Annabelle – Epilogue

“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

It was about 6 months later until I saw her again. I was working for a local publication, and my boss asked if I’d check on their booth at an event in University City. It was on a Saturday in the spring of 2015. They would normally have a booth set up at some sponsored events, and they’d have a couple of interns man it.

Since I was new no one would recognize me there, so I could see that the magazines were displayed and the swag was out, and that the interns were doing their jobs.

I met with my friend Carla for a few drinks that evening at The Continental bar in midtown. Now that I think about it, I had spent the day with Kylie, (See: Kylie – Broken Wing) and had to ditch her to go meet up with my good friend Carla.

We had a couple of drinks and wound up chatting with a couple of gals we would meet up with later. After about an hour we hopped in an UBER and headed out to University City. We got there and when you live in Rittenhouse in center city, going out to University City is like going to a different planet.

I was expecting a straight up festival, with beer and food, but all that was out there was a bunch of families, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cart and a big stage set up. Oh, and our little booth off to the side.

Carla and I were clearly disappointed. We thought we’d be chugging free drinks and stuffing our heads with chow. We go over to the booth and check it out. I chat with the interns and everything seems to be in order.

The show starts and it’s some sort of musical number.

“Carla. I need to get out of here now.”

“This thing sucks. I agree. But it seems like something’s bothering you.”

“See that girl right there? The one on the left in the show.”

“Yea.”

“That’s Annabelle. My ex-girlfriend.”

“Oh the girl who was standing over there before, staring at you since the minute you got here?”

“She was?”

“I didn’t even see her. How did you…?

“Women can sense these things.”

“Let’s go.”

The next time was  a month or so later when I went to a beer garden that was my account at the publication. They invited me down to their place of business for some free drinks. I can’t pass that up.

So I get there and have a few drinks at the bar, and who the hell comes out to entertain everybody?

Yep. Same musical troupe, and there’s Annabelle. I watched the show a little bit, but it was so awful, I had to get out of there. Their stuff is so silly it’s absurd. I think the only reason the troupe exists is so the lead guy can run around in public in a fucking dress.

It was killing me to see her and I needed closure. I texted her and said I wanted to meet up and chat. We set it up and I met her at a bar in Northern Liberties. (Which I hate)

I had one before she arrived. She gets there and we go to a table and sit down. She orders a drink and said her stomach has been bothering her. She says it’s from all of the junk food she’s been eating down at the beer garden where her troupe has been performing all month. I think she’s full of shit. She always pulls health issues or headaches to get out of stuff.

I begin to recount all of the stuff she did after she broke up with me, and how much it hurt me, and how adults don’t do that to each other. I told her how much that hurt me for months, having her rip open the sutures that were trying to heal in my wounded heart.

She said she was sorry she hurt me, but really didn’t show any real emotion. I believe simply because she isn’t capable of it. When you don’t know who you are, where you’re going, or what you want in life, how can you possibly know what anyone else around you is feeling? Annabelle only sees what she wants. She hasn’t a clue that her selfish actions can really hurt a person that is close with her.

She told me that she had moved, and was going to buy some shitty house but her parents told her they didn’t want her living in that neighborhood, so they bought her a nice house in a better part of town. I suppose since they’re rich and she’s the only one of their kids that’s a financial failure, they felt they had to step in. So she lives on the first floor, she has taken in a roommate who lives on the 2nd floor and uses the basement for her photography stuff.

She has the roommate because she obviously can’t afford the mortgage. Who has roommates in their thirties?

“I don’t really have to work that hard anymore or make a lot of money. Because I don’t have the bills I used to have.”

(Yea, because your parents bought you a fucking house.)

She left after the one drink and I walked her outside and she got on her bike.

“You’ll have to see my house.” she said as she rode off.

No thanks, I thought to myself.

Well, so much for closure.

Her apology was hollow.

About a year later this woman I know who works in the arts hit me up at the publication I worked for at the time. Trixie wanted some love from our magazine to promote a little art performance she had written. I asked her if there was any budget to advertise and of course she said no. These “artists” never have two shillings to rub together.

So I talk to my editor and since we support the arts, she said she’d be happy to write a little piece about it and put it in our events calendar.

I called Trixie and told her that the piece would run for the two weeks before the event. So it would be in our magazine twice. She was very happy and thanked me for the free support/advertising.

So on opening night of the show I decided to check out what I had promoted for the last two weeks. I like Trixie and I decided to take my good friend, Carly (See: Carly – 2013 to Present – The Mad Baker)

Carly always comes through for me in the clutch. She’s one of my favorite people in Philadelphia.

We plowed some vodka before the show in case it sucked. We hop in an UBER and head down to the show. We get there. It’s some little installation in South Philly. We go in and there are only maybe between and 20 or 30 people there. We grab a pair of wines (Box wine!) and head into the show.

It starts with some woman doing some sort of weird slow dance on the floor. I don’t get it. Then they have us all head upstairs for the 2nd part of the “performance.”

I have the sudden realization that it is a two woman show starring Trixie and of all the fucking people on the Earth… Annabelle.

I’m an artist. I’ve been an artist my whole life. Started drawing as a child. Art major in school. Won art shows, and drew comics. I have sold my art work and even had it stolen. So my shit must have been good. I taught myself how to play guitar. I started out as a singer in the choir and then a lead singer in my first band. Then guitarist in my 2nd and 3rd bands. Philly, Jersey and LA. I’m a writer and a huge film guy. I love all kinds of music from Sinatra to Slayer and everything in between. I love the ballet, the orchestra, the arts in general. So I have a pretty good idea what is good art and what is absolute shit.

What I witnessed that evening may as well have fallen out of a dog’s ass and hit the pavement in a steaming pile of awfulness.

It didn’t make sense. It was poorly written. Horribly acted. Trixie has a great ass though. That’s all I can say. She looked hot. Annabelle was like a scientist in the beginning and then changed into a bird of some kind. It made no sense at all. Annabelle literally wrapped in saran wrap with feathers covering her sort of non nipples and hippie bush. It was a revolting mess.

I’m grateful that I had the lovely opportunity of plying myself with alcohol before the “show.” (more like, abortion)

After that massacre, Annabelle came right up to us and I told her it was really good. It was either that or just simply throw up on her in disgust.

I introduced her to Carly and I’m sure she thought Carly was my main squeeze. Oh, by the way, Carly looked amazing. Black Versace cocktail dress, black sheer hose and black pumps. She looked smoking hot.

Annabelle told us she was going to have to get out of the polyurethane feather nightmare that she was wearing and would chat some more. We told her great job and we’d be downstairs sipping free boxed wine.

We went downstairs and grabbed more wine and went outside to smoke.

“What do we do?”

It was starting to rain.

“We get the fuck out of here. Trixie ambushed you and got free advertising for her shitty show that no one went to see. We’re going.”

I hit the UBER app and we were back in Rittenhouse in 15 minutes.

This is an entirely different epilogue that Michelle’s (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) This is all I have to wrap up the tattered mess that was my short nine month relationship with Annabelle.

In hindsight, should I have ever gotten involved with Annabelle? No. She was too young, and too naive about herself or even the world. It was an absolute mismatch. I once made a list when it was over of all of the thing I liked and didn’t like about Annabelle.

On the GOOD list there were only 3 things. Youth, sex, and nice to be with when we were together just doing things. (ie: dates, museums, dinners, etc.)

Just think. Two of the 3 things she almost had no control over.

The BAD list had over 15 things that I didn’t like about her on it. That my friend, is a strong indicator that it was an absolute mismatch and maybe she was just with me due to her distant daddy issues and I was a novelty to her. A new toy. The latest shiny thing that had attracted her attention like a squirrel.

I remember she told me she once slept walked and went into the bathroom and cut her bangs off. When I met her that second time at that shitty bar where she worked I thought her hair looked a little weird. She had to go to a hairdresser to try to fix that mess. I think it may have something to do with stress.

