Keila – 2012 to 2017 – The Gaza Stripper – This Side Of The Coin

Rebecca – Chapter 6 – Cypress and the Oak

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

In our last episode we left our hero right here:

“I’ve had a wonderful night with you.” She says, taking my hands in hers. She looks up at me. Her eyes are dark but full of light. I don’t question what is happening. “Thank you so much for your time tonight. I can’t thank you enough. I feel like you fixed me. I have been wearing armor my whole life and when I take it off I always get hurt. I feel like I’m safe when I’m with you.” She lifts her hands slowly and gently touches my cheeks and kisses me gently. Her kisses are soft and sincere.

I’m blown away by her words. Normally the work is being done and the results just come. They never realize until later. But she seems to feel it in the moment. I have not encountered a girl like this before. She’s so mature. I am captivated by her beauty and honesty. Just when you think you can’t feel that magic again, you do. The key, I think is not to look for it. Just let it happen. It is happening. She wants to see me again and is sure about that. But deeds are stronger than words. Young people get distracted. It’s so easy now. I am already prepared for disappointment. I am just happy that tonight happened even if I never see her again. This one is different. But I can’t put my finger on it. I actually like that. The unexpected is so exciting. That is my favorite part of the game.

We sit for a moment at 20th and Market. “I love Philly in the Fall.” she says.

She looks down Market street. Billy Penn has his back to the city at Broad street. “Why is his back to the city?”

“He’s not turning his back on Philly. He’s welcoming the world to come here, Rebecca.”

When I came here 8 years ago I was clueless about the city but now I am a pro at all things Philly.

There is this moment where we are just sitting there. I’ve just had this incredible night with my future second ex-wife. (kidding!) The city is moving all around us. The lights, the cabs, the people, the energy and the night. There is a moment when we are just sitting there silently looking into each others eyes. My God she is exquisite. What curse is this that has been cast upon me? Where I fall in love with this lovely maiden only to be shattered again. I’m not afraid. I love the drug. I hear the hiss of her stockings as she crosses her legs. We kiss again. I am once again 18. It is new and magical. The city vanishes behind her lips.

“Ok. So movies or something?” She says in her hopeful girlish voice. And as corny as this sounds I said: “Yes! A thousand times yes!” Rebecca giggled and said: “I’m going to call and UBER.”

“Already done.” I replied. The black Lincoln pulled up to the curb, and stopped. She looked at me. “What?”

“Safe passage, dear.” I smiled.

She attacked me once again time like a Northern Pike hitting the bait. Her arms suddenly around me. Her breasts pressed against my chest like flowers in a memory book. Those full lips against mine. Her tongue swirling with mine. Me…grateful I had popped a piece of Dentyne Ice Peppermint before we left the bar.

“Take her home. She’s precious cargo. I’ve seen your face, Santos,” I joked to the driver.

Rebecca giggled as she got in the car. Her skirt riding up on her thighs. “I’ll text you when I get home safe! Thank you! Movie date!”

I smile and wave. I’m in love. The sedan pulls away. I turn and make my way back to Rittenhouse to the bat cave. I’m feeling sparkling, crackling euphoria. I get a text. “I feel so special you sending me home in a car.”

“Because you are special.”

I am happy, but I wince slightly knowing I have lived a similar scenario like this once before that ended badly. Well they all end badly. What relationship ends well?  It’s super rare. You either get married and have kids or you break up. That’s it. Rarely do people ever find a happy medium. Most of humanity is just predisposed to fall into a couple of buckets of what is right to ensure happiness, and it’s all a lie. These are old laws that were put in place to bring order to the tribes and the colonies. You can’t bang your sister, or your cousin, oh and stay away from your neighbor’s wife or you’ll go to Hell.

