Trey and Christina: A Modern Retelling of Chaucer’s Epic Poem, Troilus and Criseyde

by The Cowl Editor on October 10, 2019


a young couple embracing
Photo courtesy of

by Erin Venuti ’20

“Okay, but I’m warning you right now, before I start, I might start crying.”

“Seriously, Jeff, stop being so dramatic.”

“Shut up, would you Alison? I’m trying to tell a story.”

“But you haven’t even started yet!”

“All right. Here goes it — the story of Trey, his first love, and how it all just went downhill from there…”

* * *

Our story starts on the first day of college, when Trey and I moved into our room in St. Joe’s hall. We didn’t talk much before school started, but thankfully, he seemed nice enough when we finally met. I have to admit, too, I was a bit worried he’d be one of those obnoxious Chad-types once I found out that his dad was this big-shot alumni on some board of the school. But he was cool.

Once we were all moved in and our parents had cleared out, we both slumped down on our beds in exhaustion.

“So…” I started, without much idea of where I was going to end.

“What time do we have to meet for orientation?” Trey asked.


“Sweet, so we have some time to kill. Wanna grab a coffee?”

“Yeah, sure.”

As we walked to Dunkin’, I asked Trey about his older brother, who was already a senior here.

“Oh yeah, Hector? He’s a good guy, one of my best friends. Actually, he’s one of the OL’s,” he said, excitedly. “Made some questionable decisions, though.”

“Huh?” Couldn’t have been too questionable, if he managed to get a leadership position.

“Yeah, he met his girlfriend during OL training over the summer. They’re disgusting.”

Still confused, I asked, “What do you mean?”

Trey rolled his eyes. “I just think it’s a waste, the whole college relationship thing. I mean, seriously, college is supposed to be this awesome, freeing thing, but then you just attach yourself to another person? It’s foolish is what it is. Really, truly foolish.”

To be honest, I was a bit shocked. “Well, you…definitely feel passionate about relationships.”

Trey laughed. “Don’t tell me you’re one of those hopeless romantics.”

“Nah. I just think you might feel differently one of these days.” We’d reached Slavin at this point. Opening the door, I turned back and added, “You never know.”

We descended the stairs towards Dunkin’ and once we got lost in the sea of other freshmen attempting to do the same thing as us we forgot all about our conversation.

That is, Trey may have forgotten about it. I remembered it, especially after what happened next.

After our caffeine boost, it was just about time to go to Peterson to start orientation. Don’t worry — I’ll skip all that stuff about icebreakers and info sessions (I’m sure you remember how it was for you). Anyway, at lunch, I ended up sitting across the table in Ray from this girl, Christina, who ended up being my orientation buddy. You know, the person that you sit next to during all the circles and talking with while you’re walking from session to session? That’s who we were.

She was quiet, but when she talked she said a lot. After the session where the dean of students (or maybe it was somebody else…I don’t remember) made a comment that a lot of people at PC meet their husband or wife here, we ended up having the same conversation about relationships that I’d had with Trey earlier that day. Turns out she was going through a break up, after her high school boyfriend cut it off over the summer.

“So, I’m not really looking for a relationship right now. I think I need to focus on myself. Maybe sometime in the future,” Christina added, taking a bite of a chicken nugget. Then we both burst into laughter. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to throw out so many cliches…but anyway, what about you? Have anyone back home?”

Oof. Almost as if she knew. “Well, sorta.” So, I told her — but you know all of that, of course.

“Wow,” she said, letting out a breath and collapsing against the back of her chair. “Well, here’s hoping college is at least slightly less dramatic than that.”

“Here’s hoping.”

And in a show of finality and irony, we picked up our plastic cups of pink lemonade and clinked them against each other.

* * *

Back in our room during one of our breaks, Trey told me about this party his brother Hector was throwing at his house later on that night and said I could come.

“Yeah, I’ll come.”

“Nice,” said Trey. “Oh, but I’m going over early to help him set up, so I’ll just text you the address.”

“Um, okay.”

“Nice,” he said again. “Feel free to bring people, too.”

Obviously, my mind went to Christina. “Yeah, sure.”

A few hours later, I found myself walking down Eaton Street with Christina. It was definitely weird, going out for the first time in college, but with a girl. I’d just thrown on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, but Christina had clearly tried hard to make herself look a certain way. Clearly, she didn’t want to look like all the other freshmen girls we’d seen pouring out of Meagher, McVinney, and Ray. She was dressed in all black — black jacket, black jeans, and black boots — and her dark, shiny hair was slicked back in the cleanest ponytail I’d ever seen. Like I said, she was quiet, but she stood out.

At Hector’s house, we found ourselves a relatively empty corner to stand and talk. I was surprised no one was offering us drinks, even though neither of us was holding a cup or a bottle. It was almost as if it had something to do with the way Christina was standing, like she’d already ended every conversation with a stranger before it even started.

Christina was in the middle of telling me a story about her dog when I got a text from Trey: You here?

Yeah, I replied. Looks like the living room. Corner by the window.

Nice. I’ll come find you.

“Sorry,” I said, looking up at Christina. “That was my roommate. He’s coming to find us.”

“Okay,” she said, and continued her story about her dog.

About a minute later, I looked up at the room and scanned the crowd to see if I could find Trey. Just then, I saw him walk into the room and do the same. I waved when I thought he saw me, but he didn’t move towards us or wave back. Instead, he just stood there, staring at something to my right. I glanced over and realized he was looking at Christina, who was completely oblivious to what seemed to be going on with my roommate. I looked back at Trey, who looked like his insides were doing a gymnastics routine.

I did tell him he might feel differently someday. Still, even I didn’t think that day would come so soon.

To Be Continued…