One time she slept walked and got scissors and cut up a dress that she was supposed to wear to some event for her sister. This chick has real issues or maybe even a real mental disorder. When I look at my relationship with her now, I can’t even believe I stuck around as long as I did. I should have cut her loose way earlier than when it ended. I should have seen the crazy. But you know, I did. I just put up with it because I loved her.

I didn’t love her. That just sounds nice. That’s why people put up with shit. No. People put up with shit because their minds are clouded with society’s norms. If you can take a step back, (Most men can’t. Actually most people can’t) you’d see that you’re in a relationship with someone who is absolutely not right for you. I know some idiots that are doing this right now!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter. But you can think about your mistakes with people. You can talk to your friends and family about your mistakes, but when you take the time to actually WRITE them down, you see the truth. The truth “that your own rod licks you the hardest.”

My mother used to say that, and it’s so true. Think of all the fucked up shit that has happened to you in your life. The bad stuff. You did that. You were probably the architect of that madness. You made that. You at least helped. You brought that nightmare into your life.

It’s okay. I’m not here to hurt anybody. I just want you to think. “Doing the same thing over and over and thinking you’re going to get a different result is madness.”

I’ve done that. We all have. I have to evolve up and out from this relationship. I will. I will never get mixed up aith a girl like Annabelle ever again. I’d rather die alone than go through something like that with such a mixed up emotionally bankrupt, lost soul like Annabelle.

You gotta cut your losses and go.

Everybody’s different and we all go through our own shit in our own way. You can tell your friend that he should leave his cheating wife who hasn’t fucked him in two years but he has to exit that burning building in his own way. All the while wasting years of living he should be enjoying and not going to fucking meetings and therapists.

Drop the clutch and GO!

It’s like telling someone they should get in better shape.

You try to change your own mind and body.

That shit’s hard. How are you going to change another person?

You can’t. They have to do it their own way in their own time.

Anyway. No more artists or failed actresses. I just can’t.

Annabelle was texting after the show and thanking me profusely for my support. Sadly, she seemed so scared and unsure of herself. I guess now that I was standing outside the gates of Annabelle Asylum, I had a different perspective. I could see clearly she was just another lost soul of the arts community here in our fair city

I had some great dinners and some decent sex with her so there’s that. But I would erase it all if I could have the opportunity to never have met Annabelle. But I’m wrong in my thinking. I had to meet her. I had to experience this so I could learn more about myself. I’m still on the journey to find real and genuine love in this city.

But now based on these experiences I’ve had I now have a clearer idea of what that should look like. I have learned much.

And for that I am grateful and I continue to evolve and grow as a man.

That show was the last time I ever saw Annabelle.

But last year on my birthday, she messaged me on Facebook.

“Happy Birthday, Charles, I hope your life is going well.”

I waited a day and thanked her and wished her a happy birthday too. (Hers is July and mine is August 9, both Leos)

 

That was the last I ever spoke to her. I’ve never seen or heard from her again. (Thank goodness!)

 

Will I ever find a girl who is a good match for me in this city that will stick around?

 

My heart is always open, and we’ll have to see what happens. Thanks to you all of my readers. We’ll get there together!

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Kylie – Broken Wing – Part II – Disconnected Rebound

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

I was in a vulnerable state. Still having random drunk hookups with Annabelle, and hanging out with Kylie. (See: Annabelle – 2013 to 2014 – Nice to Meet You) It’s sad what was happening. I think Annabelle just strung me along until she found someone to replace me.

Live and learn.

On the other hand I was spending more time with Kylie. The more time I spent with her, the crazier and damaged I could see Kylie was.

She was in her early thirties now, and still barely eking out a living doing photography. This was a poor soul that had been kicked around by the world, and somehow survived. During that time I always said; “I don’t think Kylie is going to live long.”

She invited me up to her apartment one night early on. We talked about her artwork. She painted as well as did photography. All of her work is really good, but it’s just hard to make a living in this city as an artist. (Or any city for that matter)

She’s one of these people who talks a lot. They tell you all the crazy stuff in their lives that you’d be better off not knowing. I know people like her, and too much information given to people makes them realize you really don’t have much going on in your life now, and have made some bad decisions.

She tells me she was in this really destructive relationship with this older man. He was some really smart professor type that was a narcissist sicko. He totally controlled her and would make her strip naked everyday and he would weigh her to make sure she stayed the same. Insane.

I think one day they were drunk together and he beat her up. She ended up going downstairs or next door and these guys took her in but then one of them raped her.

This is really heard to write.

For some reason she ends up not pressing charges, and they get away with it and she has to move away. The story is a little fuzzy because I have literally blocked it out until this writing.

She ends up seeking refuge with her married business partner, that older guy who owned the studio. She tells him what happened and he tells her she should be with a nice guy. A gentleman. Someone who knows how to treat a lady.

Then he ends up having sex with her. It was a total ruse because he had wanted to hit that for a long time. So she gets used again.

That guy recently died of cancer so there’s some karma out there.

Then she starts telling me about this guy she’s seeing. He’s like 20 years older than she is, and is a biker. I think he’s married or lives with a woman. He appears to be a pimp or something. Just a bad dude. She’s completely in love with this guy and he doesn’t give two shits about her. He just rolls over to her place late night and gives her the high hard one. He doesn’t do anything else with her.

I actually met him one night at a bar and she was there. I wanted to make it clear I was just a friend, and knew the score. He was actually really nice to me, but I was happy to get out of there.

I would meet up with her sometimes, and get coffee and walk around. She didn’t know what was going on with biker dude, because he was always letting her down or not even showing up. She was constantly talking about him, and it was almost as if Kylie and I were a little co-dependent at the time. I gave her the emotional support and empathy that biker dude, lacked, and she replaced the attractive, leggy ex-girlfriend for me.

With biker fading and my ex popping in and out at random times, Kylie and I spent some time together. I had fun with her sometimes. One night we were at some music event and she was hitting the gin pretty hard and me the vodka. We were having a great time. I walked her home and we sat on her stoop to smoke a cig and chatted.

Then she invited me up.

I was surprised because I didn’t think she was that into me, but I guess whatever I had been to her she wanted to thank me.

But here’s where it gets weird. When we were beginning to get into it, she started talking in like a kid’s voice. It was very unsettling. I sopped and asked her if she wanted to go through with what we were about to do, and she said she did. She didn’t say much else but that behavior stayed with me.

The next morning it was like nothing had happened. But she was now comfortable sitting in her robe and chatting with me when she got out of the shower. I asked her how she felt about last night, and she said, “Yea it was great. I needed that.”

She ordered up some breakfast sandwiches and we happily munched them.

Later she wanted to take me out to the woods for a walk on some trails. She loves nature and is a runner, so she does this quite a bit. To me the Great Outdoors is where you keep the car. Roughing it, is a hotel without room service, and the wilderness is Walmart.

So I’m not going to like it out there. She has a Mini Cooper and she drives to endanger. I’m a good driver. I obey the posted limits, know how to drive defensively, and understand how to merge and the rules of the road.

Kylie just speeds and takes the turns at high-speed. I’m not a good rider, so I was terrified.

I nearly got down and kissed the dirt when we pulled into the lot at the park in one piece.

The area is nice and there’s a creek. There were people on horseback, couples and families. So it was a nice day.

But here’s the thing. She’s dressed to be there. She’s also accustomed to the terrain and the hills and trails. I’m not. I’m also not accustomed to trudging up and down hills through the woods in a blazer and semi dress shoes. So for the most part the entire beginning of this little trip is awful. She shouldn’t have taken me out here, but she likes it and I guess likes me well enough to sleep with me so I put up with it all.

We had sex a few more times after that, and it was usually when we were both half in the bag. I’m so gun-shy from my divorce from my ex-wife, I always use a condom. Always. I also always take it with me. I am too paranoid to leave a tied off prophylactic in some chick’s trash can. I’m like the Marines when it comes to my sperm. No man left behind. I take it with me and discard it elsewhere.

