeks. I like Trixie and I decided to take my good friend, Carly (See: Carly – 2013 to Present – The Mad Baker)

Carly always comes through for me in the clutch. She’s one of my favorite people in Philadelphia.

We plowed some vodka before the show in case it sucked. We hop in an UBER and head down to the show. We get there. It’s some little installation in South Philly. We go in and there are only maybe between and 20 or 30 people there. We grab a pair of wines (Box wine!) and head into the show.

It starts with some woman doing some sort of weird slow dance on the floor. I don’t get it. Then they have us all head upstairs for the 2nd part of the “performance.”

I have the sudden realization that it is a two woman show starring Trixie and of all the fucking people on the Earth… Annabelle.

I’m an artist. I’ve been an artist my whole life. Started drawing as a child. Art major in school. Won art shows, and drew comics. I have sold my art work and even had it stolen. So my shit must have been good. I taught myself how to play guitar. I started out as a singer in the choir and then a lead singer in my first band. Then guitarist in my 2nd and 3rd bands. Philly, Jersey and LA. I’m a writer and a huge film guy. I love all kinds of music from Sinatra to Slayer and everything in between. I love the ballet, the orchestra, the arts in general. So I have a pretty good idea what is good art and what is absolute shit.

What I witnessed that evening may as well have fallen out of a dog’s ass and hit the pavement in a steaming pile of awfulness.

It didn’t make sense. It was poorly written. Horribly acted. Trixie has a great ass though. That’s all I can say. She looked hot. Annabelle was like a scientist in the beginning and then changed into a bird of some kind. It made no sense at all. Annabelle literally wrapped in saran wrap with feathers covering her sort of non nipples and hippie bush. It was a revolting mess.

I’m grateful that I had the lovely opportunity of plying myself with alcohol before the “show.” (more like, abortion)

After that massacre, Annabelle came right up to us and I told her it was really good. It was either that or just simply throw up on her in disgust.

I introduced her to Carly and I’m sure she thought Carly was my main squeeze. Oh, by the way, Carly looked amazing. Black Versace cocktail dress, black sheer hose and black pumps. She looked smoking hot.

Annabelle told us she was going to have to get out of the polyurethane feather nightmare that she was wearing and would chat some more. We told her great job and we’d be downstairs sipping free boxed wine.

We went downstairs and grabbed more wine and went outside to smoke.

“What do we do?”

It was starting to rain.

“We get the fuck out of here. Trixie ambushed you and got free advertising for her shitty show that no one went to see. We’re going.”

I hit the UBER app and we were back in Rittenhouse in 15 minutes.

This is an entirely different epilogue that Michelle’s (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) This is all I have to wrap up the tattered mess that was my short nine month relationship with Annabelle.

In hindsight, should I have ever gotten involved with Annabelle? No. She was too young, and too naive about herself or even the world. It was an absolute mismatch. I once made a list when it was over of all of the thing I liked and didn’t like about Annabelle.

On the GOOD list there were only 3 things. Youth, sex, and nice to be with when we were together just doing things. (ie: dates, museums, dinners, etc.)

Just think. Two of the 3 things she almost had no control over.

The BAD list had over 15 things that I didn’t like about her on it. That my friend, is a strong indicator that it was an absolute mismatch and maybe she was just with me due to her distant daddy issues and I was a novelty to her. A new toy. The latest shiny thing that had attracted her attention like a squirrel.

I remember she told me she once slept walked and went into the bathroom and cut her bangs off. When I met her that second time at that shitty bar where she worked I thought her hair looked a little weird. She had to go to a hairdresser to try to fix that mess. I think it may have something to do with stress.

One time she slept walked and got scissors and cut up a dress that she was supposed to wear to some event for her sister. This chick has real issues or maybe even a real mental disorder. When I look at my relationship with her now, I can’t even believe I stuck around as long as I did. I should have cut her loose way earlier than when it ended. I should have seen the crazy. But you know, I did. I just put up with it because I loved her.

