friends with benefits

Psychological Hell as Shawn Turns Dark and Moody (sexual user); Irish Writers Class–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–January 1993, Part 1

Irish Writers Class 

Now I started my second year of reading My Utmost for His Highest, in totally different circumstances now, but still desperately needing the messages it and the Bible had for me.

Pearl got a present from a relative which inspired Rachel to make up this tune:

Some little Christmas thing
Sitting on my mantel
I don’t know what it is
I got it from some corny relative
It killed my cat
What do you think about that
As the world blows up

As far as I can explain a tune in words, it was a simple, alto melody sung mostly in low notes.  The line “I don’t know what it is” sounded similar to the beginning of the Aerosmith song “Living on the Edge,” which, incidentally, came out soon after Rachel made up this song.  (I always jokingly wondered if Aerosmith stole it from her.)

“It killed my cat” ended on a higher note, “What do you think about that” on an even higher one, and “As the world blows up” even higher.

Pat Robertson actually predicted the spring/summer Flood of 1993 on or around January 5, according to my diary.

My Winterim class, Irish Writers, taught by a tall, thin teacher named Todd, was a lot of fun.  It was held from 9 to 12 each day.  We learned not only about Irish Writers, but about the Irish people.  I had no idea just how colorful they are.

Todd had been to Ireland, and showed us pictures of a man he met there.  He said the man tended to walk with his arms behind his back and his hands clasped, an Irish thing.  Todd passed around a brick of peat, which is dug out of bogs and used for fuel.

We learned about Irish history, and that the Irish are passionate about everything (including freedom, and in such a way that, until 2000, it seemed impossible to stop the fighting over it).  The Brits looked down on them, at least in previous centuries, for loving sex and alcohol so much.

We learned about stout (no, we didn’t drink it).  We read books, plays and stories by Irish writers.

James Joyce said he was no good at making things up, so his stories were based on things that really happened.  As far as I was concerned, he had little sense of plot and most of his stories were dull.

We read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man–the second time for me.  I had to trudge through that novel in high school.  It was just as bad the second time.  (What is the point of that 42-page Hellfire Sermon, anyway?)

The only part I liked was the beginning, with the stream-of-consciousness stuff about a moocow and some bird plucking out the kid’s eyes if he didn’t apologize for something: “Pull out his eyes, apologize, apologize, pull out his eyes!”  I like to repeat that now and then.

We read his collection The Dubliners, and the only stories I liked were “The Dead” and “Araby” (which I had also read in high school).  “Araby” would show up again in a Lit class junior year.

We saw My Left Foot, a filmed version of “The Dead” with Colm Meaney (from Star Trek: TNG), and a John Wayne movie, The Quiet Man, set in Ireland.  Though we didn’t like Foot, and I think we liked the movie Dead, we loved The Quiet Man.

I loved the very end of The Dead, focusing on snow falling on tombstones in a graveyard.  It reminded me of my own musings at that time whenever we passed cemeteries in a car: that the people in those graves were fortunate to not have to feel the snow or the cold, or have heartaches, or go through any more of life’s many problems.  I just hoped their souls were in Heaven.

Our first day of class, we chose or were assigned partners and days to do presentations.  I ended up with Clarissa, and we had to do the next day’s presentation on “Araby.”

Clarissa and I had no examples of past presentations to go on, and had to just make everything up, not knowing what would work and what wouldn’t.  We thought we did all right, and certainly our best from what he’d told us to do.  But afterwards, Todd told the class with a grin,

“Maybe tomorrow’s presentation will be better.”

He often did this, ripping on people and grinning at the same time.  It was the only fault in an otherwise pleasant guy who actually loved Jane Austen but wasn’t gay.

One day, I brought in some of my Irish pen pal’s letters.  I said she would talk about the noise of bombs going off and helicopters constantly flying overhead, and about the constant violence in Belfast, where she lived.

Shawn had Irish ancestry, so one day I said to him with a grin, “I understand you now.”  I explained what I had learned about the Irish.  I told him I had Scottish ancestry, which I thought meant we had a lot in common.  But I forgot that the Scots and Irish fought each other.  Shawn said, “That must be our problem, then.”


I talked to Steve about what Peter told Memadmin.  I asked if I needed to apologize to Peter for anything I did freshman year.

He said, “No, you did nothing wrong.”  Others told me this, as well, such as Julie.  “It would be good to let him know you never meant to hurt him.”  I didn’t want to say anything to Peter, though, but Steve did.  When he did say this to Peter, he got no response.  To describe Peter’s reaction, Steve thought a moment, then said, “Indifference.”

Psychological Hell as Shawn Turns Dark and Moody 

On the 5th, Shawn wanted me to come over, but I had to unpack.  He called up the next night, and said to call him when I finished my homework.  I tried, but kept getting his answering machine, so I went over there to find out what he wanted.  (It couldn’t be the usual; he said firmly that the physical stuff was going to stop!)

I found him in the lounge, watching one of the movies rotating around the dorms that month–the end of Poison Ivy.  Blech!  A few other guys and Frank, the RA, were watching it.  I came in during one of the sex scenes.  I went up to Shawn and said, “What is this?”  Another guy said, “It’s a porno.  Wanna watch?”  Um, no.

I went to the vending machines; Shawn stood by me to wait for me, but went back to watch the end of the movie.  The other guys kept making perverted comments, which angered Frank, no saint himself; one said, “Oh, you’re just mad at us because there’s a female here.”

Whatever Shawn wanted with me, I never found out; after the movie, he just sat there flipping through channels, so I got to know the remaining guy better.  He’d been in the Special Forces, and had interesting information about the Japanese mindset and the sterility of drinking urine on the battlefield to stay hydrated.  He seemed to be flirting with me; I hoped so, and hoped that Shawn would notice and get jealous.

But Shawn was persistent, asking me over again the next day.  I had to write a paper first, and didn’t finish until 9 or 9:30.  He called to ask if I still wanted to come.

He didn’t even hint that he was calling to cancel because it was getting late, and we know what happens when it’s so late.  But since he did not actually tell me this, and I can’t read minds, I did still want to go, so I went.

What was this about?  I expected it would be nothing but talk.  Part of me wanted more, but part of me just wanted to talk.

He let me in, but started reading his homework and watching TV.  (I guess he must have brought a TV from home, because I’m pretty sure he did not have one before.)  It seemed so rude.  So I started watching the TV with him and occasionally making comments, which got him to at least glance at me now and then.

Finally, he put down the book and said, “Could you do me a favor?  Could you give me a back rub?  My back is killing me.”  Back rub?  Seriously?  Those always led to more with us.  But I didn’t expect it to, this time, naive person I was.

He lay down, I sat beside him and began using the knowledge he’d given me about giving back rubs.  When I stopped, he gave me one; he tried to behave, but almost transgressed a couple of times, then stopped himself.  But then he kissed my back.

Soon, he lay down beside me, held me and told me to try falling asleep, “just to see what’ll happen.”  I put my arms around his neck, full of tenderness, and nestled my head on his neck and played with his hair.  Some things happened….

It got close to midnight, so he said I’d better be getting back to my room.  I began arranging myself as he got up, smiling, and sat in the chair.  He didn’t seem to feel guilty this time, so I was happy.

Then all of a sudden he said, “What are we doing?”