And while we’re on the subject, if you’re not wearing a condom and you’re getting close there is a primal urge to stay in. Homo sapiens have an imperative to reproduce. In that moment you need to summon up the evolved part of your brain and say the words: Pregnant. Child Support. Lawyers. Wage garnishment.

Anyway, I had some fun times with Kylie. But it just wasn’t a match. She’s kind of crazy. We’ve had a few skirmishes, and she’d cut me off over some stupid misunderstanding, but she would always drift back. I give people a lot of chances. But not so much anymore. Kylie has definitely burned all her bridges with me.

I run into her every once in a while and it’s civil, but always a bit awkward. So I’ll end it here.

“You always want to be the good key that can open many locks, not the shitty lock that can be opened my many keys.” 

 

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Annabelle – Chapter 14 – I Can’t Quit You Baby

Adults speak to one another and close the relationship. It’s wrong to put a person on a shelf like they are some sort of toy, and then think you can take them down and play with them whenever you’re confused or lonely. It’s just shitty behavior. The person you’re doing that to is a human being with feelings. You’re a rotten person if you think that sort of behavior is okay.

This is the most painful chapter I have ever written on phicklphilly. The pain and sadness Annabelle has caused me is immeasurable. But the saddest thing is she doesn’t even know it because she is so lost as a person. Just a fool running errands for others that are making fools art.

Annabelle had officially dumped me on Thursday, April 17th, 2014. She texted me a day after that, and we made arrangements for me to get what little stuff I had at her apartment. She was nice enough to tell me that she’d bring it down to me. It was just shirts and stuff so I was fine with it. I was happy I didn’t have to drag myself out to Northern Liberties to go get my shit because I hated going out there.

It was a sunny Saturday morning when she showed up and handed me a bag.  I thanked her and asked her how she was doing. She said a little sad and depressed. I told her I was too. (A bold-faced lie)

She asked me if I was hungry. I told her I was. She asked if I wanted to get something to eat. I told her I did.

It was an odd moment. She had broken up with me a few days ago and now here she was wanting to hang out with me. I didn’t mind. I eventually had a friendship with my ex before her and remain friends to this day. (See: Michelle – 2007 – Present – A Brand New Day)

It was a nice day in Spring so we walked up to DiBruno Brothers on 18th and Chestnut Streets. It’s a really nice food market and eatery. We both got some sort of salads and went upstairs to the dining room. There weren’t many people up there. Maybe just two other couples. I don’t remember what we talked about, but it was probably whatever shoot she was going on or what play she was working on.

When we were finished eating, she moved to the chair closest to me at the table. She started to kiss up on me. It was really nice. Normally we never did public displays of affection. But it was sexy and hot. It’s weird. Something’s not right about that.

But it felt good, and a day later we were eating at an Indian restaurant near my hospital and then went back to my apartment and made love. The sex was good like always and I actually said to her: “If this is what you breaking up with me feels like, you should break up with me every week!”

Be careful what you wish for. We’ve all heard that old adage. But I liked the new Annabelle. It was all the stuff I liked about her. Food, sex and spending a little time with a pretty young woman. But at that time back in the Spring of 2014, I didn’t know that I didn’t love Annabelle. I didn’t even like her. I just was in love with the idea of being in love with her. I had no idea what was happening to me at the time. Now I had the drug almost on my terms. I wouldn’t have to “put my time in at her shitty apartment”, or put up with the grinding frustration and disappointment of being in a relationship with her. All the responsibility was gone.

But if you go into a new love, (It had been 2 years since Michelle) you must go into that new relationship for the right reason. That’s why I always warn people not to “have sex on the 3rd date” and ask themselves, do they really have much in common with their partner. Like the same things, activities, shared some of the same friends, work and religious values can also come into play.

But your old pal Phicklephilly, plowed right into this relationship with this woman  25 years his junior, not thinking any of this through. All I wanted was to be romantic with a young woman and feel the rush of new love. I didn’t realize it but I had gotten hooked on a drug I had nothing in common with. The only thing Annabelle and I had was a common attraction to each other. She’d never been in love before and didn’t know how to love or what to do with her feelings. Me, I meet a friendly, tall, young blond bartender and I’m ready to go head over heels.

What a fool I was.

A week or so later, I met her at a bus station near 30th Street just to give her moral support for trip to New York to buy some lenses for camera she owned. I just wanted to make her feel calm before her trip, and it worked. You might think why wouldn’t you go with her, and spend the day?

Here’s the thing, if we could have just hooked up sexually and I didn’t have to do any grinding boring stuff I had zero interest in, the relationship could have worked. So there’s no way I wanted to go anywhere with her.

On another occasion, I met her at 30th Street Station for a quick-lunch, and I put her on a train to somewhere for a shoot. I remember her saying, “Let’s have sex tonight!”

I was fine with that at the time. We had dinner that night. It was like being back at the beginning when things were good. Then back to my apartment for passionate fun.

Here’s the problem with that. I was getting exactly what I wanted from her. I was getting the thing I liked about our relationship so for me it was perfect. I didn’t have to see her all the time and I was still being delivered the euphoric dopamine that I so craved. I had no idea how damaging this is to one’s psyche.

Then it started to become less and less. That’s when the withdrawal kicks in. I went from someone who was relieved when she ended it, and now I was really missing her. I was losing her for real now. But it wasn’t her I was losing, I just wasn’t getting my “fix” anymore. Normally I’m not like that, and I vow to never let that happen again. But I never realized the relationship was sick from the start and doomed from day one.

A month went by, and I was on that tour boat on the Delaware river with my colleague when she texted me that she wanted to meet up for dinner. I really wanted to see her, but had to do that, “don’t get right back to her” move. But when I did she got right back to me and we set it up. She wanted to go to dinner and then stop and Chris’ Jazz club after. I was down for that. Of course I wanted to see her.

We planned to meet over at Pennsylvania 6, which was a French and Southern fusion type place. I knew she’d like it.

I was actually sipping a Ketel One vodka martini straight up with a twist as I waited for her at the bar. My hands were shaking I was so nervous. Yes, this was happening to the experienced old lion. She came in and noticed it. I don’t know what I said to cover.

We had a lovely dinner and were very sweet to one another. When the meal was over, I asked her if she was still down for Chris’ Jazz. She stated that she was tired from the wine and could we just go back to my place and relax on the couch and chill in the AC. I was fine with that because I didn’t feel like hanging out at the Chris’ Jazz anyway.

We went straight to my bedroom and had sex, and she spent the night.

The dopamine drops again. We took a selfie in bed together the next morning. We went to breakfast and then I put her in a cab and off she went. She asked that I send her the selfies from earlier and I did. (It was just our two faces on the pillow. Nothing racy)

A few weeks went by.

Her Uncle came to visit one week and they were at Chris’ Jazz and I was at some food and booze festival half in the bag and she texted that she was missing me. I jumped in an UBER and hung out with them for a bit, then he left and I went back to her place. The usual acts ensued. I was so drunk that night, if she had asked me to come rob a bank with her I would have gone.

This sort of nonsense went on through the summer. But the in between times were the worst. Because she stopped planning things with me that led to sex, it was just random, drunken hook ups. The relationship was slowly being picked apart. It was like I’d get a little better hang with another chick, and then Annabelle could just swoop in whenever the mood struck her and she’d rip open the sutures of my healing love junkie heart.

All of my friends were telling me it was wrong and that I should cut her off. But I just couldn’t get off the smack.

One time I ended up drunk with her in Northern Liberties and we ended up taking a selfie of just our shadows on the ground. Ironic now how that was really all that was left of us. We both just fell into her bed and went to sleep.

The next morning I wanted to get frisky with her and when I tried to she said, “I can’t. I’ve been with someone, and I found out they were having sex with someone else. So if I have something I don’t want to give it to you.”

Well that was nice of her, but I still wish I could have had sex with her that morning as hungover as I was. I love morning sex. It just makes the rest of your day better. But you can see how reckless her life decisions are.

So I was a safe rebound after whoever she had been seeing cheated on her. I left and did the long walk of shame back to Rittenhouse.

