Tracy - part 1 of 5

It was December 1994. I was getting over a lot of things. The death of my Grandfather. My latest crush. Getting into a college my father swore we’d never be able to pay for. It was December 1994, or thereabouts, when Jon Martin introduced me to a girl by the name of Tracy. I never intended to fall for her. Jon liked her and Jon and I were friends, pretty damn good friends. But things happen. Things so strange and special and awful and wonderful that they haunt you for years and years, if not forever. This is that story, or at least a portion of it, told in five parts. And now, without further ado, let us begin with part one.

During the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving of 1994 I was crushing on a girl by the name of Sarah who I worked with at the grocery store. It didn’t work out. Sarah was too intelligent, had her head on her shoulders, didn’t need or want insecure, melodramatic me. My friend JonMartin, a sophomore, had met this girl Tracy he kept telling me about. She was going to come with us when we went to go see Nine Inch Nails at the beginning of January.

The first couple times I hung out with Jon and Tracy it seems to me that it was innocent enough. I respected that Jon was after her and put away my attraction to her. She was a pretty girl… funny… and it seemed like we clicked. But that didn’t matter. Jon was my friend and I didn’t want to ruin that.

By the 17th of December, as I noted in my journal at the time (which I kept on paper, long before I had any idea what an “internet” was) I couldn’t hold back my feelings any longer. I liked Tracy and I couldn’t deny it. Other friends were telling me I shouldn’t feel guilty, and that if Tracy picked me over Jon it wouldn’t be my fault. There were rumors circulating back to me that this was in fact the case, that she was feeling the same way about me that I was feeling about her.

On that same day she and a group of friends came Christmas caroling and it was one of the first times I saw her apart from Jon. If I needed any further convincing that smile and voice was it.

Jon, I think, started to notice. Our relationship was getting more and more tense. We were sharing a locker and acting in the same play and driving around a lot but we were bitter. I don’t know. I can’t speak for him. I think we were both angry that the other one was standing in the way.

On Christmas Tracy and I spoke on the phone and let our feelings be known. It was incredibly liberating for me to tell her how I felt and it was the greatest Christmas present in the world for me to hear her reciprocate those feelings. I got off the phone, recorded the whole thing down in my journal and then the phone rang again.

It was Jon.

And Jon told me that he had just bared his all to Tracy, that she was speechless. I was confused because this is all he basically told me. I was even more melodramatic and even more of an overreactor then than I am now. Jon knew me, and he knew how to push my buttons. Whether that was what he was doing or not, I don’t know. But I came out of that conversation with him feeling completely defeated.

I tried to comfort myself in my journal again that night. I wrote:

“Our feelings for each other are clear. Jon’s are confused. Jon admitted he was afraid to be himself around her. Relationships are based on honesty. If you can’t be honest with each other you cannot hope to have a successful relationship. That I’ve learned. From Katie. From Beth. From everyone I’ve ever been interested in. I’ve learned that a good relationship starts with being yourself.”

I was seventeen, convinced this girl could be the love of my life, and grasping at straws. I loved my friend Jon but I wanted so much to believe that she would pick me over him.

Who did she want? Jon? Or Me?