Sarika – 2014 to Present – Back In The Widow’s Web

Surprise, surprise!

I left the salon after a meeting with Achilles about the fitness center. I wanted to hit Dan Dan, the Asian fusion restaurant and bar where my buddy, Chet works as bartender. I just wanted to unwind after a long day of work, and toss back a few chardonnays.

I was completely out of cigs, so I headed over to the nearest newsstand at 16th and Locust Street. I stood in line while a few people ahead of me were buying their lottery tickets. (Or as I call it, 401K for the poor) I realized I didn’t have enough cash so I got out of line and headed to the little store down on Spruce.

I get my smokes and I head back up 16th street. I get to the intersection at Locust street again, and who do I see crossing the street from me but Sarika! She’s smiling and waving.

I’m wondering how this is possible and it almost seems surreal. I know she looked up at me two weeks ago at Parc and then looked away. I just assumed she had read the blogs about her and she now hated me.

But here she is smiling and looking gorgeous as always. She apologizes for being all sweaty but she says she just came from a spin class at Flywheel across the street.

She still looks sexy as hell. Sweat beading on her forehead, her raven tresses askew and curling about her shoulders. I can see her nipples poking through her wet sports bra. I think this is how she would look after a session with me.

But I digress…

She’s lively and a bit out of breath. We catch up on what’s been happening in our lives. I talk about the fitness center and she goes on about how much she has had to travel lately for her job. She says she recently got a raise. She’s obviously killing it as an engineer/scientist. Brains and beauty.

I ask her if she’d like to join me at Dan Dan for a drink, but she said she’s too sweaty and gross to go anywhere. She just wants to go home.

She says she met a guy she likes. I think she said they met in Atlanta, but he lives in Florida. All of these long distance relationships. But when you think about it, in this day and age it’s not that bad. Sarika travels so much it’s nothing for her to hop on a plane and jet down to Florida for a few days. She can afford it and she’s accustomed to traveling.

I’m happy to hear that she’s doing well and not mad at me. I guess when she said she was reading my blog a few months ago she missed the stuff about her. Bullet dodged!

She says she has to go to Boston this weekend, but will be back next week. She’d like to meet up for a drink.

So I’m happy about this little twist. I’ll let sleeping dogs lie, and we’ll move forward from here.

Sarika is back!

 

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Annabelle – 2013 to 2014 – Chapter 3 -First Date

What if I’m not falling for her at all? What if I’m simply in love with the idea of love, and not this woman?

It was a hot day in July of 2013. I remember that summer being especially humid. I didn’t want to get all sweaty before my date with Annabelle. So I took a taxi up to the Barnes Museum. But sadly, many of those cabs are still hot as hell in the summertime. I went inside, told them I was on the guest list and that I was waiting for my plus one.  The girl at the counter tells me it’s cooler downstairs. I head down to cool off and dry out. I was heavier back then, (36 waist!) so maybe that’s why I was sweating more. I get some water and have a seat.

I get a text from Annabelle that she has arrived. I tell her to just let them know who she is and they’ll let her in. She comes downstairs to get me. She is wearing her hair up, and has a black top and matching black slacks that just cover her knees. Is that called Capri pants? She is also wearing heels so she towers over me. I don’t care. I’m Phicklephilly. I cast a great shadow across this city. She goes to use the restroom, and I chill out looking at little models of what the building looked like when they were designing it. The are all in different stages under glass.  I’m looking at one of the tiny models very closely when she returns. She comes up behind me and I just feel her presence. I turn around and she is over me looking at what I’m looking at. I tell her it felt like I was being stalked by a raptor from Jurassic Park. She laughs and does this little impression of a raptor. I find this funny and ask her if she liked the film  Jurassic Park. (One of my favorite movies)

“I love Jurassic Park.”

“Okay….okay” I reply.

We go upstairs and into the main ballroom. They are having a little first Friday celebration. A live band plays some sweet jazz. For whatever reason we’re both starving. I get us high top with a pair of chairs, and tell her I’ll go fetch us some snacks and wine.

