California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Chapter 10 – Yuma, Arizona – Rodeo Week

We drove most of the day across Arizona and stopped in Old Tucson. We went there because Frank wanted to walk around an old western town. It had been used in several films in the past and they do daily shows there for the tourists. It was a fun couple of hours, but we wanted to get back on the road after lunch.

Around Casa Grande we exit onto highway 8 west. That’ll eventually take us to San Diego, CA.

We end up in Yuma, Arizona. It’s right on the border of the state of California. We’re nearly there!

Yuma (CocopahYuum) is a city in and the county seat[5] of Yuma CountyArizonaUnited States. It is located in the southwestern corner of the state, and the population of the city was 93,064 at the 2010 census, up from the 2000 census population of 77,515.[3]

Yuma is the principal city of the Yuma, Arizona Metropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of Yuma County. According to the United States Census Bureau, the 2014 estimated population of the Yuma MSA is 203,247.[6] More than 85,000 retirees make Yuma their winter residence.[7]

The area’s first settlers for thousands of years were Native American cultures and historic tribes. Their descendants now occupy the Cocopah and Quechan reservations.

In 1540, Spanish colonial expeditions under Hernando de Alarcon and Melchior Diaz visited the area and immediately recognized the natural crossing of the Colorado River as an ideal spot for a city. The Colorado River narrows to slightly under 1,000 feet wide in one area. Military expeditions that crossed the Colorado River at the Yuma Crossinginclude Juan Bautista de Anza (1774), the Mormon Battalion (1848) and the California Column (1862).

During and after the California Gold Rush to the late 1870s, the Yuma Crossing was known for its ferry crossings for the Southern Emigrant Trail. This was considered the gateway to California, as it was one of the few natural spots where travelers could cross the otherwise very wide Colorado River.

It’s late afternoon, and we start stopping into motels looking for a place to stay for the night. But every place we go to is booked. After about five fails we finally ask why there are no vacancies in this town. We get our answer from one of the motel clerks.

“Because it’s Rodeo Week in Yuma! It’s one of our biggest events of the whole year!”

“Any suggestions?”

Well, I see you have a van parked in our lot.  You won’t find a room for the night in this town. What we’re suggesting to people is this. Get back on highway 10. Cross over into California. The first exit you’l see is called ‘Sidewinder Exit.’ Take that exit. It puts you out in the desert. There should be a bunch of people out there camping.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

We thank her and get back on the road.

We get to that point and I see the exit. The sun is an orange disc the color of a penny in the western sky. I take Sidewinder and it puts us square in the middle of the desert. There are hundreds of vans, campers and RV’s parked everywhere. Couples and families are all out there camping, cooking and drinking and laughing. Children run about playing on the hills around us.

We find a spot, park the van and decide to do a bit of exploring.

I remember us climbing around on this little mountain. The sun is going down. It amazing how fast the Earth turns. You only really notice it at sunset. Because the sun can vanish on the horizon in a matter of minutes.

I tell Frank I’m going back to the bus but he wants to try to get to the top. I tell him I’ll wait for him back at the van drinking a beer.

I get there and relax in the vehicle sipping my beer and smoking a cig.

But about a half an hour goes by and now it’s getting dark. In the desert at night there is no light.  Maybe a few lights you can see back on the highway, but we’re a ways from the main road.

I get out of the van and start calling out to Frank.

Nothing.

Now I’m getting panicky. What if he’s lost? What if he fell and he’s hurt? What if his leg is caught in something and he’s trapped somewhere. What if he’s attacked by a mountain lion or a pack of coyotes? My anxiety is kicking into high gear and my mind is racing.

Then I get an idea. I grab the flashlight from behind my seat. I go back outside and start calling his name again and flashing the light on and off as a signal. I’m calling, whistling and flashing. Praying he’s okay.

Within a few minutes Frank emerges from the pitch blackness and appears in the flashlight beam. I’m so relieved I just grab him and hug him tightly.

“Man you had me so scared!”

“Ya, me too mate! Good thinking with the lamp!”

“Beer?”

“Fuck sake, please!”

We hung out for a bit drinking and laughing about our day, then slept in the van for the night. I thought it was cool that we spent our last night on the road sleeping in the mini bus under the stars in the California desert.

