I’ve been working a lot lately, but the good news is our girl Summer from last season has returned to take some shifts for us. She’s our best hire to date, so I’m glad she’s finally back.
My darling Cherie has gotten a babysitter for Saturday night, so after work she’s going to jump in the car and come for a little visit. Which means we have limited time so I know certain things need to happen. This is the first Saturday I’ve had off in a while, probably almost two months. I get up, hit the shower, much-needed manscaping occurs, and I’m dressed and out the door. I didn’t make my bed this morning because later It’ll be stripped, and then made with fresh sheets for the arrival of her eminence.
I leave my place on Pine and walk north on 19th. The square in Rittenhouse is full of the usual cast of characters. Families together, children playing, dogs being walked, People chilling on the benches, friends sipping coffee and chatting. You can always find a tranquil moment in this metropolitan oasis.
First point of business is, I must go to my favorite Saturday breakfast spot, Rachael’s at 19th and Sansom. It’s been too long. I go in and of course they know my name and know what I want. I pay for my order and then go sit and one of the bar seats along the windows. I love the place because it’s small and intimate but is a classic neighborhood breakfast/lunch spot that doesn’t need to do dinner because that’s not what they are. Tasteful neon signs glow in the front window, but aren’t overbearing or obtrusive to the dining experience. You simply feel that you’ve stepped back in time, and I love that.
I love sitting in the same spot at the window whenever I go there. I read articles on my phone and look out the window and just people watch. When the weather’s nice there are plenty of lovely folks carrying on with their weekend plans.
Breakfast/brunch arrives quickly with diner like speed, but with home cooked elegance. This is a lovely repose to charge up for the coming day. It’s all perfect just like always. (I like consistency in my life.) When I’ve had enough, I throw a few singles in the tip jar for the cooks and head out.
I get a text from our part-time employee, Summer.
“I am so hung over.”
I send her a pic of a bottle of Jameson in a bicycle water bottle holder.
“LOL! My boyfriend Jax is bringing me a breakfast sandwich.
I know she won’t bail on work because she’s tough and doesn’t shirk responsibilities like some of our other past employees. (Or maybe she’s just been luckier than they have!) She’s a young girl, in college, good grades, smart girl, but what di I do when I was 20? Cut loose and partied hard. I didn’t go to college. I went to L.A. and rocked the fuck out for a few years.
I’ve got a few things that need to happen today, but none are pressing at the moment. I light a post breakfast celebratory cig and walk north on 19th. I get to JFK Blvd., and head east to 18th street, where I know there’s an entrance to Suburban Station and I can get down there on the weekends through this portal.
I need to hit the dollar store in Suburban. The Dollar Store is a glorious fixture of this fine city. I’ll tell you why. First of all, everything is a fucking dollar! Living in this city’s really expensive. If I need a bunch of cleaning supplies for the house, and I mean everything right down to sponges, and I go to one of the major chains? Easily the bill will exceed $40 to $50 to stock your house with the stuff you need.
You go to the dollar store.
$14 bucks. Maybe $11.
I shit you not, my friends.
I used to date a Wall Street lawyer back when I lived and worked in NYC. She ALWAYS shopped at the Dollar Store. She made great money but knew better than to get fleeced by the main stream brands. We would go to the dollar store and load up! She was smart. She worked hard for her money and she intended to keep it. I learned from her.
I go in there and I’ve only come for one thing. Two bottles of laundry detergent for the salon. I know we’re nearly out and there are towels to be washed! (I forgot to pick up chocolates for Cherie) I need to travel light. I could have gotten a shit ton of stuff there today, but I don’t feel like lugging a bunch of things around on my day off.
Must conserve my energy and strength for tonight’s events.
I get to the salon and Summer is there and she looks banged up.
“You look like shit. Is that in style now?”
“Fuck you. Hey, this is my boyfriend, Jax.”
Jax is a tall, nice looking boy who stands up and shakes my hand to greet me. I like that. He has manners. He has dark curly hair and caramel skin. Summer has already told me that he’s of mixed heritage. Maybe someday if we can end racism in this country we’ll all look this good.
“How’d you get so banged up last night? Where did you guys go?”
“A few places, Xfinity Live, and then Tavern on Broad.”
“What were you drinking at the end, Summer?”
“Mmm tough one.”
“I puked when I came in here this morning.”
“But you made it in and we’re open. How come you don’t look like this bedsheet with two cigarette holes burned in it, Jax?”
“Kidding Summer. She’s so sensitive!”
“I know, man. I’m good. I guess I can hang.”
I like this kid. Doesn’t lose his shit when his girlfriend gets blackout drunk on tequila and makes sure she gets home safe. Even brings her breakfast and spends the entire day with her at the salon.
I do like this guy. He even goes across the street to Chipotle and gets them both lunch. I assure her that it’s okay for her to sit down and eat. It’s off-season and the place is dead. I’ll handle the counter. No one comes in for the half hour they dine. In a bit she’s back at the counter and I’m chilling in the waiting area chatting with Jax.
“Summer. Look up the last time I tanned.”
She does and it’s been a week. I’ve been doing so good, but I’ve slipped off the bronze god wagon. I should tan but I don’t want to be red for tonight. But the more I think about it, Cherie won’t notice my new haircut, or if my face is red or if anything has changed. Because Cherie sees the inner me. For some reason she’s attracted to me. Well… I get some of that. I do have special powers that match with hers. Despite everything going on in both of our lives, it’s a match. I love her and it’s just wonderful to be next to her. To make her laugh, spend time with her, and be intimate.
I’m a big fan of “If it’s not broken don’t fix it.” I don’t even want to tinker with this glorious train that sails down the line with elegance and stability, despite the challenges ahead on the tracks.
I decide to tan, but I’ll do it a bit later. Cherie texts me that she won’t be coming to the city until 6pm. Which in reality means, 7pm because of delays, construction, traffic, parking, and whatever else could arise on her journey to see me.
Cherie is a saint.
I head into the tanning booth for the full 9 minutes. I plug my phone into the unit and listen to my music (Greta Van Fleet – Highway Tune) while I tan. I hop out after 8 minutes and get dressed.
It’s time for me to go. I’ve got things to do and Cherie will be down here in a few hours. I bid Summer and Jax farewell, and head out into the humid afternoon sun.
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