The Enigma video “Return to Innocence” came out around this time, and Phil and I both liked it. It showed a French couple’s life moving backwards from death through old age through middle age through youth, a time in a hayloft before they got married, their first meeting, their childhoods apart from each other. It was beautiful.
One night on Melrose Place, Billy went to get an engagement ring for Allison, for the wedding that we viewers had waited maybe two years for.
I don’t remember them mentioning the two months’ salary rule–in fact, I don’t think I ever heard of it before I got my own engagement ring in 1996–but the ring salesman said, “The size of the diamond reflects how much love you feel for the woman.”
Clarissa and I both thought this was ridiculous. The look of the ring, and the fact that you even have a ring, is far more important than the size of the diamond.
(The look of the ring is especially important because if she doesn’t like it, she might exchange it. She’ll probably be wearing it for the rest of her life, after all.)
I watched Melrose Place faithfully every week, especially now that things were really getting psychotic. It was a guilty pleasure, which it had never been before.
In time the show would start going down the toilet, with everyone sleeping with everyone else and everyone wanting to blow up the place, and by then I didn’t like it at all. But for now, it was exciting.
Phil’s mom told him he could get an engagement ring really cheap–$300, I believe it was–from a certain catalog. I believe the catalog was for a discount store or warehouse. So this became our plan.
He told me to decide which state I wanted to live in. He said the movie studios were in California, New York and Texas, and we’d go wherever I wanted.
I chose Texas because I liked it when I visited in 1983, didn’t want to go to some huge, crime-ridden, concrete-jungle place like New York City was in those days, and didn’t want to go to California where I heard all the crazies were.
Florida may also have been an option, but I don’t remember why I would have rejected it.
(I know why I would now: too hot, too humid, and too many huge bugs! I also know that I don’t want to live anywhere but the Midwest. Sure we have winter, but we have plenty of other benefits to make up for that, such as cooler summers, and the bugs dying or going into hibernation for several months each year.)
We talked about going down to Texas when we got married, and starting an adventure, me working while he found a job at a studio there.
Or staying in S– for a while, living at a certain large wooded park in a place we’d build (though I wasn’t so sure the park would let us), and using the stream there for water (his idea).
He wanted to build a place on his parents’ deck, but his mom wouldn’t let him. (Yes, he had some odd ideas which no one can actually do in a city.)
He wanted to return to S– one day, though I didn’t want to.
We also thought of living in the woods or on a desert island. At first he didn’t think I’d like to live on a desert island, but discovered to his joy that I would love to.
This was before I realized I hated camping. It’s also before I realized how full of mosquitoes and other bugs the woods can be. But I’ve always loved desert island stories, and wrote a few of my own.
Table of Contents
- Meet the Suite
- Meeting Shawn–and a Ninja
- Campus Stories, Wisconsin, Campus Radio Station
- Campus, People, First College Boyfriend
- Dating a Ninja
March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?
April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign
October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:
Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams
- Classmate a stand-in for “Rudy”; Jigging at College Dance
- Library Tales
- Happiness Returns
- Living with Friends in Krueger
- Funny Library Stories
- Shawn Calls
- Psycho Roommates and Bug Wars
- Return of Rick
- Adjusting to New Dorm
- Spitball-Throwing Teacher
- Rat-Obsessed Teacher and Doctor Zhivago
- A Teacher Dated a Student; InterVarsity Fun
- Charlie Peacock Concert
- Random Stories
- Letter to Shawn
- Erotic Vampire Dream (Inspiration for Alexander Boa)
- I Ask Out James
- Peter Calls!