That’s the only choices we have as a society. Do they really work? I contemplate this as I walk home, taking a long drag on a glorious cigarette. It feels so good. I’m not going to smoke around this exquisite baby. She’ll never kiss me then. We don’t have many choices here. If you love somebody and it is electric, then you should get married. Live together. get a mortgage. Buy a $1000 dress you’ll wear once. Get piles of gifts and money. Pay $20,000 for a party to make you too guilty to get divorced for at least 5 years. Go on a big expensive vacation. Why? None of it makes any sense. I’ve done it and it’s all just a waste of time. It’s all been created by corporations to make money. The greatest things in life can’t be seen and can only be felt, and are absolutely free. I don’t believe in God, But I swear to God It’s true. Everything else you think you have to do is bullshit. All there is, is your health, your family, (if you choose, unless their assholes, then fuck them) and your own life. All you need is stuff to do, some cool people around you and some stuff to look forward to. But without your health your are totally fucked. So that one erases everything else. Look at that asshole Steve Jobs. That motherfucker was rich as fuck and that cunt never recognized his own daughter. He was super rich and cancer came and took his ass. Almost seems like justice for being a dick, but I digress.

It doesn’t matter what happens after this date with Rebecca. She’s a doll and I like her. I hope to go out with her again. And odds are I will based on this writing. But even if I never see her again, I’ll at least know we shared some great moments. I only have about 20 summers left in me according to Keith Richards. So as Jim Morrison said: “I’m gonna get my kicks before the whole shit house goes up in flames.” Sure the Doors, suck and the Stones rock but you get the point.

I make my way back to Rittenhouse down 20th street. I draw deep on my Parliament 100. It feels good. I’m clear. I walk past the 7 Eleven and Twenty Manning. I get to my door and work the key into the lock. My building is old. 120 years old. But it has character. I like it because it’s like me and it’s where I belong. I’m done. I strip down to my home uniform; T-shirt and shorts. Nothing else. I fix myself a vodka and club soda and flop in my chair. I drop my cell on the table next to me and search Netflix for something short and sweet. 30 Rock works. I take a sip and light another cig. It all tastes good and satisfying because of the nights events. Oh, and that Liz Lemon has fantastic legs.

My phone pings.

“Home safe. Had an amazing night with you. Thank you for everything. Let me know when you’re available to see me again. Looking forward to it! – Rebecca XOXO”

I text her back that I’m home and confirm our amazingness. I tell her I’ll text her tomorrow.

I take a sip from my drink and a drag from my cig. Tonight I welcome the sound of the crickets singing outside my window.

 

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

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Sarika -The Return of the Stone Fox

I reached out to Sarika, not because I like her, but I wanted to find out what she was up to with her life. I was just going to meet up with her for a drink, but my buddy Rocco hooked me up with two VIP tickets to Taste of Philly. So I decided to take her to that.

Taste of Philly is a big event that two large publications put on each year at the Crystal Tea Room. The Crystal Tea Room is a big event spaced owned by Finlay Catering. It’s actually on the 9th floor of the building Macy’s is in on Market Street. They gather a large group of food and beverage companies together in a few big rooms. They sell tickets for $35 a piece and hundreds of people come and stuff their heads, and drink their faces off all night. It’s a fun event and I always run into people I know. It’s nice to see and be seen. VIP is invited to arrive at 6pm and then at 7pm they let the rest of the animals in. Normally we hang for two hours and then bolt. Where else can you drink and eat that much food and booze for $35 in Philadelphia?  But we did it for free and VIP thanks to my man, Rocco. (See: Rocco – 2015 to Present – Amanda Peet)

I go to Square 1682 and wait for her. She arrives shortly thereafter. She looks absolutely beautiful as always. Her skin actually looks a little darker. I comment about it and she says she’s been traveling. She says when she’s not working she takes little trips. So she has obviously been going to places that have lots of sunshine. But even with darker skin she actually looks more exotic and even hotter. Just a stone fox.

She has a really good job as an engineer for a scientific research company. She has been there for over a year now. She had a romantic affair with one of her co-workers at her last place of employment and it didn’t end well. So she ended up leaving and having to switch jobs. Super hot, but can’t keep a man.