I head over to the bar and all they have is overpriced everything and some cheese and chips. It’s the Barnes for God’s sake. Can’t they afford any decent chow for the guests? I gather up two bags of chips some cheese and a couple of glasses of wine. I’m not even gone for five minutes, and some old codger has already swooped in and started talking to my date. This guy is easily twenty years older than me. I approach, drop the food on the table and hand Annabelle her wine.

“Really dude? I was gone all of five minutes. Get your own girl.” I joke.

We chat with the old guy. He seems charming and harmless. After a bit, Annabelle and I go over to tour the collection. Apparently, that wasn’t part of the passes I was given. I simply drop a name and they let us in. I had never seen the collection before so it was a real treat for me to see what a billion dollar art collection looked like.

The collection includes 181 paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 69 by Paul Cézanne, 59 by Henri Matisse, 46 by Pablo Picasso, 21 by Chaim Soutine, 18 by Henri Rousseau, 16 by Amedeo Modigliani, 11 by Edgar Degas, seven by Vincent van Gogh, and six by Georges Seurat. Other European and American masters in the collection include Giorgio de Chirico, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, Paul Gauguin, El Greco, Francisco Goya, Édouard Manet, Jean Hugo, Claude Monet, Maurice Utrillo, William Glackens, Charles Demuth, Jules Pascin and Maurice Prendergast. It also holds a variety of African artworks; ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art; and American and European furniture, decorative arts and metalwork. The museum also holds several significant works by cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz.

It was pretty amazing how one guy was able to collect this many fantastic, priceless pieces of art. We walk from room to room, looking at everything. At one point she says, “Out of everything in this room, which is your favorite?”  Then I would choose the one I liked the best. I would do the same to her. We did this enough times, until finally she asked me what was my favorite in the last room.

I simply pointed to her.

She smiled.

We then went downstairs to the rum tasting. We were all in a room and they gave us three different rums to try. The guy that was running the tasting really knew a lot about each rum and what made them different. But the weird part was, they were comparing the taste and look of the rum to different paintings in the collection. They had the images on a video screen on the wall. I’ve never seen this done, and I don’t even think it’s a real thing. But free rum is free rum. I remember the person talking about the mood of the paintings and the taste of the rum, and I was into it. there was a moment when my eyes drifted away from the host and onto Annabelle. I was looking at the painting and then my gaze passed over to Annabelle. I looked at her profile and neck. Was I falling for this girl? I took girls to events all of the time. What was it about this one? There’s nothing special about her really. It’s been two years since Michelle. I’m really taken with her. Has it just been too long since I’ve fallen in love that I just want that feeling again?

What if I’m not falling for her at all? What if I’m simply in love with the idea of love, and not this woman?

After the weird art/rum tasting we headed back upstairs. We probably shouldn’t have had all that wine and rum with so little food. I can handle it but it could be a bit painful for Annabelle tomorrow.

We leave the museum. It’s located in an area where it would be difficult to catch a taxi. I decide we should walk up to Spring Garden. We reach the corner and flag one down. We share the perfunctory hug. Dating’s funny. So much of it is tied to timing and ritual. I put her in the cab and ask her to text me that she has gotten home safely.

The cab rolls east into the night and as I walk back down into center city. As the city rises before me, I feel a little spring in my step.

 

 

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Carly – 2013 to Present -New Years Eve 2016

“Awww… Sheila. Always a bridesmaid. Never a bride.” I thought to myself.

Carly asked me if I’d help her set up for New Years Eve at the restaurant where she works. I hate New Years, but I love her, so I agreed to help. She needed me there around 4:30 on Saturday so that worked.

I had just come from brunch with hot senior citizen, Clarice at Jones. (See: Clarice – 2016 to Present – The CEO – New Years Eve Brunch) I walked into the restaurant and took the elevator to the second floor. I told the bartenders that I was here to help Carly set up. They didn’t know if she was in the building or not. I texted her to let her know I was at the bar. Surprising, she got right back to me. “Stuck in traffic, should be there in twenty minutes.”

