Ryan St. Germain

Tag Archive: dating

Crossroads

“I do miss shooting, but I don’t miss performing” I said when she asked me if I missed producing adult movies.

“But you didn’t know that about me though, did you? That I was a performer as well?” I asked.

She shook her head no briefly, her eyes locked to mine and then she shook her head yes.

“How did you know about that. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, have I?”

“I read about it.” she answered quietly, sitting on my couch with her legs folded under her.

“Where?”

“The Internet” she said being honest but tight lipped.

“You’ve read my blog too?” I asked gently and she nodded that she had.

It was Sunday morning and Pandora had spent the night with me the night before. She’d done the same thing the previous  and we’ve been seeing more and more of each other, finally making the time after not seeing each other for almost a month between our first date and our second. We took things slowly, but Veronica’s assumption that Pandora and I would be a good fit were well founded and I wasn’t ever worried that things weren’t moving fast enough because I felt like everything would happen when it was meant to. It was actually sort of nice to wait for that first kiss and that it didn’t lead instantly into sleeping together. Nothing ever happened just because it’s what you do on a date; everything happened in it’s own time and that was a welcomed departure from the zero to sixty pace of some of my past relationships.

Pandora knows that I work in adult entertainment, but she wasn’t aware of just how involved with it I’d been. I’d been waiting for the right moment for it to come up and I had some concerns that things might not be able to move forward once she knew. She’s a politicians daughter and she’s expressed before that she has to sometimes be conscientious of her actions because of the reflection that it might have on her mother. I knew before we could move forward we would have to have that talk, but the moment hadn’t presented itself until I made the awkward realization that she already knew.

“Do you have any questions?” I asked.

“Should I?”

“Most people do” I said,  having been down this road before.

I’d spent the better part of two weeks thinking that Emily had suddenly been reading my blog increasingly obsessively before putting together that visitor  was reading every night except those when Pandora and I were together. I went back through my analytic’s later that day and realized that while Emily had been back a handful of times, my assumption that it was her all those times was wrong. When I looked at them closer, it was very obviously two separate people reading every day and it was Pandora that was so thoroughly combing the pages and not Emily. I’d brought up something about the flowers that I’d written about here (Amidst The Flowers) and Pandora seemed to know what I was referring to even though we hadn’t discussed it. I decided then to ask, but I waited until the next day to see if the visitor I believed to be Emily would return and rule it out, but the next day a quick check confirmed what I suspected.

“Are you ok with everything?” I asked, wanting to make sure that she really was. She’d spent the night the night twice since she started reading, but it’s been my experience that sleeping with someone in adult entertainment isn’t the same as wanting to be a pornographers girlfriend.

She’d laid her head down in my lap and I ran my fingers gently through her soft black hair as she thought about it and searched for the right words.

“If things were to move forward I wouldn’t want you to resent me…” she said.

“Because you wouldn’t want me to perform any more?” I asked.

“Yes, I don’t want to stop you from doing something you want to do”

“It’s been years since the last time that I was in front of the camera and that’s not in my future.” I said.

This moment is always a conflict for me because I don’t regret my time in front of the camera. I won’t make excuses or ask for forgiveness and I’m not going to be ashamed of it. I know that it isn’t easy for people to swallow and I’ve had it ruin relationships in the past, but it is who I am and there isn’t any changing it. I have no intention of going back to performing, but I won’t sell myself out while trying to reassure someone either.

“Performing isn’t in my future, but are you ok with it being a part of my past?” I asked and she was quiet for what felt like ages before she nodded her head yes with less confidence than I would have liked.

I looked down at her studying her face. She has such a stunning smile, but it was nowhere to be seen as she stared out the window contemplating it all. Her long eyelashes fluttered and her eyes narrowed for a moment while she thought about it.

The morning took a turn that I hadn’t seen coming and it felt like some of the color had bled out of it between the time that we woke and when she headed home. It was early afternoon and I spent a few hours thinking everything over very carefully because I had an ache in my heart over the entire situation.

On one hand it saved me the conversation where I’d have to explain my history in adult and in that it brought some relief because she already knew. On the other hand, I hadn’t given her the access to my life or the links to this blog; she’d done a lot of deep research on her own and found it that way. I suppose I understand the precariousness of having a family in politics and perhaps I should have seen the research coming, but I value my privacy. Having been outed on more than one occasion in the past, having someone dissect my life was unsettling to me.

I also wasn’t sure if she was really going to be ok with it. The last person that I really seriously dated who’d never done any sort of sex work at all was Mina and it wasn’t until we were breaking up that she finally admitted she’d never been ok with it.