She tells me she moved from her crappy apartment on 19th street. She now lives in a really posh high-rise in Rittenhouse. Initially when I asked her to meet for a drink she invited me over to her place. Now I know why. She wanted to show me her awesome new apartment. She showed me some pics of her views, and they are spectacular. It’s a one bedroom and she’s only paying $1500. Which is a great deal for the location and the amenities of living in that building. I bring her up to speed on my life and she tells me what she’s been doing.

It sounds like she has a bit of a lonely life. Works all the time, and has to travel extensively for that job. Traveling for work is exhausting. I’ve lived that life. She makes great money, but instead of coming home and resting, she’s taking these little vacations all of the time. It’s almost as if she is running away from her life. Always trying to escape something. Maybe she’s trying to forget something. All of her past brief relationships have all ended in heartbreak.

She always comes off very blunt and honest. She’s extremely bright but she’s also cunning and a bit mean.But that wasn’t the case tonight. She is perfectly well-behaved. I asked her what ever happened to that guy she was seeing. (The one she wanted to bring as a date to the $80 a plate New Years event I invited her to last year.) She dismisses me, saying, “I don’t want to talk about it.” She always says that when her relationships end badly. So he probably dumped her or cheated on her and then dumped her. It happened to Halle Berry and Jennifer Anniston. It always just amazes me that a young woman who is beautiful can’t keep a man. (Sarika is definitely one of the most gorgeous women I know) I am sure they are captivated by her beauty initially, but once her best representative falls away, she reveals her true self. A vacuous, mean-spirited girl who cares for no one but herself.

Rocco arrives with the VIP tickets. It’s great to see him because it’s been awhile. I am sipping my signature chardonnay with ice. Sarika is sticking with water because she says she’s trying to lose weight. She’s smoking hot and doesn’t need to lose any weight. But it always seems like she is on a diet. What woman isn’t? It’s kind of sad.

Rocco pounds two martinis into himself. Which surprised me, but then I thought to myself, he still works for one of the companies that puts on tonight’s event. They have recently been bought out by their distributor, and I hear the new management are a bunch of assholes. So maybe Rocco needs a little medication before he faces all of those clowns that will be there tonight.

We head over to the event. We get there around 6:20pm. But there is a huge line outside waiting to check in and get up the elevators. Apparently they are not ready upstairs and they missed the 6pm VIP opening. That is not good. But being the arrogant punks we are, we just blaze by everyone and go to the front of the line. We didn’t even get out little paper bracelets to say we were VIP. We tell the angry mob that we are VIP and work for the company that puts on the event, so technically we weren’t lying. Sarika is delighted by our attitudes.

The event was good and the food and drinks were delicious. We just kept going back to the VIP bar and getting refills. Sarika was drinking and stuffing her head with delicious treats. So there goes that supposed diet. But we’re all having a great time. I run into many people I know and we are all getting a solid buzz on. Then something extraordinary happened.

I’m walking along with Sarika by my side and I see someone I haven’t laid eyes on since 1979.

If you didn’t see someone for 35 years you may not recognize them. The same would go for you. 35 years is a long time. But with the advent of social media, I recognized him. If I hadn’t been connected to him on Facebook, we would have walked right by each other like strangers.

I say his name and he recognizes me as well. I hug him and I am so happy to see him. He was the bass player in my first rock band. I remember him as a skinny, awkward teen with long blonde hair, who wore glasses and had a shaggy little beard.

Now he’s a big fat guy with a full grey beard and short grey hair. At least he didn’t go bald. He introduces me to his average looking wife who is in her 50’s as well. I’m making a big fuss over him, and start singing lyrics to a song that he wrote. I have that kind of memory. He’s smiling and laughing. His wife asks who I am. He tells her I was the singer in the group Renegade back in the seventies. She’s amazed. He says I look the same, just a little older. He then says that he now looks like Santa Claus. (He sort of does resemble that jolly old elf) I tell him he looks great. He glances over at Sarika, and I introduce her. He looks back at me and says, “I see you haven’t changed.”

That sly compliment is better than money to me.