I didn’t love her. That just sounds nice. That’s why people put up with shit. No. People put up with shit because their minds are clouded with society’s norms. If you can take a step back, (Most men can’t. Actually most people can’t) you’d see that you’re in a relationship with someone who is absolutely not right for you. I know some idiots that are doing this right now!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter. But you can think about your mistakes with people. You can talk to your friends and family about your mistakes, but when you take the time to actually WRITE them down, you see the truth. The truth “that your own rod licks you the hardest.”

My mother used to say that, and it’s so true. Think of all the fucked up shit that has happened to you in your life. The bad stuff. You did that. You were probably the architect of that madness. You made that. You at least helped. You brought that nightmare into your life.

It’s okay. I’m not here to hurt anybody. I just want you to think. “Doing the same thing over and over and thinking you’re going to get a different result is madness.”

I’ve done that. We all have. I have to evolve up and out from this relationship. I will. I will never get mixed up aith a girl like Annabelle ever again. I’d rather die alone than go through something like that with such a mixed up emotionally bankrupt, lost soul like Annabelle.

You gotta cut your losses and go.

Everybody’s different and we all go through our own shit in our own way. You can tell your friend that he should leave his cheating wife who hasn’t fucked him in two years but he has to exit that burning building in his own way. All the while wasting years of living he should be enjoying and not going to fucking meetings and therapists.

Drop the clutch and GO!

It’s like telling someone they should get in better shape.

You try to change your own mind and body.

That shit’s hard. How are you going to change another person?

You can’t. They have to do it their own way in their own time.

Anyway. No more artists or failed actresses. I just can’t.

Annabelle was texting after the show and thanking me profusely for my support. Sadly, she seemed so scared and unsure of herself. I guess now that I was standing outside the gates of Annabelle Asylum, I had a different perspective. I could see clearly she was just another lost soul of the arts community here in our fair city

I had some great dinners and some decent sex with her so there’s that. But I would erase it all if I could have the opportunity to never have met Annabelle. But I’m wrong in my thinking. I had to meet her. I had to experience this so I could learn more about myself. I’m still on the journey to find real and genuine love in this city.

But now based on these experiences I’ve had I now have a clearer idea of what that should look like. I have learned much.

And for that I am grateful and I continue to evolve and grow as a man.

That show was the last time I ever saw Annabelle.

But last year on my birthday, she messaged me on Facebook.

“Happy Birthday, Charles, I hope your life is going well.”

I waited a day and thanked her and wished her a happy birthday too. (Hers is July and mine is August 9, both Leos)

 

That was the last I ever spoke to her. I’ve never seen or heard from her again. (Thank goodness!)

 

Will I ever find a girl who is a good match for me in this city that will stick around?

 

My heart is always open, and we’ll have to see what happens. Thanks to you all of my readers. We’ll get there together!

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Michelle – Chapter 14 – Paradise Lost

“Well it looks like you’re not going to marry me or give me kids so…”

It’s Sunday night. I’m checking in with all of my readers and that’s when I final edit all of my blogs for the week.

This is when it’s do or die on this forum.

Michelle has been my best work because I adore her, and our story has been so fun.

We’re approchaing the end but it’s not really the end. I know we have both enjoyed the ride, but the ride has to end.

But It’s never over. (Jeff Buckley)

As my beloved Jeff Buckley once said, “She’s the tear that hangs inside my soul forever.”

I have lived long enough that a Michelle in you’re your life never ends. She can go away but you never forget who she was. Neither does your sisters. They all have met her at the amazing holiday parties and adore her. My beloved brother in laws love her for how amazingly hot she is.

It doesn’t matter. Michelle belongs to herself and she is her own, and as much as a man I am, she is and always will be a woman that stands alone.

Let’s begin this chapter…

I’m sitting at a dark bar in Rittenhouse. A vodka martini, straight up with a twist rests on the marble bar in front of me. I tap the ash off my cigarette into the crystal tray. A beautiful tall blonde glides into the bar. She sits besides me and orders the same. We chat. She laughs. I take her home. We make love. It’s beyond wonderful.

I love her.

I will always love her.

I open my eyes and stare at the ceiling as the dream fades from my mind like a wraith.

Michelle and I had been living together for about a year and a half.