 

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California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Chapter 7 – Fun in Sealy, Texas

“Frank got out of the van holding a steel ice pic in his fist, while I remained inside the van filling my diaper.”

I love this one!

We left Louisiana and were headed west on highway 10. It’s like an elevated road through a swamp which was actually pretty cool. It had been overcast for most of the trip so far. I was hoping for some sunny days.

By nightfall we crossed the border into the state of Texas. We’re tired from driving all day so we decide to stay in the town of Sealy for the evening.

Here’s a little history.

San Felipe, Texas, sold part of its original 22,000-acre (8,900 ha) township to the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad to create Sealy in 1879. Sealy gets its name after business tycoon and majority stock holder of the GCSF RR, George Sealy of Galveston. In 1881, Daniel Haynes, a cotton gin builder, filled a request for a cotton-filled mattress which started a company. He named this the Sealy Mattress Company after the town. Business grew exponentially, which led to more innovation and several patents, such as a machine that compressed cotton.

We were always looking to save money and this would be the first motel we would stay in on the road. I don’t remember the name of it but it was off the main highway. I suppose it was one of those places that was once vibrant and busy but when the new highway came in not many people came by to stay there anymore. Sort of like the Bates Motel.

We pull the van up in front of the lobby and go in. It’s a dingy, dimly lit office. Sitting at the counter is this guy who appears to be in his late twenties or early thirties. Drab clothing and long greasy hair. Sort of like some character out of oh… I don’t know, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

He’s sitting there coloring. Yea. With crayons. In a coloring book. I swear to God.

So we fill out the registration card and give the guy the money for the room. I don’t remember how much it was. Maybe $22 for the night.

Frank’s been going on all day about how he wants to watch the Superman movie on TV tonight. “Fuckin’ Supermon! It’ll be brilliant!” he said in his Irish accent. I guess he hadn’t seen it when it was in the theater and was all excited that we could watch it on TV tonight for the first time. It was supposed to come on at 9pm and it was only 8pm so there was time to get beer, settle in and watch it so Frank wouldn’t lose his shit. (This is the Superman starring Christopher Reeve for all you youngsters reading this.)

So the weirdo gives us some bath towels the keys and assigns us a room down the end. (No one will hear our screams) We go back to the van and get in. I toss the towels on the seat behind me and we slowly drive down to our room and park in front of it. Over the door is a dome lamp emitting very little light because it’s so clogged with dead insects. I put the key in the door expecting to be snatched inside by Leatherface, But happily that doesn’t happen.

However, I do realize we’re the only people staying here. There are no other cars and all of the rooms are dark.

We go inside and I find the light switch on the wall. It’s a dingy little room with two beds, a night table between them and TV on a stand on the opposite wall. The room smells like mildew. I walk to the bathroom to see what’s doing in there. The bathroom is always a good barometer of the level cleanliness in a motel. Frank’s busy playing with the TV.

The bathroom looks ok. Not great, but ok.

That is until I pull back the shower curtain. (Oh a bloody dead body? Kidding!)

On the wall I see the biggest fucking roach I’ve ever seen in my life.

I’m originally from Philly. Born and raised. I grew up in Lawndale in Northeast Philly. Everybody had roaches in their basement. My mother would say it was because we live between two rivers. I don’t see how that had any relevance to why we had German cockroaches in our basement, I just knew those things creeped out me and my sisters growing up. I may at some point write an exclusive piece about my hatred and respect for cockroaches as a species.

But this thing appeared to be over two inches in length.  I was immediately terrified and looked for something to smash it out of existence forever in Kubrickian glee.

And that’s when it opened it’s wings and flew right at my face. I squealed like a schoolgirl and ran out of the bathroom.

“Wot the fuck’s up with you?”

“I just saw the biggest goddamn roach ever… and they can FLY down here!!!”

“Fuck off mate. We’ve got bigger problems.”

“Rats?”

“No! There’s no reception on the TV. How the fuck am I going to watch Superman now?”

I’m still trying to process the flying monster in the bathroom. Because where there’s one, there’s more you can’t see. Apparently what I witnessed that night was my first Palmetto Beetle. They look like roaches but have hardened wings so they can fly. Leave it to the state of Texas and the South in general to come up with some scary shit and then make it even scarier.