We did meet for a really nice seafood dinner out at Doc MacGrogan’s in University City that September. I took a bus down to Old City, and then called an UBER and went to her apartment in Northern Libs. Picked her up and then had the UBER take us to the restaurant. She was once again exposed to what it’s like to be treated like a lady by a gentleman.

The dinner was nice and they were my client at the time, so I got the hookup. During dinner we talked about us. She said she missed me. I asked her if she wanted to try again. She said that she did but wanted to go slowly. I would have been okay with that with how turned around in my head I was at the time. But after I wrote it all down in these 15 chapters did I realize how wrong all of this behavior was. Adults don’t do that to each other.

I thought after dinner it would be back to the batcave for some frolicking and frivolity. I didn’t even get to ask if she wanted to come over. She feigned a headache and I got dropped off at my apartment and she went on home. She always pulled the “fake headache” move whenever she decided she didn’t want to do something. Lame, juvenile behavior.

After that she simply “ghosted” me. For those of you reading this that don’t know what that means, it’s when someone in your life simply vanishes. They don’t call or text. It all suddenly stops. Nothing. Just gone. This went on for months. I wasn’t going to contact her. She did this. I needed to heal. Adults speak to one another and close the relationship. It’s wrong to put a person on a shelf like they are just some sort of toy, and then think you can take them down and play with them whenever you’re confused or lonely. It’s just shitty behavior. The person you’re doing that to is a human being with feelings.  You’re a rotten person if you think that sort of behavior is okay.

It was a lonely, vacuous, depressing time for me, heading into winter. The darkness of depression closed around me like a black cloak.

Months passed, and I was at a toy drive to help kids in the hospital during the holidays. Me and my buddy Church do it every year for Children’s Hospital.

I get a text from Annabelle out of the blue. It sent a shock wave of anxiety searing throughout my mind and body.

After months of silence, I get this text:

“Hey! I’m in New Orleans and I’ve been thinking about you everyday. I even had a dream about you!”

Searing pain and fear. I’m trying to move on with my life.

“I’m working a Toy Drive for the holidays. Can I call you when I get home?”

“Sure!”

I proceeded to try to numb the pain of this reopening of the wound by plowing Cutty Sark Prohibition based cocktails down my gullet. Church calls it “The Babymaker” because it’s 100 proof and makes you do crazy shit.

Maybe it was just the fuel I needed that cold winter’s eve.

Later when I got home, I called her I chatted as nicely as I could and then told her that I couldn’t keep doing this. I couldn’t live like this.

“So we’re not dating anymore?”

“No, Annabelle. We’re done. We’re done. I can’t keep talking about this. It’s all too painful to go on.”

I wrapped up the conversation quietly, and hung up. Then I proceeded to unfriend and block her on my Facebook, Instagram and finally block this selfish person in my phone.

That was the end of it.

 

You too, Michelle….

 

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Kylie – Broken Wing – Part I – Reconnected Rebound

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

I met Kylie a few years ago after Michelle had broken up with me but we remained friends.  (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) I had met Kylie when she was shooting some photos for Philly Weekly. (See: Kylie – 2012 to 2016 – Broken Wing – The Rittenhouse Cocktail & Fashion Event)

I hadn’t seen her really after that, but back in May of 2014, my then boss and I ended up getting invited to go out on a tour boat for a few hours on the Delaware River. There was going to be free wine and snacks so we jumped on that cruise.

It was just a small party boat, that gave tours up and down the river in the spring and summer. It was beautiful day to be out on the water. There were a few other folks from the media there too  but one I noticed in particular.

Kylie is memorable for a few things. She has a very unique stacked bob hairstyle and a set of world-class legs on her. She’s probably only 5’2″ but she’s a runner and really fit. So every bit of sinew,musculature and balance is packed into those shapely stems.

So we’re chatting, and she’s looking hot with those legs out. The crackers and cheese are happening and the wine is flowing. We’re laughing and I feel like there’s a connection at some level. We’re reminiscing about the Rittenhouse cocktail event two years ago.

She tells me she’s on this gig to get some shots for Philly Weekly but they don’t pay much. She is still working with this older guy who has his own studio down in Old City. He’s been a professional photographer his whole life. When being a trained photographer really meant something  before it went all digital. Now every swingin’ dick in the city can just pick up an expensive digital camera and call themselves a photographer. Most wouldn’t know the difference between F stop and the F word!

She works with this older guy… we’ll call him Jim. He owns the business and he pays her to shoot some of the jobs he gets. I would think if you aren’t doing a lot of consistent commercial work and a bunch of weddings you probably won’t make much money. But over the years this guy has been pretty successful.

The cruise was a really nice way to reconnect with her. We exchange numbers and decide to meet up for a drink. So I’m feeling pretty good when I get off the boat.

It was maybe a week or so later, and we met up at Milkboy for a few drinks. Milkboy is a bar/music venue at 11th and Chestnut street. There are a bunch of people there I know and they’re treating us great. Somebody took a pic of the two of us and we looked pretty cozy. And of course everything has to go up on social media. I look back on my life back then and I was just as bad as everybody else if not worse. I put pics up of everything I was doing. Now I almost never post anything on my personal Facebook page or Instagram. I just promote phicklephilly on those platforms now.

Back then when I was Annabelle, I would post pics of us all of the time. I also had us locked down as “In a Relationship” on Facebook. So if you’re in a relationship and things end it doesn’t stay between you and your significant others. Every asshole that you’re “friends” with on Facebook know that it’s over. That’s like being a celebrity and breaking up with your spouse. The world knows. That must be horrible. Because I have 5000 “friends” on Facebook and everybody knows when it’s over. I will never let that happen again.

But… Annabelle didn’t know what she wanted back then. She probably still doesn’t, but if this pic of yours truly and Kylie pops up in her feed on facebook, it’ll look like I have moved on in less that 30 days after she dumped me.

Well, let’s see what happens.

Damn you, Annabelle.

 

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Daphne – Lovely Hostess – Hello Again

I felt a little tap on my shoulder. I turned and there was the lovely visage of Daphne. I was still reeling from my sweet encounter with Lara, that seeing Daphne pushed me to the next level of euphoria.

I ran into little hostess Daphne from Square 1682 again, but first this little myth.

The story of Daphne is an example of an etiological myth, one that is strongly explanatory of why certain things in their culture were a certain way.

There are many examples of Greek myths that explain why certain religious rituals were performed, why some people’s may be named what they are, or even why varying objects, plants and animals were symbols of their gods.

The gods were known for punishing mortals for offending them, but occasionally they punished each other. The gods were a vengeful folk, and they did not take kindly to being insulted, by mortal or god. Apollo made the mistake of insulting one of his fellow immortal.

Apollo was a great archer, but sometimes he was a little full of himself. One day he caught sight of Eros, the son of Aphrodite. Eros was also an archer, and his arrows were responsible for instilling the twists and turns of love and lust in a person’s heart. Apollo teased young Eros, putting down his abilities as an archer, claiming that one so small could make no difference with his arrows.

Angry at this insult, Eros shot two arrows, one tipped in gold, one blunted and tipped with lead. The arrow dipped in gold had the power to create insatiable lust in a person, while the other created absolute abhorrence towards all things romantic and passionate. The unfortunate soul who was struck with that arrow would have no desire to love anyone. The arrow dipped in gold struck Apollo, but the arrow dipped in lead struck fair Daphne.

Daphne was the daughter of the river-god Peneus. Apollo chased down the maiden, desperate for her love, but she wanted nothing to do with him, and she ran from him endlessly. Soon, she grew weary in her running and that Apollo would ultimately catch her. Fearful, she called out to her father for help. As all gods of water posses the ability of transformation, Peneus transformed his daughter into a laurel tree. Suddenly her legs took root, and her arms grew into long and slender branches.

Apollo reached the laurel tree, and, still enamored with Daphne, held the tree in a special place in his heart. He claimed the tree as his special tree, and adorned himself with some of its leaves. And that is why the laurel was, and still is, a symbol of the god Apollo.

