friends with benefits

Ending Friends-with-Benefits for Good–After One Last Time; I Meet Rick, My Admirer From Afar–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–April 1993, Part 1

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.”

“No girlfriends?”

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?”

“That’s Easter.”

“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?

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:

Spring Break; My Drawings of Ann Radcliffe Characters; I’m Cold to Shawn and it Bugs Him; the Power Goes Out–and the Water–in an Ice Storm–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke: Or, How NVLD Affected My Life–March 1993, Part 2

Spring Break; My Drawings of Ann Radcliffe Characters

Spring Break was Saturday, March 20 through Sunday, March 28.  I had a lot of homework over the break, including a paper for my Space presentation.  But I also had time to start reading First Love by Turgenev, which I found in the Campus Shoppe in the textbook section, and The Italian by Ann Radcliffe, the same woman who had written Mysteries of Udolpho (from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey).

I drew pictures of the characters.  For The Italian, I based Vivaldi on pictures I found in a World Book encyclopedia article on Italy, and I based Ellena’s nose on a picture of a Grecian nose.  (This matched her description.)

My friend Becky saw the picture of Ellena and said she looked just like Eleni Andros Cooper, a beautiful, Greek character on the soap opera Guiding Light.  I had never seen this woman before.  (Cooper, by the way, was played by Melina Kanakaredes, who later starred in Providence.)  My pictures are below:

 

EllenaSmall

VivaldiSmall

Schedoni

****

I didn’t want to go back to school.  I didn’t know why.  Maybe I was just tired, and one week was not enough rest.  I was sick of my problems.

I wanted a guy, but at the same time I didn’t.  I wanted James, but at the same time I wanted to wait for things with Shawn to work themselves out.

Since Peter and I could now say “hi” to each other again, that wasn’t the spirit-zapper.  The culprit was probably the whole Shawn-situation, from start to present.  As I wrote in my diary, part of the problem was his judgmental attitude about me:

judging me to be what I’m not and/or certainly don’t intend to be, and saying his own opinion of me turns him off, even though his own opinion sounds so faulty to me and to so many others…

but just the fact that he’ll ask me over to play let’s-pretend-we’re-going-out, then tell me, as soon as he’s gotten what he wants, that he doesn’t want me.  How does he expect that to make me feel?!

Then he’ll criticize me for this and that, even when his own so-called ‘advice’ is probably not appropriate or even adapted to me!  How can he know what’s right for me?  I just get so angry.  I cry out to God for help and comfort.

So finally, I was furious at Shawn, which was necessary to help me break free of him.

I was so depressed that I didn’t want to do much of anything, except escape to the world of books.  Except for music, videos and probably writing, no other worlds appealed to me now.  I wished I could put studying and working on hold for a while.

But back to school I had to go.

It was time to apply for a work-study job for junior year.  To apply, you checked off the jobs you wanted out of a list on a form.  I did not check off Food Service.  I preferred the library, but had to apply for two other things as well.

I interviewed for all three.  The two clerical jobs didn’t interest me as much after the interviews.  I interviewed for the library job on April 27.  I was one of the first people to interview, if not the first.  The head librarian said she usually gave the job to the first six people who showed up.  So I was in, and of course, I took it.

It was just what I wanted: a job with my beloved books, where I could do homework when nothing was going on.  When I did have something to do, it usually involved books, magazines or newspapers.  And I could wear whatever I wanted to, even shorts.

****

MTV came out with a new cartoon, Beavis and Butthead.  Ren and Stimpy became more of a kids’ show, and was soon supplanted.

At first, I didn’t like Beavis and Butthead, especially after they executed a grasshopper with a chainsaw and sliced up Beavis’ hand.

I saw the infamous episode which supposedly inspired some kid to set fire to his house, and was never aired again.

It was funny to hear the fire-obsessed Beavis say, “Fire!  Fire!  Fire!”

In another episode, he watched a video of a fire-engulfed guy running down a street (“California” by Wax).  He could only sit there in convulsions.  After the show got censored, he said, “We’re not supposed to say that word.”

The show drew lots of criticism, even though it wasn’t meant for kids, so it soon got censored heavily.  Nowadays, after so many years of shows like South Park, you wonder what the fuss was about, why they gave in so readily to criticism.  So somebody didn’t like the fire references–so frickin’ what?

****

One day, in an 80s flashback show, MTV showed the Police video “Don’t Stand so Close to Me.”  Now I was old enough to understand it, and even knew that “the famous book by Nabokov” was Lolita.

The VJ said that when the song came out, there had been a big controversy about whether or not students should date teachers.  The final decision was that it’s okay if the teacher doesn’t have that student in a class.

This was only one warning sign against pursuing Wesley.  Along with what happened to Craig, there was another: An episode or two of Class of ’96 showed one character sleeping with her teacher and getting in trouble for it.

I don’t know when my friend dated Wesley–it could have been fall semester–but it’s funny to think I had so many warning signs, while she just went ahead and dated him.

****

On Friday, February 12, I wrote in my Media class journal about a new video Clarissa and I had just seen: “Funky Ceili” by Black 47.  VJ’s said the song was popular with young people, though I only heard it on MTV and Chicago’s Q101.

Clarissa and I loved it because Black 47 was an Irish band.  Here we’d just been learning about Irish culture over Winterim, and this video comes on using words like “da,” “porter,” “stout,” and “jigs and reels.”

The music mixed traditional Celtic folk instruments with modern rock stylings.  And the song was funny.  Clarissa and I got to watch the video quite a bit over the next few months.

The song was about the lead singer’s ex-girlfriend.  He lost his job, found out she was pregnant, and had to tell her “da.”  The da gave him two choices: stay in Ireland and get castrated, or go to New York.  (What about a third option: marrying Bridie?)  At least, that’s the story in the song.  The singer lamented over losing Bridie and wanted her to come to New York.

I thought it was sweet; I hoped the video would get them back together; I wondered if Bridie was the girl in the video.

Years later at Summerfest in Milwaukee, though, I picked up another CD by Black 47, and read in the lyrics to “Green Suede Shoes” that “Bridie” got the singer into deep trouble with Bridie and her family.  Also, reading the real story in the singer’s autobiography, showed that the only resemblance to reality was her name.

I’m Cold to Shawn and it Bugs Him

Diary entry for March 30:

12:09am
I’ve, just today, recorded “Jeremy” and “Ordinary World” (the videos), back to back.  Why do I like them so much?  Because they’re me, for one thing.

I like the second one because of Clarissa, first of all, but maybe my subconscious picked up on the personal meaning before my conscious did.

“Jeremy” is me in my childhood, especially elementary school and junior high.  “O.W.” was me right after Peter, but now it’s me with Shawn.