I sent her a text message after the sun went down and told her that was I was a bit shaken by the digging she’d done. I told her why and she admitted that she would have been mortified had it been the other way around. Pandora accessed my life, my past relationships and all sorts of details that I would have shared with over time and in the natural course of things, but the way that it came about was very one-sided and I told her how I felt.

“I’m just going to be forward and ask because I have a hard time reading between the lines at times. I hope it’s not the case, but if it is, I can understand: do you wish to no longer to speak to me?” she messaged.  I told her that it wasn’t and she promised not to read again, letting me share what I want when I want.

I still felt disappointed though, because even as foolish as it sounds, I really liked the notion of things just unfolding naturally. We met through a mutual friend, took things slowly, had ‘regular’ dates and lives that didn’t really touch outside of Veronica and the time we spend with one another. There was attraction and chemistry and from the moment that I met her I felt like things made sense with her. There were no other people standing between us and no complications because we lived a million miles apart. She’s adventurous and beautiful and responsible and kind.  We hang out on the couch watching television, laughing, kissing, holding hands, cuddling up together and we are very sexually compatible too. It felt like, for perhaps the first time in my adult life, I was making a good relationship choice for myself. I should take some comfort in the fact that she knows and is (for now) still seeing me, but knowing that she had read the better part of this blog still doesn’t sit well with me.

Pandora knows more about me from my blog than what I’ve told her in person, which is something that those of us in adult entertainment deal with often. She saw me naked on film before she saw me that way in the flesh. She knew that I’d enjoy putting my hand on her throat before I ever did it. She knows that I enjoy bondage and not because I told her so, but thanks to google. This isn’t the typical ‘boy meets girl’ story that I thought I had this time and I have to decide what to do with that.

I realized something else too: I was both relieved and disappointed to know that it wasn’t Emily reading all those times. I was hoping that maybe she was finally close to being able to talk to me and if nothing else I could have some closure with her, but I’ve also been unhappy with the fact that she reads this blog but won’t speak to me. She has one way access to what I’m doing seven months after we split up and I don’t like the feeling of that one bit; it’s tormented me and kept me up some nights, knowing she’d been here, knowing she was lingering like a ghost. She knows that I know too, which makes it even more haunting. It made it harder for me to move on and held me back in my writing. I need to cut that tie if she won’t.

I know that in writing a blog, you are putting yourself our there for people to find. However, like most people in adult entertainment or sex work, I separate my personal life and professional life. I use another name, one that I pulled out of the ether for the purpose of keeping this blog and I changed the names of others along the way as well. I often write in non-linear format and tell stories out-of-order, just to keep some semblance of privacy for myself and those mentioned. There are a handful of people who know me as both Ryan and by my given name, but those are rare exceptions that I like to think that I have some control over or say in. I like to think that I can choose who I let into what parts of my life, but in a digital forum, that’s a misguided notion. I know the few things that connect both sides of my life, the places you can find both names side by side and there is nothing I can do about that. Well, almost nothing…

I am at a crossroads.

Histoire d’Amour

I spent the summer loving openly and honestly, trying for the first time to love and be loved by more than one person at a time. I realized that my relationship with Emily left me jaded about the notion of monogamy and I turned to something else entirely in hopes of not repeating the same mistakes. Polyamory was something I’d toyed with the notion of in the past, but I learned a lot about myself in the process and confirmed a thing or two about myself in pursuit of it this summer.

I have a new appreciation for some aspects of polyamory, but the biggest thing that I learned this summer is that it isn’t for me. Maybe I’m a bit old-fashioned in this regard, but I would rather hold out for that one person that I’ll be able to spend the rest of my life with and share everything with than to share pieces of myself with different people. I’m grateful for the time I spent with Laila and Aurora and I see the ways in which polyamory suits them, but I could see the outlying boundaries of our relationships and I wanted more than what was possible with them non-monogamously and from a distance. The moment of confirmation of this for me, was the day my grandmother had a heart attack and I had to leave for the weekend unexpectedly to go see her I couldn’t get ahold of either of them; they were both on dates with new people, which there was nothing wrong with, but I could never get the notion out of my head after that either of them was more than a friend that I happened to sleep with when we are in the same city at the same time.

