Articles from February 2014

“The Rapture”: Left Behind Review, Part 1 (also goes into smacking kids upside the head)

by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale House Publishers, ISBN 1414305818, available practically anywhere Christian books are sold:

A plot summary is here.

FINALLY, the last prequel.  So only one more book is left!  (I’ve been reading these books for more than five years now.  😛  Though that’s nothing compared to how long the Slacktivist has been doing this.  😛  )

It’s comforting, on pages 13 to 14, to see Irene’s new Christian friends and pastor counsel her to stop nagging Rayford into getting “saved.”

Another pleasant surprise comes on page 16, when their son Raymie asks, “Mom, is Dad going to hell?” and Irene answers, “Frankly, I can’t tell where your dad is on all this.  He claims to believe in God, and it’s not for us to say.”

Pages 17 and 18 inspired me to write this post on my blog, which I will copy for you here:

I’m currently reading the Left Behind book “The Rapture” for my series of Left Behind reviews.  My reviews and the Slacktivist describe the bad, ungodly behavior of the Christians in the books.  But what I read last night, really burns me up:

A good Christian woman, Lucinda Washington, middle-aged, who is not afraid to show her faith and is respected by all, is also Buck’s favorite colleague, a mentor of sorts.

After witnessing the dramatic, supernatural defeat of the air forces sent to decimate Israel, he comes to her office looking for answers.  He plops down in a chair with his feet on the desk and she says,

“If you were my son I’d whup you upside the head, sitting like that, tearing up your spine.”

“You don’t still smack Lionel, do you?” Buck said, peeking at the photo of the smooth-faced youngster [he’s 12].

“Can’t catch him anymore, but he knows I can still take him.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Excuse me, this isn’t set in 1950, but in 21st-century America, some indeterminate time after the present, right before the Rapture–and the book was written in 2006.

This barbaric practice should be universally condemned as child abuse by the time this book takes place.  It’s already illegal in some places.  And even 100 years ago, people knew that smacking kids anywhere on the head is dangerous.  I go into this in great detail in these posts:

Child Abuse, Examples of Child Abuse, Hitting Kids Upside the Head is ABUSE, Slapping Kids Upside the Head Causes Traumatic Brain Injury, and  …Because slapping kids on the head is ABUSE!  STOP THE VIOLENCE!

And this is the woman we are supposed to admire as a great woman of God?  A FRICKIN’ CHILD ABUSER????!!!!!

Here, I describe how two narcissistic “friends” turned out to be child abusers, whom I eventually reported to CPS because I could not get through to them, and who then threatened and began stalking me for calling them child abusers.  One of the things they did which most enraged me, was smacking their little kids in the head.

I also unfriended some old high school classmate a while back for advocating beating children on her Facebook status.  Then, a few months ago, unfriended (and eventually blocked) a girl in my social circles who said parents should beat their children.

Now, after all that, and enduring the stress and emotional anguish of being threatened and stalked for calling this child abuse, I’m supposed to read this “Christian” book and accept that a godly woman would abuse her child by smacking him upside the head?  I’m supposed to like this character after knowing this?  She’s just another hypocrite like the rest of the series’ Christians!

On page 26, Irene has turned into a Stepford Wife, even setting out Rayford’s clothes as if he were a child.  Since badgering him into converting doesn’t work, she’s taking the opposite tactic–still manipulative, but I guess she doesn’t see that.

But it drives him crazy, because he knows her various problems with him (church, his use of time, not spending enough time with their son) are still on her mind.  He’d rather argue than pretend they don’t exist.

On pages 63 to 66, Rayford explains to Raymie what many of us have realized over the years: that just because you don’t belong to a particular religion or sect, does not necessarily mean you’re going to Hell.  Raymie replies,

Wow.  You sound just like the people Pastor Billings talks about.  People who think they have it all figured out, but they don’t really believe in Jesus.

Say what?  Just because you have a different idea of who goes to Hell, you don’t really believe in Jesus?  Also, Raymie’s words have a distinct vibe of “Oh, you’re one of those people,” said with a curling lip.  ARGH!

And double-ARGH to the last few paragraphs on page 66:

Rayford…overheard the boy talking with Irene, who had asked how things went.

“Dad’s going to hell,” Raymie said.  “He doesn’t think he is.  He thinks he isn’t.  But he doesn’t believe in Jesus.  Not really.”

Meanwhile, back in Antichrist land, pages 71 to 74 depict a Mafia-style punishment of the family of a guy marked by Fortunato, Nicolae Carpathia’s right-hand man.  It’s full of evil and angst.

Where the heck was this kind of writing in the rest of the series?  If we see this along with Carpathia’s public image as a nice guy, we’ll know he’s evil.  No, all we get in the first books is that Carpathia wants world peace, which doesn’t sound so bad.