No skin off my nose. I had Cory make me a vodka martini straight up with a twist. What the hell, it was New Years Eve.

I had a great day, albeit expensive. I was still glowing a bit from my romantic time with Clarice. I took a photo of the cocktail in front of me and sent it to Carly just so she wouldn’t rush, and also know that I was in good hands. I ask Cory for a cocktail napkin, and wipe my mouth. I drop it onto the bar, as he hands me my drink.

Cory: “How’s bad is your life?”

Me: “What?”

Cory: (points to napkin marked with lipstick)

Me: “Ohhh…” I smile.

Cory: “Happy New Year.”

I was playing with my phone, and sipping my drink.  Just enjoying the sights and sounds of the restaurant, still decorated beautifully for the holidays. Some time passed, but I figured we had plenty of time. New Years probably wouldn’t get going until after 9pm. It was only around 5pm at this point. She said the whole job would only take a couple of hours.

Carly texted me again, saying she was looking for parking and that traffic was nuts in the city. It’s New Years Eve in Philly. Of course it’s going to be crazy. I ordered another martini.

I was chatting with the bartenders while they prepared for the impending onslaught of revelers. Twenty minutes later, I get another text. “Come up to the penthouse. We’re on the 14th floor.” I drain the last of my martini and ask for the check. Cory waves me off. “Your good.” I thank him, wish him a HNY and throw down a ten. I head to the elevators in the back by the Club Quarters. There is a mob of people there that look like they’re dressed up for a wedding.

The attendant has to insert a special key card to allow access to the penthouse. I’m sausaged into the elevator with a gaggle of  hot bridemaids. (I’ve been in worse situations)

We reach the penthouse and the place is a flurry of activity. “Who are all these people, and where is Carly?” One of the staff points to a door, leading upstairs. I head up and there is Carly and her husband.

“What are we doing and who are all of those people down there?”

Carly tosses me a 187 ml of champagne and says there’s been a change of plan. We’re now setting up for a New Years wedding and have two hours to do everything.

“They’re getting married here and the reception is here?”

“Yep.”

“Sounds good to me. Let’s do this.” I chug the tiny teaser and start grabbing boxes.

Downstairs we tell everybody that if they aren’t immediate family they have to leave until the wedding starts at 7pm. Holy shit! We have one hour! I’m arranging chairs in the main room. Then placing these tall glass vases next to some of the chairs.

I dump big pearls into the vase. Then I pour water in it. Then I place a tall, thick candle down in it. I then scatter white rose petals around the base. I replicate this nine more times.

Everybody is doing something. We have an efficient team of people who work at the restaurant and have to do this stuff on a monthly and sometimes weekly basis. Even a couple of the bridesmaids were jumping in to help. There was the fun ethnic one who was really into helping and working with us and the photographer. Then there was the skinny hot one who did very little but complained a lot.

“Awww… Sheila. Always a bridesmaid.  Never a bride.” I thought to myself.

We get everything set up, and then have to get out of there because they’re going to do the ceremony. Just think, it only takes twenty minutes to get legally bound to someone. If it doesn’t work out and you have kids you’re stuck for the next twenty years in an emotional and financial hell of your own doing. (meaning: If you’re the man)

At one point I was out on this deck that many people don’t know about near the roof. There’s a guy out there in a tux, probably well into his sixties. He’s heavyset, and coughing while he’s lighting a cigarette. Built to last.

I start chatting with him. He’s the father of the bride. Turns out he’s a lifelong cross-country truck driver that delivers for BJ’s Wholesale. We share a moment. I congratulate him on his daughter getting married. I even had a chance to speak with her later. She said she met her husband at a bar in Ocean City, MD called Secrets. Sounds like a good place to meet your soul mate.

So me, Carly, her husband, and a few other people go up to the roof with another 187 ml each to catch a smoke. The view is great. When would I ever get to see this view? I love new views of my city. I take a few pics for Instagram. Carly is passing around the Mary Jane vape pen (marijuana) and that just adds to the fun.

