nina's phila adventure. july 8th - 12th.

i have half a voice.

i'm putting some weight back on. it seems the stress of talking to coffee was the only appetite suppressant i had. once it was over, i could eat again.

after chalk-ified nightswimming, nina and i got to sleep in. mom made us belgian waffles from scratch, and we talked a little.

i smoked one last cigarette, pacing around the pool. saying goodbye to my home, the pool, and vacation in general.

we thought we'd have a lot of time to kill because our flight was later than i had originally thought, but i was tired and spaced out, and packing everything to fly back was nearly impossible.

i knew i'd forget stuff, and the list is up to i think five items now. i'm still waiting for a package from mom.

i wasn't kidding when i said that nina was the only thing that could get me on that plane. just how i'd planned kit's arrival accidentally-perfectly to coincide with non-date night morning after, i'd planned nina's joining me for the flight back even better.

when aubree left on the morning of the seventh, i didn't cry in saying goodbye. i have cried too hard too many times saying goodbye to her to let it ruin the end of another visit. we now just talk about when we'll hang out next, and try not to be sad.

i didn't cry until the door clicked shut behind her. returning to her life at the university, far from me and my drama. in the thick of her own.

so it was with my mother. she pulled into departures and opened the trunk. we pulled our luggage out of the trunk, and i gave her a kiss goodbye and a hug and said i'd see her in a couple months, if possible.

and that i'd be home soon.

and with that, she drove away. i didn't cry. we smoked a last cigarette before the flight. and ran around in search of crocs until we had to race to the flight.

we got on, and sat down, digging in suitcases for the perfect blend of things we needed: ipod and headphones with splitters, travels scrabs, books, paper and pen.

she had a bloody mary and i had a beer. we listened to thao as soon as we were allowed, and i was able to calm her when the plane made funny noises and steep inclines and sudden drops. normally these things make me sick and panicky. but telling her it was normal made me feel like it was normal. because it was.

and we played words that were too fitting. and then started a game of phonetic scrabble, later to become known as bullshit scrabble. if you can use it in a sentence, it's a word. without bingo bonuses.

it was fun.

and then i started to get excited to show her my city.

it was a lucky thing. i was dreading the end of my vacation. i was dreading the return to the city that i called home until i was landing.

kit picked us up and dropped us off to go bowling. we went to the bar that is five doors down from my apartment. we had delicious food and pbr. and her phila adventure began with a bang. the food was fantastic. i had a burger, she had fish tacos. the thought made me want to throw up, but i tried them. and they were really very good.

we left from there to settle into my apartment and made plans with our friend from middle school/high school who lives two hours south of phila. and then went to visit alice on our way to meeting him. i had a feeling she wouldn't make it out that night, and that this was nina's only chance to meet her. so we went by and talked only for a cigarette or two. and then headed to the drag show.

mike showed up not too long after, and we spent hours drinking cheap pbr and catching up on married life with kids, for the two of them, and my divorce. we drank, we laughed, we smoked. it was great.

the drag show was awesome. we fed the ladies singles for a couple hours, and then it was late. and we were hungry. and in search of a change of scenery before sending mike off.

it was two am, and a small miracle that a falafel hookah bar was open. so we ordered three falafel pitas and drank water. stuffed, and exhausted, we returned to his truck parked conveniently near the bar, and he drove us home. he took off and we crashed.

so began my struggles with money. when i was home, i paid mom and dad back for the divorce loan of $900. i gave them two checks, but no one cashed the bigger one. i was spending money like i had it to spend. i've been on this kick lately, thinking that i have more money than i have. i borrowed $125 from mom to buy clothes, because i thought i'd forgotten my credit card. it turned out i had it the whole time.

but i found out too late. and had they cashed the check, it would have bounced. the day nina left, i called and told mom not to deposit it. it sucked. i didn't want to have to make that call. i thought i could borrow from somewhere and put it back to clear the check. but i told her today that i need until tuesday. turned out my vacation was more expensive than i had anticipated. i spent money i didn't have on clothes that i didn't need. and shopping with nina is addictive, and rubs off. so the spree continued when we made our way back to phila.

friday was the phillies game.

it was a crazy start, but ended incredibly. we got there late. this is also a new trend with me lately. one that i'm really not at all fond of. i get really stressed when i'm running late, even if it's only for my own deadline.

we arrived in the fifth inning, after getting food and beer. the phils were down by six, and all hope was lost. the stadium was silent, which i've never heard before. it was awful. what we didn't know going into the game was that it was a fireworks night. a fifteen minute display, we estimated about six million dollars' worth, was waiting for the game to end.

in the ninth inning, everyone started cheering fire-works, fire-works. we just wanted it to end so we could watch the display and go home to try to sleep it off.

and then, something crazy happened. the ninth inning. bottom of, actually. it was our last at bat. and someone hit a homerun. probably the flyin hawaiian. and the momentum in the stadium changed. people were on their feet with their rally caps and towels. and screaming and screaming. and then it was tied. and then it was the tenth inning. and then we held them there. and then ryan howard hit the game winning homerun.

we were screaming and dancing and cheering. and nina and i lost our voices. i was pretty excited. i always wanted a raspy voice. i had one for about five days. until tonight, when it came back.

the fireworks. sigh...

i missed fireworks on the fourth, so this was really exciting to me. and the thing went on forever. there were a few fake-out finales, followed by the real finale. and the lights came back up in the stadium and we took the train home.

we went to another neighborhood bar that has equally awesome food. and talked over beer about heavy things that weren't out in the open yet. nina and kit had a heart to heart while i was out smoking, daydreaming of intern.

i'll have to consult nina on the way things went, what i'm forgetting. but i had to make an outline of all the things that we did that i could remember. and the weekend is confused in my head, saturday blends with sunday.

but i took her into center city, and we shopped. we went to h & m, which is a favorite, but also a place i avoid because i get carried away when things are that cheap.

we went book shopping and yarn shopping. and i talked to robbie on the phone, exhausted on a couch in this beautiful yarn store. we were supposed to see him, but it didn't end up happening. and i was utterly disappointed, but i understood. his life has recently become too drama-filled for a few drunk chicks to show up and hang out.

we also went to see her friend bonsky. he's an incredible painter, and a sweetheart. we hung out at his house, and she bought one of his paintings.

he talked about owning a game store, which was right alongside a comic book store, where we went after. i enjoyed it, and the boy who worked there was pretty awesome.

i think i just skipped to sunday, without talking about saturday night. but while i'm on topic, i'll talk about south street. we went to the anarchist bookstore. and they had a fishbowl of free condoms.

never in my life have i had a condom in my possession. i guess that since i started having sex, it was one of those things that i was embarrassed to buy, and the guys never seemed to mind, because it implies that they're having sex. so it was something that i always had them do. i grabbed two free condoms, and was super excited at the idea of using them. they're in my underwear drawer next to my bed. next to the toys i bought at the sex shop, which was our next stop.

also something new for me. i'd never gone into one with another girl. i went once with ever, but it was just off 95, and the scum of the earth dudes shopping vibed me out, so i never went in with him after that. i sent him in for toys a couple times.

in any case, armed with condoms in my purse, perusing a full selection of adult toys and novelties, and movies, we looked at things we might want to purchase. i bought her a naughty outfit, incredibly sexy. told her to tell her husband that it was my gift to him. i'd bought the kids stuffed animals at h & m.

since this whole sex can of worms has been opened, i walk around all day every day wanting sex. and somehow, going shopping for myself was pretty rad, and empowering.

that first day in the city, saturday i guess, i saw nine people i knew. to be in a city as huge as phila, and to see nine people i knew was pretty unbelievable. but it's also one of the reasons that i don't think i'll survive here past my lease's end on may 31st.

so we went to rittenhouse on saturday. and the mutter museum on sunday. which is a story in and of itself.

do yourself a favor. if you can handle oddities and medical things that make some people want to puke, just go check it out. it's mindblowing.

saturday night after the yarn store was dancing. with boy intern.

we went to pregame and eat dinner at another bar in the neighborhood. i tried my best to get him to come out with us, but he agreed to go to the club instead.

he was trying to get his friends to go, but he showed up alone.

it was the most fun i've had dancing. if kit had been having a better time, it would have outdone that first night at the madonna michael prince night. but she was struggling to have a third the fun nina and i were having.

i was trying to walk the line between drunk and okay to drive home. i'd planned to take a cab, but knew i wasn't that drunk. so i ordered a water, and started to drink that when things were starting to wrap up.

i need to write about intern, but the thought makes my stomach hurt. maybe i just save it for the post that i'll write tomorrow.

the way i got him there was to tell him that it was his job interview. we'd both been drinking on friday night, and started chatting online. i told him to come out with us the next day, and that i'd be in touch. so he came under those circumstances. we did sit to talk business, but i'd succeeded in getting him drunk in an effort to take him home with me. and so we talked about job opportunities, and he agreed to come in for a trial shift on wednesday, after nina returned home.

and it turned out that i didn't get him drunk enough, because he still had his wits about him and wouldn't come home with us.

we went to the place where he was crashing instead, and ended up thinking his friends were babies. idiots. and i guess that made him one by association. i don't think he's dumb, but he is when it comes to girls and chivalry and looking out for three ladies in a bad neighborhood at four am.

so we walked the boys home and drove home and passed out. then had our sunday.

so sunday, we went to south street. i already mentioned this. but on our way to the bar, i took nina into this awesome thrift store. and we only had seven minutes to shop until they closed. this cutie was working the counter, and cracking jokes over the store intercom about wanting to go home.

and i found this dress. it was amazing. green and yellow and blue, sixties dress with floral print. so cute. and the cute counter boy named christian said he'd go to a picnic with me, in that dress. he was adorable. some day when i stumble past there near closing time, i'll wear the dress and take him up on his offer. he was dready and cute, reminded me of shannon hoon.

and that reminds me of this zine i'm reading. it's called dreamwhip, i bought a volume at the anarchist bookstore a month ago, and bought another volume with nina on free condom day.

the author has this entry in it about austin texas. that it's impossible not to fall in love running errands. that everywhere you go, you'll see beautiful girls. and that he can't go to the bike shop without falling in love. and it made me think of phila. because there were hotties everywhere, and we were drooling over them. everywhere.

from there we went to a bar we call moms. it was arts and crafts night, and somehow i got both kit and alice there. it was fun, but i don't know where my art went. i haven't found it yet, and it makes me really sad. nina made one of those hand origami things where you pick numbers and unfold it to see what happens next. it was awesome. and i made a little drawing that had random things on it, like stars and saturn and a baseball. and our initials.

leaving from there, i called a musician friend, jay, who i really wanted nina to meet. i thought of it on the way to the house. i had to drive her past it at night, and she mostly missed it because she was on the phone with kit. but i went past it, which made me completely nauseaus. and jay happened to be home. so we checked out the abandoned lot that was being systematically torn down at precisely the same rate as my marriage. the thing which is captured in the album called vultures.

the timing was perfect. jay was home and happy to have us over.

and it was the perfect end to a perfect trip for nina. to say that she loves this boy's music is an understatement. and i knew that if i could get her in a room with him, he'd play songs for her. and i was so excited to make it happen. he was so lovely and gracious, and she taped his songs while he played them.

we spent about an hour there, i guess. and what was funny was that he was about to take a piano to my former house. right after i left him, he was going to ever. it also freaked me out a bit. but i was happy to see him and his darling girlfriend. i like that i can have friends who are also his. i'm glad that they're cool enough to not block me out. because i do love them.

and then it was time to head back to my place, in an effort to pack and have one last drink at the bar where it had all started. she called kit and we met up for the ice cream chocolate chip cookie sandwich and farewell scrabs.

it was pretty ideal. i was sad by that point, i had passed up beer at moms to drive her around, and i ordered one there, to go with my dessert. kit has convinced me that beer and ice cream do in fact go together. and it was a nice treat.

the perfect end to a perfect vacation.

the emotional side of things will come in a later post. when i write about how it is that i can be so torn between two lives in two very different places. how i can hate giving up my life here, that is so much fun, but also is expensive and lonely and more often drunken than not.

she packed her suitcase and i didn't cry, despite knowing that in the morning she would be gone. and that, if i leave next summer, she might never be back.

i read her to sleep with my raspy voice. i think i only read to ever maybe once, though he requested it often. i hate my reading voice, but the raspy one made me want to read until the sun came up. just when i got to the darkest saddest stuff, and started to get a little choked up at the things i'd written, her breathing was heavy and she was asleep

it was after three, and i was beat. but in an effort to practice being alone before actually being alone, i went out to my stoop to sit and smoke like i do when no one is sharing my space with me. it seemed like an intelligent practice run, because if it sucked, i could go back inside and know that i wasn't really alone.

i got two sentences in, and then landlord intrusion occurred. he came out with his bike and two friends with their bikes and talked my fucking ear off about how inspirational it is that i keep a journal and write a blog. they actually asked me for the name of it, but i didn't give it to them. too personal. i explained myself. they were fine with that, but inspired nonetheless.

and i felt robbed of my alone time, because when i got out there and put the two sentences down, i had something to write about, and i wanted to. i was totally into it. and they ruined it. so i went inside, and fell asleep next to nina for the last time on my turf.

the alarm went off after i got about a four hour nap. i felt sick upon waking. exhausted, and weepy as is the case when i get four hours of sleep. and i couldn't smile because i felt like i was throwing her into a tank of sharks. i didn't want her to leave, i didn't want to be the one to make her leave.

but real life calls. and she had to go, just like i had to go back to work.

she was late, and was sweating making her flight. and i parked the car to get her to the ticketing counter and security checkpoint.

and there i hugged her goodbye and we both cried a little. and i walked away from her, unable to look back.

i just kept thinking, 'get to the car. cry. go to work. it will all be okay.'

and later she said that she cried on the plane. my day was rainy and dark and sad with her gone.

it made me want to have her here with me. it made me wish that the good times back home were anywhere near as fun as the days and nights she spent here.

and they just aren't. it's just different here.

giving her the best of tour made me fall in love with this city all over again. and made me doubt my thought patterns that i might want to move home.

these things take time. it was the perfect end to the perfect vacation. the worlds collided. she met my best friends here. and they met her. and it was an epic success.

the most fun i've had in a long, long time.

and now? now it's over. and i'm having a hard time coping with a life here without my nina. a life here with kit, doing what we do everyday. work. talk. cigs. beer. sleep. repeat.

the monotony of my daily life here is broken by the ridiculous amount of fun i have with kit on a daily basis. i know that i'd be in a room with padded walls here if it wasn't for her.

if it wasn't for her, and kenna/my job, i'd have absolutely no reason to force myself to tough it out for the next year, and ensure that moving home isn't another in a long line of huge mistakes i'll make in my life.

i just wish selfishly that i could have both kit and nina here with me. all day every day.

and not have to work. just shop, and eat and drink and be merry.

but that's not real life.

and the closest thing that i can find to that? that's what i'll end up doing.

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