Letter to Shawn

I sent Shawn a heartfelt and beautiful letter in October, trying to set his mind at ease about my intentions–friendship only, despite residual feelings I admitted to–and asking to just start over.  I said,

I do not want to go out with you or be anything more than friends; you don’t have to be paranoid about that.  I put those thoughts out of my mind as long ago as before spring break….

I’ll admit that I have feelings for you.  I always have, and they got so strong last year that I’ll probably always feel something special for you.

But just because I have these feelings doesn’t mean I want to go any farther than you do.  They’ve gotten tamer, much easier to control, and they’re dominated by my belief that I wouldn’t be able to handle being married to you, let alone being your girlfriend.  I just don’t want to be that so much anymore.

What means the most to me is our friendship, and that’s all I want to be–close friends.  That’s always been more important, especially now.  All those things in our past, they’re just that for me–in the past.  Not forgotten, but gone.  I’ve put my standards back up again.

A bit about how we both can be restored to purity, so don’t torture yourself over this.  I complained that as late as the spring, Shawn had brought up my problems with Peter, even though for me that was becoming ancient history.

It’s been a year since you’ve been a mere Peter-replacement [ie, September 1992], and it always grated on my nerves to hear you say you’re not him.  I know you’re not him (why do you think I liked you?); he was just my only point of reference.

Then a little bit about my going to parties and scheming with Pearl on ways to get James interested, though I did not name James, just coyly said that Shawn knew him.  I have no idea what Shawn did with my previous letters, but I know he read this one, for a reason I mention in the December chapter.

****

By our October meeting, we had chosen two faculty advisers for InterVarsity.

I have a picture of Clarissa and me selling Candy Grams.  This is probably when I first began saying “Candy Gram!” and knocking on the table, like the Land Shark on those classic, 70s episodes of Saturday Night Live.  We sold these Candy Grams for InterVarsity in October; the picture was taken on October 20.

Erotic Vampire Dream (Inspiration for Alexander Boa)

Of all the lecture series events that semester, the coolest by far was “The Devil, you say..?” by Scott Keely.

He dressed up as the Devil.  I don’t remember it being at all anything most Christians would object to; it was, instead, an excellently worked performance of Satan trying to defend himself to us.  I believe Keely also had a trunk on the stage, and would periodically get little costume props from it.

The auditorium was dark, with red light on Keely.  He even dressed up in the tail and pitchfork and horns and all that to cater to common representations, then took them off because they weren’t really what he looks like.  A description of his performance is here.

This October 6 lecture affected my October 25 dreams.  From my journal for that day:

Like in tonight’s dreams, which were one continuous theme: a girl, having been kissed, etc. by the vampire who wants to take over her school, is under his power in a way and wants to join him, but to keep up appearances she acts like one of the other heroes and heroines trying to break his control.  All she really wants is to be with him–an odd love story.

Now I can tell you what the dream was about.  In the first one, Dracula and I stood together in a room.

He began to kiss me.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to kiss him, him being Dracula and long dead, etc.  But somehow he put me under his power, and I was drawn to him.

When we kissed, he kept his fangs behind his lips so I wouldn’t be hurt.  He pulled me on the bed, and we started–you know.  We got down to it.  I woke up before we finished.

I went back to sleep, and this time I joined some others, who included Pearl, who wanted to break the vampire’s hold over our school.  He was in the old church’s [one I grew up in] sanctuary, but it was here at school.

We listened to some speaker who said we needed to do four things.  I’d done one already, so I took out only three of my long, white containers.  We’d fill them with something and put them back.

As for me, I only pretended to be working against him.  I remembered our incompleted time together, and therefore was drawn to him.  I didn’t want a stake to go in his heart; I wanted to see him again, and went to him.

Maybe we kissed again, maybe by a door, a black door and/or a darkened room.  Other people, maybe young boys or young men, at least one with black, thick hair, were trying to help us “vampire slayers” or whatever we were.  I woke up again, maybe around 7:45, and fell asleep again.

I returned to him, and he took me with him in a small, covered vehicle.  He put me in a sidecar.  Pearl and another person, maybe Sharon, were in the car.  The car moved, and we looked out over and admired the beautiful, magical-like landscape.

In one spot we saw a natural fountain–the water squirted up, but this wasn’t man-made.  There was green, maybe other colors, like blue or purple or yellow.  Maybe there was another guy, a ghost, with the vampire.

I soon wrote my dream into a story about a vampire taking over a school; this story was also influenced by Keely’s performance, with the vampire doing a similar performance, and staying in the equivalent of Krueger Hall just as writers for the Great Lakes Writers Conferences sometimes did.

