I Meet Rick, My Admirer From Afar
The reviewer in the 4/16 issue of The Mirror was right: “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” put on by Roanoke students from April 1 through 3, was a long, ponderous play. Not even the sensuality of Maggie in a slip could make it flow any faster.
Coincidentally, one of the cable channels showed the movie, with Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman, at around the same time Roanoke put on the play. So Clarissa and I taped the movie, and watched it after seeing the play.
(We noticed that the part about Brick’s best friend Skip being a possible homosexual was changed completely for the movie, and instead the controversy had something to do with football.)
The movie was also long and ponderous, something we could barely watch all the way through. I think it took us more than one day to watch it.
This showed us that the drag of the play had nothing to do with the actors, since if even Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman couldn’t energize it, nobody could. It was the play’s fault.
As for the Roanoke production, the people with the two lead roles–Ned and Melissa–had just recently broken up.
I found Cindy and a bunch of her high school friends, and sat with them. I ended up sitting close to the right end, with Clarissa to my right and a guy on my left (who, by the way, liked it when Melissa wore only a slip.)
He wasn’t handsome; his face and the shape of his ears reminded me of a weasel. But I guess I’m a sucker for a classy coat, especially when the wearer is a nut: His coat was long, stylish and black.
He looked at me when he first sat down beside me. When they had to make room for a latecomer to the group, he said he didn’t want to get up. He constantly looked in my direction. Even with Melissa-in-a-slip onstage, he kept looking my way.
He was hyper and whispered comments to me during the play; I didn’t mind, because they were far more interesting.
During the first intermission, we both left for a break, but after we both sat down again, he tried to start up a conversation: where did I go to high school, etc.
During the second act, he started stroking my arm! I froze in disbelief. Some strange guy making the moves on me? The blood must’ve all drained from my face and then rushed back into it.
During the second intermission, I decided to stay there and see what would happen. He soon started up a conversation with me again, and asked,
“Do you have any boyfriends? girlfriends?”
I said, “No boyfriends.”
I looked at him strangely, which he took as a no, and I said, “I’m not that way.”
“Do you date?”
“Yeah, when I can.”
“Are you free next weekend?”
“Oh, right. How about the weekend after that?”
After the last act, he went up to his friend Ralph Z. and said something to him.
Ralph looked at me, and said to him, “How’d you do that?”
“I don’t know,” the guy said. “I should do cartwheels.”
The guy came back and we finally exchanged names; his name was Rick. Cindy saw us talking. Later, she asked me,
“How do you know him?”
“I just met him,” I said. “I must be a fast worker.”
“Oooh,” she said.
Cindy invited Clarissa and me to go with them to Rocky Rococo’s Pizza in S–. I stayed with this group until about midnight or so.
Either Rick was on a huge sugar rush, or he was an incredibly hyper person. He told me he wasn’t usually like that.
I felt like I was in shock, from the second intermission until I went to bed that night. It had been a year and a half since this kind of thing had happened to me, and it was great.
The counselor had just said that a replacement would make it easier to forget Shawn, and here I accidentally found one possibility from another college (the S– tech school).
He’d asked for my extension number, said he’d remember it, and said he’d call to set up a date and time. So when the phone rang at 2:30am, I thought it was him.
Instead, it was some guy named Pat looking for a girl in pink whom he met at the Zeta party that night. I wore pink to the play, but never went to the party. Somebody had given him the wrong number. It was weird.
Possibly on the same night, I got another strange call:
I said, “Hello?”
Some guy said, “Who is this?” The voice was not familiar.
I had heard that it’s unwise to answer such a question when a stranger calls, so I said, “Who is this?” I mean, come on, it could have been a stalker or the obscene phone caller.
He said, “No, who is this?”
“Who is this?”
“Who is this?”
Somehow, we finally got past that and discovered he had the wrong number.
On Wednesday, April 7, Clarissa and I signed up for a room in Krueger Hall. We decided to move there so we could be near Pearl, Sharon, Rachel, Cindy, Catherine and the others. Then Pearl and Sharon signed up for the new Phi-Delt living suite in Hofer instead. Dang it!
The 11th was Easter. Clarissa and I spent the break the same as after Winterim, except Clarissa was invited to church by Wendy’s family (they discovered they were related). They went to the little UCC church on the corner of an intersection near Roanoke, a landmark for us students.
This was my 4/12/93 diary entry for 11:45pm:
I think I see now: techno appeals to one side of me, and alternative and ‘beautiful’ music to the other. Techno is deep and subconscious, and alternative is poetic and Romantic–especially with the Victorian way it seems to be obsessed with death.”
(Note that Romantic is capitalized: I didn’t mean romance, but the Romantic period of art, literature and music.)
In those days, you see, alternative was not just a different kind of guitar style or the vent for teen angst: It was often crafted with wonderful melodies and lyrics. You could say it was New Wave mixed with alternative.
