Clarice – 2016 – Chapter 4 – Champagne Lady on a Beer Budget – Part Two

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

Yesterday we left off here:

She shows me her profile on OKCupid, another dating site. She wants me to read her profile. It’s actually really good, it shows a smart, confident, independent woman. I like that. “That’s why men are intimidated by me.”

“I can imagine. But I dig a confident woman. Especially one as pretty as you.” The picture she has posted of herself is spectacular. She looks like a gorgeous woman in her forties. I notice the age posted on the profile says she’s fifty-six. I point to this and she laughs and says, “That’s my OkCupid age.” I laugh and get it. She looks great and ratcheted back her age five years. “I’m really impressed with that pic of you, Clarice.”

“Cause my tits look so good?”

“Umm… well, yes, but…”

“That’s pretty much all I got to offer. I got no ass! I got skinny bird legs!”

“I’ll be the judge of that.” I say, smiling slyly.

Here’s the great thing about dating older women. They are over all of their body issues. They don’t give a shit about all of the nonsense that clogs the heads of younger women. like her profile says: “I know what I can, and cannot do.”

We’re slowly munching through the tacos. She seems to like them. I order another Tecate. She starts looking at the wine list. (Here we fuckin’ go…) I can’t MAKE her drink tequila if she doesn’t like it. I tell her it’s okay to have a glass of wine. (I know! There goes ten bucks!)

She asks me about my artistic background. I tell her about my art and musical background. (I don’t want to epand on that here. That’s for future posts) She asks if I do anything artistic now. I tell her I do some writing.

“Has anyone seen it?” she says.

“No.”

“You should write a blog.”

“Really?”

“Sure! You know about all of these things around the city. What to drink, where to go, and what to do. It would be really interesting. You could even write a blog about dating. I’m sure it would be fun to read!”

“Do you really think so?”

“You should look into it.”

“I’ll see what I can find out about blogging.”

(Oh, the irony!)

Time goes by and she’s getting a buzz on. She starts getting a little affectionate. I ask her if this okay with her PDA rule in place. Apparently it is, because she kisses me again. She’s canoodling around my ear and neck. “Oooh you smell good!” (She’s into me. It’s so on.) “What is that you’re wearing? It smells sooo good!” I tell her I forget what fragrance I grabbed out of the vanity this morning. Maybe Aqua di Gio, by Giorgio Armani I tell her. (Bold faced lie. It’s Axe body spray, Phoenix)

She kisses me again. “Don’t you ever use tongue?” she hisses. “I do…” I look into her eyes, and then at her mouth and then look downward, then back to her eyes, just so we’re clear. I tell her when I kissed her at the Ritz on Saturday she seemed a little tight-lipped. She says she was right there ready for anything. Got a live one here. Maybe it was the tequila talking. Clarice has no idea who she’s dealing with here. Like a baby seal hopping into the water to cool off, just as the grey dorsal fin cuts through the water heading right for her. She kisses me again. Now her lips feel softer and more passionate than Saturday. I can tell the difference. She’s been thinking about me.

She orders another margarita. (Thank you!)  I’m feeling good and into my third Tecate. It’s nearly seven. Need to wrap this up soon. I promised Church I’d meet him at Sofitel. She starts talking about the Comcast Holiday show they do on the digital wall in the lobby of the Comcast tower. She asks me if I’ve ever seen it. I told her I saw it a couple of years ago. (Probably with Michelle and her mom.) She says we should go see it. I tell her I think it’s over by now. She looks it up in her phone. It was over the day after New Years Day.

“Aww too bad, I thought we could go see it after this. See? I’m trying to think of free things we can do together!” (points for that)

I apologize that we missed it, and also tell her I have to go meet with Church after this. He has some important stuff to cover with me.

“Oh…You’re always fitting me in! On our first date at Panorama you had to leave.”

“I had our annual holiday toy drive at Time for the kids at CHOP!”