 

I had just finished chatting and flirting with sweet Lara upstairs at the salon. (See: Sun Stories – Lara – 2016 to Present – Tinderella) I came downstairs, locked the door and stood for a moment on Walnut street. Normally I would just head down the street and go home, but for some reason I just stood there taking in the sounds of the city at night.

I felt a little tap on my shoulder. I turned and there was the lovely visage of Daphne.  I was still reeling from my sweet encounter with Lara, that seeing Daphne pushed me to the next level of euphoria. I chatted with her and told her this is where the salon was and that she should come tanning. She said she never had, but may want to try it. I told her about how it was important to get a base tan before she goes on her next adventure. (She loves to travel)

I described the benefits and handed her a free tanning card. I think when I told her I’d put her in the best bed in the house she was sold. In my heart I would love to take her to another bed that has benefits beyond her imagination.

I love Daphne. I have loved her since I first laid eyes on her over two years ago. That beautiful face and low voice just melts me.

But I don’t really love Daphne. I love her in the true phicklephilly sense. I’m in love with the idea of her and beauty. One is in my mind, and the other is simply good genetics on her part. She had nothing to do with that.

She’ll probably never come tanning. She’ll also never meet me for a drink or lunch or anything. I know she has time, but she won’t ever do it. It doesn’t really bother me, because we’re not romantically involved. If we haven’t met up for even one drink in the two years I’ve known her, it’s not happening. She’s young and beautiful and I’m sure being hit on by dozens of suitors of both sexes on a weekly basis.

I’ll keep getting butterflies in my stomach and my heart will flutter when she appears, but I’ll just have to settle for that. She may as well be an elegant tree that I can occasionally stand beside, but can never take her away with me.

 

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Sun Stories – Lara – Tinderella

How did I match up with a 19-year-old girl?

Here’s a little tale about a hot baby that comes into the salon. She’s got long raven hair, light eyes, and a slamming little body on her. She’s 19 years of age and goes to Temple University. She always wears black, but it just makes her look darker and more mysterious.

She comes in pretty regularly before Spring Break. She wants to get her base tan built up so when she goes away she won’t burn.

She’s attractive and sweet, and sometimes looks a little stoned when she comes in, but that somehow makes her lovely eyes more limpid. I chat with her regularly, and last year I saw her quite often.

But one day she comes in and we’re chatting, and I feel like I know her from somewhere else. But I can’t quite figure out where. Facebook? Instagram? Maybe. We’re not friends, and don’t have any friends in common so that’s not a thing.

I search my memory to try to remember where I know her or have seen her before, but I can’t think of anything. Maybe I’m just in love with her soft beauty and I’m creating all of this in my mind.

That weekend, I’m lying in bed, looking at all of my past contacts on Tinder to see if I can resurrect a lost connection and get a date. Then I suddenly come upon a woman I matched with named Lara. Oh God, It’s her! How did I match up with a 19-year-old girl? Why would she swipe right? I’m obviously too old for her. She’s younger than my daughter! On Tinder she says she’s 22. It doesn’t make sense. I swipe right on everybody that comes up, just for the sheer numbers and stories.

The next time Lara comes in I decide to take a chance. One of our rules is no dating the customers. I will never break that rule, and there is no way Lara wants me. I mean, she may be looking for a sugar daddy, and for that I would almost pay to sleep with her, but I digress.

But I have to find out.

When she comes out from the room, she comes by the counter and asks if she has any tans left. I tell her she’s out. Lara’s fine with that because she tells me she’s going on Spring Break anyway Friday. I whip out my phone and pull up Tinder and start swiping through her pictures.

“Now we’ve all made mistakes, and swiped right when we obviously should have swiped left. I’ve done it myself, Lara. But is that you?”

I turn the phone to her and swipe through her pics on Tinder.

She’s alarmed but not upset. (Probably too stoned)

“Don’t be embarrassed, we all make mistakes, Lara.”

“I have a weird thing. Age doesn’t matter to me.”

Her words shocked me, and I thought she has to be a sugar baby and worlds are colliding right now.

“Don’t worry about it, Lara.”

I don’t know why I just didn’t ask her if she made “arrangements.” She had to go and before she left, she asked, “What’s your name again?”

I told her. I’m sure she wants to go look for my profile on Tinder to see what’s up. She’ll probably unmatch and delete me out of sheer embarrassment.

Later I go into Tinder and text her the following message: “Hello, Lara. Please don’t be embarrassed, it’s (my name) from the salon. If you’d like to chat, that would be fine. No expectations.”

Crickets.

————————————————————-

So a year goes by and it’s March and Spring Break is once again upon us. We’ve moved the salon and people are beginning to trickle in. But, because we just got here, there are only 3 beds currently operating. One stand up unit, and the two premium beds.

When sweet baby Lara comes in and wants to tan, I remember her name of course and chat with her a bit. I thank her for returning to us for her tan. She is surprised I remember her name after all of this time, but I tell her she must have made a favorable impression on me.

“That and we have a little history.” she says.

I know she’s eluding to the Tinder match! So exciting!

“And we share the same birthday, Lara. August 9th!” (NOT a bold-faced lie for once!)

Of course her birth year is ’97 and mine is ’62.

“Oh my god, we’re both Leos! I can’t believe it.” she exclaims.

She doesn’t know that we’re putting everybody in any bed available just to maintain a level of service. No matter if they have the basic, all access, or premium package, we’re just tanning them in anything we can. So when I put Lara in the best unit in the house, she thinks I’m doing something special for her because I like her.

I do like her but she doesn’t need to know that everybody’s getting what she’s getting. She doesn’t know where to throw her little towel that we’ve provided so she just hands it to me. But before she does, she wipes her nose with it. I don’t say anything and simply toss it into the small hamper behind me.

She thanks me for the best tanning experience and off she goes.

——————————————————————

The next time she came in was the day before she was to fly to Florida for Spring Break. She was literally my last client of the night. But when I go to send her into a bed to tan I see that her package has run out. She’s out of tanning sessions!

Lara gets upset and asks how much it is for one tan. I tell her $17 and she’s shocked. She then asks if there is anything I can do.

Now at this point I know that some of you may be thinking and this story will take a dark turn.

“How much cash do you have?”

Digs through her purse. “Seven bucks.”

I make a face.

“I’ll give you two cigarettes.”

“Four.”

“Okay, Four. Here. Now can I tan?”

“Yes. Go back to room 6.”

I watch her as she strolls back to the tanning booth and closes the door behind her. I put the four cigarettes into my pack. I then pull out my wallet, and grab a ten-dollar bill and ring up the $17.00 single session. I put the money in the drawer. Legitimate sale completed. (You didn’t think I was going to barter a tan for sex did you?)

Then I hear her call my name.

“Yes Lara?”

“My phone is nearly dead. Can I hand it out to you so you can charge it for me, please?”

“Sure. Put it into airplane mode so it’ll charge twice as fast, Lara.”

I walk back to the room and she opens the door. She has her forearm and hand across her bare breasts covering herself. She looks me right in the eyes. Then with her other hand she passed the phone and charger out to me. She smiles and closes the door. That little minx!

So a nice little glimpse that I’m sure was an additional little tip for my service. My heart is pounding as I walk back to the counter and plug-in her phone. I grab a little cloth and wipe off the phone and clean it up nice for her.

When her tanning session is complete, she emerges from the room looking radiant.

“Thank you sooo much for everything you’ve done for me!”

I give her the phone and we even laugh about the Tinder incident.

“I’m not embarrassed about anything” she says.

She seems high. She hands me her sweaty towel like last time instead of dropping it in the hamper.

“Oh… sorry. Is that gross?” she says looking at the spent towel in my hand.

“No, Lara. It’s not gross. What’s gross is when you first wiped your nose off with it before handing it to me last time.”

She looks mortified. “Oh my god. Did I do that? I’m so sorry.”

“I’m just kidding, Lara. That didn’t happen.”

She cracks up and we have a nice laugh about it.