But if we got more of this behind-the-scenes evil instead of endless pages of traveling itineraries and phone conversations, the first books could have been awesome, instead of dull trudging wondering when this book will end.

To be continued.

Find all my Left Behind book reviews here.

 

 

Our rescue kitty has been adopted

Good news about the little kitty we rescued from freezing and starving to death on our doorstep a couple of months ago:

So glad the little kitty is safe and warm

Here’s the stray kitty we rescued

Monday, when we got back from our annual trip to the Dells and went for groceries, we saw little Amber in Petsmart.  The Humane Society had put a bunch of kitties there for a two-for-one special.

There was Amber, with an “adoption pending” on her cage.  She was fast asleep, healthy-looking, on her back, one arm sticking up in the air, a look of perfect kitty bliss on her face.  It’s as if she knows she’s been adopted.

My friends tell me that Phil is controlling and possessive; My first Pentecostal church service: They speak in tongues–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 6

My friends tell me that Phil is controlling and possessive

I kept the engagement bird up on the living room shelf because I had nowhere else to put it.  Phil told me to keep it.

Though tempted to break the bird into a million pieces, I dreamed that I did and began to sob over the poor bird.  It wasn’t its fault.  So I didn’t break or even chip it.

I later put the game Crack the Case, which Phil had put in my safekeeping, into a cupboard below the sink.

At some point, Phil told me on the phone about things people thought of me and the “advice” they gave.  I objected.  He said, “Are you saying that Dave doesn’t know you?  That Peter doesn’t know you?”

What?  Peter’s problems with me were old and very petty, and Peter said he treated me the way he did because it was hard to deal with his feelings.  He hadn’t seen me much at all since freshman year.

As for Dave, he barely knew me.  He hadn’t seen me all summer, and before that he only saw me for a few months and only every once in a while, when Phil and I weren’t alone together.

He saw me in Botany class and labs, but that’s schoolwork, and I believe I was more into the class or the lab than into being sociable with him.  I still don’t see why he said “we don’t get along” when he had only just met me and I thought we got along just fine.

Dave told all sorts of lies about me, while barely knowing me.

Anyway, Phil used his statement (“do they not know you?”) to justify what his friends said about me: party pooper, Bible beater.

(Peter said nothing to him about breaking up with me, though, because Peter only knew we broke up, not why.  I don’t know when he found out or how he heard.  I believe he said in late winter that he hadn’t spoken to Phil in quite a while after the way the family treated him in early 1994.)

I said these people didn’t know me so well.  Also, what they supposedly said didn’t fit me at all.  I didn’t go to parties with drugs, alcohol, or sex, but usually to parties with my own friends.  I had a great time, so who would call me a pooper?

What did “party pooping” have to do with our relationship or anything else, anyway?  Nothing!  Marriage is not about partying.  (For him to even think so, shows he was not ready for it.)

And he only just said that I wasn’t a Bible beater “like Pearl.”  Even if I was, so what?  I was a Christian, and that was what mattered.  My lifestyle had kept me out of tons of trouble, and eventually, my life would be very happy because of it.

Neither of these so-called “problems” were any reason to break up with a person, and there were many people who wouldn’t consider them “problems” at all.

Phil was probably talking to one of those boring partiers who just wanted to get drunk and do harmful things all the time.  I had no patience with such people, screwing up their brains instead of protecting and using them.

My response was, “Maybe you don’t know me so well after all.”

He said, “Do you really want to be with a guy who doesn’t know you?”  But this is faulty reasoning.  The point is to get to know a person over time, not necessarily to know them very well at the outset.  How can you?  It takes time.

Now I understand that this is triangulation, as I describe here, a tactic used to make you think you’re the problem and that everybody agrees.  But at the time, it just came out of left field.

Phil said on the way back to Roanoke that this was the best summer of his life because he’d been with me.  Then, a few days later, THE END.  How could I believe anything he said to me that week?

I went through almost two weeks of trying to fight away the misery and trying to figure out whether or not we were ever really married.

Phil now said we weren’t after all, that now he wasn’t sure he even believed in marriage anymore, that he no longer thought sex was wrong if the couple loved and were committed to each other, that he was getting desperate and thought it possible he’d sleep with someone in the heat of the moment–all things that crushed me.

****

I heard tell, and could see for myself, that the freshman class was about as big as the three other classes put together.  And now the lunch lines went all the way back to the opposite wall, then doubled up and went all the way back to the outside doors!

The line seemed to take different routes every year: Freshman year, the line would go into the Muskie.  I think at times it had even gone around the other Bossard walls.  I believe sometimes it would also double up over by the Muskie.