The conversation in the car made me realize I’m not looking for friends with benefits either. I want something real, something lasting, something in the here and now that I can look forward to growing as it unfolds. I don’t know how to love part-time. I don’t know how to love in pockets or corners or between the lines. I almost envy those that can, but it isn’t me and it won’t ever be. I know myself, perhaps now better than ever, having tried something that I’d always wondered about and confirming what I knew to be true about myself. I can say with confidence that an open relationship isn’t what I want. I want one love; big and bold and occasionally messy, but above all, true.

Vingettes

“My favorite spot as a teenager was the video store. I would spend hours in there,” she said. “I took home the cardboard cutout from ‘Mobsters’ because I had a huge crush on Christian Slater”.

“Who didn’t” I answered.

“When I was a teenager I spent pretty much every cent of the minimum wage I earned washing dishes and as a prep cook at the dollar cinema across the street from where I lived. I was there all the time and they would give me the old movie posters when the movies weren’t playing any more.” I told her.

I thought of the shiny movie posters peeling away from the tape on the walls of my room at my dad’s place when I was a teenager. I remember looking up at the curling edges of ‘Cinema Paradiso’ at night, having missed it when it played and wondering what it was about. Years later I would see it and the montage of movie kisses cut that were cut by the priest all strung together at the end would land on me like a heavy stone in shallow water.

Receiving the laminated movie rental card that I used to rent horror films and foreign movies was a right of passage and the three-for-one rentals during the week ensured that I was exposed to as much of the world as was humanly possible during the summer months in the tiny Michigan town that I was living in.

In my head I pictured her in that tiny video store wandering in the next aisle as I distractedly tried to pick out a movie and I felt like we would have gravitated toward each then too.

“I guess it’s pretty safe to say that had I crossed paths with you as a teenager I would have been as into you then as I am now” I said and she blushed.

Seasons

The days are getting shorter now and the nights longer. It’s dark when I get up for work in the morning and there’s hardly a trace of the sun left in the sky when I get home. It’s getting too cold for the jacket that I wear, but I’m not ready to give it up because I love it and it fits me like a glove. The wind comes along and I turn in on myself and I like the struggle against the cold.

I said goodbye this week to Laila, who is on adventures of her own on the west coast. I said goodbye to Aurora too. The seasons have changed and summer is gone and with it the days of loving from a distance. It felt heavy to let them go, but it was the right thing to do for them and for myself. I know who I am and it’s not someone who can love part time from afar. I know who they are too and I’ve no expectation of flowers blooming out of season.

Veronica and I went on a little road trip today, leaving work early together. We drove far outside of the city talking about sex and love and how removed the golden fields that we passed felt from the part of the city we live in. I snapped pictures of pink leaves against grey skies and I had no doubt that summer was over. I hugged her goodbye before I slid out of her car and into the rain. Cars were lined up, stopped in traffic at the corner near my apartment and I looked at our her though my own reflection in the glass for half a moment after the door closed between us. I crossed the street behind her and her car hadn’t moved when I looked back over my shoulder.

I took the elevator up the handful of floors and glanced out of the window just outside of it when the doors opened. The sky was dark, the sun having gone, but stretched out below me lights flickered and glowed for as far as I could see. Autumn isn’t a day on a calendar to me, it’s a feeling like the one that I had today. It’s rain against the windows, leaves falling from the trees and the appreciation for the light of day when you realize it doesn’t linger for nearly as long any more. Seasons change and summer is over, but I always knew that it wouldn’t last forever.

Abundant Love

The five off us sat in the dimly lit bar, the walls  of which were lined with rows and rows of books. Mila carefully folded the sweater that Madison gave her to wear so that she didn’t get it dirty, exposing her tanned, tattooed shoulders. The shirt she wore underneath it was bright yellow and more fit for the California sun than it was for autumn in eastern Europe. She wore knee high socks and tiny black shorts, showing off tattoos which all seemed to have a story behind them. She speaks slowly and carefully at times and I found myself hanging on her words because her insights and comments were clever.

Mila is a beautiful girl and I get the feeling that she’s looked at constantly but listened to less intently, so she fucks with people a little bit just to see who is paying attention and thus who is worth paying attention to. She made strange statements and weird references about puppets in shop windows and dystopian movie-esque strategies for finding the friend we were looking for. There was a darkness to her humor that borders on sardonic and every comment she quietly made drew me in a little more.

We’d met her in the hotel lobby to get a cab and when Mila joined our group I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I’d seen her around for the past few days, but I wasn’t exactly sure who she was or what she did. We all climbed into a van together with seats facing each other and I sat opposite Mila, watching the streets from my backward facing position and listening to the comments she made as the old city slipped away. The driver dropped us in a spot where we were supposed to meet a friend, but in finding ourselves under a bridge rather than on top of it, we had to find him before we could cross it. Standing on the cobblestone near the bridge is where I really saw Mila for the first time.

