Cherie – Chapter 8 – Lion and the Scorpion – Part II

Two weeks ago this story left off with the following cliffhanger:

…But here’s the best part of all of that. She works in a pediatrician’s office as one of her two jobs. She says she loves children. She wants to be a doctor that practices pediatric neurosis when she finishes her education. That’s awesome. So I’m assuming, young woman, loves kids, already has one would probably want another one or two to round out the dinner table. Based on these stories you know that my last 3 relationships all ended for that reason. I’ve already been married. I have a child. I have paid over $120,000 in tax-free money to someone who is not a nice person and hurts those around her. My ex-wife has already burned through her second marriage and has another kid. But I digress.

Oh sure, I could get married and have another kid and live happily ever after. Sure that could happen. But based on my track record, it’s a sucker bet. If I did that and somehow fucked it up again. My child support payments would be coming out of my Social Security checks. No. Just place the gun in my mouth and gently curl your finger so that everything I ever was ends up on the wall behind me.

So I pull the trigger on this lovely, seemingly perfect romance. Because this way I don’t have to say my last 4 relationships ended for the same reason. I can still say 3, because this beautiful flower that has grown between Cherie myself in the last few weeks will be stomped into the earth under the hob nail boot of reality. Doomed from the start. Destroyed before it could ever flourish.

“Do you want more children, Cherie?”

“No. I don’t want anymore children. I told you that on our first date.”

How the fuck could I have missed this incredibly earth shattering piece of information? This is incredible news. Groundbreaking stuff. If she really doesn’t want kids, we could actually sustain a long-term relationship.

Maybe.

She knows my situation. Well, I’ll just play it cool and try to fly level. We’ll see where this goes. I won’t lose my mind and rush into anything. My last girlfriend has been gone for two years. Cherie’s been split from her son’s father for two years as well. Maybe the stars have aligned. She’s really laid back. Getting her education. Working two jobs in her field of endeavor. I’m not going to think about all of this. I’m just going to enjoy our time together. Let the universe unfold as it should.

We decide to get something to eat. She’s come all the way down here. I should at least feed the girl. We walk South on 22nd street. Down to Sansom. We head East and I look through the window at Cavanaugh’s. Too noisy on a Saturday night. We round the corner at 18th and I peek in Wrap Shack. Looks too crowded. Then I get an idea. She once said she liked breakfast for dinner. I know just where to take her.

We hit the Midtown Diner up the street. It’s dead. Which I think is odd, but then I speak to the hostess. She says this is the calm before the storm. They watch all of the people walking South to the bars, and then around 11:30 to 2am they all come back. Then the place gets busy again.

This 24 hour diner has been here a long time. It’s a Philly classic. All of the waitresses are old. They’ve all worked there for many years. That says a lot about a place.  The servers are the kind of old dolls that call everyone “Hon.” The whole dining room is empty. We can pick any booth we want. We take a seat and check out the menus.

“Remember that black lace top I wore on our second date?” Cherie asks.

“How can I forget? I reprimanded you for dressing like that for school.” I respond.

“Well, I had a T-shirt in my car. I wore that top for you. I was all covered with mosquito bites and covered up, but I wanted to show you my body. I changed into the T-shirt before I went to class.”

Wow. I had no idea. I need to pay close attention to this one. She was into me by our second date at El Rey. That little minx. She’s playing footsie with me under the table. She reaches under the table and rubs my leg. I’m trying to concentrate on the menu but it’s useless. This is how she is when she’s sober. I’m sober too. I don’t even think about drinking or smoking when I’m with her. Cherie is the drug I’m on. Just like the song by Roxy Music.

But don’t you know, this couple comes in shortly after and sits in the booth right next to us. I mean right next to us. I turn my head to the right, and they’re right there! C-Blocked again!

Everything is liquid between us and everybody is doing everything they can to stop us from attacking each other. We actually feel a little angry about this. I just laugh and tell her that humans are for the most part social animals. They can’t help but be near each other. We discuss moving to the back, but decide against it. We’d look rude. It’s not that important. We’ll have plenty of time together. The game is afoot and I love it.

“Cherie. Your birthday’s Thursday. What are you doing for your birthday?”

“Nothing. I have to work. I don’t really care about my birthday.”

“Don’t you want anything?”  I know it’s early in the game, but I’m trying to be nice.

“You know what I want?”

“What?”

“I want you. I want to be with you. You know… in that way.”

Okay…. Okay…. This lady knows what she wants. I’m almost find it a bit intimidating but arousing. Man… This is going to be good. I need to plan something soon.

I’m attracted to Cherie, and think she’s a great girl. I love making her laugh and she also has a great sense of humor. I like when she just looks at me with her dark dreamy eyes. I feel so lucky. At my age, to have a lovely girl like this attracted to me is wonderful. I’m not experiencing the intoxicating rush I felt with my last girlfriend, Annabelle, but I feel safer this time around. (See:Annabelle – Nice To Meet You) Cherie knows who she is and what she wants. She’s already been a parent for six years. She’s grounded and responsible. I’m actually relieved that I’m falling for this woman, and I’m not on an emotional rollercoaster like I was with the highly unstable Annabelle. I’m not wondering what she’ll do next, or what crazy decision she’ll make about her life. That poor impulsive fool.

