Tracy - part 4 of 5

School started up again and I started two new classes. I had Psychology and Tracy was in my class. That was totally unplanned. I also had decided to take a graphic design for the second half of the year and I had that with Jon’s friend Stander. For the next twenty four days conflicting signals and information from the two of them during those two classes, one at each end of the day, would bring out the worst in me: my nervousness, insecurity, and resentment. The first time I could smell bad things in the air was at the Nine Inch Nails concert on January 5. It was the Further Down the Spiral tour, the 1995 extension of the Self Destruct tour and that was what was about to happen to this unique relationship I had forged over the past month. It was about to self-destruct.

On the trip to the Worcester Centrum to see NIN JonMartin reasserted his right to the front seat. Tracy ended up in the back seat with Will (a friend of Jon’s and one of Tracy’s ex-boyfriends) and Stander. The trip was uneventful but when we got to the concert we were all seperated because I had to take Stander back to the car after security wouldn’t let him in with the long wallet chain he was wearing.

The whole night Tracy seemed distant and uninterested. I don’t know that she really wanted to be there. Maybe she had said yes to Jon’s invite way back when because she thought it sounded cool and because every girl during that period had some degree of lust for Trent Reznor, the frontman of the band. I don’t know. Maybe she was pissed at me for not getting her the front seat. I was distracted the whole chaotic night. Here I was at my first concert, seeing one of my favorite bands, and I spent most of the time just worrying about what was going through my girlfriend’s head.

That night when it came time to drop her off she was obviously very tired. I wanted to walk her to her door or kiss her goodnight but she told me to just go home, that she would see me tomorrow. I know that it was probably said out of lack of energy and a desire to just get to bed but it was the first time I ever felt really hurt by her and melodramatic little me blew everything out of proportion from then on.

Over the next few weeks we had a few good moments but more than a couple bad ones. It was if the stress of being back to school was too much for our little bond. That’s all I chaulked it up to for a long time. There were other forces at work behind my back though, or so I’ve been told and that probably wasn’t helping. The only clue I had back then were Stander’s constant taunts that he was hanging out with my girlfriend more than I was.

At least twice Tracy asked me to write a list of things that I liked about myself. Those were further signs. I could tell she was setting me up for something. What, I wasn’t sure.

It was coming to a head during a rough time where I’d begun rehearsing for the children’s play I was going to be in. Jon and I were getting along less and less, even though we were going to rehearsals together and still saw each other at the comic book store from time to time. Both my relationship and the friendship I’d risked for it were falling apart.

My friendship with Jon was put on hold for the forseeable future one afternoon when I neglected to wait around to give him a ride home after a rehearsal that I didn’t need to be at. I don’t think we spoke again, even though we were in the same damn play, for four or five months.

One afternoon after school, but before I was due for rehearsals, Tracy’s friend Amity moderated a discussion between us at Tracy’s house. I think Tracy wanted to break up with me then but Amity, I don’t know, she was so damn nice, she was trying to help us make it work. At the end of the discussion, for the first time in a while, I hugged my girlfriend. I went to rehearsal thinking things were about to get better.

I was, of course, mistaken.

On Wednesday January 25, I was so worried that the axe was about to come down that I wrote her a note professing my feelings, letting her know how I hoped to change, to be more secure, to be a better boyfriend. I handed it to her after Psychology class that morning and hoped it would work.

As school let out she caught me in the hallway by the music rooms and she handed me a note of her own and then hurried off. I sat down, back against the wall, my huge art portfolio and backpack beside me, and I read her note.

“That was then and this is now.” She wrote. “Some other time. Some other place… I know you won’t understand right away but I hope in time you will.”

Leaving my belongings behind I rushed down the back stairwell toward the parking lot, hoping to catch her. The jeans I was wearing had a hole in the pocket and my keys slipped out and fell to the ground. I was going to miss her. I almost just let my keys sit there.

But I didn’t miss her. I caught up to her and Amity and I said, ” I do understand” and we hugged and she drove off and I marched back into the school to collect my stuff, playing the part of the brave little soldier.

“I do understand.”

I was so full of shit. I didn’t understand and I don’t think I fully understand even now. I was just being typical stupid me. I needed a swift, clean resolution and I got one.

Or so I thought.