“We can’t stay here. Gotta see Superman.”

“Will you shut the fuck up about fucking Superman?!”

 

We decide that’s we’re going to drive back up to the office and tell the coloring book guy that we saw a bunch of roaches and the TV doesn’t work and that we just want our money back and we’ll go.

We do just that and after some back and forth with this half wit he begrudgingly opens the register and gives us back our money. We thank him profusely and hop back in the van. We’re on the winding road through the woods back to highway 10 only a few minutes.

Suddenly, this car comes roaring out of the darkness behind us flashing its headlights. I’m thinking, what kind of Urban Legend has been wrought upon us?

Frank rolls down the window and sticks his head out and starts barking at the driver of the late-model convertible behind us. I’m thinking he’s going to get a shotgun blast to the head and that’s going to be the end of it.

“For fuck’s sake, Chaz, It’s the guy from the motel!”

At this point my heart is pounding and I’m terrified.

“I don’t think this old horse can outrun him. Should I pull over?”

“Ya… Fuckin’ pull over I’ll see what your man wants!”

I bring the minibus to a halt. I pull the emergency brake but leave the engine running. Frank grabs this foot long metal ice pick out of his rucksack.

“What the fuck, dude? Where did you get that?”

“No worries let’s see what this fucker wants.”

Coloring book boy doesn’t know that Frank was formerly in the junior wing of the IRA back in Belfast. The Irish Republican Army is any of several armed movements in Ireland in the 20th and 21st centuries dedicated to Irish republicanism, the belief that all of Ireland should be an independent republic. It was also characterized by the belief that political violence was necessary to achieve that goal.

Yea. You don’t want to fuck with Frank.

He approaches the guy.

“What the fuck do you want?”

Of course the coward that I am, remained safely in the van filling my diaper waiting to hear the sound of someone trying to start a chainsaw.

The guy is saying something to Frank but I can’t hear the exchange because of the blood rushing through my ears in fear.

Then I hear it.

“My tails!”

“What?”

“I want my tails!”

“What the fuck is he going on about, Chaz?”

And then I get it. The Southern accent. He’s not asking about the hindmost part of an animal, especially when prolonged beyond the rest of the body, such as the flexible extension of the backbone in a vertebrate, the feathers at the hind end of a bird, or a terminal appendage in an insect.

I reach behind my seat. (My Gun? Kidding!)

I walk back in the glare of his headlights carrying the bath towels he had given us back at the office. I totally forgot about them!

“My tails!”

“Yes. Your towels. I’m sorry, sir. We totally forgot about these.” He grabs them from me with a suspicious look on his face. I apologize again and we walk back to the van.

Frank and I both sit in silence for a moment taking in what just happened. We see the guy turn his car around and head back down the dark road. We watch as his tail lights vanish in a cloud of dust and darkness.

I pop the brake and we both explode in fits of laughter. It was that kind nervous, fearful, relieved laughter. We had just experienced our first harrowing night on the road together.

We got back out on the highway and within a mile or so pull into the lot of a brightly lit motel with several cars in the lot and people out and around laughing and drinking on their balconies. We checked in and went to our room.

Frank goes into the bathroom. The place was lovely and clean. We’re both elated to be where were at that moment.

“Fuck sake, Chaz. Look at the bathroom! It’ll dazzle ya!”

Place was really clean. I hop on my bed and pull a couple of cold ones from the cooler and hand one to Frank.

“What time is it?”

“Nine.”

Frank leaps up and turns on the TV.

We clink our bottles together as the opening scene of Superman appears on the big color TV.

 

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California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Chapter 3 – Big Night Out In Atlanta

Things were good. Frank and I were chilling at his Aunt’s house in Atlanta and enjoying our time reconnecting. But I was itching to get back on the road. Frank’s Uncle came to visit and said he wanted to take us out. I’m fresh out of the nest at 19 and Frank is a world traveler at 21, so we’re down for anything. I can’t believe how many Irish people have relatives and friends scattered all over the globe.

The first place we go to is this cool country bar. We’re drinking beers and eating food and all is right with the world. This guy comes out, sits on a stool and plays original songs. I remember him being really good. It was a good warm up to the night ahead.