I paused, upset at this turn, and said, “Well, I know my reasons.”  I love him, that’s it.

“What are they?”

“There are some things I’d rather keep a secret.”

I was irritated, especially as the same old conversation over the same old stuff began, the hyper-analyzing.  He seemed mad at somebody, hopefully himself and not me.

He asked, “Where do you want this relationship to go?”  I couldn’t answer.

Where did I want it to go?  The hope of marriage, but only if it seemed right; the hope to go out and be a true couple, with romance and not just being some chick he fools around with on the sly; but the fear of commitment while other guys still interested me.

You can’t tell a guy you want to marry him in a couple of years, if he doesn’t feel the same: You’ll just scare him off.

He said, “I’m probably not Mr. Right.  You’ll probably meet a lawyer.”  He thought a lawyer would be well-read and my intellectual equal, unlike Shawn, who would be an engineer.  (This is funny because I ended up marrying an engineer.)

He said he was afraid of commitment.  (Well, so was I; so what?)

Once, he asked a question and I paused to form an answer.  Introverts have to think before we speak; we do not form our thoughts while speaking, like extroverts.  But Shawn snapped, “And I don’t want to wait four days for an answer.  That’s what I don’t like.”

And I don’t like people who snap at introverts for taking the time we need to think before we speak.  But unfortunately, I was not able to say this, not knowing about introversion, NVLD or the art of verbal self-defense.

He kept snapping at me like that, once because I thought he was talking about me but he wasn’t.  He said he doesn’t like it when I do that.  (Well excuse me for misunderstanding and not reading your mind!)

“I’m not a book reader like you, not so smart.”  (What?  He was a math-brain and was in the National Honor Society!)  “I don’t think I’d give you the attention you need.”  (What?  I liked spending much of my time with my friends or alone in my room, recharging.)  “A girl from Taiwan asked me, ‘Why are you so rude to her?  It seems like she has to seek you out.'”

Then came the revelations of what kept going through his head, what he would do to me if I let him, overpowering thoughts of what he could get away with if he tried, how badly he wanted to try.

(It was only our fear of offending God that kept us from going all the way; I would have allowed him, otherwise, because I was just as full of lust as he was–and from what he said, he may have started to realize this.)

He asked, “Do you do all the things we do because I force you?”

I said, “Not all of them.  I must make it hard for you to do things I don’t want.”

He said, “No, you don’t.”

He said, “I wish our friendship could be like mine with Frank or Pearl.”

I said, “It could never be that way, now.”

He thought maybe, if one day he scared me enough, I’d turn tail and run; I said, “You really think scaring me will–You’ve already scared me to death!”  I was thinking of the “Dreadful Night.”

He told me he was into one of my friends.  (Fortunately for me, she had a boyfriend and was not interested.)  What a thing to tell a girl who loves you after you’ve just been using her body and making you think you want her!

He insulted me, made me feel like some cheap whore, no better than the pop tarts.  He referred to us as “sexually active,” which I objected to–though legally, he was correct.

I no longer knew what was right or wrong, beyond the sex act itself; he told me I should read the textbook for his class, Understanding Morality.

He almost seemed to blame me for things he himself had chosen to do even when I tried to get him to go away, times when he himself chose to come over and do all these things, but I was too much in love to stop him, like now.

He called me a source of stress, but all he ever had to do was stop coming over, stop asking me over, stop starting things he knew I would not want to stop, and let me get over it; no one was putting a gun to his head and forcing him to touch and kiss me.  Sure I wanted him to, but it takes two people, and he had the right to refuse to do it anymore.

He was being such a jerk, saying such things, almost making it sound like I was to blame if it didn’t stop–then he tried to start it all over again, while telling me he felt nothing, which made me bat his hand away.

After all this scolding of me for allowing him to have his way with me, he turned creepy, tried to get me to do something in front of him which I did not want to do.  I said, “I’m not a pervert!”

He smiled and said, “Yes, you are.”

“No, I’m not!”

“Yes, you are.”  He began doing things I did not like….I told him to stop….He suggested doing to me what I did not want to do to myself….I said no….

Is this why he kept wanting me over the past few days?  He’d had time to reconsider, this was premeditated and not spur of the moment, but every night he asked me over until I finally came, after he had insisted he would not do this to me anymore.

Then he bumped my arm, which was holding a can of pop.

I said, “You’d better be careful, or my pop might spill.”

He said, “It already did.  It’s on your shirt.”

I looked down at my shirt, saw a dark blotch in the dim light, and said, “You’re dead.”

He laughed and got me something to wipe it up with.  He said, “Maybe I shouldn’t let you come over here anymore,” but with a smile, so I said, “I hope you’re just joking.”

He finally helped me sneak out around 1:30, with my long hair tucked into my coat, then told me to call him that afternoon if I wanted to talk more–which I did not.  I knew how it would go: the same as always.

It felt like we’d lost the ground we gained with that tearful phone conversation, all because he could not keep his hands to himself and I was too in love to stop him.

I spoke to Sharon about it; she said no one would care if they saw me leave, because I’m of age, so don’t worry about my reputation, which Shawn kept warning me about.  She said we should make up our minds soon, and either commit or snub each other.

This seemed to turn a corner, but not the one I’d hoped for at the beginning of Christmas Break: We went from the fun we were having before, to a new and more disturbing phase, where we did things we’d never done before, went farther than ever, while he often treated me with contempt.

The thing I did not want him to do to me, he eventually did in February, 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.

And even though he himself had similar thoughts and told me about them, he judged me for them when I confessed them to him.

In fact, considering his mental health history, I can’t help wondering now if something happened over Christmas Break that led to this, if he was on the verge of another nervous breakdown, and I was the unlucky one caught in it.

From January through the end of the school year, he kept going from manic hyper stages where he treated me kindly, to foul moods which ended up hurting me.

I had told Shawn so many things, including deep, dark secrets.  We usually seemed like best friends.  But sometimes, like January 10, I wondered if we were even friends.  Some weeks he’d call all the time and sometimes stop over, but I wrote on the 13th, “some weeks, like this one, he won’t call and he won’t even sit by me.”

I had hoped things would change for the better between us, but instead they got worse.  He was moody.  I was too afraid to call him or go over without being asked.

On the 11th, he was in a bad mood, so I didn’t want to sit with him at a meal; I was surprised to see him come sit with us.  But he just started writing in notebooks instead of attending to the group’s conversation.  Why bother sitting with anyone, then, especially me?

He was having troubles with his Winterim class and the two joint teachers, who he felt were against him.  At 2 or 3 in the morning, he kicked in the door of someone who woke him up with their stereo!


Shawn had told me to sit with my friends whether Peter was there or not, so on the 12th I did so.  I sat with Steve, and Peter was right across from me.  He didn’t stay long because of class, but it seemed to go well.  I stayed cheerful despite fighting to control my shaking.  Even Peter seemed cheerful.

On the 12th, I saw my old suitemate Tom checking out a display for some date rape movies.  A guy with him said, “You saw the word ‘sex,’ and you went right to it.”  Tom denied it, but I said, “Yeah, we know you, Tom.”  He gave me a kind of lecherous smile.

That night, my suitemates held a seance in the suite lounge.  Clarissa and I stayed in our room, hoping they wouldn’t call something into the suite that wouldn’t leave, and keeping our crosses nearby.

