After my successful coffee meet up a few weeks ago with my muse. I told her to come in for a tanning session before she goes to Florida.
“Thanks for meeting me for coffee today. It was great seeing you! I’ll get you a link to my blog. See you Saturday!”
“Yesss coffee was good. Thanks! See ya then! Send me the addy so I don’t get lost lol.”
I send her the link to my blog. This is so exciting. The girl who inspired me to write again will get to read about herself on the very platform that she inspired!
Saturday rolls around and I’m working at the salon.
“What time are you in today?”
“11 to 5”
I love that Maria is coming in to tan. She comes in and we chit-chat. It’s always great to see her and talk to my muse. She wants to get a base for her trip to Florida. She buys a 5 pack which is great because she can do a couple of sessions before her trip and use the rest to maintain her color when she gets back. (And I get to see her 4 more times!)
She does her session and heads out. I figure that would be it. She’d pop in occasionally and brighten my day. I was satisfied just having coffee with her last week. Just to reconnect with her and actually hang out with her was brilliant.
But a few weeks pass and I’m sitting at my desk at home writing. It was probably around midnight when her text comes in.
“Hey Charles, I know you said you don’t do social media. Not sure if you keep up with the news but the restaurant where I work is closed down for a few months due to the fire next door. We are not only taking money donations but any donation to be raffled would be raffled would be greatly appreciated.”
Of course I’m going to spring into action. Maria needs my help!
“I read about the fire in the news and immediately thought of you. What can we do to help? What will you do financially? Are you available to meet up to discuss this week?”
“Def sucks. I’m waiting to hear back from a couple of places. Anything honestly. We can since I have so much time now.”
“Alright. I’m going to hit up all my contacts up to get you some shifts. Can you meet up on Monday at noon?”
“Yea I’ll take anything. I babysat tonight. Just trying to be optimistic. Yeah I can do that.”
“I’ve placed a few friends in jobs. I’m so sorry this happened. I’ll start making calls tomorrow. Meet me at Cavanaugh’s Rittenhouse Monday at noon.”
“Sounds like a plan. They are actually donating to the raffle.”
“Okay I’ll talk to my partner at the salon as well. Come in and tan if you want today. I’ll be there from 11 to 4, if not see you Monday at Cav’s. I’m sure we can find you something!”
“Awesome. I really hate asking for any help honestly. I’m going to Chop tomorrow to visit my relative, but yea def Monday. Thanks again Charles!”
“I’m on it. I’ll call everybody I know in the hospitality industry to help you. No worries.”
The next day I send her a bunch of names and places she can apply. She’s very grateful. I tell her not to worry if some of the spots I send her are places she’s not interested in. She can pick and choose what places she thinks she’d like work. I’ll just keep sending. I’m just happy to help her.
Monday I’m sitting at my table in the back of Cavanaugh’s. Maria rolls in and as usual I am delighted to see her.
Maria always looks beautiful.
I feel bad for her misfortune but it wasn’t anything she did that’s put her in this predicament. The building next door to where she works burned down! It may be months before they open again.
I order my usual Monday special the 1/2 off cheese steak. Maria goes with the turkey burger.
We talk about her current situation. I tell her I’ll keep asking around to all of my contacts in the industry. I also tell her that I’ll get her a gift card to the salon that she can raffle off. She’s happy about that. She’s really been working hard to raise money for their event.
I ask her when it is and she tells me they are having it on Sunday. I tell her I can’t attend because I have to work that day. But if she sends me the link to where I can buy a ticket, I’ll purchase one just to make a donation to support her cause.
Maria is stressed about being three months away from graduating from college with her degree in Marketing, and now she has to find another server job to pay the bills. There’s also her relative that’s in Children’s Hospital. That and her own stomach disorders. Poor thing!
I can relate with all my stomach disorders. So at least we have that in common and can discuss our challenges.
She tells me more about this guy that’s she’s dating. He’s one of the managing partners of the restaurant where she worked. Okay, I know they say never shit where you eat, or don’t dip your pen in the company’s ink. But we’ve all done it. You spend a great deal of your waking hours with your co-workers. You all have a common goal and share the same mission in your daily lives. It’s very common for there to be workplace romance.
But an owner and a server? That doesn’t sit right with me. He has the power to fire her at anytime. I’m not saying that would happen. But she’s entered into a romantic relationship that if it goes badly, could put her in the unemployment line.
There’s no harassment suit because she entered into that relationship as a willing partner.
But it’s none of my business. She’s an adult and a survivor. She’s tough and she’ll figure it out. I respect that about her.
Then she tells me an interesting story. She said she wrote in to some online publication about her relationship with this gentleman. They actually changed her name to ‘Kristen” and published it. She wants to share it with me.
I get really excited at the prospect of publishing the story on Phicklephilly. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve posted a dating story by one of my followers on this blog. But not by my muse! Not a dating story by the girl who inspired me to create this blog. That’s internet gold to me. I’m honored to publish something Maria wrote!
So if she sends me the link, I’ll post it in the next installment of this little saga.
After lunch, (Of course I pay, and I really want to because my friend is not working. Girl’s gotta eat!) we walk along Sansom street. I’m looking at her, with the tawny highlights in her luxurious dark mane. I’m listening to her words and I’m happy just to be walking down the street with Maria.
She’s going to stop in at Harp and Crown and see if they’re hiring. I’ve got to get to the salon. We promise to text later about what we spoke about and I wish her luck.
We hug and off she goes. I turn and head down 16th street. I light a post lunch/Maria encounter celebratory cig and smile in the afternoon sun.
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