Later we head back down stairs to get ready to set up for the reception in an hour. There’s a bar set up in the back room. I see a box of soft pretzels somebody brought in. I grab one and stuff it in my mouth. (Or as I call it: Drinking armor) Carly hands me a box of stuff, and says, “Make this and then make me five more.”

“On it.” It’s a glass vase about fifteen inches tall. I have to place it on a round mirror. Then place two little candles around it near the base. Put a few strings of pearls hanging out of the vase. Stuff a sponge in the opening. Then stuff white and black feathers, some with gold trim into the sponge all around it. It’s actually a fun project. I then replicate it five more times.

I bring out a tray of cigars and cutters. They are in a small room off the balcony. This way people can go out there and smoke cigars. I thought that was a good idea. So these crazy kids get married, leave for an hour, then come back to rock out to their Great Gatsby themed reception until midnight when it turns into an epic New Years Eve Party. I think it’s pretty cool, but setting all of this stuff up and all of the money and work that goes into this massive party all seems like a waste to me, but what the hell, I’ve had my time. I’m rootin’ for these kids.

Carly lets us know it’s time to go. The bride is thanking us all profusely. I was happy to spend time with one of my favorite people and do something nice for someone’s special day. It was great. The bride tells us we can have whatever is left over upstairs, as she stuffs four cigars in my coat pocket. We go upstairs to get our stuff and I walk out with a half a dozen 187 ml bottles. I like that it has the name of the bride and groom on every bottle.

I say goodbye to Carly and her husband, and thank them for the fun evening. I’ll be home by 9pm and asleep by 11pm at the latest, before 2017 even happens. I haven’t missed a thing.

Update: Carly has left her job as Events Director at the restaurant where she works. She wants to focus on the legalization of marijuana in Philly. She lives in Manayunk which is only a 15 minute car ride from center city, but when you live in the bubble of Rittenhouse like I do, she may a well be on another planet.

I miss her terribly and our Monday night cocktails and conversations. I saw her recently, but it’s just not the same. Hopefully I can see one of my favorite people in the world again soon.

 

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Sarika – 2014 to 2017 – Out Of The Web – Update

Just another pretty face…

I was just walking home from the salon. It’s been busy and Achilles asked that I help out Trish during her shift.

It’s was really warm out today. We’ve had a chilly Spring but this week the temperature really has finally risen.

So while walking home I decided to walk through Rittenhouse Square. I knew everybody would be out and I thought I’d see a bunch of beautiful women.

There were plenty all sitting outside at the three restaurants on the east side of the square. Rouge, Devon Seafood, and Parc.

So I’m strolling down the sidewalk checking out all of the pretty faces and well turned legs, and who do I see sitting with another girl and two young men?

Sarika!

I see her and she looks up at me and then averts her eyes back to who she is talking to.

She would never do that to me. She’s always nice to me and would call me over to say hello.

So this tells me one thing.

She’s read, phicklphilly!

Game over!

She’s cut me off because I laid it out there and told the truth about the lonely Black Widow.

The truth hurts.

But I’m not sad. She’s just another pretty face.

I have no use for her in my life.

What’s the point of having her around? So I can listen to her warble on about her dates and other failed relationships? I’m sure I didn’t hurt her feelings, because you must have feelings to have them hurt.

C’est la vie!

 

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Devon – 2004 to Present – The Crazy Cat Lady – Part One

“It looked like you hadn’t even been there.”

I met Devon through my long time friend Marigold over ten years ago. (See: Marigold – 1997 to Present – Good German Stock)

Marigold met Devon while riding the bus up in Fairmount. She admired her sense of style and just started talking to her. They became friends. I was introduced to her at some point and liked her. I thought she was kind of hot. Marigold and Devon had even been over to the apartment when Michelle and I lived together.

Devon had a history of making bad decisions in regard to relationships. She has had affairs with married men that went nowhere, or usually has a type in mind, which doesn’t really exist. I also understand she was brought up in a very strict religious family and that’s never good. Add to that some mental illness and that just makes for messed up people.

