Cherie – Chapter 5 – Be Careful What You Wish For – Part I

Don’t be a guy.

Be a man.

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Saturday arrived. I woke up relatively early. Philly had periods of showers but the rain was supposed to stop around 1pm, so that was good. I didn’t want another rainy day date with Cherie. But actually I was looking forward to seeing her so the weather didn’t really matter.

I stopped by the salon to drop off some detergent and bring my friend Trish some fives for the register. She was hung over from a night of Jameson at Tattooed Mom’s with her friends on South Street. She stopped drinking alcohol about a year ago, because she said she didn’t like how she behaved on it. Said it made her angry. Trish is angry anyway and I can only imagine what a nightmare she is on booze. That’s probably part of the reason she can’t function without smoking marijuana everyday and drinking oceans of coffee just to get through the day. I’ll be writing a chapter about her in the near future but for now I’ll stick to the events of today.

I give Trish the fives and she hands me a twenty out of the register. I’m walking across the lobby to take a seat and chat with her for a bit when she says. You have a hole in the back of your pants. I’m like, “Stop checking out my sweet ass.”

“Seriously dude. You have a huge hole in your pants. Don’t you feel that?”

I reach back and sure enough, there is a pretty good-sized hole there.

“I didn’t want you going out on your date today with a big old hole in your pants, dude.”

I joke that maybe I could guide Cherie’s hand to it in the movie theater for some cheap thrills.

“It’s the 3rd date!”

“I hate that shit!”

I tell her I agree. I don’t know if you all know this but a lot of young people are under the impression that the 3rd date equals sex. Which I find stupid. In all seriousness I would rather get to know someone and if there is a mutual attraction, the sex should just happen as a celebration at some point. There should never be a deadline related to intercourse. That almost sounds predatory.

So I head back to my apartment to put on another pair of jeans. I grab a pair and realize I haven’t worn them in a while. Like two years. They are a 36 waist. I now wear a 32 waist, but can do a 34 with a belt. They’re just too big and I look ridiculous. I grab another pair. Another hole in the seat. What’s going on here? Did I wear out the seat of two pair of jeans? I know I see the occasional mouse here in the building but what sort of butt munching rodents do we have around here?

I find a pair that are in decent shape with no holes in the seat, and put them on. This will have to do. I go downstairs and summon an UBER. While driving down to Columbus Boulevard to the multiplex, I chat with my driver, Hanna. She asks me what movie I’m going to see. I tell her the lady I’m taking likes scary movies, so we’re seeing, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil.’ Some how she gathers from our conversation that my date is younger than me. She asks, and I tell her she’s a little younger. She tells me about a male friend of hers, who is 50 something and was dating a woman in her 40’s and just wasn’t happy. He said that women his age were all carrying all the same baggage. He’s now dating a woman around 30 and says that younger women are just more fun. I say that I agree, but when you date younger women they all eventually want to get married and have kids.  She says that her friend is always up front about that sort of thing. Maybe I should have been clear about that in my last 3 failed relationships. And here I am being driven to what could possibly be a 4th similar destination.

She lets me out and I go into the lobby and get in line for tickets. The movie starts at 1:50 and it is now 1:30. I get the tickets and as I turn to wait for Cherie, she appears. On time. Early. I like that. It’s really nice to see her. Even though it’s only been four days since our last encounter.

Her hair is up in a bun, exposing her lovely slender neck. makes me think about how I kissed that neck on Tuesday. She’s wearing a yellow blouse, and light brown slacks. They cling to her shapely legs.

We are about to enter our auditorium and we notice the floor is really sticky. Someone must have spilled a soda there, and they tried to mop it up but didn’t get it all up. Now I’ve been to plenty of movie theaters in my time, and have jokes about the sticky stuff and detritus that is on the floor of the theaters, but this was really sticky. I had to laugh out loud. I practically had to curl my toes to keep my shoes from being pulled off by that sticky floor. Just a classic ‘out at the movies’ moment.