The four of us found our way on to the bridge and found Sam under one of the arches that soared above it. Together we walked the length of it, crossing over the river looking at the old city as we weaved through tourists, getting to know each other with questions along the way. We stopped for a picture beneath one of the bridges arches and the sun fell slowly from the sky, burning the clouds a bright pink as the day slipped away. I looked up at the arches that towered over head and when I brought my eyes back down to the bridge, she was looking at me, turning away when my eyes met hers.

 We stumbled across the book-lined bar while looking for a place to eat and stopped inside. Sliding into a booth, I ordered a Makers Mark Manhattan on the rocks and Mila ordered Becherovka, letting me have a taste of it after describing it to me. It had a hint of anise to it, which is a flavor I very much enjoy but rarely share in common with others so it was another reason to appreciate Mila.

 Mila is polyamorous and has a partner that she is very much in love with on the west coast. She’d spent the day with an industry friend and I’d spotted them holding hands on more than one occasion as we walked through the old city, but it felt less like there were boundaries in conversation and flirtation and more like we were all having interconnected moments.

I was getting to see Madison outside of work in a way that I really enjoyed: I appreciated her friendship already and in a lot of ways she reminds me of my little sister. Brian and I talked about the people that we both knew in common in the industry and I talkedto Mila about movies, rattling off ones we thought each other should see. I listened as Sam talked about being excited to go home to his wife and kids after so many days away from them and liked the bashful smile that crept onto his face when he said that he couldn’t wait to be home with them.

We said goodbye to Sam and the four of us that remained hiked up the hill looking for the old castle, getting lost along the way because we were more interested in the conversations we were in than in sightseeing. Madison and Brian talked ahead of us, Mila and I  trailed behind just a bit.

We talked about polyamory and how it worked for her. She hadn’t asked yet what my situation was, but she openly shared that she and her partner were very much in love and that one day she wanted to have kids with him. She told me that it wasn’t always easy to navigate the complications of seeing other people and she admitted that she sometimes tested his patience a bit.

“He puts up with a lot from me” she said, sounding grateful that he did.

“You don’t want to have kids, I take it?” she asked, turning the question toward me.

“I do, with the right person who also” I said, admitting it out loud a little shyly. “Do you?”.

“I don’t want kids just for the sake of having them, I want them because I’m with a partner that is so special/great that I want another of them in the world” she answered. She spoke about life, love and relationships with such candor and related to one another so instantly that I found myself wanting to take her hand in mine as we walked and talked.

“So there isn’t anyone that you are seeing?” she asked, sounding a little surprised and maybe a little sad at the thought of it as we stopped on the side of the hill, looking out at the lights and an abandoned Starbucks that looked out of place and out of time.

“There are two people actually” I answered and I thought then of both Aurora and Laila. Mila’s lips turned up at the corners in a smile and we were quiet for a moment.

We talked about the cold north where I live and she smiled when I told her what February was like here.

“I want to come to visit in the dead of winter” she said, and I could picture the snow swirling around her when she did. I could imagine the winter wind catching her long dark hair, making it dance as it collected flakes of snow. I could imagine the cold all around us and the color it would bring to her cheeks. The look in her eyes made me feel like she was imagining those things too.

(more…)

Des Amours d’Été

Summer seemed to resurface in September and then vanish again overnight. The unseasonably warm weather broke last weekend when fall finally arrived and I’ve been enjoying cooler evenings this week. I sat in front of the open window last night, thinking about how I’d spent the past few months and I realized that it was nothing like I might have imagined for myself. I lived my life very differently this summer than I have in the past and with the turning of the seasons I’m looking back and looking forward, gauging where I’ve been and where I’m headed next.

Aurora reappeared and is now a part of my life quite unlike anything I expected. We’ve gone from hating each other to being wary of each other to suddenly being fixtures in each others lives. I’m not sure what the future holds for us and we are both reluctant to define anything, but we are happy to be a part of each others lives again. She called on me the other day after having a mishap with another lover and I was happy to be there for her as she is for me when I’m feeling troubled. I think we’ve both surprised each other with an unexpected tenderness between us after so many years of tension.

Hannah and Harper where both gone as abruptly as they appeared in my life. Hannah I knew wouldn’t be able to live with what I do for a living, so that came as no surprise. Nor was it that the thin thread holding Daniel, Harper and I together would snap once Laila was gone. The damage was done the night of Laila’s going away and despite one last-ditch effort to fix the tension that bloomed out of it, there wasn’t enough reason for us to do anything other than say goodbye.

