Tracey's Perfect Match
It would seem that by now Tracey Sketchit
would be immune to insults. But that was impossible.
The more you were ridiculed, the more it hurt. You
tried to build yourself up against it, but it made
Tracey had been made fun of as long as he
could remember. His classmates called him "fairy boy"-he
never played sports or roughoused with the other
boys; he spent most of his time drawing,and the few times
he wasn't he was reading. He was sweet and sensitive and
altogether different from the other boys,but it
wasn't his fault.
"Hey,fairy boy!" they would say. "Why don't you
play basketball with us? You'd be a great dunker 'cuz
fairies can fly!"
"Hey, why don't we dress him up in a fairy
"Yeah, he's a girl anyway-TRACEY!"
Why was it boys were teased for having unisex
names but girls weren't?
"Whoops,I forgot! Fairy boy can't fly because
he's too fat!"
"Yeah! THAT'S why he never plays with us-he's
too fat to run!"
Fat jokes. They were the bane of Tracey's
life, and for no good reason. He wasn't even fat,just a tad
chubby, and how times had the doctor explained to a
depressed Tracey that it was his natural build and
he would never be thin unless he starved himself?
Still, innumerable were the times he had left his
But however,the REAL problem was that Tracey
was autistic. That was so shy and introverted. He
couldn't socialize properly,so it was easier for him
never to venture out of Tracey-land. He longed to
have a friend and feel normal around other children,
but no one ever talked to him. They didn't
If someone tried to be his friend than he would be
theirs,but they seemed to think that his being quiet
meant he wanted to be left alone.
He rarely talked to other children;mostly
because of his condition, but also because he was
afraid of being rejected. He had once been told that
his friends "didn't like him and wanted him to stop
following them around." Then they started behaving as
though it were true. He had never gotten over that.
Sometimes the pain of the memory kept him from
falling asleep at night.
That was how Tracey spent his school days-
being insulted,laughed at, and beaten,with no friends
to back him up. Feeling like a freak. Sometimes he
felt so lonely and helpless he thought he might as
well kill himself and escape it all. When he told his
mother this repeatedly she got so upset she took him
to the hospital. They made him wait five hours for
the results of a blood test and concluded that was
nothing wrong with him.
Of COURSE there was nothing wrong with him-
besides the fact that he had autism. But that was to
blame for everything-that was why he had no close
friends,and felt like an outsider, and why people
teased him. When he was diagnosed his parents told
him that autistic children sometimes seemed strange to
other children and were often teased.
Now THAT wasn't fair! He had never seen the
point of making fun of people who were different, but
that was beside the point. This was something he had
no control over and it was ruining his life. The
world hated Tracey Sketchit. On the day he was born God was
on vacation and the constellations were backwards.
When he met Ash and Misty he began to think
differently. He had SOME guts which he couldn't keep
from showing in a bad situation. If the Lapras hadn't
been mistreated, chances are he never would have
talked to them. But he did, and he got what he had
But now,as Professor Oak's assistant,he was
feeling lonely again. What he REALLY wanted was to
meet a girl. He had never had a decent relationship,
and he longed for one.
One afternoon, he was sitting in the park
drawing when he noticed a girl reading on one of the
benches. His eyes stopped fast. She was very pretty-
tall, and slender but curvy, with dark brown hair
falling over her shoulders. She wore a pink ribbon in
The girl's name was Maria Gonzalez. She recog
nized Tracey as the cute kid who always came there to
draw. He looked sweet. He was so plump that she
wanted to hug him.
Tracey was absorbed in his sketches when he
heard a voice.
He turned around and saw Maria leaning over
"Wow,you're really good." she sat down next
to him. "I've seen you around."
"Really? Funny, I've never seen you." He
wondered how he could have missed her. "Do you draw,
"Yup. I wanna be an artist." She pulled a
sketch book out of the totebag she carried.
Tracey looked it over. "Hey, you're good,too!
So you carry sketchbooks around like me?"
"Yeah. I carry some regular books,too. I read a
"I might be an artist, too," Tracey said. "But
I'd also like to be a poke'mon researcher,like my
hero professor Oak. I'm his lab assistant."
"Really? How'd you pull that off?"
"Well, I had these friends I went on a poke'mon
journey with. They knew Professor Oak, and after we
finished traveling they took me to meet him." He
stood up and stretched. "Hey, what's your name?"
"How old are you?"
They sat in the grass and talked for a while-about
poke'mon,books,drawing, what it was like to work with
Professor Oak. It turned out they had a lot in
They felt unusually confident and at ease with each
other. Besides that,they sensed that there was
something the same about them. Something other than
their interests, like they shared a common secret.
"So...do you come here often, Maria?"
"Not really. I don't have anyone to go with."
Tracey smiled. "Now you've got me...I'll see you
They said goodbye and parted ways,each thinking
"He's such a nice guy," Maria thought. "He's
smart, too, and he draws."
She was glad he was shy. That made it easy for
her to talk to him. She felt he would welcome the
attention and not be nasty to her.
"And I finally found a nice one. Most of the
guys who pay attention to me are goofy ones. I'ts like
they think they can hit on me just because I'm pretty!"
She hated guys like that-guys who were too
confident or came on too strong-that always scared
her off. But Tracey was a gentleman. And he was so cute!
He was pretty much her ideal match. She had never
dreamed of meeting someone like him.
Tracey never dreamed of meeting someone like
Maria, either. "She's beautiful," he thought. "Brock
will be so jealous!" (In fact,the next time the group
called Professor Oak he told them all about her.
Brock was grumpy the rest of the day.)
"Stop being such a grouch!" Misty said.
"How can I when I know Tracey's picking up hot
Tracey and Maria became an official couple.
The more time he spent he spent with her, the happier
he became. She made him feel better about himself. He
got over his shyness and forgot his past problems.
Little did he know that he was helping Maria, too.
One afternoon, Tracey and Maria were sitting
by the river. Tracey was painfully aware that he had
told Maria nothing of his sad past. He wondered if he
should mention it or not. But he couldn't get it off
his mind. As he sat staring into the water and
reminiscing, tears began rolling down his cheeks.
"Trace, what's the matter?" Maria asked.
He sniffled. "Well...there's a lot of things I
haven't told you. I've had a rough life."
Pain struck Maria's heart. "You can tell me
"Alright. I'm not sure you'll understand, but
here goes." He took a deep breath and confessed his
story. When he finished he burst into tears on
"And that's it. That's the whole story. I
didn't trust anyone for a long time. I was so shy...so
lonely ..I thought there was no point in living. you changed
all that, Maria. I..I love you. Even if I don't marry
you, I'll always love you. You changed my life...
you've been the answer to all my prayers..." his
voice trailed off. He forgot the rest of the world as he
held Maria in his arms.
"You know something, Tracey?" Maria said
"I've got something to tell you,too. My life has been
the same way. I've got the same condition as you. I
still take medicine for being paranoid. I became
cynical. I thought everyone was cruel and hateful
because I had been hurt by so many people. YOU were
the answer to MY prayers, Tracey. You taught me to
trust people again-more importantly,you're my friend.
The kind of close friend I always wanted and never
had. I never dreamed I'd meet someone exactly like me
who would understand."
Tracey's mouth dropped open and the two kindred
He walked Maria home that night. When they got
to her door she kissed him and then stayed hugging
him. "Goodnight. I love you just the way you are."
She squeezed him tighter. "And don't you dare lose
weight or I'll smack you in the head! You're not fat
and besides that you're so huggable!"
Tracey had never been so happy in his life. All
he had ever wanted was to be loved-just the way he
was. He would never again feel guilty about eating
"I love you just the way you are,too."