“Okay, well I’m headed to Florida tomorrow. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.”

She leans in and gives me a hug and a kiss, I hug her back and somehow my lips end up kissing her hair. She smells lovely and I’m feeling giddy.

She heads downstairs, and I watch as she disappears out the door into the night.

 

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Annabelle – Chapter 12 -Emotional Bankruptcy

I don’t think Annabelle ever really loved me because she doesn’t have the capacity to truly love at all.

There were some good times. We exchanged the phrase “I love you”. She once told me that she didn’t even “like” her former boyfriends. You can see how dysfunctional her mind is. That’s a person who can’t differentiate from like, love, or sex. That’s fucked up.

The time we went to the zoo. The time we went to the Academy of Natural Sciences. Now you would think someone who lived in Philly for so many years would have gone to these places a dozen times by now, but Annabelle had never been to either.

But she was still swamped with managing her photography business, working on a weird musical about Andy Warhol and working on some other play about a Russian all female musical group. It was all just so grinding and boring to me.

She was sometimes dragging me to these really awful performance pieces that I would rather have driven knitting needles into my eyes than see this crap.

She loved art and the theater. I remember she went to see my daughter Lorelei in The Sound of Music at her high school play. The kids were all really good. But my daughter played the part of Mother Abbess. That’s the lead soprano role. Lorelei is a four octave soprano. She has natural ability and has an absolutely deadly singing voice. I’m not saying that because I’m her father. I’m saying that because I know what good music sounds like, and Lorelei is really fucking good.

I literally had tears running down my face because she sounded so beautiful, and I was so proud of her performance that I couldn’t help but cry. I couldn’t believe this lovely songbird came to this Earth through me.

But when the play was over. (It was wonderful!) I noticed Annabelle seemed down on the train ride home. She said she had a headache. (She always pulled the headache thing when she wanted to get out of something) But I knew what it was. She resented how talented all of these kids were. She resented the fact that they were little twinkling stars on that little stage in their senior year of high school. About to begin their lives in college or work or wherever. Full of hope and ambition.

I’m sure Annabelle once felt the same way. And after 4 years of attending the University for the Performing Arts at a cost of $100,000 out of her parents wallet, she had nothing to show for it. Just working her ass off slinging beers at a shitty hotel bar and eking out a living doing headshots for her other shitty failed actor friends. If that’s what she could call them. They’re all clinging to each other, but if any one of them have any measure of success off they go never to be heard from again.

She was at a party once and there was some horseplay, (Juvenile. Civilized adults don’t engage in horseplay at gatherings) and she broke her foot. She said no one ever came to visit her in the hospital.

Her “good” friend Amber in NYC is a fat failed actress. She’s fucked over Annabelle over on several occasions. But Annabelle remains friends with this failure and continues to let her use her.

Several years ago, Annabelle was in a destructive relationship. The guy was some piece of shit musician. He used to knock her around when he was angry or frustrated with her. I’m glad I don’t know this pile of breathing garbage. Because any guy that raises his hand to a woman, deserves to get backed over, after you hit him with your car.

And the worst part? She’s still friends with steaming pile of feces!

So being the result of a distant father, never being in a real relationship, maintaining the grinding sadness of failure, Annabelle is a pretty fucked up girl.

It’s hard for a level minded person to be in a relationship with someone like that. But I give people a lot of chances, and I think I’m in love with her. I say “think” because at that time I thought I was in love with her, but I now realize in hindsight that I was in love with the feeling of being in love. So I guess I was a bit fucked up back then as well.

I enjoyed making love to her, cooking her dinner, and going out and doing things together, but beyond that we really had nothing but our common attraction to each other, and I think that was waning. Well, I know it was waning, because we really had nothing in common, had different interests, and had totally different sets of friends. Me: Business people. Her: Weirdo actor carny types.

I had started eating more carbs and she noticed I had put a little weight back on. I remember being in her shitty little cramped apartment, and saying that it was just a little bit of weight and was she calling me fat?

She said she thought that I was a man who cared about his health and was into being fit. I immediately lost all the weight. But I think back on that now, and it was such bullshit. Here’s a chick who never really ate healthy, and here she was telling me how to live. But the drug of love does strange to your mind and I would do whatever she wanted.

None of the above makes for a healthy sustainable relationship. One night I was waiting for her to finish up whatever nonsense she was working on. I wanted to cook her dinner I had bought for us. I just got sick of her being so wrapped up in her work. I started huffing and puffing, and she got pissed off. She told me I could leave if I was unhappy. So I did. I didn’t answer any of her texts for 24 hours. Which is juvenile. But I was 51 and hooked on the drug of love and I was dealing with a 27-year-old woman who had the mind of a teenage girl. If you’ve never worked in commerce and never done the 9 to 5 you never develop the coping and negotiating skills needed to act accordingly around other people.

We made up a day or so later. She apologized and I did as well. It got a little better for a while after that. But I don’t think Annabelle ever really loved me because she doesn’t have the capacity to truly love at all.

I feel bad writing these chapters. I know Annabelle can’t help what she is. I’m going to blame shitty parenting.

 

 

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Annabelle – NYC – Chapter 11

I heard this loud bang under the car like she had hit a pothole that was covered in snow.

The holidays were upon us, and we decided the limit to spend on each other was $200. I would have no problem blowing $200 on my girlfriend.

I went out and got her all kinds of clothes and underwear and a robe, and other goodies I know girls like. She got me a ring. (Which shocked her mother and sister because a ring represents so much in our culture. I love that ring, and still wear it to this day. It’s just a steel worry ring with black accents. It feels like rock and roll so I wear it on my left middle finger everyday. I should probably take it off but it’s my thing now.

She also wrote a nice card and inside it were 2 tickets to see a Shakespearean play in New York City! I was excited to see it. I can’t remember which one it was, but it was the real deal. British actors performing the play just like they had 400 years ago.

So the day arrives. (It was around New Years 2014) I go to her apartment, and she rents a zip car. I heard that we were supposed to maybe get some snow later, but for now the weather is fine.

The car is a compact, and maybe 10 years old. She sets the GPS and we’re on our way. About half way to NY, the GPS, craps out. It just dies and stops working all together.

“Oh no! How are we ever going to find our way to New York City now?” Annabelle exclaims.

“Don’t worry sweetie. I used to live in New York. We’ll just follow the signs like we used to in the olden times.”

She laughs but I can tell she sort of half believes me. Young people today have never used a map or have had to navigate anything. They have all of that in their phones now. You could put me in a car pointed in any direction on the east coast and I could find my way all the way to California without even using a map. But these kids today, without their phones are lost. But that’s a small price to pay for youth and beauty by my side.

I get us into the city and we park the car in a garage for the day. This really is a great present.  The show is not untill 8pm tonight so we’ve got the whole day.  We stop at a cool spot for lunch and beer.

Then we head downtown to the Museum of Sex. You heard me right. There is a museum for that shit in NYC. Annabelle is all about exploring new things, and it was my idea so we went. It actually wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. But they have a lot of interesting exhibits. The works of William Kent, the sex lives of animals, sexy toys and sculptures, a whole exhibit about Linda Lovelace. Some erotic video.

I remember this huge video screen in one room where it’s just a woman deep throating a guy’s cock. It just loops over and over. It’s pretty amazing to see that incredible feat on a 12 foot TV screen. But like I said, the place is not that great. I wrote both our names in a little heart and tagged it in the bathroom. I don’t normally ever do anything like that, but it just seemed appropriate to have our names immortalized together forever in the bathroom of the Museum of Sex.

Later we stopped at a cool cocktail bar and chatted with the locals. Then on to an art gallery. I always enjoy my time with Annabelle when it’s just the two of us. Whether we’re at a museum, or the zoo, or just eating a meal I cooked for her at home. It’s always good. Once you bring in her chaotic work life or insane theater stuff, it just ruins everything. If we could just see each other occasionally and focus on each other it would be great. I get bored hanging around her apartment with nothing to do when she’s editing pictures or whatever else. (Or sometimes not even home!) I’d rather be home sipping some wine and watching netflix.