You should’ve seen Shawn tonight at Bible study.  I was half-hoping he would come.  About twenty minutes into it, he came, and I cringed.  I kept my jacket closely wrapped around me in the cold room, to hide my figure.  I had trouble looking at him or laughing at his jokes, especially at first.

Then he started a long speech that started off with, “The big trouble on this campus is acceptance.”  I looked at him as he talked–right into his eyes, because most of the time he was looking right at me.

I remember this more than what he was saying, but I think he was talking about such things as people wanting to be accepted, and people avoiding and not wanting to talk to certain individuals (even then, I didn’t see the connection).

Clarissa tells me that another time, when she thinks I was looking down instead of at Shawn, out of the corner of her eye she saw him staring at me.  Then he saw her, and looked away.  I might’ve caught this, even, by glancing up once.

I never greeted him or said good-bye.  I was thinking and hoping he might either try to talk to me afterwards or call me up later, but it’s 12:34 and he didn’t do either.

When I told a friend my plans to avoid him, she said, Yeah, treat him like you did Peter, and see if he comes after you; if he doesn’t, you’re better off….I think he might.

And she also said, when I said I thought I saw signs that he liked me, “You probably did.”  But she can’t figure him out, either.

Why do I believe him so easily?  I feel so gullible….Once, when I rushed downstairs (where he was) to go to the bathroom, he said “hello” (maybe to be funny; we’d been in the same room for 45 minutes already), and I said nothing.  –12:43am

–1:49am
It doesn’t matter how long you pray, but that you do it and that you get something out of it….

I have to act this way so I can see if Shawn comes after me and proves to truly be my friend.  But I hope he does so soon!

Oh, the agony of my heart, seeing him help Pearl with her crutches without being asked, and hearing them talk about a couple weeks ago when he lifted her scooter out of a snowdrift, with them not being around to tell him a much easier way to do it, pushing a certain button.

Seeing a guy do such helpful things, like when Peter helped the blind girl, seems to be high on my subconscious list of what makes my heart go pitter-patter….

Sometimes, the friends you’re always with know you better than you know yourself, or else why bother asking them what your faults are?  So I trust the opinions of my closest friends.

But Shawn isn’t with me so much, and he’s proven himself and admitted himself to be wrong about me in one way or another, so why trust him over Pearl, Rachel, Sharon or my roommate Clarissa?   –1:59am

Diary entry for March 31:

–12:19am
I saw Peter yesterday [by the Campus Center] and said hi, and I think he smiled and said, “Hi, how ya doin’?”–except I had my headphones on, and I don’t think I caught it in time to answer.

What I want is for Shawn to realize how much he’s hurt me and that it’s going to take something special to fix that.

Tonight at dinner, Shawn was sitting at the same table as I went to sit at.  When I got to my strawberry shortcake, everyone but him and Clarissa had left.  Then she got up, probably to take her tray up.  She thought I might not like being left alone with him.  She seemed to be away for a long time.

After a silent minute or two, during which I ignored him and ate my cake, he said, “So how ya doin’, Nyssa?”

I sat silent for a moment, contemplating whether or not I should answer, then I shrugged my shoulders as a half-answer.  Then, to make sure he knew I had answered, I mumbled, “not too good.”

After all, I’d just come from a meeting with the counselor, which mostly dealt with my relationship with him.

Then Clarissa came back, and she thought he seemed to want to get away.  (She also didn’t see him stare at me during dinner; it seemed to her that he was trying to avoid me.)

He said to her, “Are you going to stay here and keep Nyssa company, Clarissa?  ‘Cause I have to go.”  I grumbled, “Don’t let me keep you.”

Yes, I was offended.  [My translation of it was] “You’re not secure enough to eat by yourself; somebody has to keep you company.”

It’s not just what he said, but a compound of things he’s said in the past in different situations, that gave me such an impression, such an interpretation of what he said now.    –1:03am

My counselor wanted to talk with Shawn to get his side of the story, and he agreed it was a good idea.  He was supposed to show up at one of my counseling sessions, but never did.  He later gave some reasons, I forget what, but it upset me.

The Power Goes Out–and the Water–in an Ice Storm

On Wednesday, March 31, there was an ice storm.  At about 9:30 and right in the middle of the latest episode of Star Trek: TNG, most of the power went out, leaving on only our two desk lights.  Then even they went out.  Soon after that, the water went out because it came from a well and required a pump.  The rooms grew cold.

We all gathered into the suite lounge.  I brought my afghan and can of pop, put away the bag of M&M’s I was eating, and sat on the couch with my rechargeable flashlight ready for use.  Our suitemates put on coats and snuggled into blankets.

Daphne, the RA, got freaked out all alone in her suite, and came over to ours.  My suitemates lit candles, contraband but useful.  A couple of guys dropped by and kept going in and out of the suite.

Some guy we didn’t know looked in the window and said something.  Daphne told Clarissa to shine her flashlight in his face and ask what he wanted.  Clarissa did; he said something else and left.  It was funny.

I’ve mentioned before that Georgina, a sweet and beautiful girl with a gorgeous soprano voice, was unfortunately still hung up on her ex-boyfriend, the brother of my pledge sister Jennifer.  He called and told her about a tornado warning, so we searched for information on the radio.  We found none, so we assumed there wasn’t one.

This was Hell Week; the fraternity and sorority pledges kept shouting their little chants and making noise.  Somebody probably yelled at them to shut up, a common thing.

The ice storm had trampled down a wire, and a transformer blew up.  Only the emergency lights in a few buildings were on.  We were told the transformer probably wouldn’t be fixed until three or four the next afternoon!

We prepared for a night and morning of no electricity or water.  At least Clarissa had two milk jugs of spring water, so we could wash our hands after using the toilets.  The toilets started filling up and getting really nasty.

We played a game called Outburst, then went to bed, Daphne staying over.  I went to bed a little after 12, and had been asleep for about half an hour or more when light woke me up.

Was it morning already?  I looked at my watch–it was only 12:56am!  The power had come back on, after all.  I went and flushed one of the toilets, Clarissa and I plugged a few things in, and we went back to bed.

We expected our classes to be cancelled, the same as for the local public schools, but they weren’t.

 

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:

 

Shawn Rips Me Apart for NVLD traits; School Scandal–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–March 1993, Part 1

School Scandal

On the 1st, I noted in my diary the one-year anniversary of the physical relationship with Shawn, since it started on Leap Day, 1992.

****

Crystal Pepsi came out around this time, and I tried it.  I believe it was much like Pepsi–but I didn’t like Pepsi.  I drank it just to find out if it truly tasted the same, despite being clear.  It soon disappeared from the market.