Anyway, you had to be careful what time you went to Bossard for lunch, or else you’d get stuck in this line, whatever way it went.  Sometimes we would just sit down and wait for it to get smaller, because it would, eventually.  And what were we waiting for?  School food!  Ugh!  (Though it was better than public school food by far.)

I loved goatees junior year, but senior year–I don’t know, I guess too many guys were wearing them now.

Sarah, Tara, etc. used to say, “PEO-ple! It’s PEO-ple!”  (That came from a Bugs Bunny cartoon, one with a tennis-shoed, orange-haired monster in a scientist’s castle.)  Now Tara got us all saying, “PEEP-hole!  We want a PEEP-hole!”

We wanted a peephole on our outside door for safety reasons.  The door didn’t have a window, and neither did that whole wall, so we couldn’t see who was out there before opening it.  When Mike came along and banged on it in his own peculiar way, we didn’t know if it was him or a crazed Zeta.

I loved the honks of the geese by the lagoon.  Though they would threaten me if I went near them, I considered them my friends: Their beautiful sounds consoled me.

Sharon said the choir director complimented her on never having “S– hair.”  S– hair, in those days, was big, curly hair.

****

Now my friends told me the many reasons why they didn’t like Phil.  I always thought they just found his jokes annoying.

I didn’t realize it was the way he treated me, that he treated me like a child, that he was too controlling and possessive.  A couple of years late, Cindy told me she witnessed him yelling at me, and later at the girl he married, and she hated that.

After the divorce, he said the drunk guys at the party called me possessive.  In reality, I only objected when he leered at–not just looked at–or made crass jokes about other women, and when he said he wanted two additional wives.

I never acted like he couldn’t be friends with other women.  It’s not “possessive” to be suspicious of someone who gives you good reason to suspect him.  Apparently, he was just projecting his own trait onto me.

My friends said nothing because they thought I could see it and was okay with it.  But I’d been too blinded by NVLD to notice the things my friends noticed.

I can tell you for sure that this was not just them comforting me after a breakup, like friends sometimes do, telling you all the bad things to get you over him faster.  As I describe later, one of my acquaintances–not one of my close friends–told a friend at dinner one day that she needed to “warn” Persephone about Phil.  I never talked to this person about Phil.

Even after I graduated and got engaged, and no longer cared who Phil dated, my friends saw a new girl date and marry Phil.  They saw him do the same things with her, hated him, even tried to warn her before she married him.

It wasn’t just our opinion, either.  Even Persephone later agreed that he treated his girlfriends like children.  “Sure,” she said, “he’ll be respectful to a girl when she’s just his friend, but as soon as they start dating, he treats her like a child!”  She said maybe it was because he considered his mother a child, and was disrespectful to her.

Dad said Phil was very unstable, and a yo-yo, always going back and forth.  In their talks together, Phil often seemed “stupid.”  Mom said he made too much noise at night, and that in all the time he spent with us, he never lifted a finger to help with the chores, or to pay them back for things they bought him for work.

My first Pentecostal church service: They speak in tongues

One day, I sat in my room thinking, I’m so depressed and I think I’d like to go to church this Sunday.  The phone rang.  Out of the blue, Anna invited me to her church.  I thought maybe she did have a “direct line to God,” as Latosha used to tell her.

The most likely date we went to the church is September 11 (back when that day had nothing bad associated with it).

Anna’s church in S– was noisy, spiritual and full of activity.  I didn’t feel comfortable joining in with shouts or claps or any of that, being a Nazarene (though Dad told me once that Nazarene churches used to be a lot like that).  But a Pentecostal church is the perfect place to go when you’re upset.

Rather than the preacher leading them in prayer, for a time, the congregation was encouraged to pray privately–but out loud.  Anna knelt beside me and prayed in tongues.

I asked her later what the words meant, and repeated what I remembered.  She said she didn’t know, but she always looked them up afterwards in a special dictionary for people who speak in tongues.

I saw my old suitemate Tom there!  After the service, a man told me, “When he came to us, Tom was a messed-up Catholic!”  Then Anna brought him to her church, and there he was that day–a Pentecostal and (as they called it) full of the Spirit!  I couldn’t believe it.  He was so different from the partying suitemate I knew freshman year.

People found out I was a Nazarene (sort of a sister church), so they kept trying to convince me to turn Pentecostal, and that their doctrine on speaking in tongues is the correct one.  But they did this in a nice way, so I was more amused than annoyed.

I must admit, their stories were surprising–like young children speaking in tongues–and I was almost convinced.  But not quite.

Someone gave me a new King James Bible, the church’s usual gift for newcomers.

Anna and I went to school brunch together and talked about the breakup.  I asked what she thought of spiritual marriages, if they were real.  Her answer surprised me: She thought they can be more real than many “legal” marriages that are just a piece of paper.  But she also said we should follow the laws of the land.