We had some good times and some not so good times. This is a dating blog, so I will protect those still in my life, so I will let the network executives at Netflix shred my life accordingly when phicklephilly becomes a series.  But I will always protect Michelle. Anyway … every relationship is like that. We had settled into what every couple eventually becomes. You go to work. She goes to work. You come home, eat, watch TV, and go to bed. She’s a light sleeper. I snore and get sent to another room. Repeat.

Domesticity.

Sometimes we’d have a few words, but it normally only happened when we’d been drinking and there would be some sort of misunderstanding. It would all be forgiven and forgotten the next day. No big deal. I can honestly say I’ve never been really angry with Michelle. I know what real rage looks like. I have an ex-wife for that.

Michelle and I were always lovey. She would come to me in the morning and say, “Did we have ‘maddy mads?’ and I would always say no because I knew it was just a drunken misunderstanding over how I some how won scattergories

One day I was sitting on the loveseat just chilling out in the living room. I think it was a Saturday.

Michelle enters the room.

“We need to talk?”

Can everyone in the entire world agree, that that statement never leads to a fun conversation?

I don’t remember what words were used to explain why she needed to talk to me, but I do remember this part:

“It doesn’t look like you’re going to marry me and give me kids, so I’m going to move out.”

That was it. She dumped me. I don’t know what questions I asked her, and it doesn’t matter now. But I do remember saying to her that I would make it easy for her to go. I wouldn’t be an asshole or be mean about anything.

It didn’t take long. She got her brother and his friends to come and move her stuff out.

It’s eerie when someone you love leaves you.

There is a carving void.

I walked back to the bedroom after they cleared out all of her stuff.

The bedroom was empty. I guess I forgot that the bed was hers. There othing left but a cracked window.

Funny thing was, she only moved two blocks away into a third story walk up. Things were quiet for a while, but I think we both just missed each others company. I don’t remember how much time passed, but we eventually met up on Chestnut street for a drink.

Then we started having brunch together every other weekend. Back then, Lorelei had not yet broken free from the clutches of her mother, and still lived with her. So the weekends when Lorelei wasn’t with me, Michelle and I hung out. We didn’t have any random hookups. We were better friends than lovers. I really believe that. Technically, we only were a couple for two years. 2008 to 2010, but we were drinking buddies and pals for the other five of those. Michelle would still take me to her corporate party every year. Hell, I took her to my family’s annual Christmas party for a couple of years after we split.

We got it right. But we got it too right. We set the bar so high when we began, and there was such mad euphoria, we just couldn’t sustain it. You can’t live like that forever. No rock band has ever been able to do it, why would we be able to? We tried to make house with each other because we loved each other but our dynamic destroyed that. We are meant to love. Clean and clear but impaired by wine and fun. Every supernova burns bright. When a star goes supernova it burns so bright across the sky. Super bright. But what happens after that? It burns out. No one can burn that bright forever. My father always said, “Stars will shine.”

But even stars die.

It isn’t something you plan to be or who you want to be, it just happens. Two people meet and something happens and it’s just electric. What fucks it up is social norms. One of you is old and one of you is young. The passion is there and there is a commonality. You have one thing in common. A common attraction, and somehow it works if the man is a gentleman. If he listens to her. If he understands her plight. If he truly loves her and let’s her know she is safe for the first time in her life. The most beautiful bird he has ever seen, has been controlled by fools and caged and pushed, instead of letting her do what she is best at; Fly. Emerge from your egg. Fly beautiful bird, fly! Most men aren’t secure enough in themselves to let all of their birds fly. I’m a dad. My lovely little dove Lorelei is going to fly high soon.

Hopefully I’ve been a decent father.

I’m not saying any of this for a pat on the back. I don’t give a shit. I just want to live a simple uncluttered life. But I know the truth about some things. I know Michelle felt safe enough to love me and safe enough to leave and pursue her life goals. Right or wrong doesn’t matter. There are things she wants and she should have them. Life is longer than you think. I want her to discover it all. I always described her as the “Emerging Michelle”

She has cracked through the shell of her understanding, and her wings are dry. She needs to find her way, and fly free.

Michelle will always be my high-flying bird.

 

She always said: “I have so much fun with you, that when the day is over, I wish we could do it all again.”

