Ryan St. Germain

Tag Archive: Arianna

Arianna

Arianna picked the place and I got there a little late, which is uncharacteristic of me. I’d come to meet her after work and the walk took me a little longer than expected (she’d picked the place we would meet, knowing the neighborhood better than I do). I arrived just before she did, poking my head inside to see if she was waiting before spotting her walking up the street.

Standing on the sidewalk I watched her approach,  taking note of her gait and her purposeful stride as she covered the distance between the two of us. Her blonde hair is short and cut in an angular way that frames her bright smile and eyes which were hidden behind her dark sunglasses. She gave the immediate impression of intelligence and self awareness and I liked that; everything about her had a bit of sparkle to it.

We’d been talking via a dating app and text messaging for a week and during that time I’d learned that she was here studying for her PhD. I also came to realize that strangely we’d lived in both New Orleans and New York at roughly the same time, even possibly sharing a postal code once. She loves to travel and is more than happy to explore the city alone, but like myself, she would rather do it with someone else.

She travels to remote places for work often and has a lot of great stories about the places she’s been. She recounted the terror of having been in a shark cage but her story only made me want to have that experience for myself. She’s been places and done amazing things that I haven’t and I really find that very appealing.

We’d spoken in passing about my work and how that often shuts down the conversation and while she seemed perhaps a little hesitant, it wasn’t enough reason to prevent her from accepting my invitation to go see a movie and have drinks. I hadn’t told her about this blog though, or about my time in front of the camera for that matter; only the work that I do now, which is mostly done inside a pretty average office.

There is a moment that my friend Clara refers to as ‘the reveal’ in dates like these, where the question comes up that makes keeping things vague difficult and I inevitably answer honestly about my work. It’s not something that’s often very fun and while sometimes it’s taken quite well, other times it can make the rest of a date awkward.

That ‘reveal’ moment happened with Arianna while we sat next to each other at the bar, drinking cocktails and waiting for the movie. We were talking about putting out fires at work and she laughed saying how that must mean very different things for each of us. She gave me an example of what it was like in medical research and I asked me what the last one that I’d had to put out was.

I answered her honestly about a situation that had come up with a director and I saw her counting the degrees of separation between myself and talent. She was polite and asked follow-up questions, laughing a little along the way, but I could see that it had all become a little more real in that moment and the tempo of the conversation fell a bit, as did the corners of her mouth.

After the conversation about my work, something in the tone of the conversation had changed. It wasn’t huge and it wasn’t glaring, but the rythm was different and the back and forth report we’d had before wasn’t coming as easily. It made me think about all the things that she didn’t know yet and I wondered at what point it would prove to be too much. Having performed? Seeing other people? This wasn’t the line, but I felt like I’d find it sooner or later.

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Take Care

Saturday night I had plans with Laila. We were to meet after she spent the day with her father and his girlfriend, who were in from out of town. Polyamory created a strange situation in that they would spend the night at Laila and Daniels apartment (sleeping together in his room), unaware that she’s seeing multiple people. She apologized for not introducing them while they were in town, but I understood her reasons why. Still though, it felt a little strange not to meet them and I was a tad bit jealous.

I spent the day instead talking Arianna, who is someone new that I met via a dating app.  It’s a new one that I decided to give a try, where women are the first to speak if there is a match. She was my first match and she messaged me almost immediately, starting a conversation that flowed easily over the previous few days.  We exchanged numbers and texted about bad movies so I asked her if she would go see one on Sunday and she agreed.

Arianna is ‘age appropriate’, which is one of Veronica’s more amusing judgements of suitability, because we’ve both dated people who were, perhaps, too young for us. When either of us is seeing someone who is close in age, we congratulate the other with that phrase.

Arianna and I have both lived in New York and New Orleans and spent extended time in Paris, so we had plenty to talk about and a lot in common. We also strangely lived in those places at the same time making this the third. ‘Our twice missed connection’ is how she put it.

I fell asleep on the couch Saturday night waiting for Laila and woke up not feeling all that great. The fact that I napped should have been a warning sign that something was amiss, especially when coupled with the possibility of Laila being exposed to a hit-and-miss strain of strep throat. Even though I was under the weather (and not much fun) She decided to stay the night.  We laid on the couch watching a movie together as she ran her fingers back and forth over the freshly shaved side of my head. I laid my head in her lap and faded in and out as she played with my hair, the movie becoming white noise in my hazy stare of mind.

She came to bed with me and stayed close, fretting over me as I tossed and turned my way through a fever and chills. The next morning she went out and got croissant and fresh fruit for breakfast and got all the things to make a lemon tea that she knows is good for the throat. It was very sweet of her and I appreciated the lengths that she was going to in order to take care of me. It’s rare that I’ve had that in my life and honestly I’m not always comfortable with it. I’m a particularly willful creature and it certainly says something about my feelings for a person if I’m willing to let them do things for me.

Laila stayed with me most of Sunday, curled up next to me on the couch offering to do things for me as I let the day slip away. I was a little sad to have to text Arianna and tell her I couldn’t make it to the movies with her, but luckily she was understanding and was willing to reschedule. Laila put another movie on and I slept on and off, one hand holding her foot. I opened my eyes once or twice and saw the sun glowing in the reflection of the building across the street, marking in my mind the hours that had passed and how many remained in the day.

When it was time for her to go, I walked her to the door and hugged her goodbye.

“I can tell you aren’t feeling well, because that was the gentlest hug you ever gave me!” she said, referring to the fact that I typically hug like I mean it.

She waved as she rounded the corner and I poked my head out of the door to catch the last glimpse of her as she slipped out of sight. Stepping back inside I closed the door gently, turning the lock as I thought about everything that she’d done for me.  Back on the couch, I wrapped my arms around one of the pillows and I drifted feverishly off to sleep again.