“On New Years Eve you had to leave me again!”

“I promised my friend Carly weeks ago that I would help her set up a New Years wedding party!”

“Now you’re fitting me in around your friend!”

“He’s having some domestic issues, and my friend needs my support. We set this meeting up a before I made this date with you.”

“Oh…okay. I’m sorry.”

“No worries. I really like you Clarise. I want to see you, but I’ve had a lot of things going on over the holidays. I know now that they’re over, it should free up some time for us to be together.”

“My birthday is coming up, you know. I’ll be sixty-two on January 15th. Martin Luther King’s actual birthday, not the day we celebrate it. Do you have to work that day? It’s a Sunday.”

“Normally I do.”

“Well, here’s what I think you should do; switch with someone. Get on the train. Come out to Upper Darby around 1pm and I’ll pick you up and bring you to my house. You can stay until whenever you have to leave.”

“That would be great. I’ll see what I can do.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Clarice is making it clear she wants me to come over and make love to her. Which I am prepared to do. I like Clarice, and I want her.

The check comes. She had two margaritas, one glass of wine, and three tacos. So technically, not including tip, she will have only cost me twenty-three dollars tonight. Please don’t think I’m cheap, dear reader. If you have been reading this blog, you’ll know that I have spent thousands of dollars wining and dining all of these women.

We walk outside and she takes my arm. I walk her to her subway stop. I walk her down to the first landing and kiss her. She’s surprised and pleased. I offer her what I did not before in a kiss. She smiles and kisses me back.

I hear the roar of the approaching train. Time to go.

 

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Clarice – 2016 – Chapter 3 – Champagne Lady on a Beer Budget – Part One

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

After our New Years Eve date, and the date the next day with Mary, I started thinking about my money. I’m approaching this correctly, but operating at this level has a price. Limited time and resources. But when you have a solid pool of candidates, it puts you in a position of power. I’ve begun to realize this as I make this journey. Valerie was my maiden voyage. I was in the mindset, that if I didn’t feel something deep, I couldn’t go forward with her. She was simply an expense, and there was no return on my investment. June, was fun, but I simply wasn’t attracted to her. Fair enough. If one or two fall off, there are always others waiting in line to get onboard. But I really like Mary. She’s cool and fun, and had great history. I’m attracted to her. Same with Clarice. I want her, but I can’t be dropping a load of cash every time I see her.

There are always a few out there circling now. That’s good. That gives me the advantage. The other big advantage here is that I’m younger than both of these women. Normally I’m the old guy dating the younger women. I have real value, but youth is king. An older man will always be beholden to a younger woman due to her obvious youth and beauty. But if the tables were turned, it now puts me in the position to call the shots. What if I simply tell Clarice that I really like her and love spending time with her, but I can’t drop that much coin on her anymore? What’s the worst thing that could happen? The older woman leaves me because I’m not buying her enough drinks and dinners? Fine. She’s a gold digger and always was a gold digger. What do I get from her leaving me? One less expense that’s not yielding me any return on investment.

Mary has been pretty good with paying dutch on some things, so the issue is not with her. It’s with Clarice, and I’m about to solve it.

I told Clarice I was available on Wednesday evening and would like to see her. She agreed. Clarice texted me the night before and asked me what we were doing. The reason I hadn’t locked it down was because at the time I was struggling with how I was going to solve this situation.

I decided to simply call her. Just talk to her the old fashion way. She answers the phone: “To whom do I owe this great honor?”  I find that endearing because I say that when I answer the phone when somebody I like is calling me. She wants to know what we’re doing. I flat-out tell her that I really like her, and want to spend time with her, but I can’t spend fifty to a hundred dollars every time I see her. She says she agrees, and says I need to be more creative. I like that answer and it’s not a farewell. She suggests she just come to my apartment. (I find that a bit forward and a veiled suggestion for sex) I tell her Lorelei lives with me and I can’t be dragging strange women through the house with my kid there. I can tell this caught her off guard. She was married thirty years ago, but the marriage yielded no children. So she never thinks about kids. I also mention that if she likes, she could kick in on the bill occasionally. She says that since she just spent a bunch of money on a load of food for a holiday party she recently threw, that’s not happening.