Pearl and Tara were in England for their Winterim class, which was led by my old Expository Writing teacher.  They visited such places as London, Bath and Stratford-on-Avon, and included a showing of Phantom of the Opera.  I was envious, but had no way to afford such a thing.  It did, however, make it into my story “Bedlam Castle.”

Then on the 14th, Shawn sat at my table for a minute, then, as he passed behind me on his way out, tapped me on the back.  I looked up; he smiled and said “bye”; I smiled back.  This made me feel better; kindness from him again?


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:

Poems of Werewolves and Longing (The Beast of Backbiting); Reading Clarissa, My Drawings of Her–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–December 1992, Part 3

Poems of Werewolves and Longing

On the 20th, during Christmas Break, I wrote in my diary,

I’m starting to wonder if I am in love with Shawn now.  I remember telling him, on only the Monday before the Tuesday he almost took what wasn’t his [my virginity], over the phone that ‘I know I’m not in love with you.’  But I think that, even then, I was starting to wonder….

I thought–remember this?–that I only thought of Shawn as a friend at summer’s end.  I badly wanted Peter to reform and return to me.  But, as soon as I got back to school, I didn’t want [what I erroneously thought was a word from God that he would] to come true, at least not very much, and Pearl called me ‘obsessed’ with Shawn.

I go up and down with him, all smiling and teasing with him one day, and irate at him for something the next [one of his many criticisms, blowing me off, snapping at me, that sort of thing].  Sometimes, especially in the past couple of weeks, it changes in the same hour….

I want to tell him, Forget about [your ex-girlfriend], as much as you can–I’m here.  What’s wrong with me?  Maybe the real problem is, he doesn’t know me well enough yet, or his mind’s been filled by too many negative things from those people that judge me so harshly.

I feel so hurt when he does something that hurts me, like Tuesday night almost three weeks ago, or his constant criticisms.  You’re never hurt so much as by the ones you love.  I don’t use that word lightly, ‘love,’ and I never have….

I keep wishing Shawn would return this, and it depressed me when he says he doesn’t….

I hope that love will grow out of friendship, now that Shawn and I have agreed to start learning about who each other is.  I’ve confided things in Shawn that I’ve never told anyone else but God.  Such trust, to tell him such a thing.

(I did not say “I love you” lightly, differentiating it from infatuation.)

For days after our conversation, I kept crying or feeling cranky.  And no, it was not my period: I was depressed about Shawn.

But on the 29th, I wrote a poem about a werewolf, the beast of character assassination.  I eventually used it in Advanced Poetry.

It shocked people; it drew praise.  Julie said she didn’t expect such a poem from me.  It was published in a new, campus literary magazine called Farrago.  I don’t remember if Shawn saw it.

This is the poem:

“The Beast of Backbiting”

They’re a werewolf.
Each lie’s a tooth
in a long mouth full.
Long fur of self-righteousness,
Pointed ears prick at the agreement
of others of its kind.
Watchful, red eyes.
Help me, help me,
it careers after me!
It roars, cracking the air–
Foul, hot breath of judgments.
You have the gun;
I grab your sleeve.
Shoot it!  Kill it!

Once it had you,
tearing with dagger-claws,
ripping for your heart,
to make you one of them.
I shot the gun,
scared it away.
I tended your wounds,
plucked out a broken claw,
an implant of perceptions.
Your hand flew up from pain,
knocking the claw to my chest,
scratching me, though no blood drawn.

Now shoot a silver bullet of truth–
The werewolf falls,
eyes fixed, in death, in surprise.
But it rises again,
snarls, fangs bared,
saliva oozing.
Its pride is hurt.
You shoot again, hit the shoulder.
The beast rages, lunges.
You shoot once more, hit the heart.
With a pitiful whimper and a gush of blood,
the beast dies.

I wasn’t the only one affected by rumors.  Once, a teacher told his class to beat the stress of finals week by starting a rumor.  They would see how far it got by noon.  So one of his students did just that.  I don’t know what the rumor was, but by lunchtime, it was all around the school.

I wrote another poem, a rant about the different meanings behind our actions.  How I did not regret what we did, how my motives were love while Shawn’s were cold and lustful.  The title came from Jane Austen’s juvenilia.  The poem was full of longing.  And no, this one did not get workshopped in Poetry class:

“Love and Freindship (sic)”

What shall I say?
That I regret?
What shall I do?
Mourn innocence lost?
Then I lie!
Longing fills like never before
(or maybe once).
Lust, but for kisses and caresses.
Tho’ a half-emerged wish for more.
No sin here,
but almost.
I’m virtuous?  I’m pure?
Maybe, but what are you?
Same hour, same acts
(tho’ none a sin)!
Float through the moat of motive:
One kiss–
I feel love;
What do you?
One caress–
I feel hope;
Where lies your heart?
Tho’ your heart’s cold, mine stays warm;
One desire–
Yours from below;
Mine from the heart.
I float, I float,
here in these cold waves,
wondering, wishing–
Will he yet be truly mine?

On the 31st, I copied a quote from Héloïse of Abelard and Héloïse: “I ought to groan at the sins which I have perpetrated yet I sigh for those which I am unable to commit.”  I wrote, “That’s how I feel, though I don’t know if I have sinned.  And not only do I long for Shawn to touch me in places that maybe should be forbidden, I wish I could do other things.”

I had felt the same way a month earlier.  (There were things we had not yet done, but did later.)  I copied another quote from Héloïse which reminded me of what I tried to get Shawn to understand: “The sensual delights which we enjoyed together were so dear to me that I cannot help loving the memory of them and am quite unable to erase them from my mind.”

(I have translated a racy passage of the letters of Abelard and Héloïse, here.)


Over break, I’d listen to dance music of various kinds on B96, especially late at night: mixes that went on for quite some time and got especially intense without words, techno, house.  I wrote on the 23rd,

This dance music seems to express, in its technological style, my deep feelings–love, resentment, fear, strength, resistance, resolve, anger–all in one, all at once.  Maybe that’s why I like it so much now.  Maybe that’s also why sometimes I have to turn it of and turn on something tamer–when it overwhelms me.

An hour later I wrote,

I don’t want people to think my beauty is artificial–a perm or painted face; I want them to say, ‘She’s beautiful, inside and out.’  Peter’s mom, remember, told me that I’m one of those girls who just don’t need makeup.

So why couldn’t Shawn see that?

Hmmm….On Christmas Eve, I wrote that I saw a skit on In Living Color that included a wedgie, and “it reminds me of Shawn trying to do the same to me.”  What?

I was glad to see the end of 1992.  I hoped that 1993 would be better.

Reading Clarissa; My Drawings of Her

In my diary and letters from this time, I gushed over the book Clarissa by Samuel Richardson, which I found in the Roanoke library.  I read some of it while sick with the flu, since I had nothing else to do.  Over Christmas Break, I had no homework and nothing else pressing (except lunch dishes).

This was a wonderful, wonderful book; since my massive version (1200 pages) was abridged, I didn’t yet know that there were even more wonderful parts to it which would explain parts of the plot even more.  I read 100 pages a day–which for me is a tremendous amount, since normally I probably would have gotten through 50 at the most, even reading all day long–and finished on New Year’s Eve.