Then we went down the Campus Center stairs and saw Phil in the foyer.  Anna left me with him, gushing about how wonderful it was that he was there and I could talk to him.

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:

 

Phil wants a divorce–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 5

On Friday, while I worked in the library with Sharon, I told her I was sad and didn’t know what was going on.

My old Lit teacher Wesley came up to the desk and we chatted.  Remember the crush I had on him?  He looked a bit scuzzy now: unshaven, long hair.

He asked what I’d be doing after graduation, and I said I’d be getting married.  (What a pity: He was now divorced and no longer my teacher.  And the student he once dated, just told him she was married now.  If I saw him a day or two later, who knows what would have happened?)

I saw Dirk standing by the copy machine, and felt uneasy.  After a few minutes, Wesley went on his way.

Dirk, still by the copy machine, and silent till now, talked to me near the end of my shift, and said Phil was upset.  I had no idea what he could be upset about, when he hadn’t waited around long enough for my answer, and it was good news.  Dirk just said he knew what was wrong and we needed to sit down and work this out between ourselves.  (So why bring it up, then?  And why was I the last to know?)

He also told me Phil was pledging Zetas again.  Phil knew I had problems with the Zetas, especially now that the cool ones had graduated.  He gave me every reason to believe he wanted nothing to do with pledging after how they treated him as a pledge the previous year.

I said, “What? He knows how I feel about that!”

Dirk said, “He’s got to live his own life.”  But wasn’t it our life together as man and wife?  As if the opinion of his own wife didn’t even matter!  How insulting!  And how devastating.

I felt like crying, though I did not know what was going on, and had to choke back tears as Sharon and I walked back to the apartment.

Someone soon knocked at the inside door (I don’t know how he got in the building without calling me).  Sharon went to answer it, then came back in our bedroom, saying, “Uh-oh, Nyssa, uh-oh!”  She left us alone as Phil walked in.

He told me there were too many problems and he was breaking up with me.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was also upset because I had been faithful to the vows we made even when I wanted to break them, yet he just went ahead and broke them.

Now I finally learned that he petulantly thought no one wanted him to sit down when they offered him the little cushioned crate.

I don’t know what he expected to sit on, when there was nowhere else to sit.  I did not see the milk crate as offensive, nor did I see sitting on the floor as offensive when all other chairs were already taken.  It’s just part of college life; I sat on lots of floors.

I feel he overreacted big-time and took it out on me.  I guess what was good enough for the rest of us to sit on, was not good enough for his majesty.  (A quick Net search shows that cushioned milk crates are often used as extra seats.)

Yet he thought I should’ve stood up for him when my friends treated him “so bad.”  But this was impossible because I didn’t even know anything was wrong.  I’m not a mindreader, and I saw nothing at all amiss in the way my friends treated him.

He also said it looked like we were just watching some 90210-like “teeny-bopper” show, and he didn’t want to wait for such a show to get over with.

But this show was critically acclaimed, ahead of its time, and inspired the first-ever online fan campaign to get it renewed when it was prematurely cancelled.

Phil’s remarks insulted both my taste and my intelligence, and all my friends’ as well.

This tells me that because he didn’t consider the show worth his time, I wasn’t supposed to like it, either, or be excited about watching it, or do anything but jump to his command. 

If he says now it’s time to talk, even though I have previously made plans and he made absolutely no effort to contact me about when he would stop by–oh, I’m just supposed to jump and do whatever he says right then because he said so.

I never had a chance to tell him I had chosen him over the other guy.  Instead, without a word he had vanished to a party with Dave, where he told drunken party boys about our problems and lusted after some girls.  He even wanted to get drunk and lose his inhibitions so he’d sleep with one of them.

Fortunately, he didn’t listen to the advice of drunken party boys, but tempered it with the advice of a married friend to give me another chance.

He said the drunken party boys told him, “Oh, just dump her.”  He didn’t want to listen to them because they were selfish and drunk–

–but what was he doing, telling guys like that about our problems?  These boys–

–who didn’t know me and only knew the slanted story of somebody who gaslit and abused me, and told lies about me to his friends–

–called me “possessive.”  I wasn’t possessive at all.  (Sharon, on the other hand, called him possessive.)

He said he’d been talking to a friend of his, a married man whom he often went to about relationships, and asked how he could break up with me when we were married.

This guy said it wasn’t long enough to be a common-law marriage.  I think he said it had to be at least six months in Wisconsin.  He also said he thought Nazarenes recognized it, but the Catholic church didn’t.  (I had never heard of the Nazarene church accepting or not accepting common-law marriages.)