This story is now in my collection The Lighthouse, titled “Alexander Boa: Or, I was a co-ed vampire slave.”

I Ask Out James

On October 10, InterVarsity went to a Margaret Becker concert.  I discovered that I didn’t enjoy loud rock concerts as much as I used to, which made me feel “old and mellow.”  (Kind of odd, considering that my musical tastes were hardly “old and mellow.”  Still aren’t.)

I had thought about James all summer.  Now, I told Pearl about my crush on him.  She said that freshman year, he used to stop by her room and play Pictionary all the time.  She decided to help me out, and help herself, by throwing a Pictionary party after the fine arts event on Saturday the 16th, the Spanish dancers.  She would ask her crush to the party, and I would ask James.

I made myself look cute on Tuesday, October 12, and waited until James came in just before I was to leave my shift.  I was terribly nervous.  I only had ten minutes or less to work up the nerve to do it.  I said,

“My friend Pearl is having a Pictionary party on Saturday after the dancers.  Do you want to come?”  Could he tell how nervous I was?

“I played Pictionary with them once,” he said.  “I didn’t like the game.  I don’t know if I’ll go.”

Argh!  I hoped he’d change his mind.  Yet I also decided to look for other guys to flirt with at the party.

I still felt happy because I did it!  I asked a guy to a party!  Maybe this would only be the beginning: maybe one of us would ask the other out in the future, and not get turned down.

I hoped he really did like me back, as I’d suspected all sophomore year, and that this was just a minor glitch.  If I asked him to a movie, something that was obviously a date, would he say yes?

Peter Calls!

On Wednesday, October 13, I went to a Bible study on Job in Pearl’s room.  Pearl’s friend Dave O’Hara, Peter’s friend, came over afterwards.  I had a paper to do, but he was cute and new to me, so I stayed.  He even had sky-blue eyes, my favorite color.

He spoke of, among other things, his brother Phil and his sister Maura.  I flirted with him, and thought we got along great.  He soon owed me a backrub.

Starting that year, IV members divided into pairs, forming prayer partners who would meet at regular times.  I met with Pearl in the cafeteria, and this really helped me throughout the year.  We could talk over things that were bothering us or making us happy, and then pray about them.

On Thursday, October 14, Pearl and I got together for one of our first prayer-partner meetings.  Pearl prayed that God would bring into my life whomever He had been preparing for me, and whomever He had been preparing me for.  I believe I prayed the same for her.

Later that evening, after an InterVarsity information meeting, I got a call.  I didn’t recognize the voice.

The caller said, “You really don’t know who this is?  This is Peter.”

I cried, “Whaaat?”

“I thought it was about time the silence was ended.  I’ve been acting like a jerk-off for the past year and a half.  It took me that long to sort out my feelings.  I’ve been thinking about you all summer.”

My heart thumped, and neither one of us could believe what was happening.  He really wanted to be friends again.

We talked for a long time, mostly catching up on the time we were apart.  He had come to visit with his “brothers” in the Zeta suite; Dave O’Hara told him I’d changed; so he called.

He kept saying that, just from talking to me, he could tell I had changed in many ways.  It’s only natural, of course, especially when you go to college; he had changed a lot, too.

I have wondered a few things ever since, however, though they didn’t come to me at the time:

  1. How did Dave know I’d changed when I’d never even met him before?  Was he going by what Peter told him, half-truths or misunderstandings or both, not on the way I truly was before?
  2. Why did I have to “change” before Peter called me?  I didn’t have to “change” to be worthy of his friendship, and it had been a year since I had stopped wanting to date Peter.

He said that he got drunk only twice and never again, though Shawn would later tell me that he seemed plenty drunk several times when he saw him.  Peter said he’d get a “buzz” but didn’t want to get drunk ever again, because he didn’t like “praying to the porcelain god.”  He was twenty-one, so when he said he would drink, I said, “Well, you are of age.”

He said, “I never expected to hear that from you!”  He kept saying how much I’d changed.  I had; college was changing me in many ways that seemed good to me: philosophy and spirituality, musical tastes, feeling more open about and proud of my “weirdness” rather than wanting to hide it, maturity.

He no longer claimed that I made up the idea of the mental Link.  In fact, he brought up a mental link in the movie Demolition Man.  I said that, freshman or sophomore year, I asked a hypnotist who came to Roanoke how a link can be broken down, and he said, “If someone’s afraid of it or doesn’t want it.”