Then his uncle says he’s taking us somewhere else.

I’ve been to Baltimore and Washington DC, but not really anywhere else. I lived with my parents before this. This is the furthest I’ve ever been away from home in my life. I’m happy I have Frank with me, because he’s my security. I’m just a scared musician with anxiety and depression I barely even know I have. My mom made me three square meal a day my whole life. I have no clue as to what the world is.

Travel is so broadening. The world is such a bigger package than most people ever realize. All you know is your little world. But I know this journey is going to fundamentally change me. It’s something that has to happen. Leaving home was hard enough. I was terrified traveling all of that way by myself. None of my friends are doing anything like this. Just me. I’m different. I’m not but I know at that moment I’m different from all of them. I’ve always walked among them but never really joined them. This trip is proof of that. I have to learn to crawl towards the things that frighten me. Frank has no problem with anything. He’s a solid, bright guy. I’m just a skinny nothing. I don’t want to go to college like my sister Janice. I just want to go out into the world and find out who the hell I am.

Maybe music will carry me forth.

I just needed to get away from the dead-end existence of living in Wildwood. That’s a fun place in the summer, but nowhere to raise your kids if they’re from a major city. The winter is and empty desolate place where most of the people who live there are business owners that make a nice living and they spoil their children. The kids grow up in wealth but are bored out of their minds. I saw more drug abuse and teen pregnancy in that town than when I was back in Philly growing up.

Do I love that I got to spend every summer in the 70’s at the shore? Damn straight. It was amazing! Nobody on my block got to do that. Only us. So it set us apart from our neighbors in Lawndale. We didn’t care. We didn’t know. We were just kids. It’s something we just looked forward to and did every summer.

But Janice going off to college and me having to take my senior year at Wildwood High was just some self-serving selfish shit on the part of my father. But I’ve covered that already.

I’m happy to be on the road and free of the trappings of my parents existence. I’m sure Janice had her own awakening at college and so did little Gabrielle. We all made our way in different ways.

I’m here to be open and brave.

Here we go.

Frank’s uncle takes us to a place called the Pussycat Lounge. I don’t know what that is but it sounds sexy.

We go in and there are naked women dancing onstage.

My brain explodes.

I had never experienced anything like this in my life. I’ve heard about it and seen scenes like this in a movie but never the real thing. Back then I was still wet behind the ears. It was fascinating to see naked women before my eyes. Getting out in the world was an exciting adventure. They didn’t have anything like that anywhere I grew up. In between the girls dancing, there was this comedian that would come out and tell dirty jokes. He was really funny. Normally it takes a lot to make me laugh, but this dude killed.

Frank, his uncle and I had a great night out. I was still reeling from seeing that many naked girls standing right in front of me that night. When you’re young, and you see something like that for the first time it has incredible euphoric power.

I slept well that night and was still excited about what was next in the coming days.

 

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California Dreamin’ -1982 to 1984 – Chapter 1 – The Idea

Back in 1982, I left New Jersey in my ’69 Volkswagen mini bus for Los Angeles. I’ll tell the whole story of that journey at some point, but I wanted to intro a new series that tells some of my interesting dating and social interactions while out in California. I was only 19 years old when I left, so these stories come from a younger man’s life. We got up to some wild shit back then.

These stories contain a bit more sexually explosive content so beware fair readers.

We were young, in a band and living in L.A. What could happen?

It was a long time ago but some of these tales are worth telling.

I’ll kick it off with this one.

 

I was sitting in a little tavern with my friend Bill in North Wildwood back in the summer of ’81. It’s a nice little beer and shot neighborhood bar. Woody’s is located at 19th and New Jersey Ave. It took me a moment to remember the name and location. It was a good lunch spot and also cool to hang out at night if you wanted to stay away from the club scene.

I met Bill working on Hunt’s Pier. It’s an old amusement pier on the boardwalk. I worked on The Golden Nugget Mine Ride, which was an old roller coaster enclosed in what looked like a big old western type mine. People road in little mine cars through the ride and stuff popped out of the darkness to shock and surprise them. It’s been torn down for many years but I have so many wonderful memories to write about regarding this period of my life. I can still smell the grease of the chain that carried the mine cars to the roof of the building.

