The trip to Rockstown was a significant turning point in Candy’s life. She went to that remote town because that was the only hint from Albert. Not only she put on his present, she also brought his portrait with her. It looks like she had come to the town with high hopes.
However, to her astonishment, she saw a familiar name on a banner right in front of a roadside theater. She entered the tent with caution and disbelief. Soon after she saw Terry up on the stage, apparently drunk, she was struck with nostalgia, and tears were pouring down her cheeks. She remembered their various moments in the past, and their heartbreaking separation inevitably came to her mind.
In fact, Terry’s miserable state made Candy realize that he hadn’t yet got over her, and he had likely regretted his own decision to stay with Susanna. He was here seemingly because he wanted to escape from the cruel reality.
Surprisingly, as soon as Terry had sobered up, thus receiving applause from the audience, Candy walked away before the play ended; in her mind she urged him to return to Broadway and make Susanna happy. She could have stayed behind to talk to him or encourage him directly, but she didn’t. I wonder why, really. Was she avoiding him? Or she didn’t want him to know that she had been here? In Candy Candy Final Story, Candy mentioned in her letter to Terry’s mother, Miss Baker, that she had promised Susanna not to see Terry again. Was that the main reason?
Anyway, when Candy left the theater tent, she wiped her tears and decided to look for Albert, which means that seeing Terry again hadn’t made her forget her original goal of coming to Rockstown.
But Terry’s mother, Miss Baker, followed Candy out. Other than wanting to find someone to share her burden, I believe Miss Baker was desperate to help Terry. She probably thought Candy might be the cure to her son’s prolonged depression. Therefore, she grasped this opportunity to talk to Candy. While Candy didn’t take the credit that Terry could perform again because he had seen her, Miss Baker insisted that Terry loved Candy still, and Candy was the reason why Terry could stand on his feet again.
During her meeting with Miss Baker, although Candy shed tears again because of Miss Baker’s account of her son’s agony, Candy still didn’t go back to the tent to find Terry. Instead, she continued her initial mission the following day, looking for Albert everywhere in town. In other words, rather than reuniting with the man she used to love, who still loved her, she went to find the man whom she had spent more than a year with, not even sure whether he had special feelings for her. In Candy Candy Final Story, Candy wrote to Miss Baker to clarify that she had gone to Rockstown to find someone who had helped her a lot. She essentially told Miss Baker that it was by accident/chance that she had seen her son.
So who was more important to Candy by then? Judging by her actions, the answer couldn’t be more obvious.
When leaving Rockstown by train, Candy was apparently quite disappointed of not being able to find Albert. She thought, it seems that Albert has planned to lead me to Terry… Terry… I came as though I could once again bid you goodbye…
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