Years ago when I was living back in Jersey, I was trying to find a home for a cat we had. It’s a long story that can’t be told here, but maybe someday in Phicklejersey. Devon agreed to come and get the cat. She already had a Siamese of her own but this cat was so nice she thought it would work. She came and took the cat and I was happy that she was able to provide a home for it.

I remember she had the cat for a while but then her cat didn’t get along with it so she ended up giving it to another family. Her cat was a prima donna. But Devon made her that way.

As the years rolled by, Marigold wanted her friends to be happy, so she thought I should hang out with Devon more. Most of all of her friends had gotten married and moved on with their lives and Devon was still working three jobs and riding her bike around the city. I reached out to her and invited her over. We watched the comedy Bridesmaids and drank box wine. I also provided some crackers and cheese. She bought over some ice cream and we ate that too. Just talking to her I noticed she was sort of negative about her life and appearance. Concerns about aging. She was pointing out the lines on her forehead. I hadn’t noticed until she brought it up and pointed it out. (that’s always the way with me. Don’t point out your flaws ladies. You’re great just the way you are!)

She was taking a trip one weekend and asked if I’d go to her house and feed her cat. I told her I would be happy to do so. She gave me a set of her keys. The time came and I went over to her apartment. She lived on the ground floor of some shitty building that had some issues. Mice and cockroaches are two things I just don’t like. I’d rather see a mouse that a roach. We had roaches in our home growing up in Northeast Philly. The house was clean but they would appear in the basement at night. So there is a long-standing dislike of cockroaches. However, I do respect how long cockroaches have existed on this planet. way longer than humans. I just don’t want to see those successful fuckers in my house.

I get there and there is a note on the table from Devon. It was a laundry list of things I had to do while there. Empty the litter box, with very specific instructions so that her cat didn’t get an infection. Make sure the cat has fresh water and food. Fill all of the bowls of water that are sitting on the radiators. I think they keep the air fresh as the water evaporates. Take out the trash and recyclable trash. I wish I still had the note because it went on and on, front to back. It was around the holidays and I went two days over the weekend and did all of these things to the letter.

I was pretty proud of myself that I had been so meticulous about following every little step on her very expansive list. When she got home I remember talking with her about her holiday. I asked her if everything looked good at her house and was expecting the praise I so richly deserved.

“It looked like you hadn’t even been there.” was all she said.

I was thinking that would be the last time I ever do anything for this bitch in regard to her apartment or her fucking cat.

 

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Michelle – 2007 to Present – 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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Marigold – 1997 to Present – Good German Stock

I’ve known her since she was 21 and now she’s a mom!

I met Marigold when she was only 21 years old. That was back in 97 when she worked for me as a teller in my bank branch at 10th and Snyder Aves. in South Philly. They would sometimes send her to another branch to help out, so I didn’t see her all of the time. She always seemed smarter and sharper than her peers. I really liked her. (Tall blonde. Good legs.)

We would sometimes go to lunch and it was always nice to spend time with her outside of the bank. Marigold eventually left retail banking for a better job. I remember she always dated high-end wealthy or affluent men. She wasn’t a gold digger or anything like that, just knew how to date a better class of men than most girls her age.

We kept in touch and would occasionally meet up for lunch or drinks to catch up. At one point I was living in New Jersey and she was living in the Fairmount area for Philly. I was married back then. Years later I was working in Philadelphia, and she had moved to New York. So that kept us apart except for the random visit. I later moved to New York for work and she was then living in Newark, NJ with her boyfriend of several years. That was just a few train stops beyond where I was living at the time. So we got to hang out every once in a while.

I remember attending her bachelorette party. I was the only guy invited. Just me surrounded by a bunch of women. It was awesome! She and her fiance married at city hall but then had a big reception down in the Bowery of NYC. I took my then girlfriend Jackie, who was a second generation girl from Haiti. She was a lawyer on Wall Street. She wanted to get married and have children so badly, I think she scared me off. Lorelei was enough kid for one lifetime for me.