We go in and decide that we both like to sit in the back of the theater. I ask her if she wants anything to eat. I suggest some delicious buttery popcorn. She says it’s ok but doesn’t like how it can stick in your teeth. She says she likes chocolate, but not dark chocolate. I tell her I love dark chocolate. She smiles and knows what I mean. I really do prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, but I also love the color of her skin. I go and mortgage my house at the concession stand on exorbitantly expensive snacks. Medium popcorn, medium cherry coke, bottle of water, and a bag of snickers minis for baby. $21. The food was as much as the tickets. The kid behind the counter even told me I could upgrade to a large popcorn and a large soda for $.50 more. I compliment him on his up-sell, but politely decline.

I get back to Cherie. I get all of our snacks and drinks squared away and sit down. “How did you know I loved Snickers?” she asks. “Well I’m funny and you like to laugh, so I figured, Snickers. she smiles and we settle into the previews. There aren’t many people in the theater. I like that. There’s also no late arrivals and no one is sitting in front of us. I love that as well. People are getting seated and chattering a little but that’s acceptable during the previews. We’re whispering closely. Then we kiss. It’s really nice. I feel like a teenager. I haven’t smooched in a movie theater in years. It was so sweet to hold hands too. She rubbed my arm and caressed my hand, and I was even so bold as to rub her leg and knee. It was all very gentle and romantic. What a refreshing difference from the crap women I went on dates with a few months ago. But I’m really enjoying this elegant romantic odyssey.

There is one rub that I have to mention. It’s happened a few times since then. We call it the C-Block, or the CBs. Cherie and I are in the very back row of the theater. All the way in the aisle to the right against the wall. There is only one way out. Doesn’t some pair of fucknuts sit at the very end of the aisle? This couple just sort of drops it there. One row down would have been fine. But they are right now, in OUR aisle. They could have sat anywhere. There weren’t that many people in the theater. It’s just a human thing. Homo Sapiens are such social animals they have to be together all the time. I can tell Cherie doesn’t want them there and neither do I. But there’s nothing we can do. Nothing but make a bunch of trips to the snack bar and the bathrooms. This way we can thrust our delicious firm buttocks right in their stupid faces.

Oh, never mind. It’s just annoying, we just wanted some private time to neck in the back of the theater!

The movie was a pretty by the numbers horror flick. I’d give it a solid three and a half stars. Demon possession, scary children, and good sudden frights do make you jump. We shared the popcorn and the candy. It was lovely. I was happy to be there sharing this Halloween treat with her.

After the film, we went outside. The sun was out and the rain was gone. It had been warm during the week, but had suddenly turned chilly in the last couple of days. Cherie always has trouble finding a place to park in the city, but down by the movie theater there is always loads of parking spots. We walk over to her Saab, and hop in to get out of the chill. We’re chatting about our next move, (which I have already planned) and more kissing ensues. She tells me she was hoping I would agree to sit in the back of the theater so we could neck. It appears this girl really likes me. She says she likes how soft my hands are. It makes me think of Captain Quint when he grabs Matt Hooper’s hands in the film Jaws, and says “You’ve got city hands, Mr. Hooper, from counting money all your life!” That, and the scene in Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” when one of the men on the farm puts petroleum jelly in his one glove to keep is hand soft for when he touches his woman. I don’t know why my mind flashed to those two images but for a moment they do.

I suggest we go over to Dave and Buster’s to go play games together. She likes the idea. I will say this about my lovely neuroscience major. She is very bright and quick of wit, but extremely laid back and easy-going. She’s from California, and this chick is chill. I always compliment her about her sweet disposition, because I really like that about her. Peaceful is good. She tells me, that between her two jobs, going to class, and taking care of her son, she has to make many decisions every day. She says she likes how I take charge, and just tell her where we’re going and what time it’s happening. I always have a plan and take the lead. She finds that attractive. So take note male readers, many women like to be told what you’re doing with them and where you’re taking them. Women are great negotiators and communicators, but when it comes to picking a lunch spot, just tell them pizza or sushi or just take them somewhere they serve different stuff and go. I have to give thanks here to my late father in regard to the clock. If he told you something was going to happen, or we were going to be somewhere at a specific time, it happened without error. He taught me that your word is your bond, and always be punctual. Like Beau Bridges says to Michelle Pfieffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys, “Punctuality is the first rule of show business.” Life itself is like a giant long series. You’re the star of your own show. Make it a fun, exciting show if you can. To sum up: Girls like a take-charge man.

Don’t be a guy.

Be a man.