Phil conveniently forgot that this never bothered him before.  He hadn’t cared who thought it was a “real” marriage so long as it was one in God’s eyes.  We already knew that the church and the law would not call it a marriage, but as far as we were concerned, it was one.

At least, that’s what Phil always told me whenever I started to doubt.  He was the one who kept having to convince me

Also, we knew Wisconsin didn’t recognize common-law marriages in the first place, so what difference did it make how long we’d been together?

In a research frenzy, I later checked Pearl’s dictionary: It described two different types of common-law marriages, one based on length of time and the other based only on agreement.  For the second, all you needed for a common-law marriage was an agreement to live as man and wife.

Phil’s confidant also asked if he loved me, and he did not hesitate before saying yes.  Though after reading about abusers and narcissists, I now doubt that he ever loved me at all.  You don’t sexually assault and emotionally abuse someone you love.

He complained about “us eating just because you’re hungry.”  Say what?  Was I not even allowed to say I was hungry and wanted lunch, not even in the middle of the afternoon, if he wasn’t yet hungry?

He said “I’m not your taxicab”–just because I was scared to death of driving and had no car anyway, so I asked him to take me places?

He complained about me telling him when to wake up and, supposedly, making his self-esteem drop.

So–

–begging him to wake up in time to take a shower and have a decent breakfast, instead of sleeping until 2pm and not showering at all for weeks at a time, and begging him to wake up on the last possible day he could get his brakes fixed so we wouldn’t get killed on the way back to Wisconsin–

–was horrible?

What a load of crap.  I can’t believe I tried so hard to get this loser back.

All summer, whenever I doubted the validity of our marriage because it wasn’t legally recognized in Indiana or Wisconsin, he insisted on the validity and told me not to worry about it.

But now, he said our marriage wasn’t real.  He could probably get away with that in his church because our marriage was never blessed by a priest (i.e., not valid in the Catholic church), but what about in front of God?

So, according to him, it takes two people to end a marriage if one is abusive, but only one to end it if the other person is not subservient enough.

And, apparently, Phil decides when a secret marriage is real and valid–which is when he wants it to be.

Well, I considered it real and valid, and this was not a breakup, not the end of an engagement, but a divorce.

All the anxieties of a divorced, conservative Christian woman came into play: Will I be an adulteress if I marry somebody else?  Must I be reconciled to him or else never marry again?  Will I be free to marry again because he deserted me–the Pauline privilege?  Will he be an adulterer if he marries again?

I had spent all summer trying to be a good wife: supporting him when he had job trouble, vacuuming and dusting our rooms for him, washing and bleaching the skid marks out of his underwear, praying for his safety.  And this was my repayment?

If there were any other reasons given at this time, I don’t remember what they were.

Basically, he blamed it on me.  Yeah, right.  I believe he just broke up with me because I wasn’t willing to give in to his constant emotional, physical and sexual abuse.  (The physical abuse was, basically, the sexual abuse; they were intertwined in this case.)

By not letting him control me or make me the “victim,” I was doing so many “bad” things that I had to become obedient and change for him to come back to me.

If I were such a bad person, then why did I not act badly with my next three boyfriends?  And why did I never cry with anyone as often as I cried with him?

Yet I hear that Phil, on the other hand, carried on to his next two relationships at least some of the things he did to me.  He acted the same, he yelled, he manipulated, he controlled, he acted petulant when he didn’t get his own way, and he even slapped his next girlfriend Persephone (only once because she slapped him back).

Cindy later told me that she heard him yell at me in the Krueger lounge, so she didn’t like him.  Then she heard him do the same thing with the girl he eventually married (and later divorced).  My friends saw him be mean to her, and want his way, only his way, and that’s it.

Mike later wrote to me that abusers commonly blame their girlfriends or wives for their behavior.  They’ll abuse and abuse and sometimes even go so far as killing them, yet still say their wives deserved it, that they did so many things wrong that it was their fault.

Phil fit the trait “unceremoniously discarding,” here: What is Abuse (“Overt Abuse”).  For years, I wondered why an abuser would leave his victim, and thought that it must have been because I resisted.  Of course, Dr. Phil might still say I allowed the abuse by continuing to stay with him.  But now I see that abusers do discard, so maybe I don’t need to figure out a reason.

I could admit to doing some things I shouldn’t have, but he took no responsibility for his own wrongdoing.  During the talk, I didn’t think of the things he did, of saying that he was no saint, but they began to come to me later on.

For some reason, the song “Insanity” by Boingo kept running through my head.

Like an idiot, I thought I’d be better off with him than without him (apparently forgetting all the emotional abuse of the summer), and begged him not to divorce me.  I said, “But things were getting better!”

He said he had given me so many chances to change, and that I hadn’t done so, but if I changed within a month, we could get back together.

(ME?  I had to change?  I was not the abuser!)

