It might be helpful to have a paper and pencil handy as you read this tale ...
Tracy and Stephanie were best friends in college, and after college, they became roommates. Through Luke, another of Tracy's friends, Tracy met "an amazing group of guys — artists and musicians and wild men. I was just floored by how well I fit in with these people. A new experience for geeky little me."
Stephanie had just broken up with her boyfriend and needed some cheering up, so Tracy said she'd bring her to one of the parties the guys held every weekend.
Luke was at the party with Jake, the leader of the group. Tracy had crushes on both of them.
"It was right after college," says Tracy. "You remember how that was." Tracy flirted with one, then the other. "In the space of one long night, it looked like I had a chance with both of them, if only I'd make my choice. So a couple of days later, I did. I chose Luke."
Too late. Luke was now with Stephanie.
Tracy called Jake to give him the news. He told her he was as upset as she was because he wanted Stephanie, too!
At this point, it's Stephanie 2, Tracy 0.
The next day, Stephanie dropped Luke and picked up Jake. Luke was now available, but before Tracy could move in, he was with another girl.
"We all somehow managed to stay friends through the whole muddle. And that was that."
That was decidedly not that.
A few months later, Stephanie went into the hospital to have her tonsils removed. For a few days, she could only communicate by writing notes. In one of those notes, she told Tracy that she didn't really want to be with Jake; she really wanted to be with her old boyfriend. (See paragraph two.)
Somehow, the note was never destroyed, never torn up and deposited in the trash, and it hung around the girls' apartment, staying in full view long enough for Jake to find it when he was visiting Stephanie.
Whose fault was that? Tracy blamed Stephanie. Stephanie blamed Tracy. (I blame both of them.)
Jake blamed Tracy. He said she should have spared him the humiliation of finding the note and told him. Tracy said there wasn't any way to tell him without looking like a jealous witch who wanted him to break up with Stephanie.
"The conversation got heated, to say the least. We were both strong personalities with wicked verbal skills, and we both said things that probably shouldn't have been said."
Tracy and Jake didn't speak for two years. Then Stephanie went back to Luke, and they proceeded to have noisy sex in the apartment she still shared with Tracy. At which point, Tracy ended her friendship with both of them. After Stephanie and Luke broke up, Tracy reconnected with both of them and Jake, too.
"Turns out Jake and I were much better-suited for each other than for anyone else. We were together for what I still consider the best year of my life. And I was never sure whether I should thank Stephanie, or resent her, or what."
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