This feels much better. I’m happy that Cherie’s in my life. I’m not a spiritual person, but this feels like some sort of blessing.

The waitress approaches. “Hey there. It’s been awhile since you two have been in here.”

I’m thinking, it certainly has been awhile, since we’ve never been there together. But her sentiment is sweet. Maybe it’s just me that looks familiar. Or that my daughter has mysteriously become a black woman. We order some food and are chatting. Already deciding that we’d like to meetup on Wednesday for lunch. I know just where I’m going to take her. We’re also planning on seeing each other on Saturday too. This is getting serious. Technically, this is only our fourth date, but we’ve had very long dates. It just flows naturally.

My friend Carly said she may be able to hook me up with a room at the Club Quarters for Saturday. She said that if the hotel isn’t 95% full, they’ll hook me up with a room for $50. Which is incredible. If not, Carly said she can still hook me up with a room for $129, which still isn’t bad. Think about what I’m getting. Spend the night with a beautiful young woman? Totally worth whatever it costs. I could also take her down to the shore house. But that’s a hike, and I have to be back Sunday morning to run that salon. So simply for the sake of geography and time, Club Quarters works for me. I’ve already cleared it with my sister that no one will be at the shore house just in case. I won’t have to get a zip car. We’ll cruise down in the Saab.

I think about how frustrating and confounding my courtship was with Michelle, and also with Annabelle. All the back and forth. Flip flopping with their choices. Not really knowing what they wanted. Cherie is direct and clear on what she likes and what she wants. It just makes for a happier more calm relationship.

We finish eating and those C-Blocking losers next to us have already left, so we have a little personal time before the bill comes. Remember how I used to complain about all those senior citizens I was dating and how the wallets never came out? This is so different from that. Cherie drives an hour to come down here to see me. Pays $25 to put her car in a lot. Doesn’t want anything. The bill is only $17. I’ve been with her for seven hours. $17 is what the whole date cost me.

We walk back to the lot at 23rd and Cherry. Isn’t that cop still sitting in his SUV in the same exact spot? It’s been hours!  What is he on, stake out?  We decide to just leave. She drives down to around 21st and Lombard and finds a quiet spot. People are walking by in Halloween costumes. It’s fun to watch. We’re talking and more kissing ensues. It’s really nice.

It’s getting late, and I know she has to make the hour drive back to Pottstown. It’s really great that she comes to me. She said her personality is that of a pleaser. That’s funny. Me too. I certainly am looking forward to pleasing her at some point.

She drives me back to my place and we say our good nights. I ask her to please text me when she safely arrives home. She says she will. I go upstairs and fix myself a vodka club on the rocks and light a cigarette. It feels good to be home in my chair after a wonderful evening with Cherie. I think about our lunch date coming up on Wednesday. I’ll call the hostess ahead of time and reserve my favorite table. I know Cherie has made it clear what she wants for her birthday, but that’s inevitable. I’m going to give that gift to her a lot. That really seems like a gift for me. Again, I cannot believe my good fortune here.

I feel like I should get her a little something, and give it to her on Wednesday. I’ll think on this. Talk to my female friends. I can’t go with jewelry, it’s too early. Huge mistake. That sets the bar too high if we make it to Christmas. God, then there’s Valentine’s Day after that. I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve got a few days to plot what I’ll do. Something small and sweet.

My phone pings and she is home safe.

I wish her sweet dreams.

 

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

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Mary – 2014 to Present – Chapter 2 – New Years Day Brunch 2016 – Part One

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

Normally, a dating post like this one would appear on a Monday. But since I’m publishing three days a week now, to preserve continuity with the events of New Years weekend, this is technically the third installment of the events that occurred over my New Years weekend. Clarice, Carly, and Mary is a trilogy that should be together.

Since our first date Mary and I have met for lunch at Capital Grille and also at Square 1682 again for drinks. We went to Capital Grille because she said she’s known the bartender for fifteen years. She says she gets the hook up. I dig the hook up when I get it so I was down. The lunch was delicious and the company was good. Poor Mary, was having some oral pain for some dental work she needed done, so instead of steak she went with the salmon. But at nearly sixty-nine years of age, she’s hanging tough and looking good doing it. I did the burger to keep the cost down, but in the end we didn’t get any hook up. Good news is, Mary kicked in over forty dollars towards the bill, so Mary is clutch. The moral of this story is, if your name isn’t Phicklephilly or Church, you don’t really get the real hookup.

So this would technically be our fourth date. Mary’s cataract surgery was complete and the vision in her right eye is now clear again. After my date New Years Eve brunch with Clarice, (See: Clarice – 2016 to Present – The CEO – New Years Eve Brunch) and the wedding set up with Carly, (See: Carly – 2014 to Present – New Years Eve) I was ready to spend New Years Day with Mary.