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Church – 2013 to Present -Seizure Salad

I’m sitting in my go to bar with Church. It’s our spot and it’s what we do. He’s sipping a Sailor Jerry and Coke, and I’m having my usual Chardonnay with a side of ice. He orders a salad and I go with the sliders. There is a couple a few seats down from me to my right. I know the guy, his name is Brian, but I don’t know the lady he’s with so I wave but don’t approach. He could be working.

On the left of Church, is a brunette in her thirties and an older gentleman. Looks like a lawyer. We don’t really pay any attention. We’re chatting and doing our thing.

Daphne rolls behind the bar and says hello. She tells me it’s a slow night. Not much happening. She goes back to her hostess stand and it’s just another night in paradise.

Suddenly, the woman who was sitting to Church’s left, goes off the bar stool and hits the floor. Normally, I’d call that Thursday night.  We see so many banged up people around the city losing their shit. But this woman was having a seizure. People within visual range are shocked and the bar goes quiet.

I point to the phone on the wall, because the bartender on duty didn’t see one of her patrons suddenly vanish from the bar. “Liz, call 911.”

She starts dialing. Church, with his cat-like reflexes, springs into action and goes from sitting next to me sipping a drink to all the way around the other side of her on the floor holding her head to keep her steady. I get down there and untangle her leg from the lower rail of his bar stool. I have the legs. Church is focuses on the poor woman’s head. She’s thrashing about, and Church is barking commands to those around him. He’s literally single-handedly coordinating the effort to help save this poor woman, and keeping her from injuring herself further.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Church was formerly a Corpsmen in the United States Navy.

A Corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships, and as the primary medical caregivers for sailors while underway. Hospital corpsmen are frequently the only medical caregiver available in many fleet or Marine units on extended deployment. In addition, hospital corpsmen perform duties as assistants in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury and assist health care professionals in providing medical care to sailors and their families.

They may function as clinical or specialty technicians, medical administrative personnel and health care providers at medical treatment facilities. They also serve as battlefield corpsmen with the Marine Corps, rendering emergency medical treatment to include initial treatment in a combat environment. Qualified hospital corpsmen may be assigned the responsibility of independent duty aboard ships and submarines; Fleet Marine Service, SEAL and Seabee units, and at isolated duty stations where no medical officer is available.

Yea, pretty bad ass. That’s the guy you want next to you when somebody takes a header at your favorite bar.

She’s making what almost sounds like barking sounds, and staring wildly about. He’s got a good hold on her. He’s talking to her. But mostly he’s trying to keep her from bashing her face into the wooden wall of the bar. The bartender comes around, and some others have gathered. I grab a cloth napkin and ask if we need to put it in her mouth. I always heard that epileptics could bite or swallow their own tongues. Church says, no. He knows what he’s doing and has the situation well under control.

She seems to be calming down. I look over at the guy who was with her. He’s just standing there staring, and looking uncomfortable. The paramedics come and stabilize her. I feel so bad for her. It’s the holidays, and she’s out for a drinks and this horror befalls her. They get her onto the gurney and roll her out. The police are there and also ask some questions. Church is on point, he gives law enforcement the full report.

They also speak to the guy she came in with. He says he doesn’t know her very well. He met her over at DelFrisco’s steakhouse, and then brought her over here for a drink. That’s a big lawyer hang out. Not my scene. This guy didn’t do anything to help or comfort her when she had the seizure, and he didn’t go to the hospital with her. I don’t care if you just picked up the chick in a bar. Lady falls down, you go to the damn hospital with her. I’m thinking that weasel was married and didn’t want any problems. How would he explain to his wife that he was at the hospital with some other woman? I may be wrong, but I got the vibe something was definitely shady about that guy.

We go back to our seats at the bar and have another drink. Church is pissed because somebody was telling him to turn her head when she was foaming at the mouth and that’s not what you’re supposed to do. Me, I was just glad the lady was okay.

Daphne came over to chat and get a recap. I tell her what I know, and tease her.”You had to say it was a slow night and that nothing was happening, and look what you did, Daph…”

“I know, right? Me and my big mouth.”

