Ryan St. Germain

Tag Archive: Cécile

NOLA Moments

I wasn’t sure she’d seen me waving hello as she passed behind me, so I turned to put my drink down on the bar and felt her arms slip around me from behind. I turned to face her and wrapped my arms around her too, both of us squeezing tight.

Cécile and I have known each other for years and have spent time together in both Amsterdam and New Orleans. She’s very direct the way that the Dutch are sometimes known to be, often changing subjects without segue, but she’s always warm and always sincere. I think sometimes people don’t know quite how to take her, but I adore her for the reasons others find her hard to figure out.

“It’s so good to see you!” she said, broad smile on her beaming face.

She ran her hand along the shaved sides of my head and I loved the feel of her fingers as they traced the scars there that I forget about until my hair is short enough to see them. She took my face in her hands and smiled at me, studying my face.

“You’re really beautiful” she said and kissed me on the cheek before nodding in the direction of the man she’d come into the bar with. “That’s the boy”.

I’d seen him in pictures from their trips together, but hadn’t met him before. She’d taken him home to Holland and to visit family in France, which I knew meant she was serious about him. I liked seeing her so happy.

We talked for a little while about their trip, including the fact that she’d thought of me when walking past the place in the Red Light District where I’d lived for a little while. She ran her fingers along the side of my head while talking and the ease and familiarity of her company and her touch fed into my feeling that in coming back to visit New Orleans, I’d come home.

“The last time I saw you, you had a lot of sadness in your eyes. I don’t see it there now. That’s good” she said and her smile made me smile. She hugged me again and then went to sit back down with her boyfriend.

They left just a little while later, but she stopped to see me on the way out the door. She wrapped her arms around me tightly when we hugged and kissed the side of my head as we made plans to see each other the following night.

“You’re beautiful” she said again, her eyes bright and warm, her fingers reaching out to touch my face as she walked backwards toward the door before turning to disappear down the steps and out into the humid night.

A familiar song came on the jukebox and I looked up to see the bartender smiling at me. She’d put it on, knowing that I’d sing along with it and we mouthed the words to each other from across the wood and copper bar. I ran my fingers along the same places Cécile had, feeling the scars under my fingertips and enjoying the unevenness of the three small places where I’d been cut and stitched years ago. 

“Show me how you do it
And I promise you I promise that
I’ll run away with you
I’ll run away with you”

– The Cure

scars