We go on our way and keep munching and drinking our way through the event. Michelle would have loved an event like this. We run into a few more people we know and it’s a fun night. Sarika is very well-behaved and I’m having  good time with her.

After awhile we’re getting tired, and decide we have seen everything that we wanted to and we head out. We thank Rocco for the tickets and say goodnight. I walk Sarika back to her place but don’t go up.

Sarika has redeemed herself… for now.

 

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

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Michelle – Chapter 8 – New York City – Sunday

We woke up sometime the next morning in our motel room. I started calling it the Guns and Roses suite because there were clothes and stuff strewn everywhere. We got ourselves together and got back to Journal Square and headed back into the city. The Path train took us back to 32nd and Sixth Avenue.  We headed east and found a nice breakfast spot. I think it was the first time either of us ever drank Bloody Marys. We kind of needed them. It had been a long night.

After breakfast we hung out in a park. There was live music and people walking their dogs. I was sitting in the grass, leaning against a tree. It was such a beautiful sunny day. Michelle was leaning against me, and I was just happy to be holding her close. We stayed there for a while and then headed downtown. We stopped somewhere in SOHO so Michelle could use the restroom. When she came out she said, “That is literally the filthiest restroom I have ever gone in.” I don’t even know if she was able to go. I know this has nothing to do with the story, but I just remembered it.

We went to this nice restaurant and started drinking martinis. Which for us is never a good choice, but back then we drank a lot of martinis. They get you there fast. But sometimes take you too far. Michelle liked her martinis dirty. I prefer them straight up with a twist. Ketel One if they have it. Ketel is my favorite vodka. I once met the 9th generation son of the family that invented Ketel One. I still have the signed bottle on my mantle.

My rule on martinis is this: One is not enough. Two is too many. Three is just right.

We met another couple and were having a great time chatting with them. The drinks and laughs were flowing. Our server was really nice too. It was a really nice place. We were both periodically getting up to use the restroom, because I suppose the alcohol was going through us. I don’t remember whose idea it was, and I don’t even know why, but at some point it was decided that we were going to run out on our bill. We were really sweet, nice people.  Why would they even ask for a credit card up front. We would never do anything like that.

But we did.

Again, we were drunk, and in a strange city. We pulled some crazy shit in Philly as you will read in the coming chapters, but as far as I can remember, we never did that. I still feel ashamed about that and I’m sure Michelle does too. But I’m sure some karma has already come around and hit us both in different ways. When you do that, the bill comes back on the server. So we screwed him out of over $160 that night. Please don’t ever do this. It’s terrible behavior, but we were out of control back then. Like Bonnie and Clyde. There is no excuse for what we did. If I could remember where that bar is in New York, and that guy still worked there, I would go hand him $200 for us being punk ass morons.

So we dash out of there, and hail a cab. Michelle is freaking out thinking we’re going to get caught. I think she was having some problem with her shoe or something. We jump in the taxi and tell the driver to take us to Times Square. The funniest part I think for me was when Michelle saw police lights in the distance behind us. She switched out her scarf for a yellow pashmina and put it on her head as a disguise. I don’t think the NYPD is interested in assholes that run out on their bar bills. There’s real crime in New York.

We do pay the fare for the cab and hop out at Broadway and Seventh. Right in the heart of Times Square. We are drunk and exhilarated. I remember standing on this little concrete island in the middle of the street and just kissing Michelle deeply. It was one of those landmark Hollywood film moments. The couple in love. New York City blazing around them. The sights. The sounds of the city. All of the colors, and lights, and cabs, and people. The camera whirls around them as they kiss. All is a blur but them. It is a shining symbol of everything they are at that moment. I am so in love with her. I’m not afraid. I want to be with her forever.

This mighty city that discarded me and sent me packing back to Philadelphia a year ago. I have now returned briefly with my queen. To conquer and plunder its walls.

We stumble down the street. Everything is awash in lights and sounds of the city. We decide we’ve had enough, and want to go back to our room at the motel. We walk about a block when we come upon a stretch limousine. The driver sticks his head out the window, and says “I want the cologne he’s wearing.” He says, obviously referring to Michelle. She says something about how it’s not the cologne, it’s the man. My head swells with pride. “Want a ride?” he says.

