Tracy - part 3 of 5

Our first date was on a Friday night, December 30th 1994. We went to dinner at the 99 Restaurant in Lowell. I was so nervous I locked my keys in the car and I had to call my father to get them out. Tracy laughed and she got me to laugh too. And it wasn’t too embarrassing when my Dad came into the 99 and tossed the keys across the foyer. Not too embarrassing at all. Really, honestly, it didn’t matter. It turned out to be one of the only truly perfect nights of my life.

After dinner we went to the Route 3 Cinema and saw the movie Mixed Nuts with a group of friends. I tried to hold her hand or put my arm around her but she stopped me. I wasn’t sure why but she did something to reassure me or else I probably would have exploded with confusion.

When the movie was thru and we had finished chatting with the friends who had sat across the way from us we went back out into the cold and sat in my car, waiting for it to warm up. We held hands and we talked. Our heads drew close and I think we sat like that for a while, with our foreheads resting against each other, not noticing the crowds leaving the theatre, not noticing anything except each other. She was probably noticing that I hadn’t kissed her. I had never kissed anyone. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Luckily, she made the move first, pressing her lips to mine. It was a strange thing, our lips and tongues intertwined. A strange thing but a great thing. My first kiss.

“Love Will Keep Us Alive” by the Eagles was playing on the radio. To this day I can’t listen to that song without remembering that moment. We sat in the warming car, kissing, the mix-tape I had made her providing the soundtrack, and then I made my second stupid move of the night. My elbow accidentally hit the horn.

Moment ruined. But not the night.

We left the theatre parking lot and parked somewhere else for a while, kissing some more. It was late when I dropped her off at her house and went home. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to take her with me.

The next day I went to the comic book store to tell Jerry and Diane my great news but they didn’t want to hear anything about this girl that was splitting Jon and I apart. They wouldn’t even listen when I said that I wasn’t going to badmouth Jon. I just wanted to share my happiness with someone. They had seen me depressed for so long… It hurt when they wouldn’t join in my celebrating.

It was New Year’s Eve though and I had a girlfriend. That night we went to Jon’s house and I kept calling my parents to bargain for more time. They didn’t want me staying out past midnight on New Year’s Eve. “What was the point then?” I asked. “Midnight’s what New Year’s is for.” They finally relented though, and I was able to stay at the party for the big sheebang.

Shortly after midnight I gathered Jerry and Diane and Tracy and we loaded up into my car and took off. I dropped Jerry and Diane off first and started towards Tracy’s house, a little disappointed I hadn’t even had the chance to kiss her. We parked at Laughton’s, a garden store in North Chelmsford across the street from her street and for the second night in a row that girl kissed me and I just thought no kiss could be better than hers. I had no basis for comparison but I was convinced. It was even harder to drop her off that night but I did and I went home and I went to sleep.

Vacation was winding up and I had my cousin Melissa’s birthday party to go to that Sunday. I swore I’d get to see Tracy again though. By midday I was jonesing. After the party I drove back to Chelmsford and hung out as she finished her shift at Dunkin Donuts. When she was off we drove across the street and grabbed dinner at Burger King. We both had Italian Chicken sandwiches, I think. In their parking lot we capped off the most amazing week of my life thusfar with more kissing and a question I never thought I would get to ask going into senior year.

She asks me, “Who are you going to the prom with?” And I answer, “No one” stupidly. Then, getting the hint, I ask her, “Do you want to go with me?” She smiles and says yes. We kiss some more and I take her home and I drive back toward my own house. School was back in session the next day. I couldn’t wait to tell everyone what had happened over break. Life couldn’t get much better.

But I was wrong. Life could get better. But before it did, it was going to get worse.

In regards to love and girls in particular, it was about to get a lot worse.