Laila moved away just as we were really growing close and though we’ve spoken every day since, I can feel the miles between us. We text or Skype as often as we can, but she’s off living a different life in a different place and it isn’t always easy to find the time for each other three times zones apart.

Arianna and I settled into friendship, supporting each other via text as we both have our own adventures. Neither of us was really all that ready to start seeing someone seriously when we met; she is unsure about continuing with polyamory and I’ve been seeing other people. We aren’t in the same place in our lives, but we can understand and relate to each others situations which makes for some fantastic conversations that are incredibly open and honest. We have plans to see each other this weekend and I’m looking forward to it.

There is someone else that I’ve been sort of seeing too. Someone that I’m cautiously optimistic about, but haven’t yet written a word about yet. Someone that makes sense in my life and who is beautiful and adventurous and strange in just the right way.

“I’ve got a girl for you” Veronica texted me from Greece while they were on vacation together. I was a little reluctant, but Veronica knows me so well and I trust her implicitly.  I might not have given the time of day to someone else wanting to fix me up, but I listened to her and I’m glad that I did because It’s her friend that I’ve sort of been seeing.

Veronica’s friend and I have gone on a few dates and messaged each other to share stories and pictures of our travels while we were both away. She curled up next to me and fell asleep on my couch while we watched a movie the day before she left and it felt comfortable and right.

The one cause for concern that I have with her is that while she knows what my role is presently in adult entertainment, we’ve yet to have the talk about my time performing. I’m not certain how well that will be received and I’ve gotten the impression that she might have made relationship choices before based on the connections to politics her family.  Veronica has told me to worry about it later, but I’ll be happier when it’s out in the open because I’ve been down roads like this one before.

I didn’t lose sight of myself during the course of this summer, but I’ve made an effort to be more aware of the way that I perceive and deal with many things. I needed a little distance from the recent past in order to have better perspective on myself and what I needed and wanted of others. In the year before I found myself guarding a wounded heart in a way that wasn’t good for me or those around me. I became the rock that waves break against, when all that I really wanted was the ocean.

Here I find myself in late September, thinking about the blur of summer days that are now gone. I’m waiting for the leaves to fall, watching them as they turn red and gold before the branches that they grow from let them go. I can feel a change of season coming in me too.

Fall

Aurora

Aurora came to visit over the long holiday weekend. It’d only been a few weeks before that we’d reconnected in New Orleans and she took the first opportunity that she could to come and see me.

She arrived late on a Thursday night and I took Friday off, making my three-day weekend into four so that we could spend time together. Storms were delaying flights the night she arrived and she landed late in the evening after a long day of travel. She sent me a message from the cab line to tell me that she’d be seeing me soon.

September always brings the notion that summer is over, but standing outside waiting for her cab to arrive, it felt like it hadn’t gone anywhere. Clouds hung low in the night sky, illuminated by the lights of the city and the few minutes that I waited stretched on because of the anticipation. My street was all but empty and I spotted the cab from a few blocks away when it turned the corner and headed slowly towards me. I caught a glimpse of her in the backseat through the front windshield as the car pulled over to the curb and let her out.

I took her bags for her and hugged her tightly before we headed upstairs to my apartment. She told me about her day and I told her about mine. She showered when we were upstairs and climbed into bed with me, falling asleep on my chest even though she was fighting to stay awake just a little bit longer.

Her visit was full of interesting, vibrant moments but there was one in particular that we were both waiting for, both wanted, both needed…

(more…)

Fête d’Adieu

I’d slept for just a little over an hour in two days when I got home from New Orleans and Laila’s going away party was just a few hours after my touchdown. I was in a haze as I spoke to the woman next to me on the plane, as I collected my bags, as I climbed in a cab to go back to my apartment.

When I got home, I emptied my suitcase and started a load of laundry, counting the number of munutes before I’d have to leave again. I had just enough time to shut my eyes for half of an hour and laying across my bed in the afternoon sun, I fell asleep fast and hard. I hit snooze twice when my alarm went off and then forced myself out of bed and into the shower, where I found that my hot water heater was out again. The spray of cold water helped wake me up as I shivered and washed away the feeling of airports and travel.

Laila texted me that she was running late for her own party and that she’d meet me at my apartment on the way to Daniels and we could go together from there. We grabbed a cab and caught up on the way, not having seen each other in a week.