- The Fateful First Meeting of Phil
- The Birth of Dolphin Philosophy
- Our Group of Friends Splits Apart
- Spring Classes
- Big Red Flag: Phil’s Dysfunctional Family Life
- The Drunken Stork (Phil’s Controlling Nature Manifests)
- Idealizing Phase and Early Sign of Control
- Phil Tries to Control my Friendships, Unfair Accusations from his Dad and Brother
- Phil Gaslights Me with Fake Dreams, Ridicule and Psychological Abuse
- Another Pre-Engagement
June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:
- The Abuse Worsens in the Summer of Hell
- Phil rapes me anally
- Phil tries to control me through refusing everything I want–even proper hygiene
- Phil’s cruel hoax on me: his “subconscious” coming out to be with me
- Phil’s “subconscious” explains why he’s coming out to talk to me
- The lies unravel as Phil admits to conning me; also, fright as my periods turn wacky
- How Phil’s behavior fit the signs of abuse
- Phil Mindscrews Me: changes history, blames me for things that were not my fault, treats me like an idiot during games
- Phil says if he abuses me, it takes two people to sign the divorce papers
- Pearl reveals that Phil is costing me social invitations
- Hints that Phil is checking out of the marriage
September 1994–Divorce: The Long, Dark, Painful Tunnel:
- Phil picks fights and avoids responsibilities to make me feel like a shrew
- My husband Phil, Dave and Pearl call me a party pooper for getting a Grade II concussion
- I’m ecstatic to be back with my friends (the ones Phil hates); I meet Charles
- Phil vanishes without a word of why
- Phil wants a divorce
- My friends tells me that Phil is controlling and possessive
- My first Pentecostal church service: They speak in tongues
- Phil refuses to accept responsibility for the divorce
- Phil cuts off contact
- Attack of Phil’s Flying Monkey and Sycophant: Dirk
- Phil the narcissist admits to manipulating people and using them as pawns in his game with me
- Phil comes crawling back to me–and we put our marriage on paper
- Phil demands my complete submission and forces me into oral sex–and my will is broken, for fear he’ll divorce me again
- Phil walks away from me again–because I dare to have my own mind, opinions and needs–and because he’s a sociopath
- Fierce anger against Phil and PTSD from the abuse
- My friends tell me Phil is psychotic
- “Soul Ties”
- I return Phil’s things and he skewers me; consolation from friends
- My letter to Phil
- Phil shows my letter to his friends; I’m triggered by reminder of forced oral sex
- I start dating Charles
- Friends tell me Phil is controlling
- I feel stalked by Phil
- Poem about being stalked by Phil
- Fury at Phil stalking me and rubbing my face in his new relationship
- A Date with the Vampire
- Celtic Class: Knotwork, Tin Whistles, SCA–and Drinking from a Skull
- The Teddy-O Incident; Birth of These Memoirs
- We Hook Up to the Internet–and Shawn Fixates on My Sex Life
- New Guy Begging at My Feet
- Life on TCB
- Meeting Cugan (Hubby)
- Learning my ex Peter was a love-fraud; New Men
- Before Tracy, There Was the Avenger (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 1)
- Torn between three men as Catherine pushes me toward Cugan
- The Love Rectangle
- Torn between FIVE men! Me?
- Persephone’s Own Outrageous Stories of Phil’s Abuse
- College-style living
- Online Shenanigans
- Phil Finds TCB; Meeting a Hit Man
- Gypsy’s Party: Healed friendship with Peter
- The Avenger Starts a Flame War (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 2)
- Meeting the elusive Speaker
- First Date with Future Hubby Cugan
- On Breaking Up with Kindness
- Loony Roommies and Flying Gargoyles
- The Goddess of Pleasure and Salt
- A Conversation with Oscar Wilde
- My First SCA Event
- Cugan: a vast improvement over Phil
- Easter with Cugan’s family and SCA
- Cugan breaks up with me
- After breakup: Phil’s return and trolls
- Cugan comes back
- SCA hippies; college senioritis: anxiety!
- Or should I move back in with my parents?
- Peace with Phil
- Defending my Thesis; Graduating with Honors
- Graduation: Trapped at school
- Epilogue and Apology from Phil