 

 

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

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Rebecca – Chapter 7 – Ghost Girl

“I really want to kiss you.”

“So kiss me.” I leaned in our lips brushed lightly. It wasn’t an overly passionate kiss. Instead, it was a tender, eager one. All too soon, it was over.

I’ve been on a lot of dates. But I always wanted one of those dates you see in movies where everything just kind of comes together naturally and provides an amazing time for the couple. I’ll never forget the first time it finally happened for me. (At least in my opinion)

To be honest, I was part of the reason I never had that movie moment date before. Okay, so I was all of the reason. I over planned before dates and way over analyzed after. I thought about my dates so much that they could never seem spontaneous or natural. True, I occasionally had a few moments during a date, but never the whole date. This was probably due to my anxiety.

Perhaps the reason this particular date went so well is that I didn’t have time to plan, much less over plan. It had been awhile since I’d seen Rebecca. We’re both so busy. I was just happy she agreed to meet up with me again. I barely had time to run home and change. I did of course. And brushed my teeth, and put on extra deodorant, and made sure my hair looked decent, and spent a few minutes repeating, “You’ll be fine,” at the face in the mirror. My reflection seemed unconvinced.

I made it to her restaurant just before it closed. Although she has a great job she’s one of those people that always keep one hand back in their old life. I know another girl that does this. Rebecca works one dinner shift a week at a local restaurant. I think it’s cool. It’s like me with the real day job and working at the tanning salon nights and weekends.

I went inside and tried to ignore her ex-boyfriend who was a cook and who clearly did not try to ignore me at all. I shifted on my feet uncomfortably and attempted small talk with the hostess. She wouldn’t stop smiling and told me how happy she was that I was about to take her friend out. It just added to the pressure and my nervousness. I just have strong feelings for Rebecca. There’s just that “something” about her.

Finally, my date walked out. She wore a brown leather jacket over her uniform. She looked tired from her shift. There was a grease stain on her collar and some other food stain on the front of her blouse. She was breathtaking.

Not her usual, sheer stockings and pumps.

She looked at her feet as she walked over. She looked up at me. Her eyes seemed larger than normal, but no too big for her slender face. They were wide open, eager. My heart beat quickly.

“Hey,” she said.

“Hey,” I managed, “Ready to go?”

“Sure. What are we going to do?”

My heart beat even faster in panic. I had no idea what we were going to do. (This is really out of character for me. I am a Master dating expert!)  I had been so busy preparing for our date that I never got around to planning it. I had nothing to offer. I thought I managed to destroy our date before it even started.

I went for the change up. (What it is about this girl?)

“Uh, whatever you want to do,” I said,thinking it would at least buy me a little time.

“Really?” she asked, “What I want to do?” Her eyes widened (which didn’t seem possible) and she looked at me differently. She seemed to express amazement, but that confused me.

“Yeah,” I said, “What you want.”

The edges of her eyes glistened like a perfectly still pool under a waning moon. I worried that I upset her, but she spoke a moment later.

Wow,” she whispered. “Can I think about it for a minute?”

“Of course,” I said. We walked outside into the chilly air. I hustled in front of her as we approached a taxi. I grabbed the handle of the passenger door and opened it for her.

“Are you opening the door for me?”

“Yeah.”

“Why?”

“Uh, it’s just what I do.”

She didn’t say anything, but I think she mouthed “wow” again.

She got in and I shut the door behind her. I smiled to myself.

I got in,  “So, know what you want to do?”

“Yes. I want to do something fun, but I want to go somewhere we can talk.”

In a moment of inspiration I asked, “Do you like pool?”

“Yes.”

“Then I know just the place.”

We took off down Chestnut street. We talked a bit in the cab, but the conversation kept faltering because we were both nervous.

“What’s this?” she asked me as we pulled in the parking lot of Zelner’s Putt & Play.

“It’s an indoor miniature golf course,” I explained, “And it has pool tables.”

“But it’s closed.”

“I friend works here. I have a key.”

I unlocked the doors and secured them behind us. She looked a little nervous about the locked doors.

“Do you want to do something else?” I asked, concerned.

“No, sorry, this is fine.”

We went to the pool table and I put in two quarters. Neither of us played very well. The game ended when I sunk the eight ball (yes, I know I should have let her win, but I’m a little too competitive).