He said we might change after seeing other people.  I asked him for a parting kiss, but all he gave me was a peck on the lips.  He said just before he left, “Keep the faith.”  (What the heck did that even mean?)

After he left, I broke down and cried.

I told my parents, though I had to call them collect through the new 1-800-CALL-ATT because my phone card number stopped working for some reason.  My mom could tell I was upset just from the way I said hello to her.

She had hoped I wouldn’t have to go through this again.  I think she told me to eat something.  She did tell me to go to that night’s dance with my friends, that it would be good for me, take my mind off things.

For at least a few days, I made a lot of collect calls, until my dad got a new number for me.  I believe he switched long-distance carriers to Sprint, which was why the number didn’t work.  The new number was very easy to remember, mostly made up of our home phone number.

I didn’t want to do a thing without my parents’ advice, for fear I’d mess things up if I did.  I remembered how I messed things up with Peter when I acted on impulse.

Possibly at dinner, I met Persephone for the first time.  She was a dark-haired girl with short hair, a freshman, Trina’s roommate.

Some of the other freshman girls had told her they came to Roanoke to get married.  She laughed about it with us, having already discovered that Roanoke guys had a bad reputation.

She said, “That’s it, I’m not sleeping with any Roanoke guys!”  This secretly made me glad, because then she wouldn’t be sleeping with Phil.

Either before or after I met her, Phil told me he was interested in a girl named Persephone.  I soon found out this was the same one.

I went to the Friday dance, after all, even though Phil and I were supposed to go together and now we wouldn’t.  This was supposed to be my chance to see him dance.

Well, I did see him dance, though it was across the room.  It was hard for some time afterwards to hear the songs “Funkytown” (Pseudo Echo’s version) and “Delirious” (Prince) and remember his foot-stamping.  He was a weirdo jumping-bean on the dance floor.  Though I didn’t notice, he later said my friends kept giving him dirty looks.

Once, he danced over to me, and I said he did dance weird.

It felt good to dance and escape and work out some of my grief, though I couldn’t stay there long.  I may have left alone, or with my friends.

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:

 

 

Phil vanishes without a word of why–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 4

That night, Phil still hadn’t shown up, so Pearl and I went to the semi-formal Opening Banquet in Bossard together.  I don’t remember why nobody else in our group went, but I do believe Pearl wanted me along for company.  There was a speaker, Bob Hall; his talk was called “Hands Off!  Let’s Talk,” and the subject was dating and sex.

At the beginning, I said to Pearl, “I guess I don’t really need to listen, since I’m engaged.”  (And married, I thought.)

Hall said to the guys in the cafeteria, “If she says no, let me introduce you to Mr. Hand!”  And later, in an unrelated comment, “Guys, she always knows where that hand is!”  Pearl went, “Mm-HMMM!”

Later that night, with still no sign of Phil, Pearl and I sat alone in the living room, talking.  I told her Phil had been building up muscles from working at the factory.

She said, “Sounds like lust to me!”

I said with a smile, “I’m going to marry him–I can lust after him!”

But sometime later in the conversation, I told her, “I’ve been losing some respect for Phil, but hopefully now that we’re living apart I’ll be able to build it back up again.”

She said, “That doesn’t sound good.  Maybe you two should try dating other people for a while.”

I said, “Well, I don’t want to see him with anyone else, and I know he doesn’t want to see me with anyone else.”  Not only that, but you’re not supposed to date other people while you’re married.

****

We put the new, blue, all-cushioned couch along the wall in the nook by the inside wall, the chairs around the TV, and the stereo in the nook as well.  Then the dining table went under the light in the more open, middle area.

And little metallic bears went all over the table and here and there in the carpet, Astrid-confetti from a party I missed on Sunday.  (Astrid loved to send us letters with confetti or little bears in them.  You learned to be careful opening her letters, or the confetti would get all over the floor.)  For the rest of the year, we kept finding these bears here and there, even when we thought we’d cleaned them all up.

We had a stove, fridge, many shelves and drawers divided among us (one each of each kind of drawer or shelf), a sink (with no stopper), and even pots and pans given us by the school.  Mom gave me an old dish drainer, which we needed.

The glass doors with their Venetian blinds were over by the dining table, and two other windows with Venetian blinds were along that wall. One of these windows was in the kitchen, the other in the living room.

There were bookshelves in the open area, opposite the glass doors.  My bird sat on the top shelf, where it seemed a porcelain bird should be, to watch over everything.  We put videos, tapes, CD’s and books on these shelves.  We each had one or two shelves, and it was understood that anything on the shelves could be used by anyone.

On the other side of the apartment, opposite the bathroom, were the two bedrooms.  First was my room with Sharon.  We bunked the beds because they didn’t fit side by side.  They were already bunked when I arrived, though at the end of the year I was told they were originally side by side.