After discovering that some of my favorite bands from those days, and my favorite style of alternative music, were actually from the goth genre, I guess I was “goth” long before I heard of it.
For example: Peter Murphy, New Order, the Cure, and Siouxsie and the Banshees (which I got into in 1995 or 1996). I just heard a Joy Division song which also fits right in with these bands, and they’re considered goth as well.
Ending Friends-with-Benefits for Good–After One Last Time
In the wee hours of 4/13/93, Shawn finally called and we settled things. I told him how much he upset me, though I did so nicely, so he’d know and not think it was a little thing.
He said he had been trying to look at me in a positive light now. He had noticed I was ignoring him, but really didn’t know why, until I told him.
I also told him about Rick, who still had not called to arrange our date, so I was worried he wouldn’t.
Shawn said he didn’t mean to give the impression I was a bad person when he gave me that list of faults. He said that Pearl came to him after I talked to her, and talked to him about it.
He didn’t even recognize what she told him I said he said. But I had changed absolutely nothing he said: I repeated it exactly as I heard him say it, and even said what he had told me to say to each person I asked about this stuff.
And it was quite likely that Pearl had gotten some things wrong, not me. So I don’t know what was going on there, where the miscommunication came in.
I asked him for more reasons–other than just, I wanted it–why he was my friend. He said I’m a good friend and loyal. He also admitted that he couldn’t erase my pain from what he said. He apologized for dumping on me, and said those were not big things and I’m not a terrible person.
In a letter written in August, Pearl wrote that:
I don’t know if he didn’t express himself the way he meant to, or if you didn’t hear what he was really trying to say, or what.
I did hear both sides, and I can see that the conversation was pretty much the same, but viewed from very different perspectives. I don’t think either of you is lying, or either of you is to blame, but it’s just a big miscommunication.
I decided that now I could end my counseling sessions (there were only six free ones) without concern that I still needed them. Shawn and I agreed to meet that day, but I made it clear that, after what I had just been through and after meeting Rick, I wanted nothing more than hugs and innocent massages.
I’m not sure what happened on the 13th, but my diary notes that Shawn and I met on Wednesday the 14th.
I considered 4/13 or 14 to be the breakup of our dating/friends with benefits relationship, and me to be the one who initiated it. The physical relationship had to mean something, or else I wanted none of it.
I was still expecting Rick’s call. I didn’t know yet if Rick and I would start seeing each other, but I didn’t want to be with another guy while Rick sat at home thinking of me.
I didn’t record much of what happened, but on the 14th, Shawn tried to make moves on me yet again–kissing and other things–but I didn’t kiss back, and didn’t let him go far. I just wasn’t into it. I figured this new attitude came from counseling.
Around this time, he said what I had been thinking: that our impure relationship had distanced us both from God, so we had to give it up.
I was willing now, because I was tired of giving and giving affection and him never loving me back. It seemed he only took from me, without trying very hard to get to know me, maybe not deliberately.
But it wasn’t until afterwards that I began to regain the ground I’d lost with God. At times I wasn’t sure how much I really wanted to, but a spot inside me got me to try anyway. I’d stopped listening to my Christian tapes; I started listening again.
I wrote in my diary,
I’ve been living with relationship-problems for over a year now, and finally, for once, my major problems are basically resolved:
Peter and I are on better terms than we were, my situation with Shawn and his words is going into recovery, and I’m pretty much to a point with Shawn where I can be content with just his friendship.
I’m even planning to ask him why in the world he doesn’t go fight for his old girlfriend, if he’s still so hung up on her, except I’m afraid I might encourage him to go back into a relationship he didn’t feel right about before.
Once, Clarissa told me somebody had called me but didn’t leave a name. She didn’t think it was Rick. She heard a printer in the background, and thought it was Counselor Dude. She told him when to call back, so I waited. He didn’t call.
On the 18th, when I still hadn’t heard anything, I got ticked off. I had a right to expect a timely call, especially so I could plan for the date.
I went to see Cindy and try to find out what in the world was going on. She said that, though Rick was a nice guy, he was a lot like Peter, into smoking and drinking and other such things.
She said, “He may have gotten back with his ex-girlfriend. I don’t think he was the one who called you.”
Her suspicions were later confirmed: He stayed with that girlfriend, and ended up marrying her, is still married to her in 2012 (I friended him on Facebook this year).
But every time I saw him at Roanoke or parties, I caught him watching me. Many years later, around 2010, he even asked Catherine how I was doing. And we barely knew each other!
But back to April 1993. What a disappointment! Rick really seemed into me, too. Shawn said he was inconsiderate for not calling to cancel or postpone or anything.
Then Shawn complained about me talking to him about some jerk who stood me up. Um….What’s wrong with that? It’s not like I’d been going on and on about it: This was the first time I mentioned it to him….Unless he was jealous?
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)