****

During one of my counseling sessions, I said Shawn always tried to change me, but I wouldn’t change unless I felt it necessary.  The counselor called that a healthy attitude.

I now read Hermann Hesse’s Narcissus and Goldmund, which I found in the Campus Shop.  This book was a great help.  I read it late at night, while Alternative Nation was on, the room was darkened, and my roommate slept without her hearing aid.  Sometimes, the window was open.

This late-night setting and the book itself took me to a place where boy trouble and other problems didn’t matter.  One character, Goldmund, made observations about life that I’d made myself, or agreed with.  I kept seeing myself in Goldmund, a budding artist looking for himself.  He wandered the German landscape, a metaphor for restlessness and wandering the landscape of life and self.

The book was set around the year of the Black Death, so Sting’s new video, “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You,” was timely.  (This video was set in medieval times.)  Funny how I didn’t much care for the song when I first heard it on the radio, but after I saw that video, the song became one of my all-time favorites.

Goldmund’s passion sounded like mine: He loved to draw things, such as people’s heads, and make up animals, just as I liked to draw heads and make up alien languages.  Like me, he thought love was more important than anything else.

The swarming fish on page 186, poking their heads up to eat a piece of bread, reminded me of the fish at Indiana Beach.

(Those fish would eat anything you tossed at them–even spit.  This is Indiana Beach, though in those days it was just a little amusement park with short lines and cheap rides, no resort, no water park, no campgrounds, no Adventure Point.  Though I see they still have some of the same rides, such as the Seadragon and the Galaxi.)

On page 195, his tendency to forget everything about the world while engrossed by his drawing and endless walking, reminded me of myself when I was deep into reading, writing, or thinking.

After one of these late-night readings, I wrote this poem:

The music of the night
drifts through my window,
The gentle wind and soft, earthy smells,
the warmth and the insomniac birds’ songs.
Each note carries a hint of oneness
with everything.
The song of the ages,
the melting together of all experience,
The one song all romantics hear.

****

We often found chalk drawings and messages on the sidewalks, advertising campus events or put there as pledge pranks.

Once, the Zetas made chalk outlines showing some pretty horrific things: heads removed, limbs removed, hands or feet removed.  They were also pretty comical, since it was obviously a joke.  One of these chalk drawings was of Paul and his dog Maizie.

The college now had a young social sciences teacher named Craig.  One day, we found chalk protests written all over the sidewalks: “Save Craig!”  The college had decided not to allow him back the next year.

I didn’t know Craig or the reasons for his dismissal, so I didn’t get involved.  I heard rumors, but they weren’t confirmed for me until 2006:

Rachel knew a senior girl who got involved with Craig.  He was single, she was about to graduate, and he was fresh out of graduate school (therefore, they were close in age), but the college refused to relent.

****

Darryl decided to leave the Zetas over problems he had with them.  I don’t remember now what all they were, but he was upset that minors at parties would be given alcohol.  There were probably other things as well.

It was a big surprise, and even my sorority friends were glad.  A week or two before, he and Steve even came to Bible Study.

Shawn Rips Me Apart for NVLD Traits

On March 20, I wrote in a letter to a friend,

But it seems like, in the past couple weeks, [Shawn’s] mood has darkened and he’s even avoided me a few times and gotten upset at me for one thing or another.  If we were going out, I’d say we were headed for a breakup.  Instead, the friendship is threatened with breakup.

I do find it interesting that this happened after our physical relations had ceased.

On Tuesday (the 16th), when I was telling him the good news about me finding myself–through my time alone at night reading, writing and listening to music, and something he’d wanted me to do–he somehow turned the conversation to yet another list of my “faults.”

He seemed to have a gift for that, even though he didn’t seem to be such a good judge of character as he thought he was.

It was a long list, and I must say he later apologized for unloading all those things on me at once.  He said these were the real reasons why he didn’t want to be my boyfriend, and that the reasons weren’t going to change to different things, like they had so often before.

The things were very much condemning of me as a person.  It devastated me because I wanted to be a good person who cared for others, helped them, was considerate, was sweet and kind….

But he made me sound like an evil bitch who treats people like dirt.  I felt like a terrible person, and thought I recognized those things in myself, but he gave me a hug of support as I tried to “change.”

He told me I should ask my friends for the specific examples he didn’t have time to give, and suggested things I should say.  So you see I was in a receptive mood, willing to accept and change faults, wanting the truth and not people’s consoling words.  He did this now, so he said, because I had an outlet in counseling.

So, after class when I went to see the counselor, I told her what he’d said.  Her reaction made me begin to doubt him, but I still felt like a terrible person.  I even tried to convince her that what he said was true.

She couldn’t see me being those things, but I still felt I had to see what my friends would say before I’d completely change my view.  If I really was an evil witch, then I wanted to change it, not listen to people tell me I wasn’t really like that.

I talked to Pearl for three hours in the Phi-Delt room after my night class (Astronomy), and really began to doubt his impressions.  She said maybe some things were based on misunderstandings.

He’d said other people had the same impressions but were afraid to depress me by telling me, even though they were still my friends; Pearl said maybe he misunderstood them, too.

I also spoke to Clarissa, who knew me better than anybody else on that campus, being my roommate for many months now–and even she disagreed, felt that he was being mean to me.

I asked, “Do you see anything wrong with the way I treat you?”

She said, shocked, “No!”  I think she even cried a little.  She couldn’t figure out why Shawn would say these things.

I tried talking to him on the phone the next day, to find out who I was supposed to talk to and what I did to make him think these things of me, but he accused me of badgering, and it turned into an argument.

So I stopped speaking to him.  I just couldn’t stand speaking to him when I didn’t even know why he was friends with such an evil person as me, if he even was my friend in the first place.

He said he was, but the reason he gave wasn’t enough to reassure me: He just said, because I wanted him to be, otherwise he wouldn’t have bothered trying to be one.  So, I was such an evil witch that he wouldn’t have even been my friend in the first place if I didn’t want him to be?

And he couldn’t give me any concrete examples to make me understand what I did that was so evil, or give me any guidance on whom to talk to?

The one to speak to is the one I offended, not a whole bunch of people in a kind of Russian roulette to find them, that lets everybody on campus know what he said to me!  How is it “badgering” to get some answers so I can understand what I’ve done and how I can change it?

Because I had no intention of behaving so evilly to anyone, and had no clue how I possibly could have come across that way, no guidance, no memory of evil intentions or behavior to work with.  You can’t change if you don’t even know what you’ve done!

I needed the truth, I needed answers, I needed plain-speaking Rachel.  I didn’t want to get mad at Shawn for simply telling the truth, if it was indeed the truth.  If anyone would be blunt about my faults, she would be.  Even when everyone else would sympathize me about something, she would say, “Well, it was pretty stupid for you to do that.”

