Tuesday, February 07, 2006

went with

I've always thought of Marci as being the first and only woman in my life. My wife. The mother of my children. My first kiss. My first date. My first girlfriend. It sounds preposterous, but it's true... Well, mostly true. The fact is that I've started to wonder about all this.

I've started to wonder about Tracy Gumbel.

I still remember the evening that Theresa Schwartz approached me in the parking lot of the Marvin Memorial Library with the news that Tracy Gumbel wanted to "go with" me. Truth be told, I wasn't exactly sure what it meant to "go with" someone... But it turned out that this was basically the eleven-year-old equivalent of dating. A kind of officially recognized relationship with a member of the opposite sex -- except that it didn't involve any of that yucky stuff like kissing or holding hands or talking to one another. In fact, as far as I could gather, "going with" someone didn't even require being within ten meters of each other. So I said, "OK," and Theresa Schwartz skipped off through the front doors of the library -- presumably to formalize the arrangement with Tracy Gumbel.

As I sat upon the black metal railing at the sloped edging of the library parking lot, I dangled my legs and wondered at the mystery of what had just happened. I was "going with" Tracy Gumbel -- not that I found her particularly beautiful or interesting or meaningful... In fact, I remember that it was somewhat the opposite. But there was something interesting about the promise of a relationship. An acknowledgement of acceptance. A banner moment in the life of a sixth grader.

Unfortunately, things didn't work out with me and Tracy Gumbel. The one evening, Theresa Schwartz was strolling up the sidewalk and into the Marvin Memorial Library with a self-notarized verbal contract of relationship -- and the next day Tracy Gumbel and I strolled away, uninterrupted, on our divergent paths that have never again intersected in the two decades since. I don't ever remember a "break-up." I can't recall any kind of conscious decision to talk, or to stop talking... In fact, I honestly have no recollection of any further contact with Tracy Gumbel whatsoever.

So it's somewhat problematic to label my relationship with Tracy Gumbel. Was she, in fact, my first "girlfriend?" Or would actual communication be a prerequisite for a true relationship? Was there a "falling out," or did we ever know enough about each other to "fall into" something? Perhaps Tracy Gumbel thinks I'm a big jerk -- that I never followed through on my verbal "pledge" to "go with" her through life -- and she has been and will forever be spending her days in pain, bitterness, and regret about what might have been. Maybe she's summarized my identity through this interaction (or lack of interaction) and has developed an anti-Eric society and anti-Eric website spewing forth anti-Eric propaganda about my faithlessness and lack of integrity -- even while I've gone on to faithfully and exclusively love just one woman in all the time since that day at the library...

Or maybe I'm just thinking about all of this too much.

4 Comments:

At 8:07 PM, Blogger Marco said...

One day Tracy will type in her own name on google and she will come to the conclusion you're a freak. haha...

 
At 9:19 PM, Blogger Michaël said...

I couldn't help trying Marco's suggestion.
And either you faked the name Tracy Gumbel, or she isn't that famous nowadays...

 
At 8:39 AM, Blogger Eric Asp said...

You have entirely too much time on your hands, Michaël... I imagine that will all change very soon when Baby Belgraver arrives.

 
At 4:11 PM, Blogger seth said...

great stuff!


btw - I can never het that word verification on the first try. Is something wrong with me?

 

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