Michelle – Chapter 16 – Epilogue – Part 1

“Every man dies. Not every man lives.” – HCW

Michelle and I have kept in touch since she moved to San Francisco to live with Dave. She found a good job and has even been promoted. She’s doing really well in her career. It seems pretty fast paced so she’s a busy lady. I met Michelle when she was 27. She is now 37 years old. We’ve known each other for over a decade now, but somehow it seems a lot longer. I suppose having a rich history together helps.

Michelle and Dave have lived out in San Fran for over three years now. They finally got married in 2016. He still works at the same job, and like I said she’s killing it in her job. We keep in touch through texting and sometimes use face time on our phones. Our friendship has transcended time and space.

They have no children yet, and I don’t know what their plan is in that department. We all know that the deal breaker between Michelle and I was that I didn’t want marriage and kids so she was out. I’m sure like every white couple in their thirties that have known each other for 20 years, they’re “trying.”

I never understand that about people. If you really want kids, throw the switch and make it happen. It’ll all work out. It’s easy. You can’t build a computer in an elevator but you can make a kid! Just get on with it! That’s what you wanted. The American Dream.

I did it and it worked out and I didn’t even want it. I love my Lorelei. She is a shaft of golden light through the darkness of my marriage and my life.

The housing market in San Francisco is some of the most expensive property in the country. Although Michelle and Dave are doing well, they are slowly being priced out of the market due to rising real estate prices and gentrification. So they may have to return to the east coast in the next year or so.

So there’s that little twist to the story. (Stop it. Not going to anything.)

Since she moved out West, Michelle has had to hide her friendship with me from Dave. He wouldn’t approve. I get it. Would I want my wife talking to her ex-boyfriend? Probably not. I’m pretty secure in myself though. It’s not like I’m talking to her to get her back. That’s simply not the case. Michelle and I have been friends longer than we were ever lovers. Our romantic relationship only lasted about two and a half years, but our friendship has lasted ten years! So in reality, she’s just keeping in touch with her friend back in Philly. She does that with all of her other friends back here so I’m just one of them. But I’m sure Dave wouldn’t see it like that, so she keeps me a secret. Dave thinks I’m ancient history for over five years now. (I still love that my pimp hand is strong nationwide. Kidding!)

Michelle lives a pretty clean and healthy life out there in the land of fruits and nuts. But whenever Dave has to go out-of-town she is usually drinking wine, smoking cigarettes and face timing with me. It’s like the kids in catholic school when I was growing up. They are held down so strictly, and when they’d got loose, they’d go crazy. Sometimes I think it’s that way for Michelle. But in the long run, living a healthier life will extend her life and she’ll feel better, and think more clearly. But not being able to be who you really are can create some long-term problems. But people are very adaptable. People evolve and change. A healthy clean life for Michelle may be her simply growing up.

I really believe that.

I’ve gotten the advice from some of my friends that what we’re doing is wrong. But based on what I know about those friends lives, I’d never listen to what they think I should do. They’ve made plenty of bad choices, and I’ll do what I want. It ends when Michelle says so, and not before. She’s the boss of that. No one knows what my life is, or was with Michelle and neither do you.

That belongs to us, and only us.

Michelle makes the final call on us and nobody else.

She’s been back to Philly a few times since she moved out west. Normally she swings by the city around the holidays. In 2014 she was around one evening. It was a lovely but bittersweet encounter. She was overcome with emotion. She had been spending the afternoon with several of her old friends, and I was the last stop. (Deal with it) We went to 1 Tippling Place for a drink before stopping at Crow and the Pitcher for another. She was supposed to go to her friend Gloria’s house and sleep over and then they were to have breakfast, but it didn’t quite play out that way.

She ended up sleeping on my sofa. Nothing happened, but she was pretty hung over the next morning. She got up and took an UBER down to Gloria’s the next morning for breakfast. Gloria was a little miffed, but Michelle’s time was limited. I later met up with her at 30th Street Station. She was going to take the train down to Delaware to see what I’m assuming was her family. She was a nervous wreck. So we sat at the Bridgewater Cafe and threw back a few chardonnays to take the edge off.

I put her on the train and off she went.

In 2015 she visited again around the holidays. She was unsure what time she’d be in the city. I was at McGlinchey’s drinking with Johnny R. She rolled in at one point and we all sat at a table by the door. It was nice. Johnny and I took turns playing songs on the jukebox, and we were all drinking and smoking cigarettes. It was just like old times. I played “Fly Me To The Moon,” and Michelle and I got up and danced in the aisle next to the bar. (Which was a sweet moment I get to wrap myself up in like a warm blanket.) Here we are in the shittiest bar in Philly and we bring the elegance and power just like always.

That was a glorious moment with my love.

Later, Johnny left and I walked down Chestnut Street towards 17th with Michelle. I think she told her people she was staying at her friend Susan’s house. But in reality she had booked a room at the Club Quarters. We took her bags up to the room. She was supposed to meet Susan for dinner, and said if I was around later we could meet up for a drink.

I went to Wawa and got a sandwich. I was starving, because eating anything from McGlinchey’s is always a health risk. I went back to my office at One Penn Center on JFK Boulevard and ate my sandwich and drank some box wine I kept there. (Cheap ass, but Mad Men style!)

She texted me about and hour and a half later. I met her at Club Quarters. She wanted to get a cocktail somewhere. We stopped in AKitchen on 18th Street. We chatted and enjoyed our drinks, just like we always did. Stories were told, memories refreshed, and cigarettes smoked. She said she should probably go back to her room. I walked her to the entrance of the hotel.

“Wanna come up?”

God Damn it.

So I ended up sleeping over that night. There was some playful moments, but I don’t think Michelle knew what she wanted that night. I probably should have gone home. We had planned on meeting for breakfast the next morning. But when the new day dawned she just wanted to go back to her family. She was feeling guilty about spending too much time with me again. So I guess I was dining alone that day.

I walked her to the parking garage and we went to her car. She pulled out of the lot and I got out. We said our goodbyes and I told her not to worry, and that nothing had happened. Just like I always do.

But nothing really happened.

Once again, my former queen disappeared into the morning light.

I ended up dining alone at Rachael’s alone. (Breakfast is always cheap and glorious despite your circumstances)

 

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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.”

 

 

 

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