So next, I went to her, not telling her who the person was.  But she just widened her eyes at the list of faults and got upset, saying, “This person doesn’t really know you.  They’re probably trying to hurt you for some reason.”

She and, later, Sharon did tell me what they personally thought were faults, but they were things done by normal people, not evil witch crap like what Shawn listed.

Sharon thought he was playing with my mind.  Sharon said she could only answer for her own feelings, not for his; Pearl pointed out possible misunderstandings and how I could prevent them.

I figured these were the main people who would know, the ones I spent the most time with.  They gave me enough things to work with already, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself by going to people I didn’t know as well and telling them what Shawn said.

Rachel said not to take the things to heart, that he just didn’t know me very well, but I still cried myself to sleep Wednesday night.  

I loved him, both romantically and, most of all, as what I thought was my best friend.  But this made me feel so upset and betrayed that I couldn’t talk to him.  I didn’t want him to even come close enough to touch me.  

My heart was broken again.  I think I loved him far more than I ever had loved Peter.

He had also complained about me writing in my diary everything that happened between us.  He thought special memories should be kept in the head and not written down.  

It was an odd idea that I’d never encountered before, because even special memories begin to fade over time.  In fact, if I hadn’t written these things down, these memoirs would be far less detailed, because I had forgotten so much!  

His objection also came from his time in the mental hospital, though I won’t explain how; I had no such experience.  He asked if I worried about anybody finding it; no, I did not.  If they did, they’d realize I wasn’t as innocent as people thought, and I didn’t mind that.

After writing in my diary what happened between us Valentine’s Day and the following Monday, I wrote, as if I were addressing Shawn,

See, Shawn, I wrote both things down, finally.  And if you’re going to be like this, I hope they’re the last ‘rendezvous’ I’ll ever have to write about concerning you.

Maybe math-brains just don’t understand the writer’s need to record even the most special memories–which we don’t want to fade….

Besides, these memories are all a part of me–so I’m not about to burn them or let them fade.  I’d lose a part of myself that way….Let’s see what kind of a friend you really are, Shawn.

The things he accused me of, can also easily be explained with NVLD:

Perceptual cues serve in the same capacity as traffic signals; they govern the flow, give-and-take, and fluctuations in our conversations.

The child who cannot “read” these nonverbal cues is frequently determined to be ill-mannered, discourteous, curt, immature, lacking in respect for others, self-centered, and/or even defiant. This child is none of the above.

Like the color blind driver who cannot respond appropriately to traffic lights, this is a child who is utilizing all of the resources available to him in order to try and make sense of a world which is providing him with faulty cues and unreliable information. —Sue Thompson, Nonverbal Learning Disorders

One of his complaints over the past many months was having to wait a long time for me to answer a question.  That would probably be the NVLD, Asperger’s, and/or introversion, all of which can cause this trait, which I had always had; I have to think of what I say before I say it.

There was the time he snapped at me and called me rude for not picking up his hints that it was time for me to go home–when I caught none of them, and only heard him continuously ask me, “So what else is up?”–making me feel obligated to come up with some answer, until I finally snapped back that I was going to bed now.

He was always criticizing my shyness and reserve, when to me this was all I had ever known, and it was just as impossible for me to change it, as it is for a horse to take on zebra stripes.

He was always criticizing my hair, when I wore it that way (plain and long) because I liked symmetry, hated the feel of bangs, hated short hair, loved long hair, and did not like perms or the other hairdos of the time.  (Hair back then was still very much 80s-big hair.)

He criticized me for not wearing makeup, as if my own face were not pretty without it, when I did not like the time it took to put on makeup, and felt fake with it on.  (This was coming out of the 80s, when makeup looked very artificial, unlike now when it’s more natural-looking.)

He criticized me for not dressing sexy, when I had always been so modest that even my mother told me I should show off my figure more.  I was raised Nazarene; I did not like to show too much skin.

He criticized me for not wearing jeans, when I found jeans to be too rough against my skin, and could not stand that (an NVLD thing, with hypersensitivity to clothes).  I also did not binding, constricting or tight clothes because of how they feel against my skin, so I could not dress “sexy” in the way he would like.

And because I was not just like all the other girls, did not look like the other girls, did not dress like the other girls, did not act like the other girls, I was somehow not attractive to him, this person who could not look beyond the surface and see my natural beauty and uniqueness–but would use my body whenever it suited him.

He could not appreciate me for me, a creative, sweet, smart, loving, caring, loyal person, with a different perspective on life, who would spend my summer drawing genies and reading books and writing about desert islands, rather than reading romance novels, hanging out at the beach, working on my tan, or partying.

He could not appreciate that I would not be the kind of girl to take all his money, or be jealous of his female friends, or spend all my time at the beauty parlor/spa, or yell and scream at him and blame it on PMS.

He could not appreciate that I could spend my summers happily translating German rather than running around on him, that I would be a cheap date happy with fast food and a movie rather than some expensive restaurant.

He could not appreciate that I had faith just as he did, that my mind was full of wonder and questions about that faith, that I would study theology for fun.  Instead he said he couldn’t love me because I believed in ESP (even my pastor believed in ESP) and was too “tolerant.”  He wanted me to be like all the other girls rather than like myself.

And now he was making me into a horrible, selfish, self-centered, spoiled brat as well.  All I knew was that I tried to be good, tried to be nice, tried to think of other people, left the biggest piece of cake for the next person, just went on my merry way thinking I was harming no one, only to get accused of all these horrible things by Shawn.

I knew that I tried to let him take the lead in our relationship because of his ambivalence, out of respect for him, but then he would come over or ask me over and want me to get physical with him, so I would give in to all sorts of things he wanted me to do, to please him.

Then he would accuse me of starting things and get angry with me and tear me down, treating me like some kind of evil seductress.

It felt like what he thought was me, was actually some other person, not me at all, no matter how much I tried to protest his unfair opinions and analyses.  And it was both baffling and heartbreaking.

So if his opinions of me were totally unfair and showed a lack of knowledge of who I really was, then the thing keeping him from dating me beyond a “friends with benefits” relationship, falls down flat.

I think Shawn, for all the times I thought we had talked about ourselves and connected, closed his mind to the kind of person I really was.  He rejected me for things he said I did, but which I didn’t do at all.  He was prejudiced against me for something I was not.

The biggest question is why he would do this: Was he afraid of falling for me and then having to leave me as he did his ex-girlfriend?  Was it because of his brother’s illness?