I loved the Gothic feel of many scenes, such as Lovelace showing up in Clarissa’s hotel as a gouty old man.  I’m not sure if it’s called pre-Gothic or Gothic; it’s been described both ways.  On Masterpiece Theatre, which showed the movie version in the spring of 1992, it was called a Gothic.  It came out before the supernatural tales of the 18th and 19th centuries, but had the traditional elements of a Gothic: A young, virtuous virgin is abused and locked up by a dirty, usually old, man.

Richardson’s book Pamela, an earlier work, had a similar theme, except that the dirty man was young and handsome, and eventually “reformed.”  In Clarissa, the man was young and handsome, but did not reform.

The book was far more intense and intricate than the movie could possibly have depicted, with a remarkable understanding of psychology and the thoughts/motives of each character.

I laughed when Clarissa’s coffin arrived and she had it dragged up the stairs to her room.  She shocked everyone in the hotel, who said, how could she bring her coffin into her room?  She said, how could they be so surprised, since it was just a box to hold her earthly body?  She expected to die and go to Heaven, where everything would be beautiful and peaceful.

Two songs became associated in my mind with Clarissa.  The first was “Unchain” by Whiteheart, on a CD I got for Christmas.  I listened to it over and over during Christmas Break, and the beautiful melody seemed to fit somehow as I read.  Maybe it was the plea for God to “release my soul” and to “unchain.”  After all, Clarissa kept pleading for Lovelace to release her, and no longer keep her a prisoner in the brothel where he had taken her.

The second song was “Ordinary World” by Duran Duran, a song which came out over Christmas Break and was played over and over as I listened to the radio while reading.  I also taped it.  The melancholy music and lyrics fit Clarissa well.  The song may have been about a breakup, but Clarissa’s sadness was due to the rape, betrayal and abuse from someone who said he loved her.  When she died, all the pathos made my eyes mist and my nose tickle.

I drew pictures of the characters, to help me visualize them and their period clothing, since characters are often a blur of emotion and action as I read.  They rarely take on a concrete appearance unless I can look at a picture.  This may be because of NVLD.

I based the first picture of Clarissa on a plate in the “Fashion and Clothing” article from our 1960s Collier’s encyclopedias.  This was my masterpiece.  I somehow got her haircolor mixed up: I thought she was a brunette and her friend Anna a blonde, though it was the other way around.

But Clarissa’s features–based on beautiful British actresses I’d seen over the years–were lovely enough to fit her description.  I tried to draw Lovelace, but I preferred the one in the movie, Sean Bean.  I’ve never been good at drawing men, who end up looking effeminate.

I admired Clarissa, the paragon of virtue, and the ending brought me close to tears.  I admired her as my ideal, but did not act like her when Shawn got me alone.  Maybe I connected with her on a subconscious level, since I knew what it was like to be lied to, lied about, and emotionally abused by men, though I did not yet know just how bad it could get (Phil, a year and a half later).

I had no clue why this happened.  I suppose the natural gullibility caused by NVLD, and the ostracism I’d often experienced throughout my schooling for no reason I could see, made me an easy target.  Boyfriends were never easy to find, especially when my faith said they had to be Christians–and even the Christians could be jerks.

I wanted to stop the abuse, but had no idea how.  I couldn’t control Peter’s actions, and still hoped Shawn would stop criticizing me and fall in love with me.

Here are two of my best “Clarissa” pictures.  The bottom one was drawn in 1997.  When I showed the first one to my friend Becky in South Bend, she grabbed it with an “Ooh!”:



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:

Confronting Shawn’s Psychological Abuse; A Proposed Cool-Off–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–December 1992, Part 2

Confronting Shawn’s Psychological Abuse

On the 10th, I got up at 8:19 but had to lie down to not get overcome by nausea (the flu, you dirty-minded people), but Clarissa was probably at class by that time.

My first impulse was to call Shawn because we both had Music History that morning.  I could also have called Pearl, but Cindy might still be sleeping.  At least if I called Shawn, it would probably be a wake-up call, the only thing he’d found so far that got him up on time.

I brought the phone (just a receiver with a cord, no cradle) to my desk so I could lean against the backrest on my bed, and dialed his extension.  Two or three rings; then a weak, sleep-laden “Hello?”

“Shawn?” I said in a much stronger and more awake voice.


“Are you awake?”

“Just barely.  I only got three hours of sleep last night.  I didn’t get to bed until 5.”  (That was from studying, and had nothing to do with me.)

Five?  That’s even worse than four!”  (Referring to an earlier conversation.)

“That’s how long it took P– and me to get to bed.  I got my Calculus done!”

“Finally!”  That’s all I ever seemed to hear about–the Calculus homework he had to do.

“What time is it now?”


“So I have 36 minutes to get to class.  Thanks for waking me up.”

“Probably longer for you.” (This referred to his chronic lateness.)

“No, you’d be surprised what I can do when I have to.”  This is the same day that I later heard from Pearl: He got to class on time, highly unlike him, but some other kid was late.  He said, “I even got here on time.  Why didn’t you?”

He said, “My mom called me at 8 this morning.”  (I suppose he went back to sleep then.)  “Then you called.  I thought, ‘My alarm clock’s pretty loud this morning.  It’s never been that loud before.  Oh, it’s the phone.  Aw, man!'”

“What were we going to do in class today?”

“Turn in papers, maybe do some listening to music, etc.”

I said, “I hope it’s nothing too important for me to miss.”

“Why?  What’re you doing that’s so important that you’re skipping class?”

“That’s why I called you.–Probably barfing.”

“Oh!  Well, if you think barfing is more important than going to Music History and Appreciation….I only got three hours of sleep.  So, you see, there are people going to class in worse shape than you.”

“Could you tell him for me?”

“Yeah, I’ll tell him you’re going to be too busy barfing to go to class.”

“Don’t tell him that!  Tell him I feel sick and can’t go to class this morning.”

“Okay.  Anything else?”

“No.  I was going to keep the phone call short, just in case.

Clarissa was a good roommate, getting box lunches for me from the cafeteria.


That night, I wrote to a friend that I still hadn’t barfed yet, but sure felt like I would.  I wrote that Shawn kept talking about his old girlfriend all the time.  I wrote, “I feel like saying, ‘Quit bringing her up!  She’s engaged; she’s gone!  Start thinking about me!”

In another place I wrote that he was afraid we were on the rebound, but by then, we both should have been off the rebound.  It had been twice as long since the breakup than Peter and I had been together, and it was a year and a half for Shawn.

On the 11th, he said that, due to long and complicated reasons, “Let’s wait until after the break to talk about the things we have to talk about, because right now I just can’t handle that and finals.”

On the 13th, I noted that Shawn was overburdened and almost burned out.  This could have influenced what happened later.  It certainly meant that I was getting no visits from him; my arm and flu would also have affected that.

I prayed that he would figure out his true feelings for me, whatever they might be–though I also prayed that he would like me.

I played with him a lot when I saw him.  That day, when he walked up to my table, I said in a fake mean voice, “What do you want?”  He smiled at me.

On the 15th, I’d been studying for Music History finals with Clarissa, when Shawn called around 11 or 11:30.  Even though it was originally supposed to be about music, he asked me to tell him what I’d been wanting to say.  I began to say, “Why are you always criticizing me?  My friends don’t agree with you, and they like me just fine!”

This may have been referring to a time when Shawn told me things people had told him about me.  Since I didn’t record the things he said this time, I don’t remember them all now, but rather how they made me feel.  These things were nasty and untrue, yet he believed them!

