Tracy - part 5 of 5
The day we broke up may have been the end of the Chris and Tracy story for her… in fact I am almost certain that it was, for within a month she was dating Shawn and she’s been with him, to the best of my knowledge, ever since… The day we broke up may have been the end of it for her, but for me it was just the beginning of another chapter, another long and drawn out chapter that wouldn’t really be over for three years.
My first journal entry after the breakup was on January 28. I was already trying to do damage control, listing the girls I thought I might stand a chance with. I had gotten used to the idea of having a real girlfriend and I thought getting another one real quick would be an easy solution to my heartache.
On February 9th I made mention of the fact that I liked this girl Megan to my friend Dan. I’d probably mentioned in passing a couple of times before that but that day I really started in on him. Valentine’s Day was coming up and I wanted a Valentine. I really wanted Tracy but I was willing to settle for anyone I could get. I was too chickenshit to say anything to Megan so Dan did. And so I had a new girlfriend.
A new girlfriend I never went on a date with and never saw outside of school until the day we broke up.
The quick fix hadn’t worked and I kept trying, but only trying in that Chris way, where trying means thinking about something and not actually doing it. The end of senior year came round and I didn’t have a Prom date. Tracy, who I had asked before we broke up, was now going with Shawn. Most of the junior girls were already going with people and all the girls in my class had had a date since probably September. As a last ditch effort I asked Megan, even though we were broken up. She said no.
One afternoon after the seniors were done with classes, but before prom and senior dinners and graduation and all that, I stopped by the school to visit with friends. Amity, Tracy’s friend, was pacing the sidewalk waiting for her boyfriend Pete to show up. She was bitching about how if “they” didn’t show up soon “they” weren’t going to be getting anything on Prom night. Or something to that effect. I would soon ascertain that “they” were supposed to come and take her to the doctor to fill a prescription for birth control pills. I believe that’s how it went. I didn’t know who the other half of “they” was until Tracy walked out of the school. “They” was Pete, and Shawn.
Here was the girl who was supposed to be my Prom date and she was about to go buy birth control pills with her new boyfriend. You can appreciate how that might jade a boy. When Pete and Shawn pulled up and Tracy and Amity got into the car I watched them go and I seriously considered not going to Prom at all.
I went to Prom by myself and when I say by myself I don’t mean in the sense that my brother went by himself with a group of friends, I mean I literally went by myself. My Dad drove me into Boston to where the shindig was to take place and waited around at a local bar till the night was through. I sat at a table surrounded by a bunch of athletes and their gorgeous girlfriends. They were all very nice to me and at least I got one thing out of the night and that was that the people I sometimes mistook for assholes weren’t all bad after all. A couple of the girls even told me they’d dance with me if I wanted.
Eventually I made my way over to the table Tracy and Amity and all of my friends were sitting at. Tracy tried pulling me onto the dancefloor when they played “The Electric Slide” but I couldn’t do it. It would’ve been hard enough to dance with her during a normal dance but a line dance… forget about it. I was too embarrassed and I left the area and tried to avoid it for a while because seeing her there with Shawn was just too damn much for me.
Graduation came and when I went up to receive my diploma Tracy was sitting by the stage with the rest of the school band and she cheered for me with them. It made me smile.
I saw her a couple times that summer when I went down the road to play disc (Ultimate Frisbee) on Sundays with a group of friends and then college came and I began a series of infatuations and relationships that would redefine that term “bad idea.” I had my roommate try to help me go after a girl I really liked and in the process he ended up going out with her. I ruined the one truly good friendship I had with a girl on campus by being obcessive, overreacting me. I dated a girl for three months because I felt obligated to, and pressured to by my friends. I went to North Carolina to try and hook up with a chick I met over the internet. I lost my virginity to a black girl with red hair on February 1, 1997 and she broke up with me two days later.
In between all of these bad idea relationships my thoughts always drifted back to the one girl who I just couldn’t get over.
There were signs here and there, things that made me think that one day she might leave him, come to her senses and come back to me. Near the end of Senior Year I was given a cheer-me-up booklet by a group of my female friends and there was this poem in it which I thought one of them wrote (but it turns out was written by someone of note who I cannot recall at this moment) and the only person who could have wrote it was her, (“Someday I’ll find you. Moonlight behind you… Someday I’ll find you again.) There was only one page of my journal I ever let her read and I gave it to her when we were dating because it was a piece I had written about her. One of my first summers during college I saw her and saw that piece of paper still sitting in the back seat of her car.
I was grasping for straws with one hand and not letting go of my futile hopes with the other.
In the late fall of 1997 after a quick reunion with the redheaded black girl my thoughts once again drifted back to Tracy. They drifted all over the place really. I realized how much I had fucked up in the ways of love and that I needed to figure out what I wanted. But everything that I thought I wanted in a relationship was based off of that singular experience I had with her. During the blue funk of 97 I did a lot of self examination and what it came down to was that I had to see her one more time.
I hoped and prayed that it might work, that she might be single. I found her E-Mail address and I sent her a note and we set up a time to get together over winter break. She didn’t mention Shawn so I thought I might really, finally get what I had been trying to work my way back to for almost three years.
I picked her up in the same gray 85 Tempo that I had on our first date. We ate at the same restaurant. The Route 3 Cinema was closed now, or close to it, but there was a new cinema right down the street. None of this was planned exactly, but there really isn’t much to do in Chelmsford. We ate and we talked and we saw the movie As Good As It Gets and as I was driving her home she asked if I wanted to come and hang out with her and a couple of old friends at Shawn’s place later that week.
She might’ve mentioned Shawn earlier in the day but it was at that moment that I really felt the last nail was driven into the coffin.
I did go over to Shawn’s that week and I had a good time seeing Tracy again and Amity and for a little while, Shawn and Pete. And I left with a good feeling in my heart, a strange feeling, but a good one.
You see… she wasn’t the same person. She was a good person, still a firecracker, a wonderful spirit… but she wasn’t what I’d built up in my mind and really… after all I’d been through… she wasn’t what I was looking for anymore. I drove home, went to sleep, and for the first time in three years the spectre of that one perfect relationship left me alone.
Three months later the woman who would be my wife told me of her feelings for me and I was actually ready to try something new.
Life is crazy. The great Author in the heavens is weaving this epic novel of his and I don’t think he knows where it’s going half the time. We just have to accept that wherever his pen takes us, that’s where we go. He’s been at this for a while and you just have to trust his judgement.
Or, life is crazy and there’s no great Author and life is really just what we make of it. This whole Tracy experience has been the source of great pain for me, but also great joy. I was blessed to have known her and it all worked out.
Sometime during the closing weeks of my senior year JonMartin and I reconciled. I joined the band he had been trying to start with Stander and, though that venture eventually failed, Jon and I have been friends ever since.
I didn’t get the girl I thought was the girl of my dreams, but I got the girl who really was the girl of my dreams. I’m sure Tracy is happy too, wherever she is.
Tracy was an amazing girl and I thank whatever forces brought her into my life. I wouldn’t be the same guy today if it weren’t for her sharp wit and her strength. If she ever reads this, I’d like her to know that I thank her very much and that I wish her the best.
And I thank you, intrepid reader, for taking this journey with me. The ghost of Tracy and I will probably haunt me a great many more times before I am through with this Earth but it helped to tell this story this week and I hope that you got something out of it too.
Thus ends this story but as always there is…