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:

Sexual Relations with Shawn (sexual user): The Downward Spiral to a Crash; Counseling–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–February 1993, Part 2

Sexual Relations with Shawn: The Downward Spiral to a Crash 

I discovered in February that the leader of our S– Nazarene church wasn’t actually a pastor.  He and his wife had full-time jobs, so trying to run the church was getting too taxing.  They closed the metaphorical doors of that church, so that was the end of my churchgoing for a while.

****

Around this time, Shawn asked for a wakeup call.  So I said, “This is your wake-up call, Shawn.  Do not, I repeat, do not roll over and go back to sleep, or you will die a horrible death, suspended by a string and by your fingernails over a pool of piranhas.–And with your weight, the string will immediately break.”

…So he rolled over and went back to sleep.  When I found out, I told him, “You know what I’m going to have to do to you now.”  As he talked with Frank, I said to Shawn, “I guess I’ll have to take you down to the lagoon–as soon as I get a string and some piranhas.”  He smiled, and Frank cracked up.

****

On the late night of the 6th, Shawn called me over to watch TV.  We played with each other for a while, then were enflamed with passion and did all sorts of things we shouldn’t have, oughtn’t have done.

In fact, when I read what had been going through our heads for the past several weeks, and what all we did do, which did qualify as sexual relations, what astounds me is what we didn’t do that night: go all the way.  I’m sure that one word from me, and it would have been done.

And our lives could have been irrevocably changed.  According to my calendar, I was probably not fertile, but–Pregnancy, change in life plans, married to someone who wanted to change everything about me, him dealing with this and his brother’s illness/eventual death at the same time….

Or if not pregnancy, then would he have hated me afterwards?  Or would he have fallen for me?  Who knows.  But if nothing else changed, then the end of the year still would have been that much harder to deal with.  And, as you will see, it already became excruciatingly painful to part because of the things we did do, because of the contempt he felt for me because of them.

Eventually we fell asleep in each other’s arms, and it was sweet.  But then he woke up around 5am, got angry with me for still being there, and unceremoniously tossed me out into the cold.  I hoped he was just cranky from being tired.

There was no “talk” afterwards this time, however.  In the days following, there was none of the usual tenseness when we saw each other around campus.

I felt good when he looked at me–which he did a lot–and his eyes showed so much tenderness, and some kind of love, though I wasn’t sure what kind.  Then on the 8th, we sat across from each other in Bible Study.  Not what you usually expect to be between two people sitting in Bible study….

Even Clarissa noticed something different about him.  He seemed happy and hyper when in my view, but Clarissa saw him walking with his head down a little.  She thought she saw something there that she didn’t see before.

He sat at my table a lot and also gave me little things, like red-hot candies or a certain picture.  I thought that, for sure, he must be in love with me now.

On Valentine’s Day, we were together in his room.  As we made out I thought he really meant it this time, that we were finally a “couple.”  But then, while I was still basking in the glow of my happiness, he told me he wasn’t attracted to me and I wasn’t what he was looking for, though he didn’t know what that was.  (Flashback to Ned and Catherine!)

This got me so upset that I decided to start seeing the campus counselor, someone older whom I could talk to.

Monday of the next week was intense.  The thing I did not want him to do to me during the scary scold session in January, he did now, suddenly and forcefully from what I recall, taking away my innocence and filling me with thoughts I could barely control.

(Not what is clinically called “coitus,” but another thing which I do not want to name on the Internet.)  And even though he himself had similar thoughts and told me about them, he judged me for mine when I confessed them to him.

My diary entries for late February and mid-March show that I felt as if demons had taken hold of my thoughts.  After Bible study one night, I confessed them to Pearl.  We prayed about it, and I confessed my thoughts to Shawn.  As if I’d snapped my fingers, the darkness flew away.

But this was the last time Shawn and I did anything physical for a while, to help me get those thoughts out of my head.  Sometimes we did spend time together and talk on the phone, but he started sitting elsewhere at meals.

People got mad at him for not being nice to me, but I didn’t agree and was indignant at them (probably Stockholm Syndrome).  He didn’t understand why they thought that.  For example, one of my friends was mad at him, and he complained to me about it.  I referred to this at a meal one day, so she got mad at him again for not keeping her opinion between them.

Counseling

I first met with the school counselor on February 23.

After Shawn had pulled so much crap with me over the past few months, as a sexual user:

He played with my head and my body,

took my innocence and led me into sexual experiences that I should not have done and convinced me they were not sinful and then spoke to me like I was a slut,

asked or begged me to do things that were consensual and enjoyable but then scolded me for doing them and made me feel like he was just doing it to humor me,

insisted or even coerced me into some things so I had to stop him or felt I could not stop him,

wanted to coerce me into more,

lusted after me and said he had fantasies about me yet told me he was not attracted to me,

led me on and tore me down over and over again–

So I became a wreck, and decided that only a counselor could help me get my life back together now.

Things he had said about me, and things he would say later on (in March, which I address in this paragraph, too), haunted me for years, even though all my friends and my counselor assured me they were not true.

I could not understand why he would accuse me of them.  They became some of the main bases for me to consider NVLD as a possibility, because those very things were listed as signs and misunderstandings of people with NVLD.

Such as, people with NVLD/Asperger’s are very concerned with accuracy, which sometimes exasperates others, makes them think we have to be right, when no, we just want to be helpful and keep you out of error.

We don’t understand why this upsets others, and become mystified when they get angry and accuse us of having to be right.  We think, Don’t you want to be accurate?

It’s also an introvert thing, since I have to think before I speak, and oftentimes need far more time to prepare a response than I get.  So I’ll think of something later on and say it.

To me this is perfectly valid, but apparently extroverts get annoyed by it at times.  But extroverts need to deal with it, because otherwise we introverts aren’t capable of giving them the responses and ideas they want.

It was one of the many things Shawn said he hated, that I took too long to respond to his questions.  But this was nothing I could help, and he needed to be more accommodating and patient.

Or, as Pearl did say, the time I didn’t ask Sharon how she was doing after her cousin died, but this was not because I didn’t care or was selfish (I did very much care about my friends and how they were feeling), but because I missed the social cues and did not realize I was supposed to say anything.  Until Pearl said something, I had no clue I had even offended Sharon!

I tried so hard to be nice and sweet to people, but again and again I’d be misunderstood and accused of things that were not in my mind; Shawn did plenty of this.  NVLD/Asperger’s explains why on earth people would think such things of me, and also why I had so much trouble understanding these social cues that others know instinctively.

The constant criticisms from Shawn haunted me years later when another best friend, Richard, did the same thing to me, telling me everything I did was wrong in some way, from what food I ate to how I socialized.

And I would have no way of knowing for sure if I was really as bad as these critics made me sound, or if there was something in them that made them find fault in others to an excessive, abusive degree.

Starting in January 1993, as I have shown, and continuing through May 1993, as I will show, I witnessed various outbursts from Shawn which scared or upset me greatly.  He increasingly said hurtful things.