I eventually moved back to Philly and took a job at a local digital publication. I didn’t see Marigold as much as I would have liked to, but we always managed to get together at least once or twice a year. Then she moved out to Lexington, Kentucky. Her husband is a professor at the University of Kentucky, so out they went. he’s a great guy. Everybody loves Don.  Men and women alike. He’s so cool that he’s never minded me hanging out with his wife. Cassandra works as a financial broker, so technically she can work anywhere. I have known Marigold twenty years now, and I’m sure hasn’t been a fan of living out in the midwest. She’s a city cat like me and probably misses living in a metropolis. I would bet that at some point they’ll come back.

She has a little son who is now six years old and two daughters that are about two and a half. They are fraternal twins. They all have white blonde hair and look like the perfect little Aryan family. They’re all really cute. I think the son could have used a bit more discipline to keep his behavior in check, but he’s not my child. I know for a while about a year ago, cassandra was losing her shit having three little kids to take care of everyday. That was real challenge for her. I think it aged her.

I was down at our shore house a few years ago to see my father and she visited with her son. She wanted to meet my father that I always spoke of fondly to her. She wanted to see his train collection and also wanted her son to see it. It’s pretty spectacular. I’m glad she finally got to meet my dad. Her life with her father had always been a challenge. I believe he was bi polar and struggled with alcohol. I remember even in her twenties she was taking care of him. Writing out his checks to pay his bills, etc. that must have been a lot for a young girl to bear. I may have fucked up some things in my life, but I was always capable of taking care of my daughter. Girls need strong dads. I may not be the strongest father, but I was consistent with Lorelei. I also wasn’t a crazy asshole like her mother, so that’s part of the reason Lor has decided to live with me.

I am writing this because I am about to go see her and her daughter tonight. She’s visiting Philly for a couple of days to see everybody, and this must be my night.  I will finish this piece upon my return.

I got to their hotel at 5pm. They are staying at the Courtyard at Marriott. It’s a nice hotel right near City Hall. Originally that building was built in 1926 as a government annex to City Hall for over 60 years. In 1990 it was acquired and renovated by Marriott. The marble floors and three chandeliers in the main lobby are all original. It is the largest Courtyard Marriott in the world.

Just thought I’d give you a little Philly history there.

I go up to her room, and her little daughter is on the carpet playing with her maryjane shoes. She’s so cute and social. I know it’s been a stressful drive up from DC today for Marigold. They were down there visiting with Don’s family for the holidays. Marigold is happy that she only has the one child to look after for the next couple of days. She is relieved that her husband and his family will get to spend time with her son and other daughter. Three little kids are a handful, but getting a break and only having to look after one is much needed on her part.

I hand Marigold a skinny joint. She’s delighted. She hardly ever smokes weed so she says she only needs a tiny bit to get lit. She excuses herself and heads to the bathroom to toke up. I’m just chilling on the couch sipping a glass of wine. I tell her to run the fan in the bathroom to draw out the smoke. I hear the fan go on followed by coughing.

Moments later, Marigold reappears, smiling. “Thanks, I needed that. Do my eyes look stoned?”

I assure her she looks fine. We get her little one in the stroller and head downstairs in the elevator. I’ve decided to take them to Zavino at 13th and Sansom. It’s a small place but we’re in a nice little booth in the back. I had called ahead to hold a table and they were very accommodating. They take the stroller and hang it in the back.

We settle into our seats and order some wine. I know they all love pizza and that’s why I brought them here. It’s really good brick oven pie here. They have this location and a bigger one out in University City. Their happy hour is pretty solid. We got two pies (they’re small) eight bucks a piece and the wine was only five bucks a glass. For a nice place like this in midtown village, that’s a good deal.

We had a nice dinner without incident. Her daughter was well-behaved. The food was great and the service on point. I was happy to see Marigold and share this moment of repose with her. When we finished, she insisted on paying the bill. I left the tip. I walked her back to the hotel and we called it a night. It was a great two hours to catch up with my old friend. She said she couldn’t wait to snuggle up with her little one, smoke a little more grass and fall into the arms of Morpheus.

I love Marigold like a sister.

 

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