Which tells me some things, about our confident, empowered, CEO. Good looking lady. Former opera singer. (No money in the arts) Runs a company (or maybe just works for a company) that sells marketing materials to companies for promoting their brand. She’s the CEO of a company that does marketing for non profits. (Non profits have no money to spend) It sounds like a company she made up which makes her the CEO. Just like my friend Alice is the CEO of her company. She revealed that she is looking to get a job with the African-American Museum here in the city. (She’s looking for a job!) Hot lady has no money!

So even though she is eight years older than me, this further lowers her value. But… she is charming, beautiful and fit. I am attracted to her, and I will use all of this to my advantage without doing anything dramatic. I will simply be myself and change the game.

I was seeing a client down at 12th and Locust, (It’s a gay bar) and when I walk out at 4:15 I hear someone calling my name. I look around and don’t see anyone I know. Then I see a familiar car parked right there. It’s Church!

“What are you doing down here?” I say.

“I was gonna ask you the same thing.”

“I’m seeing Jay at the club to pitch him my new bar leadership program.”

“Or you’re hanging out in a gay bar!” he quips.

“Yea, and you’re parked in your car out front of that gay bar cruisin’ for dudes.”

“Hop in, I’ll give you a ride, sailor.”

I told Clarice to meet me at El Rey, at 20th & Chestnut at 4:45. It’s best to get there before 5pm because the happy hour fill up because it’s so awesome. Dollar tacos, two dollar Tecate, and five dollar margaritas. How’s that for getting creative?

We’re parked out front of El Rey, and I see Clarice walking towards the bar. “Okay, this is my five o’clock appointment, dude. Thanks for the ride. I’ll meet up with you at Sofitel after seven.”

I wait for her to go in, and Church doesn’t ask who I’m meeting with so I don’t mention it. I head in and she’s at the bar taking off her coat. I stride towards her and nearly call her by her blog name by accident!  We hug, and squeeze ourselves into the seats at the bar. It’s a little tight. This used to be the old Midtown Diner III. They kept the affixed seats and the counter when they remodeled the place into El Rey.

I explain the happy hour to her and after a few tries she gets it. She goes with the margarita, no ice. I grab a Tecate. She gets the drink and doesn’t like it. They served it on the rocks which is wrong. She says the drink is super tart. She is making dramatic faces to prove it. I’m finding it annoying. Former opera singer/actress drama. Too much. She grabs the bartender and he fixes the drink. No rocks, and I tell him to add a little more triple sec to lower the tart signature.

Clarice says she’s not a tequila fan, but she’s trying to keep with the “Dating on a budget” program that I am now enforcing. I like that. We order six tacos. So right now the bill would be thirteen bucks. I can live with that. (for now!)

We are chatting and I’m making her laugh as usual. She is beautiful. I ask her how her last date went. She said she cancelled it. Just wasn’t feeling it. I knew it. Once you’ve heard Led Zeppelin, you don’t want to listen to any other crappy bands. She tells me more about her ex husband, and some other guy she dated for five years. I’m feigning interest as usual. It seems to be working.

She shows me her profile on OKCupid, another dating site. She wants me to read her profile. It’s actually really good, it shows a smart, confident, independent woman. I like that. “That’s why men are intimidated by me.”

“I can imagine. But I dig a confident woman. Especially one as pretty as you.” The picture she has posted of herself is spectacular. She looks like a gorgeous woman in her forties. I notice the age posted on the profile says she’s fifty-six. I point to this and she laughs and says, “That’s my OkCupid age.” I laugh and get it. She looks great and ratcheted back her age five years. “I’m really impressed with that pic of you, Clarice.”