I also noted during that time that he even criticized how I kissed him (while Peter said I was a great kisser, an expert, told Phil this, and Phil agreed); I wrote that if he didn’t like it, then teach me how to do it better, don’t cut me down.

There were also things related to his Winterim class which were serious and which I have not described, that caused him stress.

It’s also very possible that his brother’s health was deteriorating.  Could Shawn have been heading to another nervous breakdown and taking me along with his precarious mental state?

It was possible, especially with what happened in May 1993, and how it affected him.  But I had no way of knowing with my limited knowledge, could only think he was doing these things on purpose to hurt me.

I see from my day planner that I planned to ask the counselor the question, What in the world is making me depressed all the time?!  Shawn might say I wanted to be, but no, it was because of what was going on in my life freshman and sophomore year.

I had six counseling sessions free before my parents would have to pay for it, so I decided to take advantage of this.  It seems we only had 20 minutes to talk on the 23rd, but she called me that night to talk some more.

The first little session took care of things like insurance and stuff, and didn’t get into what I really wanted to talk about.  So on the phone, I told her my problems: the Shawn situation, as I called it, and the Peter situation.

She asked how often I thought of Peter still, and I said at least once a day.  She said that was a lot and we’d have to talk about that, too–but I neglected to say that I thought about him that often because I was praying for him every night.  These prayers were for his soul, not for our old relationship.

The counselor kept talking about shyness and how to break free of it, but this wasn’t my problem.  I kept trying to get the discussion back to the situation with Shawn.

All sorts of Christian denominations, from Orthodoxy to Baptist, say that Christians should only marry Christians.  Youth advisers naturally extended that to serious dating, and sometimes even casual dating.  The counselor said that part of my problem may have been that I didn’t have much of a pool to choose from (something I, ironically, had tried to avoid by going to a Christian college).

She didn’t suggest I change my beliefs; rather, she looked through the phone book and suggested some churches I could try going to.  However, they sounded very different from my own church, such as Baptist and Dutch Reformed.  S– doesn’t have a huge variety of churches, such as you might find in South Bend.

Though at times I wondered if they helped at all, in the end (April 6) I decided these counseling sessions had done me a world of good.  More on this later.

****

One day, I told Shawn that Peter never said anything to me, not even hi.

Shawn said, “Maybe he’s waiting for you to say it.”

That shocked me, since I had tried to start up a friendship with Peter a couple of times already, only to be spurned.  But I tried it anyway.

On the 19th, I saw us about to pass each other outside.  I didn’t know if I could do it, if he’d hear me, or if he’d even answer, but I looked back as we passed, and said hi.

For a moment I expected nothing, but then I heard, “Hi.”  Another time, he even said, “Hey, how ya doin’?”

****

On snow days (and on days when the water went out), paper cups, bowls, plates and utensils were used.  The RA’s helped in Food Service because the cooks and other non-student workers couldn’t make it to the campus.

On one snow day, Rachel helped us clean up in Food Service.  She stood next to me and said,

“Some people think you’ve gained some weight, but I don’t think so.”

“Nope,” I said, tugging on the leg of my pants.  I had been wearing them since I came to Roanoke; they now billowed around me.  Roanoke had made me 120 pounds, the perfect weight for a small-boned woman of barely 5’5.

I had no idea Rachel was testing me out.  I later discovered that, because I wrote a poem about a pregnant girl and usually wrote about my own life, people thought I was pregnant by Shawn.

Despite the things we did do, Shawn and I had done nothing to cause pregnancy, so it was funny.  And here I’d been afraid people would think my poem was about another girl on campus, who really was pregnant.

****

A Zulu dance group, Shikisha, performed in the Bradley in February.  They did African dances and original songs.  The first hour was just Shikisha (3 women) and their male drummer.

After the intermission, a rock band, with black members from such places as France, the U.S. and Nigeria, joined them, and we got a rock concert for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

I got so caught up in it that I felt sorry for people who didn’t come, and I had to get a tape of them.  I kept thinking of the PBS miniseries Shaka Zulu, especially with the way they were dressed.

Afterwards, I found Anna, Latosha and an exchange student from Nigeria.  Latosha wanted a tape for, as she called it, “my kid.”  That’s when Latosha told me she was pregnant by E—, the guy who had caused her so much grief freshman year.  I said I wanted a tape, but they’d already cleared them away.

Latosha said, “We can go backstage and get one.”

She led us back, and we got to meet all the performers–once they were dressed in normal clothes.  I got a tape, and the drummer said, “Don’t you want any more, for your family?”

“I can’t afford it,” I said.

“She can dub it,” Latosha said.

“Ohhh!” he said.

We met the three dancers a few minutes later, and they autographed our tapes.  We talked with them for a while, and found out the youngest one, who looked 12, was 19.

One dancer had a shirt in the first act that was cut differently from those of the other dancers; it kept slipping dangerously during the dances.  (They dressed in traditional Zulu clothes, so she didn’t wear a bra.)  Anna or Latosha said she was quick about pushing it back up.

The oldest dancer had long hair, maybe waist-length, put in tiny braids.  The youngest one asked for our names and made a little song out of them.

****

On the 27th, Shawn and I visited a student from Cambodia, S–, to play with his Sega.  Shawn and I beat up street thugs for a while, then S– and I watched Shawn get beat up by a gorilla in “Spiderman.”  Shawn insisted he used to be good at it.

Then he showed me Sonic The Hedgehog 2.  I did terribly at it, during a race against Shawn, since I had never played the game before.  “Two-year-olds play this better than you!” he said.  (I was playing with dolls at two.)

But, hey, I’ve never been adept at video games.  I think the whole coordination thing gets me, probably because of NVLD.

So obviously Shawn and I were still hanging out from time to time, still friends, despite everything.  I also wrote a long list of things to talk to him about, probably to do what we originally were going to do–back away from the physical and learn more about each other as people, not lovers.

****

Sometime that semester, the women of the campus were shaken up by stories of a rapist loose in S–.  Cindy said her mom saw him in the laundromat late one night, that he knew her and was after her for some reason.  I think he had kind of a Hitler-look, maybe with his hair.

There were rumors of him being spotted on campus, based on people seeing a guy who looked like him but was just some innocent husband of a non-trad.  He never actually did step foot on our campus, as far as we knew.

But the fear of him inspired warnings that we women shouldn’t go anywhere alone at night, and I would have Clarissa go with me just to do my laundry at night.

This may have been when the dorms were now locked up at all times, accessible only by key, meaning that I could no longer go from the suites to Krueger’s side door to get snacks or see people whenever I wanted to.