Bill worked one of the games at the front of the pier. I don’t remember how we met, but we became good friends because at the time he was the funniest guy I had ever met. We hung out outside work and Bill was just so funny to be around. Usually I’m supplying the laughs but he just had a quick wit and I loved that about him. Bill wanted to go to California and become “the next Robert DeNiro” at the end of the summer season.

I tell him I want to go to California and become a metal god. (guy that plays hard rock and metal in a band) I suggest we save our earnings and go out together. He agrees.

I was a young naïve teenager back then and fell hard for people I met. We talked all about how great it would be when we got to L.A. and became stars. We did this most of the summer.

At some point I remember my dad chatting with Bill about our plan. I had him over to meet my Dad because I was so taken with my funny amazing new friend. My Pop has a lot of experience with people.

My Dad later told me that it sounded like Bill, was a bit of a feather merchant. Someone who could attach himself to me to get a free ride out to L.A. He also said that the stories Bill had told him about things he did and said back home in South Philly, and my Dad felt those stories didn’t wash. He also felt that Bill wasn’t really saving any money for this trip that I had already saved a thousand dollars for.

Well I think somehow Bill caught wind of what my dad was feeling. (Just looking out for my best interest) and got pissed off.  I remember him saying how he really hated my father and the trip was off.

I was crushed. I loved Bill and it was like he was breaking up with me. But as I write this now, I know my Dad was right about him. Bill’s pride was hurt, he was kind of a blowhard, and he hadn’t saved any money all summer. This was his immature boy’s way out.

But all was not lost. There was another guy I worked with on the ride. Frank. He was from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was studying law and taking a year or two off to travel and have fun before he entered law school in London. We worked together every night on the ride and became good friends.

I remember telling Frank what had happened with Bill, and he said he’d go to California with me. He was going down to Florida with some of his mates in October and they were just going to work there for a bit. Irish people can get jobs like crazy. Great people! He said that he’d be coming up to stay with his Aunt and cousin in Atlanta after the holidays. So we started to plan for that. I was happy to be going with Frank, because I liked him and knew he was trustworthy and reliable.

I never really saw or spoke to Bill ever again. Not that I hated him or anything. We just lost touch after the incident and I guess he went back to South Philly.

But I was excited that the trip to Cali was still on!

 

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Wildwood Daze – 1980 – I’ve Had It With This Town

I love the summer. I’ve been dropped here against my will by some other person. My father. I have no control over my life. I have to go to school at a new school as a stranger. I know you have a problem with my dissatisfaction and depression.

I excel in school and start a band. I thrive in this shit hole you’ve dropped me off with no concept of how that will break your son’s spirit.

Janice is off in college so you’re good. If anything is of kilter your going to lose your shit and that is me.

What did you think was going to happen?

Let’s rip the 17-year-old son from all of his friends and his band from Philly and drop him off in Wildwood, New Jersey. A retirement and resort town the you already know is a deathtrap for young people.

You dropped out of high school to get away from this hell hole. You joined the army rather than turn to crime at 17. You fucking asshole that I love.

I get it. I worked in banking just like you for 30 years. You were making a bunch of bad loans at the Provident in Philly and got out when the getting was good.

You retreated to NJ. your little safe haven to escape, but you never thought of what that would do to the children in your life.

The little ones were fine. April and Gabby didnt;t know any better. But I was a senior in high school. I never got to graduate with my friends at Frankford in Philly. I had a band. You destroyed that for your little escape plan.

But what was that. You replicated your life in NJ as the regional manager at First Fidelity Bank. You’re a great manager and a great man. But you really have a taste for some of your employees, man.

I remember telling you about a girl I met once how I was in a relationship and I told you about how I had feelings for her.

You said, “Why don’t you just move on her”

I said: “Because that would be wrong. I’d be cheating on my girlfriend and that would betray her trust in me.”

You were pleased and happy with my answer.

I knew it.. because you could never be that. I could see it in your eyes you were relived that I wasn’t like you in that respect.

That respect.

Bitch, please.

If you’re unhappy in your liffe, divorce mom and just send the check and leave us the fuck alone. Then you can bag Jennifer Sweeten or as you call her “sweet meat” all you want until her husband finds out.

