She couldn’t let him break her heart, not again, she decided in an instant. “Hey Ryan, thanks for coming over,” she said. “It really means a lot to me that you came to check on me. I think I need to be alone now, though.”
She held her breath, praying for him to insist he wouldn’t leave her alone, ever again. She waited for him to tell her that he was sticking right by her side, that he loved her and love conquered everything.
He looked at her sadly, shoulders hunched forward and what looked like tears in his eyes. “All right,” he finally said. “It’s probably best anyway. I’ve hurt you for long enough.”
But wait, she thought. That wasn’t what she wanted at all. She wanted to reach for him, stop him, and beg him to stay. They could make it work. They could hide it – all their lives if she had to – hide it from his parents. If that’s what he needed to make him happy. Even if he was ridiculous and a mama’s boy and slightly messed up in the head. Even if – she would do whatever it takes to have him. She would risk it all – something he had once promised her he would do.
But of course all of his promises thus far had been empty, and that one especially stuck out for Erykah. “I am willing to put it all on the line for you,” he had said. She shook her head and suddenly felt naked before him, wearing only her white towel. She shivered and wrapped her arms around her knees.
“Thanks for everything, Ryan.” Why did this feel like a breakup? And even though she was the one that asked him to leave, why did she feel like she was the one getting left?
He leaned over, kissed her on the forehead, a gesture she once had found endearing but now seemed belittling. Then he was gone, and she was alone – again. Story of her life with him. She heard her mother’s voice again. “That’s what you get. That’s what you get for putting all your eggs in one basket, Erykah.”