“Cause my tits look so good?”

Read the thrilling conclusion to this story tommorow! Where we’ll answer questions like: Will our hero win the heart of the girl before he runs out of money?  Do her tits really look that good?

 

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Church – 2013 to Present -Seizure Salad

I’m sitting in my go to bar with Church. It’s our spot and it’s what we do. He’s sipping a Sailor Jerry and Coke, and I’m having my usual Chardonnay with a side of ice. He orders a salad and I go with the sliders. There is a couple a few seats down from me to my right. I know the guy, his name is Brian, but I don’t know the lady he’s with so I wave but don’t approach. He could be working.

On the left of Church, is a brunette in her thirties and an older gentleman. Looks like a lawyer. We don’t really pay any attention. We’re chatting and doing our thing.

Daphne rolls behind the bar and says hello. She tells me it’s a slow night. Not much happening. She goes back to her hostess stand and it’s just another night in paradise.

Suddenly, the woman who was sitting to Church’s left, goes off the bar stool and hits the floor. Normally, I’d call that Thursday night.  We see so many banged up people around the city losing their shit. But this woman was having a seizure. People within visual range are shocked and the bar goes quiet.

I point to the phone on the wall, because the bartender on duty didn’t see one of her patrons suddenly vanish from the bar. “Liz, call 911.”

She starts dialing. Church, with his cat-like reflexes, springs into action and goes from sitting next to me sipping a drink to all the way around the other side of her on the floor holding her head to keep her steady. I get down there and untangle her leg from the lower rail of his bar stool. I have the legs. Church is focuses on the poor woman’s head. She’s thrashing about, and Church is barking commands to those around him. He’s literally single-handedly coordinating the effort to help save this poor woman, and keeping her from injuring herself further.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Church was formerly a Corpsmen in the United States Navy.

A Corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships, and as the primary medical caregivers for sailors while underway. Hospital corpsmen are frequently the only medical caregiver available in many fleet or Marine units on extended deployment. In addition, hospital corpsmen perform duties as assistants in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury and assist health care professionals in providing medical care to sailors and their families.

They may function as clinical or specialty technicians, medical administrative personnel and health care providers at medical treatment facilities. They also serve as battlefield corpsmen with the Marine Corps, rendering emergency medical treatment to include initial treatment in a combat environment. Qualified hospital corpsmen may be assigned the responsibility of independent duty aboard ships and submarines; Fleet Marine Service, SEAL and Seabee units, and at isolated duty stations where no medical officer is available.

Yea, pretty bad ass. That’s the guy you want next to you when somebody takes a header at your favorite bar.

She’s making what almost sounds like barking sounds, and staring wildly about. He’s got a good hold on her. He’s talking to her. But mostly he’s trying to keep her from bashing her face into the wooden wall of the bar. The bartender comes around, and some others have gathered. I grab a cloth napkin and ask if we need to put it in her mouth. I always heard that epileptics could bite or swallow their own tongues. Church says, no. He knows what he’s doing and has the situation well under control.

She seems to be calming down. I look over at the guy who was with her. He’s just standing there staring, and looking uncomfortable. The paramedics come and stabilize her. I feel so bad for her. It’s the holidays, and she’s out for a drinks and this horror befalls her. They get her onto the gurney and roll her out. The police are there and also ask some questions. Church is on point, he gives law enforcement the full report.

They also speak to the guy she came in with. He says he doesn’t know her very well. He met her over at DelFrisco’s steakhouse, and then brought her over here for a drink. That’s a big lawyer hang out. Not my scene. This guy didn’t do anything to help or comfort her when she had the seizure, and he didn’t go to the hospital with her. I don’t care if you just picked up the chick in a bar. Lady falls down, you go to the damn hospital with her. I’m thinking that weasel was married and didn’t want any problems. How would he explain to his wife that he was at the hospital with some other woman? I may be wrong, but I got the vibe something was definitely shady about that guy.