Also, someone had asked Shawn why I was sad all the time.  He said, “She wants to be.”  What kind of crap was that?

I was no longer depressed about the breakup, not since probably mid-October or early November, but I had plenty of other things to be depressed about: Peter kept playing with my mind, pretending to be friendly and then biting my hand every time I extended it in friendship.  He spread lies about me and even used the administration to try to force me to shut up about what really happened.

Shawn’s actions did not match his words, and he kept criticizing me.  Shawn should have said, “She’s sad because she’s dealing with some difficult stuff in her life right now.”  Anyone would have understood and cut me some slack.

But instead, his reply made me sound maudlin or morose, like I was too stubborn to be happy, like I wanted attention or enjoyed sadness, like I was a negative person who would always be a downer.  In fact, I am an optimistic person who is usually content.  We can’t be expected to be happy all the time, no matter what, just to please others.

I needed Shawn’s support, not his criticism.  I was being cruelly treated by my ex and needed someone there to help me through it, not criticize me for being upset about it.  This is a common problem for people being abused or bullied in some way, being treated like there’s something wrong with them if they don’t blow it off and pretend it didn’t happen.

I told him now that I wanted him to defend me against the character assassinations of his friends.  Who were these people, anyway?  I didn’t know.  He refused to tell me who they were.

He didn’t even tell me details or dates or examples or anything that could’ve supported his claims; there was nothing to jog my memory so I could say, Oh, that’s what happened, that’s what I did.  They could be people who didn’t even really know me, people who had some axe to grind for some unknown reason.

All my life, from babyhood through high school, I had been bullied by other kids, made fun of and called weird and accused of nasty things I did not do or think, with no clue why they treated me so cruelly when I was nice and meek to everyone, and far too terrified of everyone to do the things they accused me of.  So it was hardly a stretch to believe it was happening all over again with new bullies.

These people were calling me “just Nyssa” to Shawn, like there was nothing about me worth bothering with.  Maybe it was Heidi; I never could figure out what she had against me.  I was just late on occasion to suite meetings; I wasn’t mean or anything to her.

Maybe it was a friend of Peter’s, such as Dave O’Hara, who–I discovered the following year–just listened to whatever Peter said and decided I was a horrible person without even knowing me or interacting with me in any way.

Shawn said things that I could not imagine even doing, could not remember doing.  The only people I could be close enough to, to do these things, would be my close friends–including Shawn.  My old suitemates seemed to like me just fine; my current suitemates, some I liked, some I didn’t like so much after the pledging fiasco, but I mostly did my own thing and didn’t interact with them often enough for there to be disputes with them.

But other than Shawn, my close friends insisted the complaints were not true.

Some of the things may have been true for a little while freshman year, but those issues were situational, had long since stopped, and I no longer did that (such as incessant talking about Peter, which I stopped early in the spring after Sharon complained).

I lived by a code of niceness, sweetness and kindness to everyone, so that others would not suffer from me what I had suffered from others.

And most of the time, this is how people described me, even Shawn freshman year: nice, sweet, innocent, kind, caring.  And usually I was too frightened of others I did not know well, to do any of these things.

Everyone has faults, but Shawn made me sound like this horrible, mean, aggressive person who went around hurting people.

But when I perceived that someone was dangerous for me, such as a bully, I would avoid that person, not antagonize them, since I did not have verbal sparring capabilities.

I don’t recall ever yelling or arguing with anyone, not even Heidi.  My problems with Ruth did not include yelling, just her criticizing all the time and me quietly seething, because she was my teacher and not my equal.

Outside of Shawn, my only dispute was with Peter, and I rarely spoke to him.  I rarely spoke to most people beyond a few simple pleasantries or class discussion, and when I spoke to friends, most of the time it was pleasant and fun.

None of his criticisms made any sense; they did not sound like me at all.  This is one reason why I identified with the description of people with NVLD being accused of all sorts of things they don’t actually do, because their disorder makes them appear to be acting deliberately when they are not:

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

As for him–What, was he upset that I would disagree with him and get angry at him for how he treated me?  Was this why he thought I had these faults?  Were these unnamed other people actually made up to validate his remarks?

Like, for example, he scolded me once for chasing him, but he kept letting me catch him, encouraged me by coming over and asking me over, then begging or encouraging me to do the things he wanted.

If he did not keep kissing and carrying on with me, I would have stopped “chasing” him and turned my attention to James.

Rather, I always let him take the lead, let him decide when to come over or ask me over, let him decide when he wanted to do more than talk, because I did not wish to force him into anything, to be blamed for any of it.  He could have stopped the physical relationship at any time.

When he used my body, led me on this way because every time he said he wouldn’t do it again so I thought this time he was doing it out of love, and then constantly criticized me afterwards, I had the right to be angry.

When he constantly analyzed our relationship, I felt I had the right to respond with my own perceptions, not just agree with his.

I also felt criticized, like I wasn’t worth dating, because some of my theological ideas were different from his.  He’d tell me he wasn’t so sure about dating me because I believed in ESP.

As if I had to agree with him on every doctrinal point or I wasn’t worth dating, no matter what my other qualities were.  Couldn’t I think for myself?

Yet even my Nazarene pastor, at my church back home in South Bend, believed in ESP.  I believe it was he who said we must have ESP for God to be able to speak to us.

Later, in March, Shawn kept asking me, “What else is going on?” so I kept thinking of something to say to answer his question, even though I was probably tired and wanted to go back to my room.  Then he complained that I was rude to keep him up so late that night.  !!!!!  Why did he keep asking me to keep talking if he wanted me to leave?

Was he actually projecting his own faults onto me still, as he once admitted to doing?  And all these supposed faults were his reasons for not making an honest woman of me, a legitimate girlfriend rather than a toy when he was bored.

He also kept comparing and contrasting me to his ex-girlfriend.  I was always found wanting for one reason or another, whether my appearance or the way I did things:

I was too reserved.  I didn’t do my hair like other girls.  I didn’t wear makeup.  I didn’t dress sexy enough.  I didn’t play around with friends enough (i.e., behave like an extrovert).  Everything I did was wrong.  Everything about me was wrong.

Even the first day we ever met, in September 1991, he scolded me for probably an hour, cutting down everything about the way I acted, saying I was too shy and needed to talk to complete strangers.  He’d say his ex was like this, making me think if he liked one girl like this, he could like another–but no, it became a fault he could not get past.

He screwed with my head so much that I wanted to scream.

I wanted him to see me as beautiful, sweet, smart, passionate, creative and pious.  I wanted him to know everything about me and like what he knew.

I wanted him to recognize what I did: that we both liked many of the same TV shows and music, had similar religious backgrounds; he had a nutty sense of humor which I could appreciate; and we could have a lot of fun together if only he would do what he kept admonishing me to do every time he got me to lie down next to him: relax!

But now I was having it all out with him in our phone call.  I didn’t record everything, not wanting to remember much of it, so I don’t remember what I said, what he said.

But there were tears on both sides (him about his past, me about something I did not record).  There were also things he did not want me to reveal to anyone, so I won’t.  He eventually told me I could forget everything he said before I began to cry.

Shawn asked, “Are you crying?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Tell me again what you want to say to me.  I’m listening.”

