Ryan St. Germain

Tag Archive: Emily

Turning Points

Madison and I sat together having Sunday brunch, talking about work, about the end of my last relationship and what’s happening in my life now. She’s been a good friend to me, listening when I needed it and when she offered the distraction of meeting at a mutual friends place for brunch, I was happy to take it. She asked me what I’d been doing to keep myself busy over the weekend and I told her.

“So do you mean friend or friend“, she asked, eyeing me sideways.

I’d had someone spend the night and it was really nice having company but it had also brought about a sense of guilt, which was quite unreasonable given that I’m no longer with Emily.

We’d spent the late afternoon in the park, where I sat and taught her a little bit about playing poker after we’d picked up a deck of cards. I shuffled the deck, noticing how the sun made her fair hair glow and her pale eyes sparkle. Her skin was sun kissed and her smile was full of warmth and kindness and when she aimed it at me, it made me feel alive. We parted ways after a few hands, but she came around to mine later in the evening and I made a simple dinner for us. We ate in one of the empty rooms of my apartment, laughing about the absurdity of it and it was a much needed escape from the sadness and fog that had been clouding my brain. We sat on the balcony, trading stories about life, love and loss as the light disappeared behind the rooftops across the street. We had a moment sitting out there in the dark, neither of us wanting to break the silence. That night we fell asleep together on the couch watching ‘Firefly’ and that too was nice, but it also left me with the misguided feeling that perhaps I was doing something wrong.

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By the Light

Sometimes people ask me why I kept trying with Emily. Orion said to me not that long ago that I often linger when I should let go; I can’t disagree and it’s hard to explain why. It’s hard to explain why Emily was so important to me, which is maybe in and of itself the reason; because there isn’t any one specific quality that is responsible for my having loved her that I could point a finger at and say ‘That. That is why I stayed’.

I can tell you this though; there is one moment that comes to mind when things are bad. Every time I’m angry or sad, or upset there is a memory that comes to mind and makes me feel like I should keep trying. It’s also the moment that comes to mind when I’ve been happiest with her. Maybe it’ll seem silly to you but this is it:

 She is coming down the escalator the day we finally met in person. I see her nervously clutching the rail as I wait at the bottom and I know it’s her before I see her face. Her eyes meet mine and she smiles and her smile is filled with all the time that’s passed from the moment that we started talking until this one. I meet her at the bottom and we hug and she’s shaking, or maybe that’s me.  We hold each other so tightly and nothing else in the entire world matters.

That moment is about more than just finally meeting, it’s what we overcome to arrive at it. There were so many more obstacle in front of us than there are now and none of it held us back, none of it stopped us, nothing was impossible no matter how improbable ; we found a way to be together. We lived in different countries, had separate lives thousands of miles apart, she was married and we overcame everything that stood between us which is exactly what it felt like when I held her in my arms that day.

Maybe it’s foolish; it certainly feels that way sometimes, but certainly not more than giving up because of a fight over bills or what to have for dinner feels. It isn’t need that kept me with her and It isn’t the easy comfort that keeps people together long after the spark has faded because it’s never really been easy. It’s knowing that we’ve been through worse and we’ve come so far and despite the list of sound reasons we could have given up in the past we didn’t and we found a way to make it work. Maybe we expected it to be easier when we found ourselves living together and in many ways it was, but in many other ways it was just the beginning and all the normal challenges were still ahead of us. You have a high expectation for how easy things will be comparatively when you overcome obstacles and sometimes the expectation doesn’t match the reality.

I know that a disagreement over what to eat or what movie to watch or who’s paying more of the bills are always about more than that. So was that moment though, the one I mention above. It’s that moment that comes to mind when I was happy with her. It’s that moment that comes to mind when I’m sad.

People will tell you that these sorts of memories usually fade or pass. They’ll tell you that you’ll replace them with new ones that you make with someone who is better for you and maybe they are right. I’ve never had a moment and what it stood for make an impression on me as great as that one did though and I’ll admit it’s been hard to put behind me.  I have a feeling that any time I think of her, it’ll be there, somewhere, in my head, in my heart, reminding me of why I stayed so long. It’ll make me wonder if I gave up too soon, it’ll make me wonder if she did.