We go back to our seats at the bar and have another drink. Church is pissed because somebody was telling him to turn her head when she was foaming at the mouth and that’s not what you’re supposed to do. Me, I was just glad the lady was okay.

Daphne came over to chat and get a recap. I tell her what I know, and tease her.”You had to say it was a slow night and that nothing was happening, and look what you did, Daph…”

“I know, right? Me and my big mouth.”

Indeed…

 

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The Return of Rebecca – 9/2016 to Present – Cypress and the Oak – Part II

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

We headed down Chestnut Street to Mix. I love Mix. It’s just slightly outside of the Rittenhouse bubble. How can you not love a place that has a full bar and serves delicious reasonably priced brick oven pies? Sure Zavino is good down at 13th and Sansom, but I’m not going down there. Too crowded, and too expensive.

We get there and head to the back room. The front of the house looks like a regular pizza place, but you keep walking, and the back is a bar with tables. We grab a high top and look at the menus. It’s clear to me a great weight has been lifted from her shoulders. We order up and sip our beers.

Piping hot delicious pie comes out and all is right with the world.

“What’s better than pizza and beer?” She says, as we tap bottles and take a swig. “Free pizza and beer,” was my reply. She laughs and looks at me while taking a pull from her Corona. “Hey, how come you didn’t ‘Super Like’ me on Tinder?” She quips, smiling.

“What? I don’t ‘Super Like’ anybody.”

“Come on. You must have at least tried it once.”

“Don’t you only get a few of those? You can’t ‘Super Like’ everybody, or people would do it.”

“See? You know about it, so you must have done it at least once.”

“Okay. Maybe once. Now that you mention it, I may have ‘Super Liked’ somebody just to try it.”

“Do you remember who?”

“Maybe it was some really hot little Asian chick.”

“Oh, so you’re into Asian girls.”

“Who isn’t? They’re adorable and smart and nice.”

She laughs. “Did you ever date an Asian girl?”

“I did. When we first got to L.A. I did.”

“I thought you had a steady girlfriend out there?”

“I did. But it was before her. I was 19 years old. Back then the drinking age in New Jersey was 18 and I was legal, but in California it was 21 so I had to get my friend who was 21 to get all of our alcohol. So we were in a bar one night checking out some bands. He got the drinks and brought them to the table and I told him as thanks, I’d bring us some talent to the table.”

“Talent?” she inquired.

“You know what I mean. I went downstairs and met these two sisters. The Yukomatos. One was my buddy’s age and her little sister was my age. I told them we had a table upstairs and asked them to join us and they did. It was easy back then.

” So what happened? Did you guys sleep with the sisters? I think I like this story.”

“No. Well yes. My buddy slept with the older one eventually. I didn’t sleep with the little sister.”

“Why not?”

“She was in love with this older guy that she was banging.”

“Really? I like her already.”

“Oh thanks a lot, you’re happy I didn’t get any loving.”

“No. Think about why I like her…” She gives me that grin and those eyes.

“Ohhh…” I am smiling now. “So how did it all end up?”

“My buddy would ask me to leave our apartment some nights so he could throttle big sister. I remember he used to put a sock on the door knob to let everybody know it was off-limits.”

“Oh my God, that is so college.”

” Well he went to college, I didn’t, so I guess he had a move.”

“You never tried to get baby sister into bed?”

“No, she liked making out with me and stuff, but not much else. Just dating stuff, like going to record stores.”

“So nothing ever?”

“Well, we fooled around some, but she used to like this thing where I stuck my tongue in her ear for periods of time. It used to really drive her nuts. I’ve never met anyone since then that was into that.”

“So her heart belonged to some older guy, huh?”

“Yep. I think she said he was in his thirties or early forties. At the time I just couldn’t understand that. I mean, she had this young, lean rock guitarist, lion cub right in front of her. Me with my long blonde mane of hair and all.”