I told him that I’ve always been told I’m weird, that I’ve always believed it.  Probably from something he said, I said, “I didn’t realize it was more than a suspicion.”

“No, you are definitely not weird, no matter what you believe.  You’re one of the most normal people I know.  Now things you do and say make sense to me.  I’ve found out what it was I could never put my finger on.”

I told him how Peter had been making me feel.  I told him how an old admirer/crush in high school called me beautiful: He flirted with me all through Photography class.

When one day he finally asked me out, I had, unfortunately, discovered from my mom that I was not allowed to date till I turned 16.  This guy then put his hand to my face and said, “You are beautiful!”  Peter called me gorgeous and the most beautiful girl on campus.

But Shawn had torn that all down again, always saying he was not attracted to me, even after spending an evening acting as if he were, making me feel homely and undesirable, when my lack of dates and boyfriends back in high school had already made me feel this way.

Shawn said, “Maybe I’m shallower than Peter, then, since I couldn’t see your beauty.  A beautiful side to you is certainly coming out now.”

He realized how he’d harmed me by always criticizing me, due to my “demon,” the insecurity, the belief of being weird, and the not having found myself.  (I think the last is just psychobabble, frankly, but I had the idea I was supposed to do this.)

He told me to cry, get it all out, because he was there in my room with me, in spirit.  He’d finally broken down a barrier.  We talked until almost 4am!  (Test–Music History–9am, Tuesday!)

He said, “The phone is the best way for us to talk because it’s not physical.”  I agreed.  He said, “If I’d come over tonight, something else would’ve been happening instead.”

As for the “she wants to be sad” comment, he told me what he’d really meant, but that it didn’t come across the way he’d intended.  Unfortunately, I didn’t record the true meaning and have now forgotten it.

A Proposed Cool-Off

We spoke more after lunch on the 17th.  He gave me some brochures on self-esteem from a nearby table, since the campus kept various such brochures by Memadmin’s office.  He rolled them up together and handed them to me.

I tried to put them that way into my right coat pocket, so people wouldn’t see what they were about.  He said they weren’t going to fit, but they fit, and I buttoned them in.  I said, to use Shawn’s recent assessment of me, “I have a strong will.  I made them fit.”  He smiled.

I told him more things….

Then I had to type up “Bedlam Castle” for my final, and he had to finish some delinquent Physics homework.  (Geez–Physics and Calculus?  No wonder he was so swamped!)  But later on, we spoke again.

He said the physical things were going to stop because they felt wrong to him.  From that and other conversations later, it was clear that things were spinning way out of control; we were playing with fire.  I said, “You’ve said that before.”  He said, “Yeah, but this time it is going to stop.”

I felt relieved on one hand but depressed on the other.  It felt like a breakup because I enjoyed it so much.

I suggested we do more social things together, start getting to know each other, hobbies, likes, dislikes.  I hoped this would begin a new stage, that maybe he would eventually return my feelings.

He said, “I can’t be your boy friend, but I can be your best friend.”  Even that elated me, since I’d wanted him to be my best friend since February.

It felt we had turned a corner, that things would be different now.  He felt so sorry for the night that had scared me.  He recited the Epistle verse that we are to think on whatever is virtuous, whatever is pure (Philippians 4:8).  I said I no longer felt virtuous and pure; he said, “No, you are still virtuous and pure.”

The funny thing is, this whole weird twisted relationship lasted longer than the others I had before I met my husband: one year and two months.

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:

The Fire Burns Hotter; The Dreadful Night (Shawn Almost Goes Too Far); Accidents Will Happen–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–December 1992, Part 1

InterVarsity Group is Organized

My RA friends, Sharon and Rachel, now jokingly insisted, whenever we referred to the dorms, that “They’re not dorms, they’re residence halls!”  Apparently this was some mantra the school tried to teach the RA’s.

Sometime probably in December, when Pearl connected our Bible study group with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, we began organizing it and making rules.  A bunch of us who were interested in the group got together in Pearl’s room for a meeting.

We began talking about the politics of it, such as officers and how officers are chosen.  I don’t remember who suggested that officers should follow Christian beliefs.  This may have been when a questionnaire was suggested, asking what an aspiring officer believed.

The beliefs seemed to go a bit beyond the Apostle’s Creed and trespassed into denominational dogma territory.

I said that some people of other denominations might not be able to serve with a questionnaire like that, and that it excluded people who were going through a period of questioning and searching but were still Christians.

But Pearl said the officers of the group needed to be held to a high standard because they were the leaders of the group.

A vote was taken, and the majority agreed with Pearl.

I knew, however, that even I couldn’t stand up to such standards.  I had lots of questions about my religion, and when I heard the questionnaire questions one day, I knew that even though Pearl and Sharon and maybe others kept saying I should be an officer on the executive board, they probably wouldn’t actually let me be one after seeing my answers.

InterVarsity meetings, based on a slip I found, were: Bible study, Mondays at 9pm in Old Main (room 22, it says, but we also did room 14, same time, during Winterim and Spring Semester).  Spring Semester, we often used the Phi-Delt room as well.

When we met in room 14, Pearl and other discussion leaders liked to leave on the board whatever they had written there for our meeting, hoping to amuse or witness to the first class to use it the next morning.  We left some pretty strange messages up there at times.  We had a lot of fun with this.

We had some cool people show up that year, even a few guys.  Unfortunately, two left for UW-Madison, one may have left the school, and we were left with only one guy most of the time.  This was Mike, the brother of the pledge master.  But more about him later.

We discovered in Bible study meetings that Dori, my fellow pledge, was quite a flirt.  She was engaged, yet still flirted with all the guys just like she did when she was single.  She told of being a big heartbreaker in high school.

One day after a snowfall, Rachel built a cute little snowman on Pearl’s scooter, in the basket.

One week in December, I got the flu and had to spend at least a couple of days in my room.  I didn’t even go out for meals; my wonderful roommate went out and got me sick trays, or rather styrofoam boxes, from the cafeteria.

Besides homework and MTV, I passed the time by reading about 100 pages of Clarissa by Samuel Richardson.  I mentioned this book before; I had seen the movie on Masterpiece Theatre, and now I found the abridged book in the Roanoke library.

Shawn said once that, rather than sitting there feeling bad about his criticisms, I should turn it around and say, “I don’t care what you think, I don’t want to do my hair/wear my clothes that way.”

I began doing this, telling him to let me be the way I wanted to be and not always try to change me.  But you see, until then, it just hadn’t occurred to me.  I didn’t realize that just because he thought I didn’t look right or act right, didn’t make it true.

Shawn told me once that Cinemax came in quite well in Grossh Lounge, even though it was supposed to be blocked because we weren’t supposed to get it at RC (Roanoke).  The guys there often watched it.

After we had a maintenance guy come in and fix our heater knob, Clarissa and I kept our room nice and warm (often hot) during the winter.  This was a wonderful change from the year before.  Only extreme cold outside made the inside cold.

Some more things about Steve: He had Siouxsie and the Banshees posters plastered all over his dorm room walls.  He said he liked the band, but Catherine believed it was because Siouxsie didn’t wear much clothing in many of the posters.

Also, whenever someone would say, “You’re weird,” he would say, “Thank you!”  Pearl jokingly said, you truly are weird if you respond like that.

