On probably Sunday the 26th, the most likely date, one of the sororities held an 80s party in the Pub. It was part of a theme week held by the fraternities and sororities. There was a party each night, starting with a 50s party and ending with an 80s or 90s party.
I just went to the 80s party, since I was most interested in that. On the day of it, 80s pop music was piped into Bossard during meals. Charles complained because those weren’t the 80s metal songs he knew. But the rest of us enjoyed it because we were into pop rather than metal in the 80s.
During the party, however, somebody apparently forgot it was an 80s night, and played a mix of songs none of us knew or that seemed to belong to the present day. It may have been a radio station.
In getting ready for this party, I found a shirt I’d never worn, that my mom gave me. The collar was torn–apparently a garage sale find. It was really one piece, but made to look like a sleeveless sweater worn over a long-sleeved shirt. The sweater part was green, and the shirt part was white and green-striped.
This kind of shirt was popular in 7th and 8th grade, but by the time my mom got it, it had gone out of style, so I hadn’t worn it. It was perfect for 80s night, however. I didn’t know how to roll the handkerchief-necklace that was so popular in 6th grade, but tried it anyway, rolling my big, brown scarf and pinning it around my neck.
Astrid remembered kids folding over and rolling their pant legs and pinning them tight, though I didn’t remember that; I just remembered fighting with my jeans every morning, wondering why the legs of all my new pairs had such tiny hems that I could barely even get my feet through them.
Nowadays, I only had two pairs of jeans, both either straight-legged or gently tapered, nothing like those mid-80s jeans. I wore one pair and pinned the cuffs as Astrid described.
I still had a big, plastic hair clamp lying around, popular in 7th and 8th grade, and held up the hair on one side of my head with it, just as the clamps were worn back then.
Several TV’s were set up with Ataris on the Pub platform; I sat there along with several other students. Both of my absolute favorite games were there: Pitfall and Demon Attack. Frogger was also there.
I played them the best I could, though I had a hard time working the joystick and fingering the button without my thumb getting tired. I guess I was rusty. There were two kinds of joysticks there: the small, black standard and the long-handled, easier-to-use deluxe version.
(By the way: Also check out Pitfall 2. I played that all the time on our Radio Shack CoCo computer in 1986 or 1987, usually listening to Whiteheart’s song “Fly Eagle Fly,” which fit with all the bats flying around.)
Persephone was also there; after a while we got to talking. We were there so long that my friends left without me.
She had finally broken up with Phil for good. (At least, that’s what she said then. I don’t know if they got back together later. I do know they were finally “done” before December.)
We had many things to talk about and agree on. She told me her own problems with him; we laughed, complained and agreed about the ways he treated girlfriends.
She still went dancing with him as friends on Saturday nights, and laughed as she watched him flirt with girls there.
She said, “Phil practically lived with me and Trina” in Muehlmeier for a few months. He didn’t like going home, where the dysfunctional living got worse. (Either that, or a summer with my family showed him how a functional family lives, and made his own unbearable.)
He was at least as bad with Persephone as with me, if not worse. She said:
“Once, he even slapped me. I slapped him right back so hard that he never did that again.” Good! Persephone didn’t seem like the type of person to allow abuse.
“He didn’t want me to be friends with you. That was suspicious. Was he afraid of something?”
“We were very unstable: We broke up five times!”
“He’s not to be trusted.”
“I couldn’t believe his immaturity. One night, one of his friends came over to my room to visit Phil and me.”
(It sounded like his Vampire Friend S–. He didn’t want to introduce me to this guy, for fear he’d steal me away–as he sometimes did with Phil’s other girlfriends.)
“This guy thought I was pretty, and tried to steal me away from Phil. Things ended up in a huge argument, and Phil ran away. We finally found him hiding under my bed!”
“This guy even got my roommate Trina to spy on me!”
“Phil’s minivan finally died because he knows nothing about taking care of a car.”
“Trina even had a crush on Phil. She and his friends used to spy on me for him!”
(That reminded me of September between our first and second breakups, when I felt like Phil’s friends were spying on me. Now that I knew he did this to Persephone, I felt less paranoid to think he did it to me. Since Trina was also her roommate, this was especially hard for her.)
“Oh, it was a major rebound for him. He’d call me by your name, and I’d say–” with an angry tone–“I’m not Nyssa.”
“He treated me like a child.” Just as he did me, and just as he did his mother. “He respects you if you’re his friend, but not if you’re his girlfriend.”
“I think he has an Oedipal complex. He complains about his mother but is trying to get a woman like her.” To be fair, wanting a girl “just like Mom,” especially if Mom is a wonderful person, is not so bad, but treating a woman like a child is bad.
“After he got your last letter, he called Pearl over Christmas Break to ask what was going on. Then he saw the school counselor, who advised him to stay away from you.” I was glad, because I’d asked him in the letter to do just that, because he was being cruel to me and I didn’t want to see him.
“I didn’t play Dungeons and Dragons with Phil. One night he complained to his D&D group because I wouldn’t have sex with him! Then one of the girls in the group came to me and scolded me!”
This woman should’ve known better than to scold another woman for not giving her body when she didn’t want to. Persephone didn’t buy it, of course, and was very upset about this.
I said, “What a loser.” If she didn’t want to have sex with him, she didn’t have to.
All these revelations confirmed to me that it wasn’t me, it was him. And that I was well rid of him, as painful as the breakup was at the time. He was not just immature, but controlling and abusive, while pinning the blame on others.
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)
Table of Contents
December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
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
June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:
July & August 1994: