How’s your romantic life, Rebecca?
“Total shit. Nothing. I’m never good at that. I don’t want to get into it right now. It’ll just spoil the moment. Are you seeing anyone?”
Interesting how Rebecca deflects everything back to me. I haven’t seen or heard from her in two years. Every time I ask her a question, she pushes the dialogue back to me. Where has she been? What happened over the last two years in South America?
“I met a girl on Tinder a year and a half ago and it was good for a while, but it’s not so good now. I think the relationship may be riding off into the sunset.”
“Really? What’s she like?”
“Black girl. Pretty. Fit. 28 years old. Has a 7 year old son. Never married. Ex pays support but doesn’t spend much time with his son. White guy. Cherie worked at MacDonald’s for 10 years and is now in her senior year getting her BS in Psychology. She’s majoring in neuroscience and works at Children’s Hospital. She’s a great girl and going places, but like I said, it feels like she’s under so much pressure with work and her kid, I can feel it affecting our relationship.”
I paused. I thought about how much I’ve been struggling with Cherie lately. Everything. I thought how much I loved everything about Cherie and then how our relationship was failing. Why was I telling her all of this?
“It is what it is, Rebecca.”
“What does that mean, Chaz?”
I took a healthy sip from my cocktail. “I think the distance factor, plus we’re always apart and busy has put a lot of pressure on us.”
“Do you miss her?”
“I enjoy her company, but I never miss her when she’s gone. I know that sounds cold, but I enjoy my time alone. I really do. It’s hard now that I’ve gotten older to start the machine to be energetic and romantic. This place in my life… I like to interface with people and activate my energy, but having to be that… is somewhat difficult.”
“Do you mean sex?”
“No. That’s automatic and one of the very best parts of our relationship. It’s always good with Cherie.”
“Yea, It’s just the distance and schedules that’s killing this relationship. I’m not on the dopamine rush I once was with Michelle and Annabelle. (Type either of these names into the Search widget on the Homepage and you can read both their series. Read Michelle Before Annabelle) That was foolish behavior then, but happy just to be with Cherie… but ready for her to leave at any time.”
“I can only imagine what you think of me.”
“I haven’t seen you in a two years, but come on Rebecca, you have cred. We have a little history. We can hang. What are you asking?”
“Look… I’m sorry for all of the flake in the past, but I’m working in the city now. I’m at Penn Medicine. Can we at least hang occasionally?”
I don’t know. Are you up for all of that?”
“Do you still have the hookup at Square 1682?”
“Can we just meet and chat over life and free chardonnay?”
“Oh course, because we’re getting killed here for drinks right now. I never go anywhere I have to pay full price for anything.”
“Well I want to sit with you in your favorite bar and be in your life, Chaz.”
“Yea, but we still have tonight. I’m happy to see you.”
Rebecca flipped her hair and grasped my hands. I can smell the sweet faint fragrance of either her perfume or her hair. It’s intoxicating. Her gaze penetrates my soul.
Those emerald eyes.
“Chaz, I need you in my life. You’re so good.”
“I know stuff about life but I just want to go home and watch Netflix. I mean, not now, but that’s what I normally do because I’m so busy with work and I’ve compartmentalized my tiny social life.”
“I get that. Even in the last year I’ve realized what’s important in life. My health, surrounding myself with good friends and family, working to keep a roof over my head, and paying down my damn student loans.”
“That’s pretty much what your whole generation is going through now, but it’s good if you’re starting to see what’s really important in life. I’ve kind of cleared out the detritus in my life over the last few years. I cut off all the crazy women, and recently had to let go of some of the men friends I’ve collected in my life. I like to work as you know, but in order to meet my obligations, I need to work quite a bit. I don’t mind it at all, I love to be busy, but when I’m off from work I need to decompress and do what I want. It’s usually only one day off a week and for right now, that’s all I need.”
“I know, right? I’m usually on the phone all day and dealing with doctors and stressed out with patients, that by Friday I’m just ready to cut loose and go crazy, or collapse on my couch for the weekend!”
“Have you seen anyone romantically?”
I’ve been back for over six months now… I’ve been on some dates. Some longer than others.
“Oh… six months? So you’ve been back awhile.”
“Yea, I’m sorry. I just needed some time…”
That’s weird. She’s been back from South America for over six months and I hear nothing? What the hell? Gotta stay cool. Don’t want to blow this, but it doesn’t make sense.
“So, yea… dating?”
“Yea, and like I said, I’ve been in a few short relationships, but those guys turned out to be assholes. So they’re gone.”
“The usual, Chaz. Hot guy, seems nice but ends up just being a clumsy oaf.”
“The classic toads every girl kisses before finding her prince in her late twenties.”
“Yea, but what if I kiss all these toads and there’s no prince at the end of the journey? My lips are dry, Charles.”
Most girls in their late twenties after being burned out from empty dating, settle on a guy they think is less worse than all of the other shit they’ve dated previously.”
“Really? Do you know anyone like that?”
“I do. So I know it can happen.”
But I’m only 23! Am I going to have to wait for years to find Mr. Right?”
“Don’t rush it, Rebecca. Let it happen naturally. You can waste your time swiping left and right on a bunch of leftover losers, or simply let love find you. You’re a beautiful young lady. Make good choices and good things will happen.”
Rebecca eyed me skeptically.
I did the same. Am I stepping back into something I don’t really want? I don’t want to be the mentor guy anymore. I can’t let Rebecca’s wiles pull me back into that role. The ear to listen. The shoulder to cry upon. The quiet port in the storm.
“I guess. Anyway I have an early meeting tomorrow morning. Do you mind if we call it a night?”
“Sounds good to me, dear. I sure don’t miss those days of meetings and deadlines anymore.”
“Yea. You’re lucky you don’t have to deal with that shit anymore.”
“Never going back.”
We get the check and Rebecca kicks in half. (Great girl!)
We step out into the dark alley of Ranstead street. We walk up to 20th and Market while she summons and UBER.
“I really appreciate you meeting up with me tonight, Chaz.” She grasps my hands in hers.
“It was my pleasure. It’s always great seeing you, and I’m glad you’re doing well and on the right track.”
A dark sedan pulls up to the curb. “Oh, here’s my UBER. Text me about Square 1682?”
Rebecca hops up on her tip toes and plants a swift, sticky kiss on my lips.
“Gotta go!” She giggles.
I watch as she gets in the back seat of the car. Her blue dress rides up her thighs and I briefly marvel at her caramel colored, well turned legs. The door shuts and she looks at me for a moment through the window. She gives me a knowing, sly smile and then waves, as the car pulls away from the curb and disappears in traffic down East Market.
She did that on purpose and knows I was checking out her gams.
I begin my walk home. It’s been an interesting night.
My mind still spinning from Rebecca’s sweet kiss.
I’m about a block from my house when I get the text.
“Home safe! Thank you for a wonderful evening. It was sooo good to see you again!”
“You too, dear.”
“Text me about Square! xoxo”
God, I live a charmed life.
Oh shit! I forgot to set up a date with Kita!
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