You’ll figure it out.

 

You and your brother Jack were dropped off here after your parents divorced. Nobody got divorced back then.

Why the hell would you think it was a good idea to drop me off in this shit hole?

Wildwood is a glistening sand castle of magical fun and romance in the summer… and then it turns into a bleak shroud of dark depression where there is nothing going on in the winter. It is a desolate hole of isolation that is impossible for a teenager to escape.

Here I am. I know you and there is a part of you that is me. Some great. Some awful. But you have the chore of raising the shitty you and now the shitty son you don’t understand who is too much like your brother Jack.

So if there were any questions as to why Chaz wanted to load up the ’69 Volkswagen minibus and drive across the country to go live in sunny California let’s put all of that to rest right now.

I love you, you selfish, self-serving prick.

I really do.

Thank you for teaching me to read. Thank you for all of the books. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for teaching me to ride a bike. Thank you for teaching me how to catch a fish. Thank you for teaching me to drive a car. Thank you for teaching me about wine, art, and literature and film. Thank you for teaching me about women. (To an extent) Thank you for everything.

I’m not going to mention all of the bad stuff here.

All ready did some of that.

 

Time to load of the 69 VW minibus and head to California.

 

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Michelle – Chapter 15 – Everyone’s Waiting

“You can’t take a picture because it’s already gone.”

I have always struggled with this series. I really have. Beyond trying to remember all of the crazy things we did, I’ve always been wondering what it meant to both if us.  What if we stayed together? You have to be careful with that. What do you do with it? What do you put in the story? What do you leave out? My family loves her. Have I made a mistake?

I remember saying to  co-worker, ” “If I ever got Michelle as a girlfriend, I  would knock her up and marry her tomorrow.  That’s nuts. That’s how crazy I used to be back then.

I have been writing this for six months. I started this series last year, Halloween 2016. Where do I go with a story this epic?

I have left out all of the fights and anguish and drama in our journey.

Maybe it’ll be in the book, but that shit is boring. Michelle rocks and I want to tell this story in her honor. (Sue me later Michelle!)

I know there are all of the times that belong only to us that are personal and human. To anyone that doesn’t know us… it would be embarrassing. So they will never be included in anything about us!

We were always beyond social media.

Our life together was elegant and beautiful. I was amazed that I was with Michelle and we got away with all of the things we did.

But not really.

You can’t take a picture if its already gone…

We had a power together that the rich and powerful longed for but could never attain with their money and wealth. We could glide among them with ease. They accepted us as their own but we never belonged to them.

We always belonged to each other exclusively.

We enjoyed playing in their park. and walking among them but never wanted to join them.

We decided on each other and we were in love.

That was always enough.

It had been a few years since Michelle and I were a together. We met in 2007, became a couple, and moved in together in 2008. She moved out in 2010, and we remained friends after that.

Now it was 2013.

We just hung out every other weekend, and may have unintentionally cock blocked each other from getting involved with other people because of that very fact. I know Michelle had gone on some dates, but they never materialized into anything. She never really talked about them anyway.

Me either.

One day we were out somewhere. Maybe, we were sitting outside at Fado. Looking at Nicholas Cage funny videos, But I could be wrong.

Well, we were having a drink somewhere.

Michelle tells me she has reconnected with Delaware Dave. (See: Michelle – Chapter 2 – Getting to Know You)

At first I was absolutely shocked. But I did think back to the days when Michelle would be drunk and angry at me and she’d go back to the bedroom in our apartment and call him.

Hmm…

She dumped me, but kept me around and kept in touch in with Dave as well. The whole, “I want to get married and have kids” thing wasn’t happening in our fair city, so she decided to roll the dice on something else. Something familiar. Something safe. I am assuming he wanted the same but it never happened for him either.

But Delaware Dave didn’t live in Delaware anymore. He had moved to San Francisco a few years ago. He was in management at a major home improvement company out there. (Should I start calling him, San Francisco Dave?)

I told her that sort of thing never works, not even on TV, but truth is stranger than fiction, and love is the most powerful thing in the universe.

She said, “He has grown into the man I always wanted him to be.”