I reached in my pocket for more quarters when she asked, “Can we just sit and talk?”

“Of course.”

We walked over to the stairs. We sat down and talked. For two hours. Somewhere in the middle of the conversation she looked down and twisted her feet. She cocked her head and bit her lip.

“What?” I asked.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.” I must have been smitten because I normally would have said, “You just did.”

“Why did you ask me out?”

“Seriously? I thought you were beautiful the moment I saw you. When I got to know you a little bit, I found out how nice you are. I would’ve asked you out sooner if you hadn’t been in a relationship.”

Her face darkened for the slightest moment, but then her mouth spread in a grin and she laughed. I never heard such laughter before and the music of it filled the empty room.

“You think I’m beautiful?” She looked at me a moment and then scrunched her eyebrows. “What is it? Are you laughing at me?” She misinterpreted my grin.

“Well, it’s just that I realized I want to do whatever it takes to see you smile and laugh again.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re even more beautiful when you smile.”

She looked down at the floor, but kept on smiling.

“I’m beautiful,” she repeated.

We talked a while longer until she had to get home.

“I don’t want to go,” she said.

“I don’t want you to.”

I took her home and we stood on the stoop in front of her house. The night was quite cold by then, but I felt warm. We stood and talked far longer than we should.

She caught me off guard when she said, “Did you know your eyes are beautiful?”

“It’s because they’re looking at you.” (Yes, I quoted Jermaine Jackson. Sue me.)

She looked down again, which she had done all night, but this time it wasn’t for as long. She leaned up a little and said, “I really want to kiss you.”

“So kiss me.” I leaned in our lips brushed lightly. It wasn’t an overly passionate kiss. Instead, it was a tender, eager one. All too soon, it was over.

“I really need to go inside,” she said.

“I know.” She turned to open her door and I continued,  “I think this is the best date I’ve ever been on.” It was certainly the least expensive. (You all know I love that)

“I know it’s the best one I’ve ever had.”

It was my turn to say, “Wow.”

“Goodnight.” she said as she gave me a quick peck on the lips.

“Yes, it was.”

“Call me tomorrow.”

“I will.”

I stood for a moment after she went inside. I smiled in the moonlight as I walked to my awaiting UBER. As I rode home, I put my fingers against my lips and smiled more. It was a great date. It was perfect.

I couldn’t wait to talk to her in the morning. I couldn’t wait to ask her out again. I couldn’t wait until our next date. I’m glad I didn’t know that night, that perfect night, would be the last date we ever went on. I’m glad I had that moment to sigh and remember one perfect date without knowing there would not be another one with her.

We can all talk about this later, but soon you’ll find out why.

 

 

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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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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.”

 

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My Family – Lorelei – 11/17/1996 to Present – The Apple of My Eye

When I began writing this story, I thought I would only cover certain topics. Mainly, my life in Philadelphia over the last ten years. The focus of Phicklephilly is romance and dating. But while on this journey, I realized my life is rich with so many other great characters, I should add them to the Phicklephilly universe.

So let me introduce you to my lovely daughter Lorelei. She turned 20 years old two months ago. Lor has always been a sweet, and easy-going child. Now a young woman. I am very proud of her, and its great watching her grow up and flourish. She’ll be occasionally popping up in my stories.

Her mom and I divorced when she was three and a half years old. She lived with her mom, and came to me every other weekend. This went on for many years. I’m not going to go into all of the details of my divorced life because that’s not what this forum is all about.That blog would be called, Nightmare in New Jersey.

One thing I never agreed with, was her mother putting her on ADD medicine when she was a little girl. But happily when Lor  was thirteen she came told me that she wasn’t going to take that shit anymore, because it wouldn’t allow her to perform in a dramatic way on stage. How fucked up is that?

Let’s have big pharma brainwash a bunch of stupid parents, and turn their creative and rambunctious children into dull robots, and life long drug addled customers. Just so we can make even more money for the stockholders. Pure evil.

There once was a kid whose teachers described him as unreachable. A boy lost in his dreams. Yea… that dude was Albert Einstein. Let’s crush any future Einsteins or Leonardo Di Vinci’s with a bunch of drugs. Shame on you all. And damn you all for what you’ve done. I was very proud that my daughter had the foresight to see what that junk was doing to her body and mind. So she kicked that shit years ago.