“You serious?”

“Sure, where ya goin’?”

“The PATH train.”

“Get in.”

I kid you not, that happened. We get in and there is beer and other booze in the car. There are also bags of goodies. Somebody else’s stuff. I toss a beer to Michelle, and crack one myself. We’re laughing and chatting with the driver. Despite our recent foray into crime,  we decide not to steal any of the stuff in the limo. It’s obvious, this chauffeur was parked waiting for whoever hired him, and just wanted make a quick fare to kill time. There was a bottle of this gross Seagram’s raspberry twist. Which is just an awful liqueur. Michelle stuffed it in her bag. (It was half full, and that’s all we took.) So here are these two fugitives from justice, drunk and in love, being driven to the train station in a stretch limo. I slide the guy like $30 and we thank him and hop out.

There was something about the energy that Michelle and I gave off when we were together. It’s not something you could see, but something you could feel. We would get access to whatever we wanted. No matter if we were supposed to be there or not. I’d be in a suit with my trustworthy face, and she with her radiant beauty. In the coming chapters you’ll see how this happened over and over. We literally could get away with anything.

We get back to the Guns and Roses suite at the Skyline Motel. This has been a crazy weekend. This is the also the first time I made love to Michelle. I was nervous, but madly in love. I remember at one point I looked up at the mirror on the ceiling. I couldn’t believe that was me up there making love to Michelle. Everybody wanted her. But she chose me.

There was something I didn’t mention before. As genetically perfect as Michelle is, she is terribly myopic. It’s like God created her, stepped back and thought, that’s too good. Let me just screw up her eyes a little so she develops some character. Let me give you an example of how blind my baby is. After we fool around, she goes to use the bathroom. The room is dark. I’m on the bed. I pull the sheet over my head. She comes out and says, “Where’d you go?” I pull down the sheet. “Oh God, I thought you left the room.” This chick is blind. I always told her that it was a good thing. Because as her vision gets worse, and I get older, she’ll still think I look good!

We’re lying in bed together. “So…are you my girlfriend now?”

“What do you think?” Michelle replies.

I’m really happy. I’ve won.We fall asleep in each others arms.

To be honest with you, I don’t remember much else of this trip. I don’t even remember driving home. I know I had the bottle of awful liqueur in my closet at my apartment for a year before I threw it out. Maybe if I turn this blog into a book, I’ll have more details about everything. All I know is, I was in love, and being with Michelle were some of the best times of my life.

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

 

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

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Rebecca – Chapter 4 – Cypress and the Oak

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope she shows up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What happened?” I say, concerned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My man at Tippling is always on point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love is a many splintered thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We had our intimate moment and then paused.

“Are you hungry?”

“I’m starving!” she laughed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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Sun Stories: Olivia – Flirt – Part I

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

I work part-time at a spa. The spa owner was an advertising client of mine for about nine months. I’d go to his place of business every week to drop off proofs and chat with him. He was always complaining about his staff, which was basically a bunch of irresponsible chuckleheads. Or as I call them teenagers and kids in their early twenties. I told him that I like to stay busy and his clientele was easy on the eyes. All attractive, fit women. I started working a couple of nights a week and then people left and some got let go, and I ended up working 5 to 8 every night and Sundays 11-4.  It’s easy work, the clients are nice and the cash flow is good.

We close every night at 8pm. Last session is 7:45. If anyone comes in after that we can’t help them because then we literally won’t get out of there until after 8:30. But in stumbles this really beautiful young blonde girl at the stroke of 8pm. She’s a little tipsy and apologizes profusely that she’s arriving late. Saying she was walking around Harbor Park earlier that evening. The weather is warm and Harbor Park is a great spot to hang in the summer. On a side note, named one of the best places to visit in Philadelphia by national press, Spruce Street Harbor Park presented by Univest/Valley Green Bank features colorful hammocks, floating gardens, beautiful lights, refreshing craft beer, and food from popular Philly restaurants, making it a summer gathering space for locals and visitors alike. It’s open May through September.