Mom had always worried that I would get raped at college, so I never did tell her about this rapist.  I told Dad, but with strict orders not to tell Mom or else she would be a nervous wreck.

I found a rapist warning in the school paper for April 30, and I don’t believe I found one any earlier.  But I keep thinking it was in February.  The May 7 paper explains that a “suspect,” though heavier and with glasses, in the rape cases was confronted in the Roanoke College library on May 5; this is probably the guy who was just somebody’s innocent husband.

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:

Corruption in the Campus Administration; Pregnancy Scare–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–January 1993, Part 2

Insurance Mix-Ups and Corruption in the Campus Administration 

During class, we’d have 15-minute breaks.  I’d go hang out with Derek and whoever was with him, so I was often late back.  I would bring up the time and they’d say, “Aah, so what?”

One day, we went back and Derek said to the teacher, “I see you’ve started class already.”  The teacher only smiled.

On the 14th, a girl came downstairs asking for a cigarette, so Derek went into a nearby room with equipment and said over the loudspeaker, Does anyone have a cigarette to lend this poor girl?  She came back downstairs with one, not knowing about this, and Derek said, “It worked.”

****

After my medical bill was submitted to my parents’ insurance company, the insurance company declined it.

Mom apparently thought the bill was submitted to the school, and just waited for them to pay it.

Only later did we discover that it had never been sent to the school.  So instead, Mom got another bill.  On or around January 14, she asked me to see the nurse about it.

On the 18th I went to the nurse, expecting to get it all resolved.  I don’t remember this meeting at all.  I do remember Memadmin calling me into her office soon after.  She said,

“I saw the maintenance crews out there salting the hill all day.”

You’ll recall that I saw no salt whatsoever on that hill.

She then said, “The nurse said she never told you the school would pay for the medical bills.”

I had written to a friend on December 7, “The school is paying for my medical expenses, the nurse tells me.  Yay!”

Did Memadmin just accuse me of lying?  Peter must have given her the impression that I lied all the time, even though I’ve always avoided lying, to the point of telling my teacher when an answer was mistakenly marked correct on my test.

After a bit of discussing, possibly even arguing, she decided to send the bill to the school’s insurance company.

Mom soon called.  A representative of the insurance company called her, and said I should tell the clinic, “The insurance is pending.”

I used that exact wording, but to the surprise of Mom and the rep, it didn’t work.  The woman I spoke to was surprised I wasn’t getting the bills myself.  (They went to my parents in Indiana.)

Mom finally decided to pay the bill and let the insurance company give her the money for it later.

One day, I got a call from another insurance representative.  He said, “Will you accept a payment of $500?  Will that be enough?”

Not only would that pay my bill, but it would compensate me for lost wages.  I said, “Yeah, that’s fine.”

For some time, I wondered if this thing beyond my control would hurt my credit rating.  (Apparently, it didn’t.)

While working for an insurance agent several years later, I learned that such mix-ups are common with medical insurance.  Many people get their bills sent to a collection agency while waiting for the insurance to pay.

As for Memadmin, some new information has come to light which may explain why she treated me the way she did, not just this time but those other times I had to deal with her and she acted like I was wrong no matter what was going on, and Peter was right–no matter what I said.  From what I recall, he was friends with Memadmin.

In maybe 2007 or so, Catherine’s second husband, Ben, who used to work Security for Roanoke in the early 90s, told me he once had to break up a marijuana-smoking group of students–and Memadmin was there, smoking with them.

Peter started smoking marijuana after he broke up with me, and he was friends with Memadmin, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he smoked it with her.

Get all buddy-buddy with Memadmin, and now your side of the story is listened to, but not your ex-girlfriend’s.  Don’t forget that he had no qualms about lying.

Meanwhile, Memadmin tried to frame Ben, saying that he was the one making obscene phone calls to the women’s dorms (explaining the rumors that the obscene phone caller used to work at Roanoke).

It was soon made obvious to those in charge that he’d been framed, but the administration was afraid he’d sue them if anything else happened, so they didn’t let him keep his job.

He told me that Memadmin considered everybody to be as corrupt as she was, so that would explain why she thought I was lying all the time.

Pregnancy Scare

On Friday the 15th, Shawn had been in a good mood for the past few days, and kept sitting with my group at meals.  Then he asked to come over and watch TV with Clarissa and me.

He brought Heavy Metal; later, he playfully scolded me for knowing there was sex in it: “You knew about it and you still agreed to watch it.  Shame on you!”

But come on, everybody knew what was in that movie!  How could he have not known?

None of us had seen it before; Clarissa and I hated it, with the breast fetish and the sex and violence, while he said it wasn’t as good as he thought it would be.

The VCR remote malfunctioned right when Clarissa tried to fast-forward through a sex scene, so Shawn tried to fix it.  (The benefits of having an engineering student for a friend: He later got some more supplies and fixed it.)

He lay beside me on my bed, as usual.  Once, while Clarissa was out of the room, he asked if I wanted to get frisky; I was trying to attract his attention with various poses, but he started moving his hand in places he shouldn’t, with my roommate right there in the room, so I had to stop him.

We flirted quite a bit.  I discreetly offered him a pop, then a brownie, because his breath was bad, but he refused.  So I offered him gum.  He said, “All right, then–Why, does my breath stink?”  I just smiled.

Once, during the movie, I was eating pretzel sticks.  He said, “Why don’t you take a handful out and eat it that way?  It wouldn’t make so much noise that way.”

I said, “You eat pretzels your way; I’ll eat ’em mine.”  So I put the bag in a different position to cut down the noise.

As usual, I got Clarissa to join me in guy-bashing every once in a while; Shawn retaliated with a remark about girls taking two people to think of one thing.  I wanted to hit him with Woof Woof, my stuffed Santa dog, but instead pinched his arm–hard.

He almost fell asleep once.  Several times, he cuddled up against me, and had me put my arm around him.  I began playing with his hair.  Clarissa got up, saw us, and gave me a funny look, so I laughed.

Around midnight, just when I thought he was leaving to go back to his room, and followed him to the suite door to say good-night, he got me into the guest room instead.

Things grew intense for three hours, with things we had never done before.  I won’t go into detail, just that while we did not “go all the way,” we did some very dangerous things.

I will say that afterwards he was calmer, sweeter, tender, not like the last time at all.  It was almost as if that scary scold session never happened.

I went to the bathroom, then found him sitting in the lounge, by a chair.  (Not in a chair, but on the floor?)

I sat beside him, and we talked for another two hours!

He eventually moved to the couch, and I soon came over.  He lay on the couch, and I sat beside him, often resting my head on the side, or on my folded arms on the cushion, putting my head close to his.