Laila had been gone the weekend before and was leaving again the next day on another short trip for a friend’s wedding. We had just that night to see each other before she left town for the weekend and then a couple of days when she got back on Sunday before she left again, possibly for good.

Laila is moving to San Francisco to take classes in coding and she’s had this plan for almost as long as I’ve known her. She might be gone for a few months or she might be gone for good, it all depends on how well things work out for her there. She’ll be staying with another one of her partners while she’s there figuring it all out.

We were the first to arrive at Daniel’s and the three of us set to work in the kitchen chopping and peeling vegetables for dinner. Laila was making a vegetarian shepherds pie, so I chopped beets and sweet potatoes while she sliced cucumbers; all of it happening in the warmth of the kitchen while I moved back and forth between states of lucidity and what felt like dreaming. The sound of the knife on the cutting board, the whirring of fan blades and their soft voices speaking sweetly to one another as summer crept through the open door all made my head swim just a little.

“Aren’t you supposed to be on another continent or something?” Harper asked, being the next to arrive.

“I was in New Orleans and I just got back tonight” I explained and she was gone again.

I found myself alone in the kitchen for a moment, slicing vegetables and thinking that it might be the last time that I saw any of the people who were there. Laila was the common thread and in my sleepless state it felt a bit like that thread was unravelling.

Others arrived, none of whom I’d really met before and all of them were colourful, interesting people. It can certainly be said that Laila’s life is as interesting and vibrant as she is. Everyone gathered in the kitchen to talk as Laila and Daniel made dinner and laid out the things her friends had brought for the pot luck.

The topic of conversation moved from sci-fi to philosophy to porn and in some moments I was too quiet, while in others I spoke too much. In my sleepless state I stepped carelessly on something Daniel was saying while giving my insight on a company that I don’t particularly care for in adult entertainment. I felt at times like I was dreaming and was often speaking before I realized that I was.

It was a good night and as people said their goodbye’s to Laila, I stayed in the kitchen and started to clean up not wanting to be in the way. I rinsed dishes and cleared the table as the conversation continued in the next room. While standing at the sink, I saw Harper coming back into the kitchen in search of another drink and I tuned off the water, listening to the drip slow as she approached.

She picked up the spatula and offered me a taste of the shepherd’s pie, which I hesitated to take, before giving in and taking a bite.

“You have a lot of shame, doesn’t you?” she asked and I laughed.

I couldn’t tell if she really believed it or she was trying to get me to argue to the contrary, but the fact remained that I felt no shame standing there with her.

We went together into the next room, but Laila and Daniel seemed to be deep in conversation, so Harper turned me around and we headed back into the kitchen.

“Let’s let them have their moment” she said.

I passed her and went back to the table to wipe it down and when I turned to go back to the sink, she attempted to get me to stop what I was doing by putting her hands on my chest and pushing me back toward the door. I let her move me at first before I dug in and stopped her. She was tipsy and I didn’t want things to get out of hand, so I was trying not to be too rough. She taunted me once, twice as she pushed against me and then I had her wrists in my hands and was backing her across the room until we hit the washing machine. She fought against me, insisting she could overcome me and then told me she hated that I was stronger than she thought I would be. We were incredibly close and the more she struggled the tighter I held her, pinning both of her wrists in one hand.

“I’m not going to kiss you!” she proclaimed.

“Who said that was even on the table? That’s awfully presumptuous of you” I answered, scolding softly but meaning it.

“I saw the look in your eyes”. she said, though she was doing her best not to let hers meet mine.

Whether I wanted to kiss her or not was irrelevant because we were at Laila’s going away and I was standing in her boyfriend’s kitchen. Being in an open relationship doesn’t mean there aren’t boundaries and I wasn’t going to test them just then, no matter how many of my buttons Harper pushed.

“Let me go please” she said and I did immediately. “Thank you” she quietly but firmly replied.

She eyed me with smiling contempt and I wondered what it was that she was hoping to provoke me into doing or if she even knew at all. It felt like there was a reason, but perhaps in my exhaustion I was looking too hard for one.

“You aren’t switchy at all, are you?” she asked.

“No” I responded and she looked a little disappointed.

Daniel came back into the room then and I used it as an excuse to go find Laila. Standing in the doorway to Laila’s bedroom watching her pack, Harper passed behind me more than once, patting me on the top of the head condescendingly on one pass, so I turned around and did the same to her. Laila shot us a curious look and then the moment was past.

Laila gathered up her things and we were ready to leave, so she went to say goodbye to Daniel and Harper. Harper left them to it, walking toward me in the doorway and while Laila and Daniel were behind her, she smacked me in the face before giving me a hug goodbye.

I laughed, finding it entirely ridiculous that she’d done it and I could see over her should the look of uncertainty on Daniel’s face about what had just happened; he’d heard it but not seen it. The warmth of her hand print on my face and the vague ringing in my ears were bringing me back to the present and while I wouldn’t dream of letting most people get away with something like that, I smiled at Harper and she smiled back. I wrapped my arms around her in goodbye and she felt waifish and ethereal.

I was dreaming on my feet then; I felt wide awake but nothing seemed real. I hugged Daniel goodbye too and Laila and I headed back to my place to spend the night. The next afternoon she was catching a bus to go to a friend’s wedding and the plan was to spend the night and the next morning together before she left. There weren’t many days left for us and I was grateful for the time that remained.

On the cab ride home I sat close to Laila, watching as the car cut quickly through the streets. I looked at houses and street signs and lights as it occurred to me that I’d started the day in an entirely different place, surrounded by different people and living what felt like a vastly different life. The car windows were down and the breeze was in my face as little drops of rain splattered me and I found everything terribly amusing just then. Laila took my hand in hers and I looked at her beautiful smile, happy to know her, happy to have her, happy to be with her.

Expectation

“Inside I still feel like the 23 year old that wanted to be your fuck toy” she said, her eyes a little wild and a little lost.

We have a long often tumultuous history, Aurora and I. We’ve spent as much time being enemies as we have being friends and only in the last few years have we been able to stand to be in each others presence.

Six or seven years ago, we had a very strong attraction and Aurora first presented the idea to her boyfriend at the time that she wanted their relationship to be open and more specifically, that she had an interest in me. Admittedly at the time I wasn’t sure how I felt about polyamory and the situation imploded spectacularly when (I learned much later on) her boyfriend gave his permission to her and then told me something entirely different. I felt betrayed and misled by Aurora, particularly because her boyfriend was a friend. He gave me the impression that she’d been dishonest and I was furious with her about it. She got the impression that I’d just played a game to see if I could get her to do it and she hated me too.

New Orleans is a small place and when you have the same circle of friends, it can feel even smaller. There was a palpable tension in the air after that and we couldn’t stand to be around each other. We were all in a band together and I stopped going to performances when I knew she’d be there. When we were forced to be in the same room, the animosity was undeniable and one or the other of us would find a reason to leave as soon as possible.

A few years ago while I was visiting New Orleans, we ran into each other and agreed to meet and talk. It was then that we discovered that we might both have been mislead by the same person and that we’d wasted years loathing each other. Even then, we were both a little reluctant to believe it and we harbored some distrust that would take us until recently to let go of. There was a sense of danger in talking to her that meant we kept a respectable distance while we decided if we really could trust one another again. I didn’t always mention to her that I was coming to town on some of my previous trips to New Orleans and I only told her last-minute that I’d be there this trip, feeling that maybe it was time to really put the past behind us.

She messaged me on Facebook days before my trip and we added each other as friends there, eventually trading phone numbers so we could text instead. She offered me a lift from the airport, but I declined, not sure I was be ready to see her and wanting to get acclimated to being back in New Orleans for at least a few days before I did. It wasn’t until the day before I supposed to leave that we finally made plans to see one another and even then I wasn’t sure entirely what to expect.

We agreed to meet for lunch at a Mediterranean place on Frenchman street and I took something of a farewell walk through the French Quarter on my way to see her. It was hot outside, even with the overcast skies, and I could smell the rain looming somewhere in the distance. I hadn’t seen her in almost two years when I spotted her through the window, standing close to the door. Her hair was shorter than when I’d seen her last and it has vibrant pink streaks in it now. Being face to face to her the familiar feeling of danger crept up on me but it was accompanied by fascination, which I hadn’t let myself feel for her in years.

She was wearing a shirt that hung long enough to nearly eclipse her tiny shorts and cowboy boots that seemed a colourful contrast to her pink hair.  Aurora is a curious mixture of brash and vulnerable; she rarely holds back when speaking to me, even if she makes herself blush with the things that come out of her mouth. She often looks at me with equal parts want and contempt and I enjoy it. The look on her face when she saw me seemed determined, though I was unsure what of just then.

We took a seat at a far table and quickly found the playful tone of conversation that we’d shared in the past. There was a hint of trepidation behind it all, but also a feeling like things had changed, become unstuck and could move forward. We were deciding to trust each other as we sat there, even if it hadn’t yet proven wise to do so. Looking across the table at one another, the tension between us felt like it’d switched from push to pull. We flirted a bit and then she rolled her eyes at me as if she didn’t yet believe that I meant it.

“This is going to be like all those other times when you get me turned on and then don’t do anything, isn’t it?”  she said, and I laughed, because we do have a long history of tension without payoff. All the buildup we had years ago was destroyed by a misunderstanding and though that was a long time ago, I didn’t feel her question was unfair.

“Want a lift to the airport?” she offered and I accepted. We agreed to meet at the friend’s apartment that I was staying at, because I needed to pack up and say goodbye to them before leaving. The we parted, we hugged goodbye and I had a feeling that she had something planned for the ride there.

She picked me up in her SUV and announced that we had a bit of time to kill, asking me where to go. I knew she already had a plan so I put the decision on her and we headed to her apartment. There really wasn’t much extra time before my flight, but I agreed to it, wanting to see how things would play out.

We pulled up in front of her apartment and sat inside the car for a moment when she told me we didn’t have time for games today and invited me inside. She was forward and also uncertain and I hadn’t decided myself just then how far I was willing to let things go.

She seemed nervous and a bit out of sorts as she led me inside, apologizing for the mess. She kicked off her boots and walked across the floor in mismatched socks, her shirt nearly hiding her tiny shorts and giving the impression that she’d already started to undress. She stopped in the middle of the room and faced me; I put my arms around her and all those times we almost kissed but didn’t were behind us.

(more…)

Daydreaming

It’d been some time since Harper and I had last spoken. I’d asked her to meet me and she’d said she wanted to speak to Laila first just to be certain that it was alright;  for one reason or another enough time had passed since that was supposed to happen that it sort of became awkward that we hadn’t spoken about it again. Saturday night she wrote to me and after apologies on both sides for being remiss, I asked her if she’d like to meet me so we made plans for the following day. She sent me a text early in the morning and we agreed to meet at noon to grab iced coffee and go for a walk together. The walk from the coffee shop to the park gave us time to talk a bit and we fell easily into a rhythm with one another as we looked for a quiet place to sit and continue the conversation.

It was a warm day and we found a place in the shade, laying down in the grass next to one another. I watched bee’s circle flowers nearby as we talked about books, feminism, sex and sci-fi.  Deep green blades poked up next to her pale skin and when she rolled over on to her stomach to look at me, I noticed the shape and style of her glasses and then the pretty eyes behind them. She said the name of an author out loud as she gave me a recommendation on something that I might like to read and I made a mental note of the title The Dispossessed to look up later.

Harper is someone who I find interesting in a number of ways, her intellect and perspective being high on the list of reasons why. Her candor about sexuality and the way she expressed the freedom of choice and communication in polyamory also made an impression on me. The reason that I asked her for book recommendations is because I felt certain that she’d give me suggestions that I was unlikely to have come across on my own and she did not disappoint.

Laila is seeing Daniel, who is seeing Harper. Harper and I talked about moments that we have in common via the people we are seeing, as seen from opposite sides of the same situation. It was nice to be able to have another person to relate to about some of the challenging things that can come along with polyamory and at the same time be able to celebrate with them the better parts of what it’s brought into our lives.

People streamed past us on their way into the park as we asked each other questions while laying languidly in the Sunday afternoon sun. Harper moved down the hill just a bit, chasing the sun as the shadow from the tree behind us grew longer. We turned up toward the sky and I watched as the few clouds that dotted the otherwise clear sky floated by in no real hurry to get anywhere. I looked over at her and I thought to myself that she seemed like she’d slipped out of time; she felt strangely like she was from the past and the future all at once. There is something about her profile that makes me think of the 1920’s, but I can’t seem to put my finger on exactly what it is about her. Her way of thinking though, is anything but old-fashioned.

We left the park in the early afternoon and went out in search of food. Sitting across from each other in a tiny restaurant, we ate empanadas and talked about music. She assured me that her taste in music wasn’t cool, but I knew lyrics to songs from almost every band she mentioned so I’m inclined to disagree with her. She is a bit of a mystery to me despite the things we have in common and I like that she isn’t an easy read. I sat across from her, appreciating her company as the conversation returned to poly relationships and the people that we share in common. The time passed quickly and before I knew it, it was time to go.

When we’d finished I walked with her back to where she’d left her bike and said goodbye there, wandering off into the city by myself in search of something new for my apartment. With an orchid in hand, I headed home, thinking about the conversations that we’d had and looking forward to more of them.