Tracey, the interloper (part 5)
The rug business turned out to be a little more difficult than anticipated. My fixer was a ghost. The wholesaler I was supposed to sell to in Boston cancelled his order. I was stuck in Dar-el-Beida with 800 rugs and nothing to do with them. And it was going to be such a wonderful summer.
I was able to unload the rugs to a buyer from Canada, which helped with my losses, but I was still about 10 grand in the red. The only thing to do was go back to Spain, drink for a few weeks and come up with a new plan. Crossing the straits, I got to thinking about poor old Darryl. I talked with my sister about it from the train station, who cheered me up.
“It’s not your fault,” she said. “If you hadn’t come along to traumatize the girl, someone else would have.”
“I just don’t get why she couldn’t have waited for the guy to die. He clearly didn’t have much time left.”
“Yeah, but when you think about it, if you haven’t loved someone for years and you’re just playing the role, you may not want to wait around to watch them die.”
“I guess not.”
I felt bad for Darryl, doomed as he was, but I was starting to understand Tracey a little bit better. She’d probably felt stuck in their high school sweethearts role and maybe the trauma of meeting me had provided her the psychological opening to shake up her life. I pulled their engagement ring out of my satchel and wondered what I should do with it. “Maybe I should go look for her,” I said aloud, to no one in particular.
It didn’t take as long as it should have to track down where Tracey was volunteering. I had my lawyer, stateside, get the name of the organization she was volunteering with. From there, it was a little bit of smooth-talking to girl who ran their field office and I had the name of a village in North-Central Morocco.
When I got to the dusty village however, with maybe 400 people living there, Tracey was nowhere to be found. There were a couple other volunteer types who said Tracey had come and gone within a couple of days.
Well shit, I thought, how am I supposed to give her back her ring now?
I thought about going back to Madrid, but when I realized it would only mean more trouble, I decided to return home. Chasing a girl I didn’t really know just didn’t seem like it was going to help me get my life back on track.
In the end, I don’t know what I would have told her. She was an intriguing woman, who the universe had dropped into my life, but I couldn’t say what she wanted or who she was. I certainly had no interest in becoming involved with her. I just felt like maybe she had something to tell me, and I wanted to know what it was. I guess her disappearance was a message in itself.
As for their engagement ring, I held onto it, thinking maybe Tracey’d come back for it some day. Eventually, I tried giving it to a girlfriend, but when I told her the story behind it, she imploded. Some might say the ring is just bad luck, but I know better. It’s more a tribute to bad decisions.
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