“Yea, but you were young and inexperienced. Maybe she wanted a man.”

“Well at the time I didn’t understand why she would want that. I was right there.”

“Well, I’m sure he had things that you couldn’t provide.”

“Oh, you mean like expensive dinners, and jewelry and stuff like that?”

” No. Maybe she wanted a gentleman that would take her to the museum, not just to impress her, but could actually appreciate the art, and talk about it. Maybe he took her to the ballet and the symphony. You don’t know. I’m sure she was attracted to you cause you were cute, but maybe she loved him, and that’s why she reserved that part of herself only for him. You might have just been her boy toy.”

“Probably. But I enjoyed being with her because she was cute and nice. I hadn’t ever kissed an Asian girl. I like things that are new and different.”

“Do you see the correlation here?” She says inquisitively.

“I do, Rebecca.”

Were these girls smart?”

“Of course, they were Asian. Their parents worked in pharmaceuticals. They lived out in Washington Hills. That’s a nice area. I’m surprised somebody didn’t call the cops when my 1969 Volkswagen mini bus rolled up, and a German and an Irishman jumped out and went into the house. Their parents were away a lot. Palm Springs and Vegas mostly. They had an intercom in their house. I didn’t even know what that was.”

“Why would someone have that?”

“It was a big house. They had money. I would get on the intercom and pretend to be their father to scare my buddy when he was upstairs in the bedroom fooling around with big sister. I would be like; “Dude! We have to get out of here! Their parents are home! Then I would do an impression of an angry Asian man hollering over the intercom that he was going to kill the dirty Irishman that was deflowering his daughter with his samurai sword.”

Rebecca lost her shit right there. She was laughing so hard she choked on her pizza. It reminded me of when I used to do funny bits at the dinner table with my Mom and sisters. I would actually try to get them to spit out their food, or even better make them laugh so hard they passed something through their noses.

“Oh my God, that is crazy. You’re so funny!” she said.

I have heard that so many times before from women. I would say it is my gift, but it is just the way my mind works. Sometimes people mistake light heartedness as immaturity or simplicity, but they’re all wrong. To be truly funny you have to see the sadness and pain of the world. It’s all time and irony. A mind that can laugh at tragedy. One who can make light of things that are painful or embarrassing is an open mind. One who can laugh at himself. It’s like all great theater. Joy and tragedy. I was so happy to make lovely Rebecca laugh. I haven’t felt this kind of joy since my ex girlfriend Michelle, when we used to talk about everything. And I mean Everything.

Rebecca was ripping into her slices. Baby was happy. She seemed liberated from tonight’s heartbreaking tale. I love to see a lady eat. I hope I can cook for her one day.

“Okay, so what ultimately happened to the Hiroshima twins?”

“Well my buddy went back to Belfast to study law to become a barrister and I kept in touch a little bit with the sisters.”

“That was the end of it?”

“Well one night big sister calls me and says that there is some great band playing at Madam Wong’s East in Chinatown. So I go, and she and baby sister are there and the three of us are hanging out. I’m burning pretty clean that night because I’m driving. Now my buddy has been gone for months. Baby sister isn’t into me at all. I’m fine with that, she’s still with older guy. What if that dude was married the whole time and she’s just his side piece? That would be crazy, but I wouldn’t rule it out. So baby sister ends up leaving and I hang with older sister. She’s a great girl, and ex-girlfriend from one of my best friends in the world. We’re living it up and dancing, and having a great time at the show. I wish I remember who was playing. But if I can’t remember they couldn’t have been that great. I’m happy to be with her and then she tells me something. She says that when we initially met, she was really liking me. She wanted me but settled on my buddy when she saw I was into her hot younger sister. I ended up making out with her that night. There was some grabbing under the table but not much else. I wasn’t that into her but she was a sweet girl. I liked that fact that she was always into me though. We both had a great time and then she went home. I never saw either of them again.”