The Fire Burns Hotter; The Dreadful Night (Shawn Almost Goes Too Far)

On Sunday November 29, back at school, Shawn called me up when he got back from home.  Then he came over because he was tired of Calculus; before he left, he hugged me and gave me a kiss on the neck that made me curl up.  He was acting so much like a boyfriend that it was hard to believe he wasn’t one.

The next night, we had Bible study; Shawn was there, teasing me unmercifully for being late and a klutz.  He winked at me once.

He stopped in my room for a while, then called me up around midnight; we talked until almost 3:30.  Once, he said, “If there weren’t a curfew, I’d be over there in a minute.”  (Actually, there was no curfew in the suites.)

He said that someone told him a while ago, “Don’t you think you’re just leading her on by always going over there?”  He agreed, and stopped coming over so much.

But from the way he said it, I got the impression that he changed his mind since then.  I asked him to clarify; it seemed to confirm this.  I also told him, “I know I’m not in love with you.”

We had Music History the next morning, so we both were dead tired.  He told me to give him a wake-up call so he wouldn’t sleep in and be late yet again (which the teacher teased him unmercifully about).

That night, Tuesday December 1, even though I planned to get some sleep, he stopped over again, and didn’t leave until 2 or 2:30–even though we both had morning classes.

We began fooling around.  That was the night of the trouble.  Things happened.  I kissed him so long and well that he went into overdrive.  I’ll keep details out, out of respect for him.

Then the phone rang–a wrong number.  He did not do what I feared he would, but he felt terrible, and I was shaking.

He hurried into the lounge, put on his jacket, and I joined him, sitting on the floor.  We talked for a while.  He was afraid Clarissa saw him get the phone and would ask why he was there so late.  He asked what I’d say, and I said, “Only what I have to.”  She never did ask.  He said he’d stop and go home when I said stop.

I longed for him to hold me.  As if he read my mind, he put his arm around me, drew me near, and I put my head on his chest.  I felt like crying, but couldn’t.  I put my face in my hands once; he wanted me to look at him and answer a question he asked.  He thought maybe he should stop coming over, but I didn’t want him to.

“Then maybe I shouldn’t come over for a few days,” he said.

I felt this was wise, so agreed, but said this weekend would be all right.

He said, “I’m not sure how I feel about you, if there’s really something there or if it’s just lust.”

Later, after more fooling around, which he insisted on until I finally agreed, he said, “Now this is a goodnight kiss,” and gave me a much shorter and less intense, but still great kiss.  “Anything else is more than that.”  He also finally spun me around again.

In April he said he would not have taken my virginity that night, but it sure didn’t feel that way to me at the time.  For some time, I thought that was his intent, and referred to it in my diary as the “Dreadful Day.”

For all his talk of not wanting me as a girlfriend but as a “best friend,” we were drawn to each other like magnets.  And also like magnets, we would repel each other.

It was a strange dance, sometimes loving him, sometimes hating him, him sometimes persuading me into all he could get, and in the same evening ripping me to shreds with his words.

But when the words would cease, when we were no longer out and about around campus but alone together, heat filled the room, and it felt like he truly cared for me, somewhere deep inside.

This was one night when he did not scold or criticize.

As we kept skirting the actual “deed” over the many months of our friendship with benefits, he led me into all sorts of sensuality.  He stirred up passions in me that even Peter had not, things I intended to keep repressed until my wedding night.

But the more he stirred them up, the more I did not want him to stop–but felt I had to stop him.  Our bodies are made to keep going, after all, to perpetuate the species; this is not from the Devil, but from our own animal nature.  So when you stir it up when you’re supposed to be abstinent, it’s difficult to stop….

I found a Christmas card to him which I must not have sent, since it was unopened–probably because I wrote on the inside that he made me miserable much of the time.

I have no idea what all the rumor mill thought was going on, since from my diaries I see that even my own best friends had no idea how often he was coming over or what all we were doing.  (I’m keeping out details here, too, not from lack of record in the diaries, which are full of description, but from tact.)  It was just the sort of thing to set tongues wagging, too.

Clarissa was the only one who knew how often he came over or I went over there, though we were seen together or coming out of each other’s dorms on occasion:

I was supposedly still hung up on Peter, though people also knew I had a thing for Shawn; Shawn was the obnoxious and over-analytical engineering geek who told people he didn’t want me as a girlfriend; did the rumor mill have any idea just what was really going on?

It’s possible, since I–wanting to get people to stop thinking I was so “innocent”–made comments like, “I’m not a pop tart but still a frequent visitor at Grossheusch,” and “Sometimes I have to beat Shawn off with a stick.”

All I know for sure is that even Peter heard about it; maybe that’s why he eventually softened toward me, because there was another guy in my life now.

Accidents Will Happen

On Wednesday the 2nd, Shawn and I were both tired.  He told me to call him if I was awake at 7 or 8, but I didn’t get up until almost 8:30.  We both took naps; once he called and said, “Did I wake you up?  Are you napping?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“So am I,” he said.

At lunch he sat next to me; I felt glad but uncomfortable, because of what had happened the night before.

I wore shoes instead of boots to class because I looked out the window and saw no ice left on the sidewalks.  But the sidewalk outside the library, which was on a small hill, was one big sheet of ice, the only ice anywhere.  On the way to work from class later that afternoon, I slipped.

After I fell the first time, I was too scared to move over to the snow beside the sidewalk, since that would mean moving sideways and possibly falling again.  I took another step or two, then fell again.

Shawn later said with a smile that an intelligent person would have known to get off the ice, that slipping–twice!–is the mark of a klutz.  But hey, it was a big hill of ice and even non-klutzes could have fallen.  Getting off the ice was hard for a short person on a wide sidewalk.

Though the report says the hill was salted, and though Memadmin said she saw maintenance crews salting it all day, this is not what I saw.  From my close-up view of the ice, there was no salt on it at all.

A non-trad from one of my classes saw me and asked if I was okay.  She helped me up.

“I got so worried about you when I saw you fall twice,” she said.

At that time I felt little pain, though my left arm had been pulled down by my heavy bookbag and did hurt somewhat.  But I figured it was enough pain to make Food Service horrible.

I went on to the cafeteria and found Nancy.  I said I’d fallen and was too hurt to work.  She and Arthur were concerned, though I thought I was just bruised.

“Come see me if the pain gets any worse,” Nancy said.

I went back to my room.  As I sat on my bed studying, the pain grew worse and worse.  I either called or found Nancy, and told her what was going on.  She told Memadmin.  Memadmin found someone to drive me to a clinic in S–.  My arm hurt so bad now that my eyes teared up.

The doctor did the usual things, but I hated the X-rays because my arm was put into positions that hurt even more.  After he put the cast and sling on, however, it felt better.  It wasn’t a plaster cast; I just had a hairline fracture in my elbow.

I got back before 9pm, in time to get into a suite group-picture for the yearbook.  Daphne yelled out, “Nyssa, what happened to you?”  She and the guy at the information desk found out, and one said, “You can sue Roanoke for millions!”

So there it is, immortalized, a good picture of me because I remembered to take off my glasses, but with a sling.

The next day in Music class, Thursday the 3rd, Shawn walked in (15 minutes late) and I smiled at him, but he didn’t see my sling.

He sat down in his usual spot near me, looked at me and smiled, looked away again–then did a double take and looked at me again.