Clarissa woke up at 4am, saw us there in the lounge–him lying on the couch, me curled up on the floor with my head by his–and Shawn asked if she had a bad dream from watching Heavy Metal with us.

I can only imagine what she thought about all this.  Pearl, my prayer partner and Shawn’s confidant, and Clarissa were the two people on campus who knew the most about what was really going on between Shawn and me.

Shawn and I talked about our relationship, me wondering why he didn’t feel for me as a girlfriend, him not knowing.

But the way he behaved that night was tender, more like a lover.  He played with my hair, pulled it out over my face.  Once, he cupped my chin in his hand as I told him something.  Once, he said,

“You’ll find the right guy some day.”

I said, “How many times will I have to fall in love before I do?”

“A lot of times, love is hard to distinguish from lust.”

“I don’t think that lust applies in this case.”

I was trying to tell him I loved him.  I don’t know why I didn’t say it directly.  He didn’t understand me.

He said, “I’m going to leave now so I don’t fall asleep on this couch, and go to bed.  I’ll take that soda now, if you’re still offering it, so I have enough sugar to get back to Grossheusch without falling into a snowdrift and being found there the next day.”

I gave him my last pop.  He hugged me, saying, “Now that’s a friendly hug.”  He dozed off on the way back, and lost his can.  The next day, I found an orange streak in the snow and a stray Orange Slice can.  He slept until 5pm, so I didn’t see him again until Sunday.

He seemed in a better mood now, so much so that even Cindy noticed, smiling at me at meals, inviting me over to sit with him, exchanging smiles with me, being easy to get along with….It was enough to drive anyone crazy.  But I was too relieved by his good mood to think of that.

****

One day, Derek borrowed one of my textbooks.  He asked how he’d get the book back to me, and I said, “My number’s in the book.”

He was suave, a flirt, a musician and theater major, and I believe I flirted with him on occasion, so I must have done so now.  He told Clarissa I was really sexy about lending the book.

So I had her tell Shawn that, to get him to look at me differently.  He made a wry, surprised smile.

For a few days, the 24th through the 26th, there was a pregnancy scare, due to some things we did.  We knew the basic way to get pregnant, not being idiots, but  weren’t sure if certain things we did could also cause it.

I waited anxiously for my late period, while he talked to a married friend and did some research.

While he said he’d marry me if such a thing happened, neither of us wanted him to ruin his life plans because of this, and I didn’t want a marriage with love on only one side.  I was frightened.

It turned out we had not done what would cause virgins to conceive.  I also didn’t know, back then, how to determine my fertile period, though it was so late that month that something could have happened.  Apparently this fear is common among Evangelical girls who haven’t had PIV sex, the “phantom baby,” according to Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement.

When my period started–10 days late, on day 45 of my menstrual cycle–I called him to a private meeting in the suite.  I told him there was nothing to worry about.

He held me for a while as we stood, and I pressed my body against his in a hug that seemed to link us emotionally.  We decided we had gone too far, and not to do those things again–though this resolution did not last long.

****

I noted on the 28th that,

The other day, he used words [referring to me] such as ‘going out’ and ‘dating’ about three times, even though he tried to reassure Clarissa that we’re just friends….

She told me her mom would be staying in the guest room, and kept glancing at Shawn as if he’d be a problem.

He said, ‘Why do you keep looking at me, Clarissa?  I’m going home this weekend.  We’re just friends.  Just friends!’–smiling all the while.

Yet a depression had fallen on me, just the same, and I didn’t know why.

On the 27th, he participated in a campus event where students competed in funny little games to win money.  When the MC called him up, he misread Shawn’s last name.

Shawn was totally hyper, so I figured he did well on his class presentation.  It probably also helped that I was not “in trouble.”

He bounced off the walls, and made faces and funny gestures the whole time.  When he had to wear bunny ears during Chubby Bunnies, he made bunny shadow pictures against one of the fake walls they put up.

He kept opening his mouth so wide and tucking in the marshmallows with a technique remarked on by the MC, that the MC said, “You could stuff a compact car in that mouth.”

When he lost at Chubby Bunnies at 12 or 14 marshmallows, he hung his head.

My friends and I were in a front row; when he had to blow up a balloon until it popped, Pearl and Sharon began yelling, “Shawn!  Shawn!”

He had his glasses off the whole time, and seemed like a totally different person up there.  This was the old goofy Shawn I remembered from freshman year, the one who played jokes on me in Krueger one night, the one who played with me and flirted with me, and the one who tried to get into the shower with me back in November, not the dead serious one who was no fun.

I wrote in my diary, “I’ve got to tease him about it tomorrow.”

I wrote in a letter that Pearl and Cindy “say he’s so sweet, and that so many guys on this campus are jerks….Another funny thing is that Peter and Shawn rip on each other when the other one’s out of the room.”

****

On or after January 28, Cindy, Jennifer, Pearl and I all sat in Pearl and Cindy’s room, chatting.  I said, “It’s the one-year anniversary since Peter broke up with me.  But it doesn’t bother me, because of Shawn.”

This may be when Pearl and I stayed in the room while Cindy went into the hall to say good-bye to a visiting guy named Luke.  I could see them from where I sat.  Luke wanted a hug; Cindy simpered and gave him one.  They acted shy and cute.

I asked Pearl, “Is there something going on between them?

“No,” said Pearl.  “They’re just friends.”

Apparently, my skills at reading people had improved.  Soon after, Cindy and Luke started dating.  They stayed together for many years, and everyone thought they would marry.

Shawn also liked Cindy, but she–like the others in the Group–wouldn’t want to go out with him in a million years.

****

Anna told me one day that she found a bug in her green beans.  She almost missed it because it was long and green.  She cut into it and saw little legs.

****

Winterim Break was from Saturday, January 30 through Tuesday, February 2.  Clarissa and I both stayed on campus.  We were prepared with plenty of food, since I remembered last year and warned Clarissa.

We had a restful, relaxing Break, doing whatever we wanted to, whenever we wanted to.  I would go down to the Campus Center to check mail, and listen to my Walkman on the way.  I loved it.  Shawn and Peter were gone; few people were on campus.  Some of our friends were there.

Pearl and Carol went on an educational trip to England for most of Winterim, obviously arriving back in time for us to talk on the 28th.  They even got credit for it.  (This is the event which I fictionalized in Bedlam Castle.)

They saw “The Phantom of the Opera,” and visited sites important in British literature, such as Bath and Stratford-on-Avon.

The advisers were Bill (my teacher for Persuasive, Sophomore Honors and Mass Media) and Thea (who had taught my Expository Writing class).

It cost a lot of money, so I couldn’t join them, to my dismay.  When they got back, Pearl gave me a map of Bath in the time of Jane Austen.

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:

%d bloggers like this: