Maria – Chapter 8 – I Get To See You Again

Maria, my muse and inspiration for this blog has agreed to meet with me again for lunch. I have a bottle of wine for her to donate to her cause. I want to do anything I can for Maria.

Here’s the rub. It’s March. Winter is on its ass as my father would say here in Philly, but you never know what March can bring. Maria is trying to get her degree and busting her butt to get her studies in order but she is leading the charge on this fund-raiser.

The event is on Sunday. It’s Friday and she’s running around trying to get all of the last-minute details done before the event.

And make time for lunch with me.

I leave my apartment in Rittenhouse. Lorelei is asleep because she works at night too.

I step out onto Pine street with my umbrella and it’s a snow storm. Giant flakes falling and blowing. Insane. It’s not cold enough for it to stick but it is just a mess outside.

This is not good. Maria could bail. I get that.

I’m ready. We’re meeting at Marathon on 16th and Sansom. I know the owner. He gave me a $25 gift card and I’m ready to burn it on my unemployed muse.

I weather the storm and make my way to the restaurant.

I know everyone there and they welcome me. They put me at a nice table at the window on Sansom.

I shoot video of the crazy weather and send it to my ex girlfriend Michelle but she doesn’t respond.  She lives in San Francisco now and I ask her if she can guess where I am but all I get is crickets. (See: Michelle – A Brand New Day)

Maria says she’s on her way.

I’m just trying to dry out and my umbrella is soaked, but I’m just happy I’ve been able to spend time with her.

Maria shows up quickly and looks amazing. I only say this because even if my muse is disheveled she will always look amazing to me because of what she means to me.

Maria leaves her little winter hat on the entire lunch and it looks so cute. But like I said. She can do no wrong at this point.

I know Maria doesn’t see the weight of this. Oblivious and happy for the donations. I am honored to oblige. I’m sure that Maria has no idea of the depth that she has inspired my art. She’s just a regular girl making her way in Philly. But somehow through her actions and her impression on me she has inspired phicklephilly.

Maria is checking her phone and upset that her coworkers may not be pulling hard enough on this event to raise gifts and money.

I totally get it. I’ve managed people before and you always want them to be like you. But they can never be you. That’s the catch with management. You’re always frustrated because your staff can never be as good as you.

It’s a never-ending cycle.

Maria is so frustrated. She goes with the tuna albacore wrap. I hope she likes it and doesn’t get sick.

I destroy my favorite, the barbecued chicken sandwich with fries. I like that Maria picks at my fries. I love sharing anything with her.

It’s a lovely moment. The snow is falling and we’re at a nice table at the window.

I’m having lunch with the woman who I was once infatuated with that inspired me to write again after 10 years. There’s nothing special about her. I think she’s beautiful. She’s charming and has lovely legs. (My usual attraction) She’s dating the owner of the company she works for, her familiar challenges. Maria is 3 months away from getting her degree in Marketing, and now she’s stuck looking for a serving job somewhere in Philly to pay the bills.

My muse has hit another wall but continues to march forward and find her way.

My unrequited love for Maria is classic phicklephilly fodder, but what if my realization that Maria is not meant for me but for a greater purpose?

What if we see Maria in a year successful in her career and through with all of this restaurant bullshit?

I’ve worked in media in this city for years. I have loads of contacts and would do anything to help her.

Maria liked her tuna albacore wrap. She ate half of it and didn’t get sick. Our server at Marathon was amazing and I burned my $25 gift card that had been given to me by the owner because he works out at our gym.

So even though Maria ordered a glass of champagne our bill was $10.

I was happy to give her the bottle of wine because it was a gift and I knew I’d never drink it.

I’m in a relationship with Cherie. I love her with all of my heart, But I did feel the romantic rush of being with Maria for a third encounter. I know it means nothing to her and she’s busy with her own survival and her own romantic entanglements, but it was just sweet to be with Maria.

My inspiration.

She can do no wrong.

I’ll text her job offers and she won’t get back to me.

It’s okay.

That’s Maria.

(She actually did!)

Thank you for the inspiration.

We step out into the snow. It’s not laying. Maria is angry because she has so much to do today based on her event.

Maria hugs me and I’m grateful for the attention. I hope her event is a success. We’ve given a gift card, and I’ve bought a ticket and donated a bottle of wine.

I hope it helps.

 

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Annabelle – NYC – Chapter 11

I heard this loud bang under the car like she had hit a pothole that was covered in snow.

The holidays were upon us, and we decided the limit to spend on each other was $200. I would have no problem blowing $200 on my girlfriend.

I went out and got her all kinds of clothes and underwear and a robe, and other goodies I know girls like. She got me a ring. (Which shocked her mother and sister because a ring represents so much in our culture. I love that ring, and still wear it to this day. It’s just a steel worry ring with black accents. It feels like rock and roll so I wear it on my left middle finger everyday. I should probably take it off but it’s my thing now.

She also wrote a nice card and inside it were 2 tickets to see a Shakespearean play in New York City! I was excited to see it. I can’t remember which one it was, but it was the real deal. British actors performing the play just like they had 400 years ago.

So the day arrives. (It was around New Years 2014) I go to her apartment, and she rents a zip car. I heard that we were supposed to maybe get some snow later, but for now the weather is fine.

The car is a compact, and maybe 10 years old. She sets the GPS and we’re on our way. About half way to NY, the GPS, craps out. It just dies and stops working all together.

“Oh no! How are we ever going to find our way to New York City now?” Annabelle exclaims.

“Don’t worry sweetie. I used to live in New York. We’ll just follow the signs like we used to in the olden times.”

She laughs but I can tell she sort of half believes me. Young people today have never used a map or have had to navigate anything. They have all of that in their phones now. You could put me in a car pointed in any direction on the east coast and I could find my way all the way to California without even using a map. But these kids today, without their phones are lost. But that’s a small price to pay for youth and beauty by my side.

I get us into the city and we park the car in a garage for the day. This really is a great present.  The show is not untill 8pm tonight so we’ve got the whole day.  We stop at a cool spot for lunch and beer.

Then we head downtown to the Museum of Sex. You heard me right. There is a museum for that shit in NYC. Annabelle is all about exploring new things, and it was my idea so we went. It actually wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. But they have a lot of interesting exhibits. The works of William Kent, the sex lives of animals, sexy toys and sculptures, a whole exhibit about Linda Lovelace. Some erotic video.

I remember this huge video screen in one room where it’s just a woman deep throating a guy’s cock. It just loops over and over. It’s pretty amazing to see that incredible feat on a 12 foot TV screen. But like I said, the place is not that great. I wrote both our names in a little heart and tagged it in the bathroom. I don’t normally ever do anything like that, but it just seemed appropriate to have our names immortalized together forever in the bathroom of the Museum of Sex.

Later we stopped at a cool cocktail bar and chatted with the locals. Then on to an art gallery. I always enjoy my time with Annabelle when it’s just the two of us. Whether we’re at a museum, or the zoo, or just eating a meal I cooked for her at home. It’s always good. Once you bring in her chaotic work life or insane theater stuff, it just ruins everything. If we could just see each other occasionally and focus on each other it would be great. I get bored hanging around her apartment with nothing to do when she’s editing pictures or whatever else. (Or sometimes not even home!) I’d rather be home sipping some wine and watching netflix.

We walk to the theater. We’ve got some time so we go in and find our seats. The theater is beautiful.

The play begins and the acting is first-rate. They are performing this version just as they did four centuries ago. The only illumination on stage is candlelight. There are literally wooden chandeliers with big white candles all around them. Some times they melt and even fall onto the stage!

During the intermission, Annabelle wants to get us some water and use the restroom. During the first half of the play there was a guy a few rows ahead of me that somehow looked familiar to me. But when the lights came up I take another look at him. His people have gotten up and left and he’s just standing around stretching like I am. I realize he’s actor Timothy Oliphant from Justified and Deadwood! He looks at me and I look at him. He’s much better looking in real life than he is on TV.

“Timothy?”

“Yea.”

I go over and shake his hand. “I love you on Justified! I’m watching season 3 right now!”

“What’s your name?”

I apologize and tell him my name. I was delighted Timothy Oliphant wanted to know my name! We chit-chat a little bit, and because we’re in New York City and at a Shakespearean performance it just didn’t feel cool asking to do a selfie with him. It was just a private moment between two strangers who happened to be in the same place at the same time. Except one of them is a famous actor.

Later when Anabelle returned I quietly told her what had just happened. She had no idea who he was because she doesn’t ever watch TV and isn’t in touch with current media at all. So it was lost on her. But I was excited. No big deal.

The show was wonderful and I am so grateful for this unique Christmas gift. It’s been a perfect Winter’s day with the woman I love.

After the show we headed back to the garage to get the car. It’s probably a bit after 11pm.

It had already started to snow.

Heavily.

We head out of the city. The snow was really coming down. I remember getting on interstate 95 South. We had gone some distance but were still way up in North Jersey.

I heard this loud bang under the car like she had hit a pothole that was covered in snow. The right front tire blew out. I looked at the mile markers. We were 10 miles away from the next rest area. I told Annabelle to put on the hazard lights and slowly move into the right lane. I knew the tire would soon shred, but at least it would be cushioned by the snow-covered ground, so it may not shred as quickly and we’d be driving on the bare rim.

This was a harrowing experience. Total white out of a snowstorm, 90 miles from home, 10 miles from a rest stop, and tractor trailers roaring by our tiny battered car. I was trying to hold my shit together, imagining either the car becoming disabled and we’re stranded on the highway during a snowstorm in the middle of the night, or a giant truck simply smashing into us and killing us both.

That 10 mile drive was one of the longest of my life. We couldn’t go very fast because of the tire and the snow. I was feeling a lot of fear. I have to say, Annabelle kept the car on course and kept her cool during the harrowing drive.

After what seemed like an hour we finally limped into the rest area where there was a garage and some mechanics on duty. I was never so happy to see those guys!

They were all amazed we made it in there in one piece. I was so relieved just to be in the warm garage, off the highway and out of that car.

Annabelle called Zipcar, and told them what happened. They asked that she pay for a new tire on her credit card and they would reimburse her.

So we took some pictures of the damaged wheel and posted them on Facebook. While writing this I remembered I may still have those pics in Annabelle’s pic file on my Facebook. I don’t really go on Facebook anymore because I no longer care to share with the world what I’m up to and have no interest in what you had for lunch today.

I found the pics! Here they are. Shredded!

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It was around 2am by now, but we were both wide with adrenaline from our crazy trip.

The guys got the new wheel on and we were on our way. But the snow was getting worse as we pushed on back to Philly.

After what seemed like the rest of the night, we finally rolled into the city around 4am. Annabelle dropped me off at my house and I kissed her goodnight. I trudged through the snow up to my building and went inside.

Annabelle later texted me that she had dropped off the car and had gotten back to her apartment safely. I was so thankful it all worked out and proud of how Annabelle had handled the whole situation.

What a night!

 

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