Anyway, Lorelei had become tired of the grinding frustration of living with her mother in New Jersey. Her mother’s 2nd ex-husband after me, was usually the blame, but once they divorced and he went back to Arizona, she was out of excuses. My daughter was and A – B student who was a beloved member of her high school’s theatrical group. She was lead soprano in a musical in 2014, and co-star of the musical they performed her senior year in 2015. This was a good kid. You have to wonder why life with her mother was so hard. What do we ask of our children growing up? Do well in school, and behave yourself. Lorelei was doing that and more. But I was married to that harpy for 8 years, and I know what kind of fresh hell it can be for anyone to live with my Lorelei’s mother.

My daughter was having stomach disorders, and anxiety living with her mother. Being in that hell house with her mother had for years been an extremely difficult place to be. Sad thing was, I split after 8 years, her second husband amazingly lasted a full ten years before he left. But Lorelei couldn’t leave. She was a child. She was like a prisoner under the ragged claws of her mother. But once she reached the age of majority she wanted to escape. She turned 18, and by February of 2015, she asked if she could come live with me. “Daddy, I’ll sleep on the floor if I have to if it’ll get me away from her.” Of course she wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor, and I would never turn my child away. So I told her to come live with me in Philly.

There was an obvious shit storm that ensued. Her mother likes to control everything, but lacks any real control over her own life. But my daughter was 18 years old. She could do what she wanted. She could vote, buy a gun, and serve in the military if she wanted. So technically, there was nothing her mom could do about it. She fought it of course, but I think we even had my daughter’s high school on our side. They realized her mom is crazy and were fed up with her nonsense as well.

But all aside, I forgive her mother. It takes too much of ones time and energy to hold a grudge against someone. That is some bad energy that you have to maintain everyday. It’s just a waste of time. You only have to forgive once, and your mind is free.

Lorelei would get herself up at dawn everyday at my house in center city. She would walk in the winter weather to the PATCO station and take the train into Jersey everyday by herself. In the beginning she actually was having anxiety attacks at the end of each day, because she was expecting something bad to happen. She discussed this with me, and it seemed like a form of post traumatic stress disorder from living with her mother. I understand that. You never knew who, or what you were coming home to. I reassured Lor that nothing was going to happen. I was putting her on an allowance, and if she needed anything to let me know. I was always here for her, and she was now safe. All she would be coming home to would be her Dad sitting in his chair, sipping a glass of wine and watching Netflix. Nothing more. In a few weeks she settled in just fine. She’d get up and go to school in Jersey every morning 5 days a week. She did this until she graduated in June of 2015. She graduated with good grades on a Friday, and started working as a hostess in restaurant here in Philly the following Tuesday.

She has since gone from vegetarian to vegan. She eats a balanced diet, and is lean and fit. Her stomach disorders are gone, and she no longer takes any of the medicines her mother put her on. She works at her job and likes it. I let her live her life.

I love her very much, and would do anything for my baby. She’ll always be the apple of my eye. My one and only daughter. My immortality in this world.

I have always believed it’s not as hard as everyone thinks to be a parent. Just give your children love, good information, manners, consistency and discipline. I’m sure there is more to it than that, but that’s a decent foundation.

I always looked at parenting this way. I am the Archer. Lorelei is the Arrow.  I need to be firm when I hold the bow. But I also need to be flexible like the string. I must cast the Arrow straight and true into tomorrow, for that is a place I can never go.

Tomorrow belongs to our children. Try not to fuck it up.

 

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

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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.

Michelle – Chapter 5 -The Lowes, Sofitel and Beyond

It was a Friday night. Michelle and I were scheduled to work a recruitment event at the Lowe’s Hotel. It was sponsored by our recruitment partner Monster.com. We got everything all set up in one of the small banquet rooms off the main bar/restaurant area. Our designated representative from Monster was there. He told us he wasn’t going to stay long, but there was one thing, and only one thing I had to remember. “Don’t forget to take the big Monster banner with you when the event is over.”

As people came in to the event we all split up and began networking. The conversations were flowing just like the booze. As the event wore on people were getting more drunk. I was chatting on one side of the room and Michelle was on the other. I was talking to this girl, who ended up giving me her phone number. I can’t for the life of me even remember why. She was cute but pretty banged up from drinking. You know how it is. It’s a recruitment event. A lot of young people looking for jobs or seeking better jobs come to these kinds of events. They come in, drop off their resumes, drink their faces off for free, and then leave.

Michelle and I worked that event for probably 3 or 4 hours. We were drinking the whole time. I think mostly just pounding wine. But we worked in advertising, so for the most part, we could handle ourselves. Once the last person was gone and it was just the two of us left, it was time to clean up. I remember Michelle went out for a cigarette. I didn’t smoke back then. I had been tobacco free for 10 years. I sat with her outside the exit still sipping my wine from a plastic cup.

We went back in and started dismantling the signage. I’ll never forget what happened next. We had the huge banner on the floor and were rolling it up. She was rolling it up from one end and me at the other. As she rolled it closer to me she went right in for the kiss. Right on the lips. It was beautiful. I was in love. Smitten!

The heart isn’t really capable of holding onto large-scale events. But little moments like that mark you deeply and can sustain themselves for a lifetime.

Michelle told me that there was some sort of after party at the Field House. It’s a big sports bar over by Reading Terminal. So we head over and I’m carrying the huge rolled up banner around with me. The party is upstairs. I remember two things. This one guy, that whenever I would step away from Michelle for any reason, be it to get a drink or go to the restroom, he would magically appear. I remember seeing him do this again and again.  He would just be standing next to Michelle wide-eyed and smiling as he stared at her with obvious admiration. It was kind of funny. The other thing I remember was this little gay dude. He wasn’t a little person, but he was really short. There was this one point where he and Michelle did what what they call “a walk off.” I think it’s a term they use in the modeling community. Michelle being a former print and runway model, she knew how to do it. It was funny to watch this 5’11 tall blonde locking arms with this little dapper dude and do a walk off. I think they did a few of them. It was just a funny sight that I remember.

By this time, I was too drunk to drive home. For whatever reason, we couldn’t go back to her place to crash. I would have been fine sleeping on her couch. Maybe her bitch face roommate was there entertaining or something. I still have the huge banner  with me. (See, you thought I left it at the Field House, didn’t you?)  I don’t remember whose grand idea it was to go to the Hotel Sofitel at 17th and Sansom Streets. We didn’t even go to the Liberte bar for a drink. I just went up to the front desk and ordered a room. We got up to the room and went straight to sleep. I don’t even remember what time it was or anything. But nothing happened between us. We just crashed.

The next thing I know it’s morning and I hear this little rustling of paper at the door. I open my eyes and look over. There is a sheet of white paper on the floor. I slip out of bed and go pick it up. I turn it over. It’s the bill.

$300 for one night! $300 and I didn’t even get laid. Maybe it’s not too late! She’s still asleep. When she wakes up maybe she’ll want to… What am I thinking? The only time ANYTHING happens between us that even resembles affection or romance is when she’s impaired. She’s trying to get back with Delaware Dave and when she gets drunk she acts out with me. She always regrets it. I know she has feelings for me but she’s conflicted. Funny how this will rear its ugly head down the road on several occasions. When she awakens she’ll be really hung over and then she’ll have to leave. Who am I kidding? We’re not going to hang out. I’ll just go back to my little apartment in Jersey.

We get ourselves together and I show her the bill. She’s horrified. She vows that’s she’s going to give me half. She’s hung over and so am I. We leave the hotel which all seems like a blur now. We walked up to this little deli at 16th and Arch. She wanted to get some food. Something healthy. I wasn’t in any mood for food. I’m still carrying around the giant banner. Maybe I had folded it in half by then, but it was still ridiculous. Like an eight foot vinyl scarf.

Michelle tells me she has to drive down to Delaware to see Dave. Apparently they’re supposed to hang out with some friends of his from Hawaii. I remember the day was overcast like my mood. We part ways and I walk back to the parking garage with my banner. I toss it in the back of my station wagon. I make my way back to Jersey. I’m frustrated with how things are going. It doesn’t seem right. She hangs out with me here in Philly, but her heart is in Delaware. She’s known this guy since they were 15. She’s 27now. When you’ve known someone that long they’re like family.