I suppose the guy went out there, got a real job, quit smoking dope and grew up. I admire that.

But….

Love him for who he is, not for what you think he can become.

Just sayin’…

So she decides she’s going to quit her job at the non-profit, get rid of all of her furniture, get rid of her apartment, and move out to San Francisco and move in with him.

Yea, I know. Crazy right?

But I’m rooting for those crazy kids.

Before she moved out there, I think they would speak on the phone quite often. I don’t know if it was every night, because I didn’t see her everyday. One night we were hanging out having drinks, and she had to go home and make her routine call to Dave. I walked her to her stoop and said goodnight. She asked if I was going right home, and I told her I was going to stop at the liquor store and pick up a bottle of vodka. (So what else is new?)

She asked if I’d pick up a bottle of wine for her.

By the time I returned from the store she was done with her call. I texted her that I was outside and she came down to pick up her wine. I handed the bag to her.

“Wanna come up?”

When you drink alcohol, the first thing that leaves you is your sense of time. The second is your ability to make sound decisions. I guess I was at that point.

I went upstairs to her apartment and spent the night with her. They weren’t engaged yet, so technically she wasn’t cheating on Dave with me, but she kinda was.

The next morning she felt really guilty about what she had done. She got herself together. I was just going to go my office, but she insisted I ride with her in the cab up to her work. So we hopped in a taxi and took the long ride up to her job. I got out when we arrived and told her not to worry.

Just pretend it didn’t happen.

We slipped, and nothing happened. Obviously something had happened, but I just told her to keep telling herself that nothing happened. I knew it would be a rough day for her. She went into her building and I decided to make the long walk back to center city. It was a nice day and the exercise and sunshine would help to clear my head. (Walk of shame)

On my way home, I passed a Starbucks in Old City and I saw my friend Dina (See: Dina – 2011 to Present – Lil’ Jap) sipping coffee inside and working on her lap top. I went inside to say hello. She hits me with this chipper greeting:

“You look like shit.”

God I love her. Dina always has a nice way of being frank with me. She is my most beloved Jewish friend and confidant. Read on, and you’ll find out how she comes my financial advisor.  I told her what had happened. She giggled and seemed to enjoy the drama.

“So you’re on a ‘three-mile walk of shame’ back to the city?”

“Yea, pretty much.”

“Good luck with that.”

I fucking love, Dina.

I checked in with Michelle later and she was struggling, but I knew she’d be okay. It’s hard to leave your whole life, and move to another city to commit to someone for the rest of your life. You hope you’ve made the right decision.

We continued to hang out when all possible. But time was ticking away and the fateful day was soon to arrive. I remember we were supposed to have one final lunch before she left, but one of our investors had called a meeting and I couldn’t get out of it.

So that was it.

She was gone.

She got rid of all of her furniture, moved out of her apartment, and quit her job. She then got on a plane with what I’m guessing was her jewelry and wardrobe. It was a bold move, I’ll give her that.

Delaware Dave had finally won back his girl in the final reel.

Even if I end up as a footnote in Michelle’s life, I know I have helped and maybe even saved, or at least helped repair one person in this world. I want no credit for any of that. But if you can be something special to someone in this world and really help them to grow, then you have done something good while you are here on this speck of dust we call Earth.

I see you every day in the city, Michelle.  

But the longer I’m here you haunt me less and become a friendly spectre of what was once a magical time.

I’m just passing a tall beautiful blonde girl who isn’t you that I somehow wish was still you.

I am honored to have been chosen out all of the men in the world to love and sleep next to you Michelle, even if our time was fleeting.

The world is a better place with you in it.

And so am I, because of you.

Thank you for giving me life, romance, love and everything wonderful in my life, Michelle.

You gave me a beautiful life here in Philadelphia, Michelle. I came here from New York broken, and I was fixed by you. I know you think it’s the other way around but you saved me too, dear.

Better than I could ever imagined.

 

I continue on here in this city without you.

I miss you.

The city is not the same without you.

 

But I’ll never be without you, Michelle. I have my memories, and this tome now.

 

But I embrace my time with you.

 

And so life unfolds….

 

And off we go, my then greatest love.

 

Goodbye.

 

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

 

” You can’t take a picture because it’s already gone. “

 

 

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