Tracey, the interloper (part 3)
Though Tracey dropped the charges and I was released, the town I lived in was too small to live it down. My landlady said I had a week to vacate before she seized all of my belongings and sold them on ebay. I wasn’t late on rent or anything – I was just “rapist scum.” I figured this was as good a time as any get my rug business off the ground, so to speak. Before leaving town, I tacked a note on my door for Tracey, letting her know the addresses or the hostels I’d be staying at in Spain and then Morocco. It was a long shot, I knew. But I really wanted to hear from her again.
Getting out of dodge and getting drunk has always proven the best method for dealing with heartbreak, especially in foreign countries where few things remind you of your former self. Maybe I’ll never even come back, I thought. I’ll just wander the mountains, hocking rugs with nomadic Berbers. Crack, go native. Marry into a tribe, change my name, make babies in tents as sand storms rage outside. It’s funny, the things that go through your mind when you’re running away from your problems.
In Madrid, I spent my days wandering the city, stopping in for garlic fries smothered in mayonaise, and lots of Amstel. I smoked packs of cigarettes and tried to keep a diary. I haunted museums and nightclubs, dive bars and public parks. I tried making friends with strangers. I had a one-night stand with an Armenian tourist. I kept putting off Morocco.
It all helped to keep memories of the Tracey situation at bay, until I got her letter:
I don’t know why I’m sending you this or why I even continue to think of you at all. My shrink says I have some odd kind of Stockholm Syndrome, falling for my “captor.” It doesn’t seem to matter to her that you weren’t actually attacking me – my shrink is a fucking quack. My (now ex) boyfriend agreed with her and it led to one or two arguments. It’s probably good that you left town when you did. He was trying to get a lynch mob together to string you up.
In any case, I’ve gone and done something rather rash. I dropped out of grad school and signed up to volunteer in Africa. I love writing, of course – I just can’t stand most other people in my creative writing program. They’re sending me to Morocco to live in a small, tribal village that’s over 50 miles from a toilet. I’m supposed to help educate the women on birth control methods or something. I leave next week and I look forward to it.
Anyway, I thought I remember you saying you were trying to get a carpet business together somewhere in Morocco. Was that bullshit?
I hope this finds you well, Mr. Dupree.
P.S. my favorite season is the summer, you arrogant bastard.
Holy shit, I thought. The hand of fate has intervened. This is meant to be. But where in Morocco would she be camped out? Somewhere obscure, no doubt. I wanted to write back but I knew it wouldn’t get there in time. Besides, she didn’t leave a return address. Well. . . shit. Only one thing left to do. I’m going to Morrocco, I’m going to wander the hills with Berbers until I find Tracey. I booked a flight for Rabat at the travel agency, then went back to my hostel to pack.
As I packed, I felt something strange – a presence in my room. My heart began to race. I pulled the curtain to the side to see a man I didn’t recognize.
“This is for Tracey, you sick fuck,” he said.
Next I knew, I was being dragged by my feet down the hallway, a strange ringing sound in my ears.
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