We walk to the theater. We’ve got some time so we go in and find our seats. The theater is beautiful.

The play begins and the acting is first-rate. They are performing this version just as they did four centuries ago. The only illumination on stage is candlelight. There are literally wooden chandeliers with big white candles all around them. Some times they melt and even fall onto the stage!

During the intermission, Annabelle wants to get us some water and use the restroom. During the first half of the play there was a guy a few rows ahead of me that somehow looked familiar to me. But when the lights came up I take another look at him. His people have gotten up and left and he’s just standing around stretching like I am. I realize he’s actor Timothy Oliphant from Justified and Deadwood! He looks at me and I look at him. He’s much better looking in real life than he is on TV.

“Timothy?”

“Yea.”

I go over and shake his hand. “I love you on Justified! I’m watching season 3 right now!”

“What’s your name?”

I apologize and tell him my name. I was delighted Timothy Oliphant wanted to know my name! We chit-chat a little bit, and because we’re in New York City and at a Shakespearean performance it just didn’t feel cool asking to do a selfie with him. It was just a private moment between two strangers who happened to be in the same place at the same time. Except one of them is a famous actor.

Later when Anabelle returned I quietly told her what had just happened. She had no idea who he was because she doesn’t ever watch TV and isn’t in touch with current media at all. So it was lost on her. But I was excited. No big deal.

The show was wonderful and I am so grateful for this unique Christmas gift. It’s been a perfect Winter’s day with the woman I love.

After the show we headed back to the garage to get the car. It’s probably a bit after 11pm.

It had already started to snow.

Heavily.

We head out of the city. The snow was really coming down. I remember getting on interstate 95 South. We had gone some distance but were still way up in North Jersey.

I heard this loud bang under the car like she had hit a pothole that was covered in snow. The right front tire blew out. I looked at the mile markers. We were 10 miles away from the next rest area. I told Annabelle to put on the hazard lights and slowly move into the right lane. I knew the tire would soon shred, but at least it would be cushioned by the snow-covered ground, so it may not shred as quickly and we’d be driving on the bare rim.

This was a harrowing experience. Total white out of a snowstorm, 90 miles from home, 10 miles from a rest stop, and tractor trailers roaring by our tiny battered car. I was trying to hold my shit together, imagining either the car becoming disabled and we’re stranded on the highway during a snowstorm in the middle of the night, or a giant truck simply smashing into us and killing us both.

That 10 mile drive was one of the longest of my life. We couldn’t go very fast because of the tire and the snow. I was feeling a lot of fear. I have to say, Annabelle kept the car on course and kept her cool during the harrowing drive.

After what seemed like an hour we finally limped into the rest area where there was a garage and some mechanics on duty. I was never so happy to see those guys!

They were all amazed we made it in there in one piece. I was so relieved just to be in the warm garage, off the highway and out of that car.

Annabelle called Zipcar, and told them what happened. They asked that she pay for a new tire on her credit card and they would reimburse her.

So we took some pictures of the damaged wheel and posted them on Facebook. While writing this I remembered I may still have those pics in Annabelle’s pic file on my Facebook. I don’t really go on Facebook anymore because I no longer care to share with the world what I’m up to and have no interest in what you had for lunch today.

I found the pics! Here they are. Shredded!

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It was around 2am by now, but we were both wide with adrenaline from our crazy trip.

The guys got the new wheel on and we were on our way. But the snow was getting worse as we pushed on back to Philly.

After what seemed like the rest of the night, we finally rolled into the city around 4am. Annabelle dropped me off at my house and I kissed her goodnight. I trudged through the snow up to my building and went inside.

Annabelle later texted me that she had dropped off the car and had gotten back to her apartment safely. I was so thankful it all worked out and proud of how Annabelle had handled the whole situation.

What a night!

 

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Sun Stories – Sugar (Grand) Daddy

“I can’t find my card. I must have left it on the table when I paid the cable bill.”

I’m working at the tanning salon, and it’s a quiet Tuesday night. This older gentleman, well into his sixties, strolls in with a twenty something on his arm. She looks to be of some eastern European decent. Dark hair and eyes, and dark brown hair. Petite, and cute. I don’t think this chick is his daughter.

She fills out the necessary paperwork. (Her handwriting is atrocious. It looks like that of an eight year old) The older gentleman stands beside her as she decides what kind of tanning package she wants. She settles on a one month all access. (That’s a mid-sized bed deal that runs sixty-five dollars) I ask her cash or card, and she starts digging in her purse.

She’s rifling around in it for a while. “I can’t find my card. I must have left it on the table when I paid the cable bill.”

The old man just steps up and places his credit card down on the marble counter. He nods and I run his card. I thank him, but I notice she doesn’t. She tells me she wants to do a stand up tan.

You can lie in the beds or you can stand up is certain ones. It looks like a big time machine. Big silver cylinder shaped booth. Inside you’re surrounded by fifty-two ultraviolet flourescent tubes that are all two hundred and thirty watts. Each session only lasts a maximum time of nine minutes. You can do less if you want. (I do less!) We put a five-minute timer for you to get ready and do whatever it is you want to do before your session. (Undress, apply lotion, etc.) Once the five minutes is up, the booth lights.

So while she’s in there I figure I can talk to this guy and find out what the deal is with them. He tells me he met her on the internet. So I’m assuming a dating site. I gotta hand it to pops, good job using the internet. He said his wife died twenty-five years ago. I don’t know what he’s been doing for the last quarter century, but he hasn’t met anyone that stuck around. He met Sandy and they started dating. She lives down here in Chinatown. He lives about thirty-five minutes east of here over in New Jersey.

He says she works as a wedding planner. (Not buying it. Not that he’s lying. I think she’s lying to him. Her with that horrible handwriting.) So if she’s downtown, and he’s over in another state, she can pretty much live her life when he’s not around.

He tells me when he started dating her, after a few dates he asked her if she was really sure if she wanted to be with him. “Are you really, really sure?” he said. “Because I don’t want you to simply change your mind about me in a few months from now.”

This poor old guy is in love with her. He’s just a lonely old man. He says when he walks down the street, they sometimes get looks, but he doesn’t care. He feels proud to have her with him.

I totally get it. Having a young beautiful woman on your arm makes older men feel cooler than getting out of an exotic sports car. I’m not getting any younger because I love it too.

But I feel bad for this guy. She’s a good actress. There’s no way she’s into this guy. I mean, he sounds like a really kind gentleman, but I don’t see it. I think it was when she came to a tanning salon to buy a luxury item, and conveniently ‘left her card on the table while paying the cable bill.’

I think this gal is either and escort or a professional sugarbaby. There are certainly plenty of girls here in Philly that are sugarbabies.

She probably uses the ‘wedding planner’ lie to let him know that she’s always busy meeting with clients. I’m thinking those ‘clients’ are other johns. Think about it, she could have several versions of that guy that she’s dating to get meals, money, gifts, and who knows what else?

I just hope this guy is getting to have sex with her, because if he has the money and she makes him happy and provides the GFE,  (girlfriend experience) then more power to him. Sex you pay for is always cheaper than free sex. But in this case she’s costing him quite a bit. I mean, he probably fed her before they came here, there’s the drinks he paid for too. He had to pay for parking down here, and now he just bought her a tanning package. That’s easily a three hundred-dollar night for this guy.

But like I said, if it makes him happy, and she doesn’t break the poor old guy’s heart, then who am I to judge? I never saw the guy again after that first night, but I’ll tell you what I did see.

She continued to come in and tan on a pretty regular basis. She’d roll in on her own. But one time she came in on a Saturday, and I just happened to be at the salon chatting with Trish. (See Trish – 2012 to Present – The She Wolf)

Sandy comes in with two kids! A little boy nine, and a little girl, six. She goes into the stand up unit to tan. She always goes into the stand up unit in room two. That’s the only bed she ever goes to. So leaves the kids sitting on the sofa in the waiting area. Her daughter is adorable. Like a mini version of her mom. She’s also a little chatterbox. She’s chatting and charming some of the other clients that are sitting in the waiting room. The son on the other hand seems like a bit of a weirdo. I don’t know. Something’s off.