I take it easy the rest of the day. I reflect on where this whole thing is going with Michelle. I was cleaning some things out of my wallet, when I come across the name and phone number of the girl from last night’s event. I text her on my flip phone. (You read that right. It’s 2008.) She texts me back and we decide to meet up on Sunday. Like the song says; “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

I don’t even remember her name. We’ll just call her Sue for this story. We meet up on Sunday around 1pm at the Continental Midtown. We’re at the mezzanine bar upstairs. She’s young and attractive. She tells me she was out late the night before with her friends and still felt a little banged up. We order some cocktails and let the conversation flow. We get a decent afternoon buzz on and go out to explore.

We ended up the Bellevue Hyatt. That’s where Nineteen is located. But we didn’t go into Nineteen. We ended up watching a trunk fashion show on the same floor. It felt like something I’d much rather being doing with Michelle, but like I said, Sue was present. She was a little sassy and had some attitude, but I really didn’t mind. This was a decent band-aid on my heart for the day. After the show she grabbed me and started making out with me on the elevator ride down. It was good, and I had felt the energy earlier in the day, but she said she waited because she didn’t believe in PDA. (Public displays of affection). For some reason we went to Lucky Strikes. I don’t even know why. It’s a bar and bowling alley. I had only been there once before for a corporate bowling party. We ordered pizza and fries and washed them down with a few beers. We didn’t even bowl and had no intention of doing so.

After a while she tells me that she has to go home and let her dog out. I walk her home and I decide that I don’t really like this girl. She just seems like a vacuous idiot. We say our goodbyes and I tell her I’m going to give her a call.

I’m walking back to the parking garage and I check my phone. I hadn’t looked at it all day. People didn’t do that back then. No smart phones back then. There is a voicemail from Michelle. I listen to it. She says that she read the screenplay treatment I gave her. She liked it and said she looked forward to seeing me on Monday at the office.

That was the highlight of my weekend.

A couple of days later at work, Michelle returned a music CD to me that I had lent her. I think it was a record by Julie Cruise. I opened it later and inside the jewel case was a check in the amount of $150.Her half for the room.

I never cashed it.

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

 

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 Wednesdays at 9am EST.

Michelle – Chapter 4 – Two Coins in the Fountain

The company  is going to move the entire online department to a high-rise in center city. It was all new, beautiful and modern. About a week before we were to move there I was in my apartment in Jersey and I got a call from my boss, Herbert. He said he had been fired. He was crying on the phone. There is no crying at work. That’s what your apartment is for. When he told me, I knew he was probably the most sad because he wouldn’t be able to see Michelle anymore.

They brought in this 6’7″ goon from somewhere to replace him. We’ll call him the Russian. At first he seemed really cool, but they all do in the beginning. This is important. If you ever get hired by one guy, and then they bring in another guy to replace him it’s never the same. He never has the same investment in any of you because he didn’t choose you. He simply inherited you. So watch out. When they seem cool and fun in the beginning they usually turn out to be insecure weak middle management types that won’t last. But right up to the moment they leave they will make your life a living hell. Believe me. I’ve seen this over and over again in my career. But the only thing you have going for you is that he doesn’t know you. So if you endear him early on, life can be sustainable for at least 6 months before it all turns to rage and grinding resentment.

The Russian trusted me and knew I had talent as a sales guy, so he asked that I take Michelle out on some four-legged calls to help acclimate her to selling advertising. I was way more than happy to do so. We would go out on calls around the city.  One day we ended up at Nineteen at the Bellevue. It’s this cool bar/restaurant at the top of the Bellvue Stratford. My dad used to hang there in the 70’s. How could I go wrong? Follow in dad’s footsteps. You can sit out on these little balconies. I didn’t even know it existed, but she did. She knew many cool spots around the city back then. I was happy to spend time with this beauty, and happy to learn more about the city. We ended up sitting out on one of those balconies looking over the city and sipping martinis.

This was so much better than scuttling down the hallway after her to the billing department like when I was first hired.

One time we were out on calls at the King of Prussia Mall, I wanted to pick up cologne and she wanted to get some perfume. But when they ran our cards we were both were declined for lack of funds. We were poor back then. Maybe we just spent too much money. I think I had my paycheck on me, and I ended up going to a check cashing place so we could go drink after work. I did that and it worked.