Anyway, obviously I give in because I can’t say no to a pretty face. There’s the rules and then there’s hot chicks. Let’s face it. If you’re beautiful, you get the hook up everywhere you go. It’s just the way life is. I tell her I have to mop and fold some towels, so it’s okay that she’s here now. She has big, bright flashing blue eyes and extraordinary naturally long eyelashes. Her hair is like ribbons of flax. She is slender and all of 22. Very sweet and charming and of German decent. I know she went to Temple but not what she studied or if she still goes there or has her degree. I do know that this lovely girl works as a bartender and sometimes hostess at a bar in Fishtown.

Olivia thanks me and goes back for her session. I am taken by her beauty. I settle the register, fold some towels and mop out the rooms. When she comes out she is in a low-cut black cocktail dress and heels. She looks stunning! I don’t know where this outfit came from but she must have had it in her bag. Probably heading out to the club with her girls. She thanks me again for letting her get a session in at the last minute. I’m so smitten with her, she could have pounded on the door at 8:15 and I would have let her in. In my heart I wish I were going with her to wherever that destination may be, but alas it is not to be.

I walk back to wipe up and mop the floor of that room. I pick up the towel from the little table and there curled up is a delicate little necklace with the letter “O” on it. I have a reason to contact her now! Or…did she leave it behind for me to retrieve it knowing I would have to call her and she would have to come back? No. I’m imaging things. She doesn’t give a crap about me. What am I thinking? Creating scenarios that don’t exist in my head. Desire does some strange things to the mind. It’s like I’m some sort of beauty addict. My father always said I liked beautiful things. Apparently beauty is nothing more than symmetry. But I believe it’s something more. Much more.

I pull up her account on the system up at the counter. I grab the house phone and dial her number. It rings and rings, and then goes to her voicemail. I take a deep breath as I hear her sweet voice. I leave a message that states who I am and the salon, and that I found her necklace in the room she was in. I tell her it will be in a baggie with her name on it, safely locked in the drawer behind the counter. I hang up. I want her to know that I care enough to call and I have her necklace and its super safe and she can get it anytime. I hold the chain of this delicate piece of jewelry between my index finger and thumb. The gold “O” spins, twinkling in the light. Just like her lovely blue eyes.

Unfortunately she comes in to pick up her necklace on a night I wasn’t working. I can’t control that but I knew because the next night I worked the baggie was gone. I would have liked to have seen her and received the accolades and attention, but no dice.

Some weeks later I was walking towards the counter from cleaning one of the rooms in back and she comes through the door. Looking amazing of course. My heart leaps. She goes: “There’s the man of the hour!” Comes up and hugs me. Her hair smells like Heaven. “Sorry I’m a little sweaty.” she says. (Like I care about that.) “Thank you so much for finding my necklace! My mother gave that to me. I have like two them, and this has happened twice already! Crazy right?” I love this delicious little fraulein. We send her back to the room and go about our business. When she comes out as she’s leaving she sweetly blows me a kiss, which is wonderful, but I have to assume she does this to everybody. I’m not getting my hopes up in any form.

You know what’s weird though? If you’ve been reading these stories for a while you’ll notice that I don’t like that the wallets have not been coming out as of late. It’s 2017! Going out is expensive! What’s wrong with these women? I notice the feminists want equality but when it comes to dinner and drinks it’s the 1950’s again. Anyway, the point I make is moot if it were to come to a date with Olivia. I would completely lay down and pay for everything just to have the honor of sitting in a restaurant with this gorgeous, slender legged beauty. Yea. Total 180 for Olivia. Just slap down the credit card. Yep…I’m an idiot.

Go Team PhicklePhilly!

 

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

I publish new Dating content every Monday at 9am EST. I publish Updates and bios and stories about Non-Dating related characters, such as male and female friends, on TuesdaysWednesdays at 9am EST.