I finished at the salon on Friday night. I text Cherie to see where she was in the travel process. She’s on winter break so there’s no classes for the next week or so, but work and life have been the usual grind. The holidays, raising her son, school, and two grueling jobs are taking a toll upon her health. She sometimes leaves one job and goes to the other one just to keep the machine rolling. She sometimes works twenty-eight hours straight without sleep between Children’s Hospital and the pediatrician’s office.
Cherie texts me back and tells me that she missed the first train, but is currently on the next one from Norristown. It should roll into Suburban Stanton around 8:40pm. I look at my watch and see that it is only 8:20pm. It’s been a long day and an even longer week for me. Being back to working forty hours at the new day job, and running the salon four days a week have clocked me in at sixty hours a week again. I like having a morning purpose to get out of bed again, but the adjustment has been a bit of a challenge.
I lock up the salon and head to suburban station. The winter night kisses my face. She’s always been a Philly bitch.
Suburban Station this time of year is an absolute shit show. There are so many homeless people down there to escape exposure you can’t get a seat. The stench of urine makes me angry.
I see where her train is coming in and I head to that platform. I haven’t seen her since our fun early lunch at Devil’s Alley. That’s always sweet and civil. We love seeing each other and spending time together, but it’s really just a band-aid, to bridge the gap until we will once again share a bed.
I look at the schedule. On Time. Baby is coming…. (Sorry, “Arriving”) I know she’ll be all covered up. Heavy coat, boots, hat, and a scarf. But I know what’s beneath all of those layers. The heart of a lovely, woman.
I plan on asking her if she’s eaten, because if anyone deserves a super din, it’s this girl. She doesn’t eat enough or get enough rest.
If baby’s hungry, I’ll feed her.
I’m a man alone on the platform of life. Waiting for his girlfriend. The latest model. My newest love. The next one.
All of this work I’m doing now is tough. I adapt like a cockroach, and love to work so I know I’ll be fine, but the first two weeks through the holiday were a little cloudy. But I’ve adjusted and I’ll make it happen on both fronts. I’m not the tallest or the strongest man you’ll ever meet. I’m average looking in every way, but I have a kind face and an effervescent personality. Sometimes that, and real enthusiasm is enough. Making tons of money and surrounding yourself with a nice house, cars and stuff is a huge fat lie.
I once had a boss I really liked and one day I asked him, why everybody was so into food and stuff. He said it’s probably because we all can’t have beautiful sex all of the time. I was very close with him and he and I worked well together. He lived in NYC and I would walk him to the train at 30th street every night for months. He was a fish out of water in Philly, but a wonderful man and mentor. We all need mentors.
My father used to say.
But he was right. It was a simple question and he gave me his simple answer. I appreciated his candid answer. I miss him. But think about it… when you meet that special someone and ignition is imminent, it’s is a glorious feeling. You meet that person. There is a connection. There’s chemistry for whatever reason. It’s electric. You fall in love, have all of the dating, sex and love you can make, and then the inevitable happens. You get married.
You fall in love, and then you lock down a mate for whatever reason. It could be a good decision or the worst one of your life, but you make it. If it works, you live in domestic life for the rest of your days. Some of them work, some don’t. Some of us make good decisions and others make bad decisions. I make bad decisions all of the time. But I’m an artist stuck in the corporate world. I’m not an artist that can’t fit in with corporate America. I’m an artist that can swim comfortably through it. Usually the other fat fish that have dedicated themselves to working in business don’t like this strange fish. They’ll eventually get him.
It’s okay, because I know my spirit will always find a way to swim in someones warm pond. If it gets too hot, I can alway hop to another pretty body of water.
I’ll always work, and I’ll always love. I won’t stuff my life with tradition, stuff and lies ever again. I’ve been married, been a homeowner, had hot cars and tons of stuff.
None of it means anything. At the end of the day, you have to come home to yourself. You. Alone in your apartment. You. Alone in your marriage. Maybe you, happy in either one.
But I’ve found that humans are social creatures. We LOVE to be with each other. most people can’t sit in a room by themselves for very long without hating themselves. You need to be truly alone to understand yourself and who you are. You can’t do that around other people. You need to break it all down and get inside your own soul. It’s really hard to do, but some of us, a rare few actually like it.
If you get married, you fall in love, choose the best you can and go forward. House, mortgage, careers, kids, stuff… all of it. Everybody does it. I did it.
It was never a fit for me.
Did you ever notice that there are no great white sharks in captivity? There are grey nurse sharks, sand tigers, and whatever stuff they can steal from the sea to entertain you. An afternoon at the aquarium. But the Great White is at the top of the heap when it comes to marine predators. Little is really known about them. But having the greatest shark ever the star of Peter Benchley’s JAWS would surely be an attraction like no other that would bring Homo Sapiens in to your little circus in droves.
You’ve done it. You’ve kidnapped them from the sea, and what happened?
They all died. Every one of them.
The Great White isn’t going to live in a fish tank and have you gawk at him. He’d rather die that give you the satisfaction of owning him. Imprisoning him. He needs to swim and be free.
Would I like to be in a marriage and be satisfied and happy? I don’t know. We all want to have that connection with that one person that completes us.
I may be the Great White, but even they find a lovely lady shark and go off and make little sharks.
But I’ve made bad choices and have tried to make that work, but it hasn’t. I know it works for some, but they have made such better choices than myself.
I am so happy when I see couples together making it work and are really are connected. It’s amazing to see. I know so few. But the ones that get it right are terrific people. I see it in my own family. All of my sisters have made good choices for their life goals and it’s worked.
But not me. I’ve tried over and over to fit into that and it just hasn’t worked. Like I said, I made bad choices. But what does that mean? I think I’m not meant to be locked into an American marriage model. I need to swim free. I need to be alone. The shark needs to swim.
Appreciate who he is and let him be.
The only upside of being in different relationships throughout your life instead of getting married and locking it down is this: You get to fall in love a bunch of times.
I know everybody falls in love. That shit is magic. I can’t think of anything on the Earth that feels that good. I’ve always known that beyond everything, love is the most powerful force in the universe. When you think about all of the crazy shit people have done in the name of love its mind-boggling!
I know marriage is a great way for people to really bond with your desired match. It yields family, children, grandchildren, joy, pain, life existence. It really is the foundation of our culture.
But what if you could have that feeling again that you had in the beginning, over and over again?
We all long for that initial passion. I know if you’re with the same person all of the time there becomes a familiar. There’s no way to sustain that drug of love.
The only way you could do that and get that feeling would to be alone most of the time.
Most of the populace are unable to do that.
So, you meet someone, you fall in love and it doesn’t work out.
Again and again.
You’re sad. Most people have had their heart broken once. Some of us have had it shattered, shredded, tossed on the fire, and kicked to the curb. Because we loved too much.
We’re sensitive people who’ve spent their love dollars on the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Sometimes we end up broke.
But only financially.
We’re still the same people. Growing. Evolving into the future of ourselves.
But…We love again.
Again and again.
See how it works? You either choose once, and hope and works, and most times it does. If it doesn’t work you have to be brave enough to walk away. The consequences can be catastrophic but if you are truly not happy you have to go.
So, here I am. Carcharodon carcharias. Domesticity and cohabitation hasn’t ever worked for me. What should I do?
I should continue to evolve and grow as a person. I should be the best person I can be to the people around me. The shark needs to swim and be free. But maybe I can meet a perfect, low-key, smart, solid lady shark and make it work.
I think of her face. Her lovely eyes. Her smile. Her laugh, when she really loses it. My god, her thighs.
(Is that a Haiku?)
The voice over the intercom says that her train is coming in. I’m about to accept the honor of Cherie’s presence for the next 20 hours.
The platform is cold. I smell something. I glance down the track. A flash of light off the wall. There’s a sudden breeze in on the platform. The air is fresh and clean. The train is pushing life into this sad terminal.
She is about to arrive.
My girlfriend. I once again have a girlfriend.
Oh, if you’re still wondering why this chapter was called, “Shark Week,” It’s because I’m comparing myself to a Great White shark. An elegant animal that’s meant to be free to swim, and can’t be contained into your idea of love.
But I’m trying, and I’ll be fine. I really appreciate you all getting it this week!
No. that’s not what this chapter is about. You missed the whole point. Thank you for reading this far…
Cherie is on her period.
I just got the text. She’s coming to the bat cave for the next twenty hours. There’s going to be a lot of sex and negotiation, but there’s also going to be a lot of blood…
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