We moved around the furniture in the rooms because the original arrangements, as usual, didn’t work either.  Now we had the beds under the window.  Sharon slept on the top bunk.

We each had a wire storage rack, and I put mine beside the bed.  Our closets were a little small, but they had shelves, and with the many storage racks provided for us, we found places to put everything.

So the room, though tiny, didn’t seem crowded, but rather neat and tidy.  (The living room was often messy, however, because we often left papers and textbooks lying around.)  These racks were like a stack of drawers, because you could pull them out to remove your stuff and then push them back again.

Pearl and Tara had their room (with its answering machine) next to ours.

We liked the bathtub, but not the glass door.  We started thinking of ways to cover up the door so no one could see us bathing, and may have even requested a curtain, which we never got.  The glass door should have been on the shower, and the shower curtain should have been on the bathtub.  The shower, after all, was in a separate room with a door.

Also, there would have been more room to pull the shower curtain wide open, and we probably wouldn’t have had quite so many mildew problems with it.  It had to be replaced halfway through the year.  So we never actually used the tub, except to store boxes, and it got really dirty by the end of the year.

****

Probably on Tuesday or Wednesday, I turned on my radio to change it from South Bend’s U93 to Green Bay’s WIXX.  Lo and behold, there was U93!  This happened only once that I know of.

I listened to U93 for a while.  Someone called in from Milwaukee and said, “I used to listen to U93 in South Bend.  I flipped on the radio here in Milwaukee and found it!”  If I knew U93’s number, I would have called and said the broadcast was traveling even farther than that.

Once over the summer, WIXX had come in on the house antenna.  Phil said they boosted their power, so that may be why it came in so far away.  However, I didn’t want to hear WIXX: it was on the same frequency as Q101.  I never heard WIXX in South Bend before or since that day.

Also, that same week I discovered Hot 102 had changed to an alternative format, which made the necessary break from Q101 much easier.

****

My first class of the year was at 9:15 in the morning, American Lit with Dr. Nelson, the teacher from New York.  He’d been there only a year, and soon after I graduated, he would move back to New York.  Yes, another American Lit class.  This was probably American Lit I, and the previous class American Lit II, because this one focused on an earlier period.

As I’ve noted before, Nelson, with his funny, New York accent, pronounced “illustrate” as “ill-yoo-strate.”  Whenever Phil imitated his accent, he always included “ill-yoo-strate.”

One day in September, Nelson said “ill-uh-strate,” like we say it in the Midwest, then stopped and corrected himself, saying, “ill-yoo-strate.”  I don’t know if anybody else noticed, but I found it funny.

While working in the library on Wednesday, I found some German dictionaries, some old and some new, and spent my time at the circulation desk looking up the words from “Undine” that I hadn’t been able to find.  Many of them were there.  There were still many words I couldn’t find, but they were much fewer now.  As soon as I saw Phil again that day, I gushed and exulted about it.

People kept seeing my bird, sitting up on the very top shelf of the bookshelf in the living room and looking out over us all, and they said how pretty it was.  Then I got to tell them it was my engagement ring until Phil finally bought me a real one.

(How disappointing that I didn’t already have one, since his mom took all his summer money for car payments!)

Somebody who parked in the apartment parking lot had a white Ford Bronco.  It was weird and funny because that was the same kind of truck in which OJ fled the cops.  Whenever Phil and I passed it, we’d say, “No!  Not OJ!  OJ’s here!”

In a similar vein, one day during the summer, Mom wrote “OJ,” or orange juice, on the pad of paper she kept on the kitchen counter.  Phil wrote next to it, “No OJ!”–meaning, no more OJ news.  Just think, we were already sick of it, and that was only the beginning of the news saturation.

****

Apparently Phil met me at the library, or soon after I left it, and we must have gone over to Krueger lounge.  We spent some time there, sitting with Dirk, a freshman named Sandy, and an elderly woman.  She had come to teach at Roanoke for half a year.  She lived in Krueger, since she was only staying in the area for a short time.  She had a southern accent and was very friendly.

Sandy was a freshman who lived in Krueger but eventually moved into Dirk’s campus apartment.  That sort of thing happened sometimes, though it wasn’t supposed to.  I don’t know how they got away with it.  Sandy was a dark-haired, pretty girl with glasses.

Phil and I were both confused about Dirk and Sandy.  We both thought they were dating, until Dirk told Phil they weren’t: Sandy was his friend’s girlfriend.  (Dirk later told me they finally realized they liked each other, and started going out; this hadn’t happened yet on Wednesday.)

But they certainly acted like they were going out!  He would slap her backside, they would make suggestive comments to each other–this was no platonic friendship!