Indeed…

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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Rebecca – Chapter 4 – Cypress and the Oak

Another tale of one man’s journey through the dating scene in Philadelphia, searching for true love.

It had been a while since I had heard from Rebecca. She certainly made an amazing impression upon me on our first date. It didn’t make sense that she “ghosted” me after our very first meeting. It felt like it had been a couple of months, and all I heard was the deafening sound of crickets. I did text her twice in that time to meet up for a drink and just never heard back. This has happened before. I know this other little hottie that is always saying she wants to meet me for drink, but can never pull it together.

But then out of the blue she texted me. “Sooo sorry for being off the grid. Can we meet up for a drink soon?” I told her I could do Monday or Wednesday. She picked Monday. I liked that because it was sooner. I asked her if she had any preference. She said for me to pick the place. I wanted somewhere that was nice, but not some place where we’d stick out like a sore thumb. I had a few days to figure it out. I have to come up with a place where they knew me, but I’d have some privacy. I decide to meet her at 1 Tippling Place at 6:30 the next Monday. “Great! I always wanted to check that place out!” was her reply.

1 Tippling Place is a really cool, living room style cocktail bar. It’s located at 20th and Chestnut streets. The outside is really nondescript. Just a glass and steel door, next to a large window. If you blinked or sneezed while walking by you’d miss it. But inside there is all kinds of neat comfy furniture and coffee tables. The artwork is eclectic and the room as a whole is nicely appointed with interesting artifacts. The cocktails are first-rate. They really don’t serve any food. I mean they have some little hors d’oeuvre, but that’s about it. You go there for the quality drinks and the atmosphere. I also enjoy the snarky attitude of the lead bartender. When you first meet him you think he might be gay. Then in walks his smoking hot girlfriend. It’s one of my favorite bars in the city because it’s an original that has real character.

I arrive early. I always like to get to a place early to scope out the scene and get the lay of the land. I chat with the owner. She’s awesome. Normally she’s in and out during the day, and then leaves around 7pm. We’re pretty tight. I’ve even walked her home on occasion. I normally don’t order off the cocktail menu. I just tell the bartender that I want something dark and spirit forward. They make it and I drink it. It’s always good. I will say that the place is a little expensive. Most of the drinks cost between $12 and $14.

I look at my watch. 6:20. Hope she isn’t late.

Hope she shows up.

Five minutes later the door opens. It was like one of those moments in those 80’s teen comedies, when everything moves in slow motion and they play some cool song. Rebecca enters the bar. I take a deep breath. Her dark hair is up, which always looks so sexy on the right woman. Her ripe lips an exquisite pout. She is wearing a burgundy cocktail dress. It comes to mid-thigh. She is wearing black sheer stockings and elegant black high heels. She looks amazing. I’m blinking my eyes trying to focus on this vision.

I immediately stand to greet her. She hugs me, and I am more intoxicated by her beauty and lovely fragrance than any cocktail that could be crafted at this bar. “Rebecca,” is all I could say. “Shall we get a table?” she replies. I nod, and guide her to a quiet table in the corner so we can chat. “You look lovely. I feel under dressed ” I say. “Well I haven’t seen you in a while and I like to dress up.” she responds.

We order a round of drinks. I have my usual dark power, and she goes with something equally strong. Interesting. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe she likes a heady drink or maybe she needs a bit of courage. We chat about what we’ve been up to and she’s telling me about work, and some of the challenges she obviously faces in the medical industry. Then she says, “I suppose you’re wondering why you haven’t heard back from me in a while, and I am sorry about that.” I tell her it’s okay and I’m just happy that she is here tonight.

“Remember how I told you that I went out with that man who was older than me and I didn’t feel any chemistry after four dates?” “Didn’t that guy get married? He didn’t try to…?” “No…no. Nothing like that. I just wanted to preface what I was about to tell you, that it doesn’t feel that way with you.” she says. Now I’m getting a little worried and a little confused. “Do you mean you do feel chemistry with me or you don’t?” I ask, feeling a slight searing heat in my heart. This could go be a short date.  She smiles and takes my hand. “I do like you. It feels different just being around you. You’re not like anybody else I know.” I visually sigh in relief and she reads my expression. I need to be cool. “Don’t worry, I’ve thought a lot about where my life is and it sometimes can be confusing.” I reassure her that whatever she is concerned about I understand, and will listen.

Women don’t want men to solve their problems. Men are all about solutions. They like to fix things. Women are more about their feelings. That’s why men define themselves on what they do, and women define themselves on who they know. The way to a woman’s heart is really quite simple. Don’t tell her what she should do, or how she should do. Just listen. I’m just happy at that moment that I am the one who is present to listen to whatever it is she needs to get off her chest.  I just hope she can’t hear my heart beating.

Rebecca takes a sip from her drink, not breaking her gaze with me. Looking into me with those brilliant emeralds. “Two years ago I met this guy on Tinder named Derrick. He was around my age. As you know guys my age basically suck for the most part. They don’t know what they want or who they are yet. But he ‘Super Liked’ me on Tinder. And… I did the same on his profile so I thought it was kismet. I know now I only did that because he was really cute and not much else. Isn’t that why most people swipe right for the most part anyway?”

“I suppose. But I’d like to think that some of us are more thoughtful when it comes to matters of the heart.” I reply. (Bold faced lie.) She seemed smart in her profile, but I know I swiped right because she was smoking hot.

“I know right?” she exclaims. “Thank you! But I guess I was dumb and just being superficial. So we exchanged numbers. It all happened so fast. We met up, and it was fun. He seemed kind of full of himself and his band. But he was good really good-looking. He invited me to come out and see his band play and we’d hang out after their set. So I get dressed up and go to the bar where their playing. Derrick was the lead singer. I was kind of hoping he’d take me on a proper date, but I thought that would happen after we got to know each other. I suppose it’s not a bad way to meet someone for the first time. You’re in a bar surrounded with people so it’s not like you’re meeting a stranger in some isolated place. I also prepared myself for the fact that he was the singer in the band and usually they are surrounded by willing girls. I mean, you told me you used to play guitar in a band in L.A. Weren’t you always around a bunch of girls?”

“Sure. There were a lot of girls and guys at our shows. We played hard rock, so our audience skewed more male than female. But I had a steady girlfriend at the time. I was committed to my relationship with her.” (Bold faced lie)

“Well you’re one of the rare ones.” (I wonder if she can see the devil horns sticking out of my head?) Anyway, so I’m at the their show. I didn’t want to go to a bar alone, so I took my roommate Amber with me. We had an agreement that if things went well with Derrick she’d either hook up with someone there or UBER it home. I mean it wasn’t a real date so I don’t think there was anything wrong with bringing my friend with me as backup.”

“What kind of music did they play?” I ask, hoping to get insight about the boy through his musical tastes.

“It wasn’t emo, but it sort of sounded like that. I guess it was more post hardcore.”

This guy already sounds like a douche, I thought. She takes another sip and this time her eyes are down. I can see this is hard for her. “Okay. Please go on. I’m listening.”

“So they end their set and we’re hanging out. Me, my friend Amber, Derrick, and his lead guitarist, Simon. We’re drinking and laughing and having a good time. We’re at this table all the way off to the back. I’m sitting next to Derrick and Amber is across from me with Simon in a booth. Amber likes to party. Simon is ordering shots and beers and we’re all getting pretty buzzed. I feel like I’m really liking Derrick. He’s going about how important the music is and all of that stuff, but I don’t care I just think he’s hot. Next thing I know Amber is all over Simon. I look at Derrick and he’s on me. We’re just making out like crazy. Normally I’m not like that but I think it was the drinking that made it easy. Plus I wanted him cause he was so good-looking. It was fun.”

At this point I’m wondering where all of this is going. We order another round.

“So we decide we want to go someplace else. We leave the bar and start walking. Simon pulls out a couple of joints and we’re all smoking. Just smoking weed walking down the street. We didn’t care. We’re all giggling and Derrick has his arm around me. We end up some really dark bar. I don’t even remember where it was. We’re drinking and we’re all pretty messed up. The place is full of people. We’re in the back. Derrick is like, Do you ever go skiing? and I’m like, yea, I have been but I’m not that great at it, but I have good balance. Then he pulls out this little bag with white powder in it. I assume it’s cocaine. I go, Oh… skiing. I had never done coke before, but I know Amber has and she says it’s great. So they look around all paranoid and shit, and literally start spooning it out. Derrick does a hit and then offers me a bump. I just do it. I don’t know why. Amber’s like, “gimme some!” Then she and Simon do some. I couldn’t believe it. Doing coke in a bar? It felt cold in my nose, and I could feel this clear euphoria. It almost felt sobering to do it. But different. Higher. Intense. I can see why people love it so much. You were in a band in California. You must have done it right?”