“I know that wasn’t me,” Peter said.

We laughed about each other still using certain words we used when going out.  His was probably “Holy cats.”  Peter laughed when I used the word “disc,” a South Bend slang term meaning “dang” or “drag.”  I do believe that “Mensch” was also mentioned; I don’t remember if Peter actually used it during our conversation, but he might have.

This part of our conversation, and the friendly way we talked, matched a dream I had and wrote down back in the summer of 1992.  Its message, that we would one day be restored to friendship and have our relationship begin on a new level, was true.

At long last, it had come to pass, not just figuratively but literally.  I had many precognitive dreams for some time after Peter and I had our mental Link and one back when I was only a child, though I don’t recall having any since.

We talked for a long time on the phone before he suggested we go get some Mountain Dew in the Pub.  It was only about an hour before closing time.  When we met, he gave me a hug, and off we went.  With that hug, it felt like all was forgiven on both sides.

One of his friends, who was in the Pub, gave us a funny look when we walked in together.  This was a blonde girl, I believe.

My old boss Nancy was even there, and looked at me as if to say, “Are you two back together again after all this time?”  I didn’t know if we were, but it didn’t matter so much as the fact that we really had forgiven each other and liked each other again.

He was still smoking, and still trying to quit.  But at least he hated getting drunk now, and all the horror stories I’d heard about him weren’t quite so true, at least not anymore.  If only God were still in his talk.

I had a Mountain Dew; I believe he had a beer.

He had turned scuzzy, however.  He hadn’t shaved; his hair had grown long and, I think, greasy.  I wondered if he planned to ask me out; I didn’t mention that I did not want to date him.

With his scuzziness, the cigarette he was smoking, and things he said that showed me he was no longer Christian, he was no longer the Peter I had once loved.

I wondered if he sensed my feelings, and if that was the reason he didn’t ask me out.  Or if friendship was all he’d wanted all along.  I would never know.  It’s not the sort of thing you ask.

I admitted I had always liked his hair better just before he cut it, and he said, “Why didn’t you tell me?”  Of course, how could I tell him, when I thought he liked his hair short?

We talked on and on even there in the Pub, finding we both liked techno dance music.  Peter was surprised, and said I’d always been listening to Christian music.  (He said this even though he knew I liked Metallica and KLF and other secular artists as early as freshman year.)

He said he had a copy of KLF’s The White Room and could get me one; I asked him to, but he never actually did.  It was hard to hear in the loud Pub.

I asked, “Did you know about Shawn and me?”  He said, “Yes.  Several people were surprised that you and Shawn weren’t going out.”  (Come to think of it, it’s highly probable that my involvement with Shawn finally showed him I wasn’t still hung up on him.)

Peter and I both had lost weight since we dated; he was skinny now, and I had gone from maybe 135 to 115 or 120, which was plenty skinny enough for me.  (I looked better at 120 than I did at 115.)  So we congratulated each other.

When giving us our bill, the woman bartender said to Peter, “Are you going to pay for your lady-friend?”

We laughed.  “It’s nothing like that,” we said at the same time.

Clarissa knew about this right away, of course, being in the room when Peter called, but I had to tell my friends the next day.

For some reason, for the next two weeks or more I felt antsy and a little depressed.  For the first few days, I expected to hear from Peter again, and wondered if he would ask me out.

Despite his changes into a person I wouldn’t want to date, I felt like I wanted to say yes.  I felt like maybe I was still in love with him.

The more days passed without me hearing anything, the more antsy I felt.  Clarissa knew I felt this way, because she saw it and I would talk about it somewhat.

I wrote about it on October 26.  It seems I was a little confused about what God’s promise to me was.  Earlier in the year, I had realized that maybe God’s promise was for a restored friendship, not a restored romantic relationship.  This had filled me with joy.  Now, I saw that He had fulfilled this promise.  Maybe I still half-expected that His promise was for more than that.

In time, I would feel less antsy, but I still felt that either Peter or Phil (to be mentioned soon) was the one I was to marry, and I didn’t know which it would be in the fullness of time.  I thought this because Peter called the very night after Pearl prayed that God would bring the One into my life, and then I met Phil two days later.

Of course, years later, I discovered that it was all self-deception, that God never made a promise of a restored relationship of any kind–unless, of course, you count the dream I had in 1992 of pleasantly chatting with Peter.

After all, we joked about “Mensch” in the dream just as we did in real life on October 15, 1993, as I wrote above.

But looking for signs from God is not the way to determine His will, and some have even said that God will be silent if we do such a thing!

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995: