The last day of winter vacation was
pretty boring. We spent most of the time hanging out, watching
television, and I even managed to join Ryan and Toby in the backyard
for a little football in the snow. Maggie had to go back to work that
day, so it was just the three of us left to fend for ourselves. It was
nice to have a quiet, relaxing day to wind down from all of the
excitement of the previous two weeks.
The only thing that started nagging at me was the way Ryan still seemed
to be unusually quiet. He still joked around with us, and I got plenty
of hugs and kisses, but something just didn't feel right. I was worried
about him and had no idea what could be bothering him. But, again, I
figured he would tell me when he was ready, and if he needed me to
comfort him, I would try my best.
As I lay awake in bed with Ryan that
night before going back to school, although I was disappointed
that our vacation was over, I couldn't help but feel elated
after the wonderful time I had spent with everyone. Christmas had been so perfect.
Everything I'd ever dreamed of. In some sense, I felt like I had found
a new "family." I had never been so happy in my entire life. It made me feel a
little guilty that this was probably my best Christmas ever, even
better than with my grandmother.
fact that I would still have to go "home" next week and face my mother,
and deal with Trent Lomax in the hallways at school, it seemed like
nothing could go wrong or spoil my good mood now. I had spent a
wonderful two weeks with my boyfriend and his family, had fun hanging
out with Cody, put on a great show at the pub (which earned me two
dollars!), and finally, felt a sense of belonging at the McCormack
household. Everything was wonderful.
"Connor, have you and Cody kissed since that first time you went over
to his house?" Ryan suddenly asked, breaking me out of my peaceful
SHIT!!! There went my good
mood. How am I supposed to answer that? Should I be honest? Should I
lie? Is Ryan going to hate me? Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit! I knew I
shouldn't have done that! Why couldn't I just say no?! Maybe I should
just lie ...
"Yes," I whispered.
"When?" he asked, sounding curious, but not angry.
"When I was at his house practicing for the New Year's Eve show," I
"Every time?" he continued to prod.
"Yes," I answered, barely above a whisper.
"Did you like it?" he asked, his voice starting to quiver slightly.
I should just tell him "no," tell him
that I didn't like it ...
"Yes, I did," I replied sheepishly.
"Ryan, I ...," I started to say.
But he cut me off. "Connor, I've been thinking," he said, turning on
his side to face me.
I could see his face in the faint moonlight coming in from the window,
but I couldn't read his expression. Once again, I felt the
dreaded anxiety starting to flood over me. I wanted to just jump out of
bed and go run and hide ... but first stop and get some of that anxiety
medicine from Maggie. Yeah, that's
what I would do. Then I wouldn't have to hear what he was going
to say, just like it never happened, and everything would still be
perfect. Good plan!
But I couldn't move. I was trapped by his gaze. And his eyes revealed
nothing of what he was thinking.
"Connor," he continued, "I realize that all of this is really new to
you. It's new to me, too. And, if you think about it, things between us
have been moving really fast."
"Ryan, I ..."
"Just let me finish," he cut me off again. "I guess it's natural for
you to be curious. I don't think there's anything really wrong
with that. And Cody's not only cute, but he's a really great guy, too.
What I mean is ... well ... maybe we should cool it off for a little
bit, and take some time for you to think about what you really want
before we get any more serious."
Oh no! Oh no! No! No! No!
"Ryan, no, I'm so sorry! I swear to God, I'm so sorry! I won't ever
talk to Cody again. I don't want to break up with you, please!" I
pleaded with him.
"Connor, I'm not angry with you. I just think it would be better if you
took some time to make sure what it is you really want. I don't want
you to regret it later, and I also don't want to end up getting hurt,"
"Ryan, please! I was so stupid! I'm really sorry! I swear! I don't need
time to think. I don't want Cody, I want you! Please, believe me!" I
continued to beg, barely able to hold back the tears at this point.
"Please don't leave me again. I couldn't take it. I don't know what I'd
do if you stopped speaking to me again, or if I couldn't
see you. Please, Ryan, I need
you! I swear, you're the only one I want. I was just stupid! God,
please forgive me!"
"Connor, this won't be like before. I'm not gonna stop talking to you.
I'm not gonna stop being around. I'm not breaking up with you. We just
need to take a little break so we can figure things out. We can still
hang out at school like before, and you can still come over here on the
weekends. Nothing has to change ... we'll always be friends, no matter
what. I just want you to really think about what you want before we get
any more serious in our relationship."
He was saying that we weren't "breaking up," but that wasn't
my mind. To me, it felt like we were breaking up. He was leaving me. I
was going to be all alone again, and it was all because I fucked up ...
AGAIN!!! No! No! No! Please,
God, no! I can't possibly go through this again!
My breathing was becoming ragged. I could feel the panic washing over
me like a tidal wave. My whole body was trembling. I felt like I was
going to throw up. It had been so long since I'd had a panic attack,
and it was happening again. God, I just wanted to die. Why did I have
to kiss Cody and screw it all up? Yeah, Cody was cute, and sweet, and
intelligent. I loved talking with him, and I felt comfortable around
him. Why couldn't I just leave it at that? I wanted to be with Ryan,
not Cody ... but like before, my realization had come too late. There
was no way Ryan could forgive me a second time.
I felt myself breaking apart. I needed Ryan to hold me. I needed him to
tell me how much he cared
about me. I NEEDED RYAN!!!
But then, I felt him get out of bed, and heard the door open as he left
the room. Oh my God! He really is
Just as I was wondering whether or not jumping out of the second-story
window would be enough to kill me and put me out of my misery, Ryan
came back into the room, carrying a glass of water and a couple of
"Here, take these," he said gently, handing me the pills and holding
the glass up to my mouth. "My mom gave them to me to give you. I told
her you were having another anxiety attack."
I gratefully swallowed the pills and emptied the glass of water in one
Then he lay down again and held me, not saying a word until the panic
finally began to subside, my breathing returning to normal. The anxiety
was going away, but the fear
was still there. The fear of being lonely and alone. I couldn't handle
that again. Ryan was the only good thing I had in my life. He was the
only thing that made me feel safe and ... and loved.
"Please, Ryan, don't leave me," I whimpered.
"I'm not leaving you," he said, brushing the hair out of my eyes.
"We're just gonna cool things off for a while. And I want you to think,
His attempt at consoling me was not working. He was leaving me. I
didn't understand what "take a break" or "cool off" meant. For me, it
was just another way of saying that we were over. And if we were over,
then my life was over.
Tears were running down my face, although he most likely couldn't see
in the darkness. I didn't want him to see how much of a wimp I was. How
needy and pathetic I was. But I couldn't help it. Ryan was leaving me
because I couldn't control my stupid teenage hormones. Why did I have
to be such a fuck up and mess up the only thing good in my life?
As those thoughts were running around in my mind, eventually the
effects of the pills Ryan had given me took over, and I fell asleep,
knowing that tomorrow when I went back to school, everything was going
to be different again. The new life I thought I had would be gone ...