“I saw what drugs did to my peers. I was more of a beer and whiskey guy. I smoked weed occasionally but never really liked it. A little drugs an alcohol can loosen the mind to create, but I knew people who did loads of drugs and it literally sledgehammered their talent and destroyed them. So no. I steered clear of coke.” (White lie) Get it?

“Oh well that’s good. But anyway, I know I’ve been blabbing on about this. Long story short, these guys come back to our place and we end up fooling around with them. It was crazy. I guess we were all just caught up in the moment. I think we stayed up most of the night. Well, Derrick and I ended up being boyfriend and girlfriend after that. It felt like he really loved me. I loved him.” She takes a sip and a deep breath, looking off into the distance, as if trying to visualize a faded past. An image that vanished in her rearview mirror long ago.

“What happened?” I say, concerned.

“We went out for about a year. It was intense. We moved in with each other. Amber had gone off to school anyway so it was perfect timing. Things were great at first. But they always are in the beginning. We always did things together and went places together and partied together like a really great couple. I know he was focused on his music and really wanting to make it. But there were a lot of times when he wasn’t around. Times I wouldn’t hear from him and couldn’t get in touch with him. A girl starts to wonder what’s going on. I even started spying on him. Going to places they were playing. He wouldn’t see me, but I wanted to know what he was up to. I wanted to trust him, but you know when you get that weird feeling in your gut that something’s wrong. Well, his behavior had become more and more erratic. I know he was doing drugs but I just wasn’t into it like he was. We just weren’t connecting like we did in the beginning. Like maybe he was just tired of me.”

“Sometimes he would even get really mad about things that didn’t make any sense. Well, one night I followed him after he left me to do a show, and I saw him making out with this redhead at a bar. He wasn’t even playing with his band that night.  She was like all emo or whatever with tattoos and shit. I was devastated. I just jumped on the train and went home.”

“I’m sorry I’m telling you all of this.”

I could see that her eyes were wet with the beginnings of tears. “It’s okay. You can tell me. I’m here.” I took her dainty hands in mine. She sniffed and nodded, holding back the tears.

“That night he had the gall to come home and try to do it with me. I pushed him away. He got all mad at me and I told him what I saw. He denied it at first, but I told him I followed him and saw him. He got really mad and started throwing stuff around. He broke this little snow globe he gave me in the beginning. At that moment I didn’t even care about the globe. He had already broken something far more precious than that stupid thing.”

Okay, now I was getting upset. “My God, Rebecca. I’m so sorry.” Tears rolled down her cheeks. She took a healthy sip of her drink. I wiped the tears from her face with my thumb. She hugged me. “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s not your fault, Rebecca. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

She sniffed and I offered her a cocktail napkin. (Note to self: Start carrying a clean handkerchief in your lapel pocket.) She wiped her face, and her nose. ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

My bartender showed up at the table. “Is everything okay?” he asked. “Yes…yes. She’s just suffering a loss.” I replied. “I’ll bring you another round, yes?” I glance at her. “She smiles and blinking her eyes, nods in affirmation. He quickly returned. “These are on me guys.”

My man at Tippling is always on point.

“Okay, so that was over a year ago, right?”

“Yes. He took his stuff and left me. I was crushed. Destroyed. I cried for months. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I drank so I could get some sleep. When I would wake up in the morning, I’d  just go to the bathroom and dry heave over the sink.”

I could see she was struggling. “So did something happen recently?”

Heavy sigh. “Yes. He reached out to me on social media. I had blocked him from Facebook and in my phone, but I was on Instagram and he got to me that way. I had a panic attack when I saw his name.”

“Let me guess. This happened sometime after you and I went to the Museum.”

