While some readers can’t accept what Candy did in Rockstown, thinking that she had given Terry the cold shoulder, Terry thought it must have been his illusion, even though when he had been up on the stage, so drunken that he could barely stand, he had recognized her among the audience, weeping silent tears of grief.
Perhaps he thought that if she had really been here earlier, she would have stayed behind to talk to him. Nonetheless, that ‘illusion’ plus the positive feedback of his performance had pushed him to face the reality. He spent time in solitude to reflect on his life since his breakup with Candy. All these months he couldn’t stop missing her, and staying by Susanna’s side had been painful because he didn’t love Susanna. Discouraged and frustrated with his life, he resorted to drink in hopes of forgetting the agony of his decision to give up Candy.
Some readers think that their breakup had been solely Candy’s decision, but as a matter of fact, before his reunion with Candy in New York, Terry had pondered over the accident and felt guilty to leave Susanna alone in that state. Her leg had been amputated, thus losing her promising career, all because she had wanted to rescue Terry from those falling stage lamps. He couldn’t even tell Susanna’s mother, Mrs. Marlowe, that his heart actually belonged to another woman; when he finally saw Candy, he couldn’t bring himself to show affection to her, nor did he have the courage to inform her of what had happened to Susanna, let alone his original plan to ask Candy to stay in New York.
We couldn’t blame Terry. He was not yet of age, about one year older than Candy? Yet, Susanna’s attempt to commit suicide had been the catalyst for them both to face the truth. Candy had realized that her love for Terry couldn’t measure up to Susanna’s sacrifice for him, and more importantly, she could see Terry’s struggle in his eyes. Terry loved Candy, but he could never deny the fact that he owed his life to Susanna. He wouldn’t be happy choosing one or the other; in short, he had been essentially stuck in a quandary. If he had chosen to stick with Candy, Candy wouldn’t be happy either. Her nature simply didn’t allow it.
Back to the Rockstown scene, when Terry was mulling over all these things in his head inside the empty theatre, he sorted out his tangled thoughts. He had to admit that back then he had compared Susanna to Candy, and he had indeed chosen Susanna over Candy. When Candy had decided to return to Chicago that same night, Terry hadn’t protested nor stopped her. In a sense, he let go of Candy so that she could find her happiness with another man, knowing that he could no longer make her happy. Susanna and her disability would act like a grey cloud hovering over them. I think that was why Terry had asked Candy to promise him to be happy, so Terry had given up his own happiness, and I feel like saluting him.
Even though Terry hadn’t met Candy again in Rockstown, her presence had in fact awakened him. In the end, he knew what he should do and what kind of path he should pursue. In Candy Candy Final Story (CCFS), we learn that Terry would become a successful actor. I wonder if Terry would ever find out that Candy had indeed been to that lousy theatre in Rockstown. Would Terry’s mother tell him? If so, how would he react?
In addition, from his letter to Candy in CCFS, it seemed that Terry still loved her, although “that time” was ambiguous (the letters in CCFS are not necessarily in chronological order, so it’s uncertain when exactly he sent this letter or whether Candy received it). However, it was evident that he didn’t know how to contact her. It wasn’t clear to us whether he had attempted to reunite with her either. Was he trying to numb his feelings by immersing himself into work, hoping to find consolation in his career?
Please click here for related posts.