Michelle’s desk was near mine so we could always converse and see each other during work. We started leaving at the same time. I would walk her home. We would stop at the Whole Foods out in Fairmount and get some food. I would order salmon and broccoli rabe. I wanted to eat healthier so that I would lose weight. (I was heavier back then) I also wanted to show her I was trying to eat healthier. I don’t know why, I would get the food and heat it up in a microwave they had there. The salmon was okay, but I fucking hated eating that broccoli rabe. It was just chewy grossness. But I was happy just to spend time with Michelle.

Sometimes on a Friday, we’d stop and have drinks somewhere. Maybe at Tir na Nog. We would sit outside along the sidewalk on 16th street. The thing was, that was the route for many of our co-workers. They would walk back to the old building to the parking garage. So they’d walk by, and say hello, but I think they started to suspect that maybe there was something between us. I didn’t give a shit. We were just in the moment, drinking and having great conversations.

Sometimes we’d have lunch with the team, and other times just the two of us. There were times we’d have opportunities to go to things, and we’d stop somewhere for a drink and just end up blowing off the event entirely. Like networking events or even Philllies games. We didn’t care. We just liked being together and feeling the city.

I had even told her about a screenplay I was working on and sent her the first few scenes to read. I had based the female lead on her. Maybe she was to be my new muse. I just figured she’d never read it, but I emailed it to her anyway. I wanted to impress her that I was a sensitive artist. I wanted to let her know I was different than all of the ilk that just wanted to sleep with her. I really liked her as a person.

I started walking her home more and more after work. We’d stop at some cool spots, have a few drinks and then head back to Fairmount. Like I said, we’d stop and get something to eat and then I’d head back to the parking garage and go back to Jersey. I was spending a lot of time with her at work and out at night as well. However, I was growing a little annoyed when her phone would ring and it would be Delaware Dave. She broke up with him some time ago, and they were trying to give it another go. I noticed she would have to go to Delaware to visit him on the weekends. I didn’t like his control over her.

Why did he never come to the city? It seemed like she was making all of the sacrifices. I was having strong feelings for her and I was present. He would just call out of the blue at night when we were out and she always had to take the call. It was so annoying. Life would just stop, and she’d be arguing with him on the phone about who knows what. This happened on several occasions. Actually it happened a lot.

Once at the Ritz Carlton it happened and we had problems. I remember being angry with her due to her indecision. Another time we were out at McCrossin’s, a bar near her apartment. I would just have to sit and wait for her to get done dealing with him. I was here. He was there. I was with her. He was sitting home bitching on the phone. Who is more important? I remember when she got off the phone she said “I just feel like throwing this phone across the street.”  Funny, how this would all play out in some form in the future. Like some black prophecy.

I even wrote her a little verse. I don’t know if she ever kept it, but I gave it to her one night sitting on the stoop outside her building. I was so in love with her.

But for the most part, our times together were lovely.  One night I was walking her home, and we’d had a few drinks. We were listening to her music from her ipod. We had come upon a fountain.  The Swann Memorial Fountain (also known as the Fountain of the Three Rivers) is a fountain sculpture located in the center of Logan Circle. It represents the three major streams in the area. The Delaware, Schuykill and Wissahickon creek. The fountain, by Alexander Stirling Calder designed with Architect Wilson Eyre memorializes Dr. Wilson Cary Swann, founder of the  Philadelphia Fountain Society. The Society had been planning a memorial fountain in honor of its late president and founder. After agreeing that the fountain would become city property, the society was granted the site in the center of Logan Circle.

It’s a beautiful fountain. Sometimes during the summer months, you’ll find many children playing in it to cool off. Michelle and I stopped to relax and chat. She stuck her feet into the water, and before I knew it she was listening to her music and dancing gently in the fountain. She was walking all around in it, avoiding the spouts all around her. It was enchanting to see this woman I loved dance in the illuminated fountain at night. Like I was witnessing a beautiful blonde mermaid that had just gotten her legs and was celebrating her new life on Earth.

So despite my growing frustration with her indecision in regard to her romantic life, I was still having a wonderful time with Michelle when things were good.

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

 

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 Wednesdays at 9am EST.