“Yea. I know it’s so stupid. He said how he missed me and how he was wrong and had grown so much. And like the idiot, I unblocked him in my phone. We met up and as crazy as it seems I was actually happy to see him. He looked a little older and a little more haggard, but it was still my Derrick. We were at a bar up in Northern Liberties. Things felt different. Time had passed. Too much time. I had grown and healed. But old habits die-hard. I just wanted to take a look at him. He said he was really sorry for what he had done. He said it hadn’t worked out with the redheaded slut. She actually ended up cheating on him with some drummer in a band that opened for them. I was actually kind of glad to hear that. But I’m sure he didn’t feel the loss that I had experienced. I had scar tissue on my heart from what he did to me. But I couldn’t let him tear open the sutures and open my old wounds. I work in a hospital emergency room. That shit hurts!”

Rebecca actually laughed at that moment. It had been the first time the whole night. That sound was like magic to my ears. I smiled a knowing smile. Because she didn’t know that I have been down that road twice in my life, and it’s a nightmare.

Love is a many splintered thing.

“So yea, that was a two months ago. I told him that I’m glad he was doing well, but I had moved on after a year and that I was in a relationship with a really nice guy in financial services.” She laughed again. “I could see he was disappointed, but I couldn’t let myself go through that shit again. It was a small chapter in my life and I had to draw the curtains on that dead body. He had me, and he squandered it. I think in that moment he realized that it was really over for good. It was hard to do, but I told him I had to get home to Cole, my investment banker boyfriend. He hugged me, and I knew I would never smell him again. it was like pulling the plug on a fatally injured patient.”

“So that was it?” I took a sip of my rye infused medicine.

“Yea. I went home and put on and episode of Stranger Things and ate an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s and had a good cry. So… that’s why I disappeared for a while. I just needed to think about some things and move forward with my life. So, I’m glad you met up with me tonight. I’m sure you never expected our second date to be this confessional. I really appreciate you listening to all of that, but it felt really good to get it out. I was like a little tree blowing back and forth in the wind, but now I feel more calm. Like the storm is finally over and I’m safe.”

“Well, I’m glad you trusted me enough after one date to see me again and confide in me, Rebecca. Like my profile says, I’m a good listener.”

“Yea…Thank you.” Taking my hand again in hers. “You’re like a strong tree. Good roots  with unwavering branches.”

“Yea, and my bark is worse than my bite!” I snapped. She cracked up. Rebecca was back.

“You’re awesome.” she said as she again hugged me tightly. Oh, that lovely slender neck and her fragrance was sobering.

We had our intimate moment and then paused.

“Are you hungry?”

“I’m starving!” she laughed.

“There’s a great bar called Mix that is one block from here that has delicious 12 inch brick oven pizzas.”

“That sounds like the greatest idea I have heard all day! Do you think I’m over dressed or pizza?”

“I’m sure you’ll pass they’re rigid dress code, Rebecca.”

And with that she pulled from her hair the thing that was holding it in place, and those rich ribbons of dark chocolate tumbled over her lovely shoulders.

It’s hard to believe that this story could get any better at this point, but it does. The bill came and my guy placed it on the table. I reached for it to access the catastrophic damage to my bank account that 6 drinks at 1 Tippling Place would cost me… plus tip.

But Rebecca was faster, and she grabbed it first. “Uh uh. This is on me.”

I was in shock. My face, a mask of disbelief and mute protest. “Are you sure?” She looked at the bill. “Yep.” She whipped out her credit card and stuck it in the flap, as she nodded to the bartender.

I instinctively reached for my wallet. “Can I at least help with the tip?”

“Put your wallet way.” She said firmly, giving me a wry smile.

“Will you at least let me buy a lady some pizza?”

She ran her fingers through her hair, fluffing her dark locks. “I’ll think about it.”

The bill returned. She signed it and handed it back. ” Come along, Sir. I’m hungry.”

I liked that she called me Sir. I also like that she took my hand, and led me out of there. When we were outside she locked arms with me. I was in heaven. We’re on our way to eat delicious pizza.

 

Tune in for The Return of Rebecca, Part 2 in Two Weeks!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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