“It’s still a good story.”

“I guess. One of many. One of the more tame ones.”

“Oh really?”

“Well I was in a band.”

“Ok, rock star, but I still liked the idea that the younger sister was in love with the older gentleman. She knew what she liked.”

“I suppose.”

“Do you go on Tinder a lot?”

“Hardly ever now. I can’t really be bothered with it. It seems so superficial.” (Bold Faced Lie. I’m writing a dating blog!)

“Me either. I’m kinda done with it. You’ve been amazing tonite. Thank you so much for seeing me, and listening to all of my woes.  I feel so much better. I’m glad I let it out. I hope you’re not freaked out by it. I know you didn’t ‘Super Like’ me on Tinder but I’m glad we met just the same.”

“Well for the record, you didn’t ‘Super Like’ me either.” I laughed to make light of this nonsense.

“I know it’s all so silly.”

“Well if it’s any consolation, Rebecca, I’m not afraid to say that I super like you now and hope I can see you again soon. Youre smart and beautiful and I’ve really enjoyed our time together. The museum was amazing because of you, and tonight has been wonderful. I’m just happy to be with you. There. Complete vulnerability, okay?”

“I know we didn’t do the Fringe Festival but  I was just trying t think of stuff to do with you and then I went through my crap. Can we plan something soon?”

My heart is soaring. “Of course. Let’s text and or call. Whatever you want Rebecca. To be honest with you I dated an actress for a while and she liked all that Fringe stuff and I kind of hate it all. It’s fringe for a reason”

“I agree. Maybe we could go to the movies. I don’t care what we see. I trust you’ll pick and it’ll be good. I’m thinking buttery popcorn and candy.”

“I’ll find something good. Maybe I can email you a few previews and we can agree on something.”

“No. You pick. We’re both busy. We’ll make it work. Let’s do a Saturday matinée and then grab drinks afterward so we can chat about the film!”

How great is this? Did I rub a lamp and did this girl come out of it?  We crushed most of the pie. She says how she’s going to be fat from eating so much pizza, but I assure she won’t gain any weight if none of her girlfriends see her do it, so it doesn’t count. Like eating Snickers bars or drinking alone. Oh, wait, that second one is something else.

The bill comes and there is some pie left and we ask for a box. I say to her how it’s funny that the first part of our second date was her story, and then part two was somehow a tale from my past. She says how she would like to hear more of my stories and is fascinated by life and different experiences. She says she would love to travel, but it’s expensive. I tell her I just got my passport for the first time. She says she likes to go to the seashore and I hold back that there is a shore house in my family a block and a half from the beach in North Wildwood. Too early. I like to play some great songs, but don’t play the hits too early. Let’s see where this is going. If it somehow progresses, I’d love to take her to the shore. Just to take a break from the city, and commune with nature by the sea. Oh, who am I kidding? It’ll look like a hooker hotel room in Jersey City in the heat of the night.

I insist on paying. Rebecca giggles and tells me I have to pay because her credit card may be maxed our from her last transaction. “Totally worth it.” She says. It’s late. She has to work tomorrow and save lives. I have to write about this. We walk outside and Philadelphia is surprisingly quiet for once. I’ve had a lovely time with this treasure. The night is clear and the buildings are familiar. I have been on this odyssey for the last ten years and all I can think of is ‘Here we go again’. But I love the euphoria of this moment. The exhilaration of new love. I know that’s what it is. No one has said it. She may not even know what it is. She has had a measure of the pain and searing anguish of love with Derrick, but here it is again. She seems interested in me and may not know what kind of animal she has caught in her snare. But I’m willing to be caught and ready to go.

“I’ve had a wonderful night with you.” She says, taking my hands in hers. She looks up at me. Her eyes are dark and 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.

That’s the difference.

There’s no faking that. Ever.

 

Stay tuned for The Return of Rebecca, Part 3 in Two Weeks!

 

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