They got engaged either that school year or the next.  Then in 1996 or 1997, I’m told, Sandy broke the engagement, complaining about how Dirk treated her.  Then she wanted him back, but he had a new girlfriend, whom he eventually married.  How could an obnoxious, plain know-it-all like Dirk keep getting girlfriends, while I had trouble getting dates?

****

You’ll remember that Phil vanished for an entire day, without a word to me of when he’d come again.  He never called.

I expected him at any time, and he knew I needed milk and orange juice for breakfast.  I had no idea where he was or why he never showed up.  I had to borrow milk and orange juice for breakfast the next morning.

Now that Phil was finally back, I complained, rightly so.  But instead of apologizing or explaining, he just said that one of my friends could have taken me for milk and orange juice.

Say what?  He took the passive-aggressive route by vanishing without a word, instead of coming out and saying he couldn’t/wouldn’t do it?

After we got back from getting the milk and orange juice, before I got out of the van I said,

“I love you and I want to marry you legally, so why do I have such doubts?”

Once, junior year, Phil said that if either of us were ever attracted to someone else, we should say so.  That way, if we were to break up because someone else came along, it wouldn’t be a shock to the “dumpee.”

He lived out this rule, constantly telling me who he was attracted to, even telling me he wanted three wives–and who they would be.  One was his own brother’s fiancée.

Well, after several days of Phil disappearing for long periods of time–even a whole day–without telling me when he’d come back, I wanted him to be around more.  When you’ve been married to a guy all summer and he suddenly vanishes, you feel like a part of you is missing.

Phil’s treatment of me all summer, and especially now, inspired the doubts.  I may also have subconsciously wanted to get back at him for a summer of telling me he wanted all those other women.

So I told him my fears.  I told him I was getting a crush on Mike.  I tried to reassure Phil I still loved him, though.

I had a crush on Mike junior year, before dating Phil.  I was attracted to his integrity.

He wouldn’t drink underage or smoke anything that was passed around at a party.  He didn’t make everything into a raunchy joke (just some things).  He was sweet.  He wouldn’t play tricks on his girlfriend.  He didn’t seem capable of making a woman feel like crap.

(In 2005, from e-mails and forum posts, I learned that he believed in total equality in marriage.  Also, from Facebook I see that he’s a loving, devoted husband.)

Phil left me with a choice.  We were both very sad.  He said to talk to Mike, and if he felt the same, I could leave with his blessings.  He didn’t want to see it, but he wouldn’t stand in my way.

I cried afterwards and decided I couldn’t leave him: I didn’t have the heart.  I loved Phil, and had only a tiny, insignificant crush on Mike.  Also, leaving a marriage wasn’t that simple.  So I said nothing to Mike.

I didn’t see much of Phil after that.

Also note that when Phil found other people attractive and wanted to include them in his harem, the relationship was not over.

But as soon as I found someone else attractive–boom, the relationship is over and he’ll let me go with his blessing.

So it’s only a crisis and insult if I find someone else attractive, but not if he does, not even if he wants three wives?

****

He claimed my friends kept dissing him; I saw none of this.  He claimed their body language showed it; I saw nothing but friends smiling at him and acting normally.

On Thursday, September 8, he gave me no word of when he would next come to see me.  So I made plans with my roommies.

My roommies and I were getting ready to watch My So-Called Life, and had friends over to join us, a kind of party.  I couldn’t wait to see it, and was excited to watch it with all these friends.

But then Phil suddenly dropped in and said he wanted to talk.  I thought it was about Mike and that I would soon turn away his fears, tell him I wanted him and only him and couldn’t bear to go to Mike.

It was very bad timing on his part, which he should have respected, and I figured it wasn’t so pressing that it couldn’t wait one hour.  After all, he gave me no clue when I would next see him, yet expected me to just drop everything and change my plans when he came over?

Not only was this unreasonable, but my NVLD made me resist changing plans on the spur of the moment like that.

But I did not yet know that he had this unreasonable and controlling attitude about it, that he expected me to submit to his every whim no matter how inconvenient.  I smiled and asked him to sit down and watch with me and see what this wonderful show was like, and afterwards we could talk.

I don’t remember how many people were there, but there wasn’t much room around the TV in that little nook.  All the chairs were taken, so someone suggested he sit on a cushioned milk crate, which my roommies and I often used as a chair or footrest.    He soon went down the hall instead of sitting down.

I thought he’d gone to the bathroom, so thought nothing of it.  My friends and I watched the show.

He took an awfully long time, so I wondered if he had diarrhea or something.  I eventually went to look for him in the bathroom or my room, but he wasn’t there.

He’d left without a word, and never came back the whole night!  Pearl and I both thought that was extremely odd, wondering where the heck he’d gone to, and why.

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: