I met Rebecca 3 years ago on a date. Rebecca has recently made an appearance in my life so I thought I’d re-run this series so everyone won’t have to go back and search for her series to catch up. Enjoy!
In the last episode our hero was preparing for his big date with Rebecca. Let’s see how it plays out.
I jumped into an Uber out front of my house and went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The PMA is an amazing part of this city. I’ve been going there since I was a child. I remember going as a kid with my family. My father always exposed us to the arts. Dad introduced us to art, music, literature and everything else. I should probably do a blog about him at some point, but I’ll cover this stuff for now. I think I could see this blog metamorphosing into who I really am and that idea is unsettling. But somehow, I know that it will. It almost has to change. How long can I write about all of these lovely creatures that come in and out of my life? I know deep down I’ll run out of stories and the real me will come forward. I think that’s when this memoir will become what it truly needs to be.
Anyway, I had to say that because I see it, and I know it’s coming for me.
I arrive on time, and Santos was a good driver. He brings me to the back of the museum. It’s just easier. I’m not up for doing the Rocky run up the steps out front. It’s just too hot today. I think this is the last 90 degree day of the summer here in Philly. I think as a city we’re all tired of the heat. 2013 was a hot summer but people forget. 2013 was “The summer of Chaz” but that will be described in a future blog. (You can read it now. See: Annabelle)
One of the beautiful and most elegant things about the PMA is that it never changes. Sure, they have new installations coming in and out all of the time, but you can never change the core of the place. There are just certain pieces that are constant and they fill my heart with wonder, memory and love. The place is simply amazing. If you haven’t gone in a while, please go and feel the magic energy of these wonderful, brilliant artists that make the place what it is. When you walk through the halls of the PMA you can really feel that Homo Sapiens are good and make beautiful things, and all of the terrible things we’ve done as a species melt away after a few hours in there.
I walk in, and like I said it’s pay what you want Wednesdays which based on my last few dates will run me a total of $10.
The brilliance continues. Rebecca texts me and says she’s running 15 minutes late which is actually perfect. Normally as you know, I hate that. But she’s new and young, so I’m forgiving. I hit the first floor back balcony and get a glass of wine and wait. I look over the balcony and across the room downstairs. There is a bevy of young women all sitting together on the seats on the other side of the room. Chatting, giggling and looking at their phones.
I’m sipping my Barefoot Chardonnay (basically urine) that cost $9.00, and I get a text. Rebecca has also arrived through the back door of the museum. I tell her I’m upstairs waiting. I see her appear at the top of the stairs, and she fiddles with her phone. I’m going to go ahead right here and tell you she’s 35 years younger than me. I know. But I met her on Tinder and this is Phicklephilly, and she likes art and is a nurse. Maybe she’s okay. Maybe it’ll be different this time. Maybe I keep doing the same thing over and over with my fatal charm hoping for a different result. But that is madness. Am I mad? She’ll be okay. She won’t be crazy or immature, or 9 months into our relationship tell me that she wants to get married and have kids and I’m too old, and don’t ever want that again. (See: Annabelle) I am what I am, and I guess I’ve followed through with this for a reason. Maybe it’ll all be okay.
Fear grips me.
I’m doing the same thing, over and over again.
Well, she’s more than okay. She is exquisite. I’ve said this before, but I literally sucked my breath in when she appeared. Out of all of the photos I’ve posted here to illustrate what these women look like, the one here is really close to what this delightful girl looks like. I kid you not, dear readers. How is this happening again? What am I doing here? How many times have I said this to myself?
She’s 5’2″ and petite. Her hair is dark brown. Her eyes are green. Her skin is a light caramel. Her lips are like ripe cherries. She’s wearing a red and white cotton top, nothing fancy, with a pair of cutoff jean shorts. Her legs are supple tan pillars of lean muscle and sinew. She’s wearing white keds. It doesn’t matter… she’s perfect.
My God. She’s beautiful. Is she going to look upon me and run? Will she apologize and say there’s been some sort of cosmic mistake? Will I hand her $300 to “help with school?” Will security come and just throw me off the balcony to finally finish me off on the cold marble floor below me so that I know that this is a dream?
None of that happened.
I could see she was texting me so I texted her ” I’m here on the balcony. Come hither.” She looks at her phone and then glances about the room. She sees me and smiles. Kill me now. She bounds toward me and I stand. She goes up on her tip toes and hugs me tightly. “I’ve really been looking forward to meeting you!” she exclaims. I can smell her hair. Soft fleece brushes against my face like ribbons of chocolate. The fragrance is soft cocoa. In that moment in her arms, it’s as if she has just revealed a secret to me. She clutches me tightly and then slips away.
She looks me straight in the eyes, and says: “Let’s go share some art!” I swallow the last mouthful of my shitty wine and toss the cup in the trash. I’m locked and loaded. (not really loaded) She asked if I had a map, and I told her that I did. She said “Keep it if you want but I’d rather you toss it in the trash and we just wander together.”
Am I dreaming? Is she going to invoice me for $300 to hang with this lovely doll? But none of that happened either. We simply went downstairs and wandered through the halls. The great thing was that we both had pieces of art we loved and stories behind them. I forgot how connected I was to the PMA. Not as a resident of the city but in my heart.
We came upon a painting called the Moorish Priest. (Google it.) It’s beautiful and powerful. She stopped and I told her that it was my late Mother’s favorite painting in the whole museum. She loved it so much that my father bought her a framed print of it and it hung in our shore house at the top of the stairs for 30 years. She seemed moved by its beauty and the story. I asked her what her thoughts were and she said; “As a nurse I can see he has a good vein in his hand and in his forearm and I could get an IV in that no problem.” Well, she is an emergency room nurse and that’s a legit answer from someone who is always looking for a vein to save a life. The family connection and the irony struck me as funny and nostalgic.
We wandered around for a while rediscovering so many works we both loved. We agreed on so many, for all of the same reasons! We were on the second floor and there’s a huge window that looks down the Ben Franklin Parkway right to City Hall. I told her I remember coming to this very spot as a child and taking a photo of the city through this window with my little plastic Kodak Instamatic camera that I had won in a contest at a shoe store.
We looked out at our city. The skyline. It was dusk. The last time I was here was years ago with a group of co-workers on a Friday night during a lightning storm. It was Art After Five on a Friday and we were all plowed on cheap poorly made cocktails. (See: Michelle)
Rebecca was right next to me. I could feel the energy. I felt really close to her. “The city is so beautiful” she said.
She turned to me.
“You are” I replied.
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