That’s it. That moment, what it stood for, everything that it took to arrive at it and all the challenges that we overcame to be together; that is what I’m giving up, in giving up on her. That’s the hello that’s kept me going, even after most reasonable people would have told me that I should say goodbye.

That’s all that I have to say about Emily and this is where that story ends.

 

Put Light around her in your hearts.”

-Margaret Atwood

 

à l’instant

The doors to the balcony stood open, inviting the night air inside. I sat in the chair in I’d placed in front of them and Emily was on my lap. The street below us was quiet; no horses or cars or people could be heard. I looked out at the single street light and slid a hand between her legs, feeling the warmth of her bare back against my chest. It was still summer in New Orleans, but late enough in the season that the night brought some reprieve from the heat.

I pressed my lips to her neck and glanced over her shoulder to see if anyone was watching. We were just inside the doorway so people from below wouldn’t see us but there were many windows that might have given a clear view of what was happening. A light breeze blew through the tree that hung over the tiny street and it shook the leaves, which rustled gently providing the only sound I could hear other than Emily breathing.

She sank back against me and asked me if she could come; I didn’t answer her right away. I felt her body tense and her leg tremble as she pressed her toes into the old, worn wood floors. I whispered into her ear and she shook, crumpling in to me.

The clouds that crept slowly in front of the moon were a vibrant white against the dark blue of the midnight sky; I looked at them as I took measure again of the feeling of her body against mine. I held her in my arms and she rested against me, breathing heavily, trying to find herself again. I kissed her cheek when she turned it toward me and I wanted that moment to stretch on forever.

Good Girl

I spotted her coming down the escalator as I approached the bottom of it. I recognized her legs, her posture, even the dress she was wearing and I knew it was her before I even saw her face. She looked up at me and smiled, recognizing me too. This was the first time that we met, though we’d spent a few months getting to know each other by way of the internet after crossing paths online thanks to a mutual friend. It seemed a little crazy that she should travel over a thousand miles to visit me but at the same time it made perfect sense. We knew before ever touching that when we did it would be addictive and that meeting was a dangerous idea, but we did it anyway.

She came down the last steps dragging her suitcase behind her and we wrapped our arms around each other. She rested her head on my shoulder and we held each other tight. We’d been waiting for this moment for a few weeks, suffering because of the way time dragged on in the last few days leading up to it. She trembled in my arms or maybe it was me that was shaking. I took her suitcase and as we walked away she clutched my arm so tightly and pulled us close together. I looked at her, taking in every little detail as we exited the airport on the way to my apartment.

Emily is exactly what I’ve always imagined when using the word ‘lithe’. Her delicate collar bones peeked out from under a pale pink shirt and the smooth skin of slender arms led down to hands that felt needed to be held. I’d seen her shapely legs in pictures and I loved them even more seeing them in person. Her eyes swirl with blue and green and grey and even flecks of gold; her lashes are delicate and her eyebrows add a hint of seriousness to an otherwise soft, sweet face. Her hair was swept back out of her face and it fell over one shoulder; it’s a cool brown blond, with hints of honey and sunflower. Her bottom lip is slightly fuller than the top and when she smiles, it kills me.

We dropped her things of at my apartment and while walking through the French Quarter together, she reached out and ran her fingers through leaves that poured through a wrought iron fence . She did it again in the park, touching the flowers and leaves as we passed through Jackson Square. She beamed at the crepe myrtles and marvelled at the way the branches of the old oak trees crookedly plunged and rose, touching one of them as we passed beneath. I can’t see those trees or flowers without thinking of the way she ran her fingers over them.

When we returned to the apartment I followed her throughout the long hallway, watching the way she moves, studying her gait, appreciating everything about her. Light poured in through the courtyard, through the windows and on to the brick and plaster of the old walls. We climbed the stairs to my second floor apartment and as her dress moved, I slide a hand beneath the flowing fabric. She laughed a little in disbelief, but she slowed her pace and met my eyes for an instant in the reflection in the mirror that stood against the wall at the top of the steps. Her hips moved ever so slightly as my hand continued on.

We spent three days together when she visited me the first time and it wasn’t enough.

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