These have been my kind of holidays and I think I finally got it right. In December I saw my family in the middle of the month at our annual holiday party.

Fantastic.

Like I’ve said before I’ve never been a fan of New Years because it’s drunken amateur night. Just can’t do it. So this year, I’ve managed to build these little meetings around the holiday, without actually having to participate in said holiday.

I decided to take Mary to brunch at the City Diner at Broad and South. It was formerly Juniper Commons. A Kevin Spraga restaurant. It was an abject failure. They had eighty different gins. You could pick your club soda from a load of different flavors. It had a diner decor and played 80’s music throughout. I had brunch there when it first opened. I had this magnificent pancake concoction. Best ever. The two times I went back my buddy Church said the burgers were sub par, and another time I had brunch with Trish there, the food outright sucked. Who wants gin, let alone eighty different kinds?

The place went under in less than six months. Bitch, please.

A Greek family came in and turned the place into a twenty-four hour diner. Crushing it. perfect spot and perfect idea. Like my partner Achilles over at the salon, the Greeks just know how to get it done. Wait until some big shot goes in and does the whole build out on the restaurant and wait for it to fail. Then go in and open your restaurant and all of the stuff is already there to make it work.

Genius.

I meet her there and we’re all set. I called a few days before and made a reservation for a window booth on the Broad street side. The mummers parade goes right down Broad street all day on New years. Perfect vantage point to dine while watching the parade go by. Mary is impressed. It’s what I’m good at. Being at the parade can sometimes be a shitshow, but being behind glass and away from the crowd and noise, it’s a delight.

We have a really nice Irish girl who will be our server. It’s about 1:15pm at this point. I order a Yards Pale, and Mary goes with the prosecco. How about that? Two different dates in two days, and they order the same thing. Just goes to show, ladies dig bubbly when it comes to day drinking. Place is swinging. Very busy. Juniper Commons was never like this.

Mary and I are chatting and catching up on what’s been happening in our lives over the holidays. The server comes by and we’re not ready. That always happens. I get chatting with someone and forget to look at the menu. She returns in a bit and we’re ready. Mary goes with the Eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon, and I have the french toast deluxe. Deluxe means they give me a sizable slice of ham, two pieces of bacon and a single sausage. Just a glorious brunch item. Order is in, and now it’s maybe 1:40pm.

We chat away, and order another round. The diner fills and several large parties come in. We’re laughing and talking as the parade rolls by. The people watching alone is almost better than the parade, and we’ve got a court side seat.

Time goes by.

More time goes by.

And even more time goes by.

We’re not starving but it’s been an hour and no food.

An hour!

At a fucking diner!

At Midtown diner they crack that food off to you so fast you barely tell them what you want and it’s in front of you. And Little Pete’s? Lightning. We can’t figure out what’s wrong. The server comes over and apologizes, several times. We’re not angry because we’re enjoying each others company the time sort of just rolls by. But we should be a little cross about this situation. The server tells us it’s the kitchen’s fault. They have had a few large tables come in and they are in the weeds. But that’s not our problem. I understand the challenges of the service industry and so does Mary…first hand.

Once it’s an hour and a half, and we’re about to order our third round, the server returns once again. She apologizes and is really sweet. We tell her it’s not her fault. I suggest that we pay for our drinks, and when our food eventually comes out after two hours, we eat it and tip her up to what the whole meal would cost, but the manager or owner comps our lunch. In theory this seems fair.

But the server tells us that they are Greek. (we know this) Any shortcoming that occur in the diner are the fault of the server. But we tell her she is completely innocent in all of this. She insists they will take it out of her pay and she’ll get in trouble.

Well that sucks. I can’t let that happen. We tell her we’re rescinding the offer and to forget we ever said anything. We express this with great earnest because she’s under enough stress, running around all day serving hungry cranky customers. I drop the idea.

Mary agrees. We’re cool. The server tells us just two more orders ahead of us and they’ll bring us our food. We’re both a little buzzed at this point and are still having a lovely time.

A few minutes later our orders from nearly two hours ago finally arrive. Fresh and hot just as if they were delivered minutes after we ordered. Presentation looks solid, and we’re both satisfied. We tear into our platters like hungry children. (#firstworldproblems) it’s all delish!

The server comes back and tells us if we want another round it’s on them. I think we’re square. It really wasn’t bad sitting there with Mary chatting away on a beautiful day. We’re finishing up and she gets a glass of wine and I go with a cocktail. The Scofflaw. It contains Crown Royal, dry vermouth, grenadine, orange bitters, and an Amarena cherry. Not a bad, spirit forward drink for a diner at 4:30 in the afternoon.

We’ve been here all afternoon!

We enjoy our free drinks and I pay the bill, but I told Mary that since she’s had so many medical woes lately, I wanted to do something for her. She’s been paying dutch normally when we go out, and I appreciate that. It’s New Years day of 2017, and I enjoy her company. I want to do something for her.

Tune in tomorrow to find out where these crazy kids end up next!

 

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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…

 

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