At one point he just looks right at me and says: “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” What do say to a fucking nine-year old kid when he asks you that? Of course, I told him that I did, because you don’t want to go down that path with someone else’s kid. You never want to be the guy that was the one that made a little boy question his christian faith. It just felt weird when he said it about of the blue. I should have said, ‘Speaking of Jesus, your mommy reminds me a lot of Mary Magdelene.’

It was just a little creepy. I hope he doesn’t grow up and say it again to somebody before he pulls the trigger…

I wonder if the grandpa that she’s dating knows she has two little kids? Come to think of it, he said he was nine years old… on Sandy’s profile it says she’s twenty-six. That would mean she had him when she was eighteen and knocked up at seventeen! Teen mom!

 

Another time she came in and after she was finished tanning, I go into the room. I have a spray gun full of sanitizer. I spray and wipe down the unit, clear any detritus left behind by the client, and place a fresh towel in the room. This time I find a Victoria’s Secret sales tag that says 32b on it. It’s from a bra.

On another occasion when cleaning up the room after she was in it I find another Victoria Secret tag. This one is for a pair of panties, size small. What is she doing?

Then I remember that there is Victoria’s Secret boutique across the street in Two Liberty. She’s either stealing underwear and then bringing it over here and ripping the tags off, or she has to change her undies between, “clients.”

The final find was one of the last times she was here. I cleaned the booth and then saw what appeared to be what I thought was some sort of black and white headband in the little basket in the room. I picked up and discovered it was a soiled pair of panties.

Eww. Straight to the trash!

Once the monthly package that Gramps had bought her expired, we never saw her again.

 

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Burden in my Hand

“If you want to make a delicious omelet, you’re going to have to break some eggs.”

I’ve been working a lot lately. Frankly I’m feeling a little burned out. But I love to work and get my energy from those around me. I get bored if I’m not doing something productive with my days.

I enjoy my down time though. I love my alone time. My daughter Lorelei is in and out. Normally she’s working and hanging our with friends or spending time with her boyfriend. After work I like nothing more than to come home, sit in my chair, sip some wine and watch my shows on Netflix.

Last night I was just chilling and I look over at my phone and there’s a text on my Facebook messenger.

It’s from Annabelle! (See: Annabelle: 2013 to 2014)

I wrote her series last year. It’s been done and in the can for a long time. It was difficult to write. Writing about my other ex Michelle was a pleasure. (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) But I found that you can live something, you can think about it and talk about it with your friends and family, but until you write it out, you never really resolve your feelings.

Once I wrote about Annabelle, I finally forgave her and let her go.

I haven’t seen her in over 3 years, and the only contact she’s had with me was a happy birthday on Facebook messenger last year. I’m so over Facebook, Instagram and social media in general. I just use it to promote phicklephilly now. I no longer care to show the world what I’m doing, nor do I care what anyone else is doing. The people in my life call me, text me and spend time with me. Real world stuff. Who gives a shit what you’re eating for dinner, or what vacation you’re on. I don’t give a shit about your kids. I don’t want to see your baby. That child who doesn’t even realize that his privacy as an individual citizen has been stolen by you so you can show off.

Get a life and go live it privately.

So I’m chilling at home last night watching my show, and I look over at my phone and there is the message. First of all Annabelle has my phone number she could have simply called me or texted me directly if she wanted to talk to me. But here I get a test on Facebook Messenger.

Apparently she’s been reading phicklephilly and realized that Annabelle is about her. First of all, please follow my blog properly Annabelle. I need followers! You can also “like” and comment if you want to.

Here’s what the text said: (I’ve corrected all of the grammatical errors)

“I hope that your hatred and your venom doesn’t completely fill your memory of me. There was a long time when things were good. Also don’t call my family white trash. The artists that you wrote about in your last account are some of the most successful culture makers in Philadelphia, and mark my words, spend more on one project than you make in a year. And God bless them for the difficult road they have taken. You sound like an asshole, and every time you call yourself a gentleman and make another generalization about women, you reveal your falseness.”

Bitter? Table for one?

I have no hatred or venom for anyone in this world. If there’s one person I should have it for it would be my ex-wife, not for the way she behaved in my life but for the way she treated and hurt my daughter. (I do like that Annabelle used the word “Venom”) I have nothing but good will towards Annabelle. She goes on to say that there was a long time when things were good in our relationship.

I have to disagree. Sorry for the spoiler, but we only dated for around 9 months. The first month or so was courtship and then she was my girlfriend for maybe 7 months after that. Much of the time she was absent even when we were in the same room together. The best parts of the relationship were few and far between for me. I was frustrated, annoyed, and disappointed most of the time. But I still felt love for Annabelle, but I’ve been over it for years. Rarely does she ever cross my mind anymore.

She doesn’t like that I referred to her family as white trash. I suppose that was a bit harsh. But stereotypes are earned by those that get them. You can have a bunch of money and still behave like a hillbilly.

The only way I know anything about her family is because she would never let me meet them. I wanted to but she said that I wasn’t ready to meet her family. I remember her actually saying that she even didn’t like her family very much.

Of course that all changed when they kicked in a fortune for her to live in a newly constructed house.

In regard to these “culture makers” she’s referring to, I just don’t see it. Performing silly, poorly written performance pieces does nothing to contribute to the art culture here in Philly. The Walnut Street Theater, Ballet X, (Love!) The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Annenberg, and so many more. Who cares how long they spend on a project. Why spend a year of your life making trash? It’s just not any good. I’ve seen several of their shows and it’s just silly cabaret that feels forced and tragically outdated. I think they need God’s blessing for the foolish and wasteful path they’ve all chosen in their poverty-stricken lives. Just the grinding sadness of approaching middle age and never to have held down a real job or ever learned a prosperous vocation.

She says I sound like an asshole. I’ve gotten this before about the blog from these “raging feminist types.” Someone calling me an asshole or a misogynist either don’t know me or are too dumb to understand what they’re reading on my blog. 80% of my followers are women and they are the most loyal and outspoken on phicklephilly. I am proud to have a strong female following of bright, sharp women that can think for themselves and understand what’s real in the world and what’s truly important in their lives. I’ve recently added a female author to my blog. She owns every Saturday for the next year!

Annabelle also says that every time I call myself a gentleman and make generalizations about women I reveal my falseness. (Does anybody even use the word “falseness?” It sound like something she read somewhere.

Here’s the thing. If anybody should know what a gentleman I am, it should be Annabelle. All of the romantic gestures I showered her with, standing up from my chair when she left or entered a room, opening the door, pulling out her chair for her, putting on her coat for her, all the dinners I cooked for her, the surprises, the gifts, etc. Annabelle had never, EVER been treated as well as I treated her. She still communicates and is friends with a former lover that used to knock her around when he was angry. Who’s the asshole now? I’ve never raised my voice or my hand to a woman, EVER. I have 3 beautiful sisters and a daughter that know I am one of the last true gentlemen alive in the world. But how could Annabelle realize that even now? She had the best and she squandered it. My dear friend Robert refers to her as “The Selfish Loser.”

But, I like how Annabelle has crept out of the shadows to secretly read phicklephilly. I LOVE that my art has inspired her to attack me on social media. Because good art makes you feel something. Shitty art is dismissed and forgotten.

In closing, I really don’t want to hurt Annabelle. It’s just a bunch of words on a blog. I have to tell these stories. Writing her series really cleared up a lot of things for me, because as you’ll read in the coming chapters she really did a number on me. She didn’t willfully do it, she just isn’t mature enough to know how bad her behavior is and how it affects those around her. Adults just don’t do that to each other.

There are a few more chapters of Annabelle left and they’re pretty interesting. Thanks to everyone who supports phicklephilly and most of all to Annabelle for inspiring this bonus post!

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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