He looked me over and made a wry face, like “What happened to you??!!”

I smiled.  I took after my dad: When he came home with a broken arm one day, he snickered at Mom.

At one point, my arm swelled up because I didn’t know I was supposed to use ice and keep my arm elevated.  When Arthur and Nancy saw this, they grabbed some ice packs, and insisted I keep my arm packed with ice.  Arthur adjusted my sling so my arm pointed up like it was supposed to.

The swelling went down within probably a day or two.  Clarissa and I didn’t have an ice tray in our little fridge, so we got the ice from the kitchen.  We used a rubber ice pack, sometimes using cold water if nothing else was available.

The next year, I rented a fridge with an ice tray.  Though I never needed it, at least it was there.

I still took showers, but with difficulty.  I had to learn how to shampoo with only one hand, and wash my right arm with an arm that could barely move.  I could only wash my right hand one-handed.  Everything I used to take for granted, was now a chore.  At least it was not my dominant arm.

My contacts weren’t in, either, due to my funk over the night before, so I did not have to take them out and clean them one-handed.  (Contacts further irritate already-irritated eyes.)

I may have asked people to carry my meal trays at first, but I must have learned how to hold them myself.  At one meal, I balanced my tray so skillfully that Sharon said I would make a good waitress.


On Thursday, Shawn said to Pearl, “This week, I’ve been going to bed too late and getting up too early.”  Hmmm, just the same problem I had.  I wonder why….

Shawn tried to find me on Friday, but on a bad time.  Then I didn’t see him at all, except to wave at me as he passed the tray window.  I began to worry that something was wrong, but he was just swamped with homework for some time.  Considering how close it was to finals, and that he had Calculus, this was probably true.

Rachel came over on Saturday to help me carry my laundry, and told me that once, he said he didn’t like me that way, so she and some of my other friends said, “Don’t you think you’re just leading her on by always going over there?”

She said he said some nasty things about me (she didn’t say what), and they stood up for me.  It happened around the same time I got really ticked off at some things he said to me, until we talked them over and I saw he didn’t mean them the way they sounded.

I told Rachel that he isn’t so sure anymore that he doesn’t like me that way.

“He sat by me a couple of times this week,” I said–especially since Tuesday night.

“I noticed that,” she said.

See, we’d agreed weeks before that I could sit with him if I wanted, but he wouldn’t sit with me–to show other people that no, we are not going out.  He’d planned to do this if he ever got a girlfriend in college, just in case she wanted to talk girltalk about him with her friends.  So by sitting next to me at meals, he surprised both Rachel and me.

I showed her a hickey on my neck.  Her mouth fell open.

“Who?” she said.




“You’d better watch yourself, girl.  Don’t get yourself pregnant!–No, I’m just kidding.  No, I never noticed it.  If anyone else [in our group] had, they would’ve told everybody, and I never heard about it.”

“I covered it up and tried to hide it because I knew people would wonder, ‘Now, who in the world gave that to her?”

“That’s right, they would.”


On Sunday, Steve (Head Psycho) sat with us.  Get him and Demento Rachel together, and you get salt shaker wars, loudness and tug-of-war with one of Pearl’s crutches.  They flipped one salt shaker at each other by pushing two other salt and pepper shakers together at its small end.  A few times, it went as high as their heads.  We all rolled with laughter.

I joined in some of the craziness, and we made so much noise in that nearly-empty cafeteria that Shawn, Heidi and another guy kept looking at us like, “What are you guys doing?”  Once, when Heidi got up to go get something, she said to us, “A loud table!”

On Monday, December 7, I saw the school nurse.  She checked my arm and may have given me pain pills.  We talked about the incident, and she said, “Oh, yeah, the school’s gonna pay for your medical expenses.”  I even recorded this in a letter on that same day.

The cast was taken off a bit before Christmas Break.  This was my best Christmas present.  I still couldn’t do much, but I could do more than before.  I was glad to carry my tray more normally and–especially–shampoo my hair with two hands again.

My elbow was tender for some time even after the sling came off, and if the weather turned cold, my elbow hurt.  But it was set well, so within a year or two, even the cold-weather aches went away.  Today, you wouldn’t know I ever had a fracture.

I do, however, have a healthy respect for ice.  Though falls rarely hurt more than my pride and some muscles, I still wear boots for only a tiny bit of snow.  Ice frightened me for some time after the fall, even small patches.

I expected to get sick pay, since the fall wasn’t my fault; I thought everybody in every job got sick pay.  But when I asked Arthur about it, he said I’d only be paid for the hours I actually worked.

I’d have to ask my parents for money again!  Contrary to the student stereotype, I did not like asking my parents for money when I had a job, and when I called them each week it was merely to chat.  My arm needed rest all through Winterim, so that was two months without pay.

A hypnotist did a show on campus on December 8.  Actually, the students sitting onstage as volunteers did the show.

What I remember: One of the guys thought some monstrous thing made out of sausage-shaped balloons was important.  Another guy thought the microphone was the most gorgeous lady he had ever seen.  He caressed, kissed and even licked it.

Daphne, the RA of the suites, sitting in the audience, let herself go under hypnosis along with the students onstage.  (I didn’t because I wanted to watch people make fools of themselves.)  When she came out of her trance, whenever the hypnotist said a certain thing, she ran around and yelled, “The Indians are coming!  The Indians are coming!”

Afterwards, I went up to the hypnotist and asked if he knew anything about mental links.

(I saw James in line behind me, also waiting to ask him questions.  I wondered what James thought about my question about mental links: He watched me so intently that I wondered if he heard about my mental link with Peter.  In any case, Peter wanted me to stop talking about it, told Memadmin I made it up.  But he was a liar, and I did not stop talking about it.  So there!  Nyah!)

I was afraid he’d say they don’t exist, but no, he did know about them.  He said they’re rare, but do happen, and that a breakdown could be caused by a subconscious fear of it, wish for it to end, or several other things.  He said it may or may not be permanent.  If it wasn’t, I could get a professional to hypnotize me, help me find out what went wrong, and maybe set it up again.

I didn’t want to set it up again.  I had also read about them in an old book on ESP in the Roanoke library.  Now, Shawn told me it was probably all just an elaborate ruse of Peter’s.  He may have been right, but at the time I could not believe that Peter would lie to me about something like that.

One night, after a Bible study meeting in Old Main, Pearl, Sharon and I went to the head of the staircase.  I went down, But Sharon stayed up, leaning over the railing.  She said, “Do you ever feel like throwing yourself over?”

She wasn’t suicidal.  Pearl laughed and said no, but I knew exactly what she meant.

Somebody else felt that way!  Maybe I wasn’t so weird.  It wasn’t suicidal, just the thrill of danger, something you weren’t supposed to do–probably some primal urge, such as the Id.

In the midst of everything, the daily routine went on.  Our mailboxes usually held junk and campus circulars, not “real mail,” or letters from friends or family.  Catherine came up with the term “EMS,” or “Empty Mailbox Syndrome.”  But our group would send each other various holiday cards.

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 Goes Animal-House on me During my Shower; Obscene Phone Caller–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–November 1992, Part 1

Pat Robertson Screws Up

I bought a Bush/Quayle button in the Campus Shop one day, and displayed it proudly on my jacket.  One day I went to sit in the Pub, probably because Julie was there, and she saw my button.

She cried in dismay, “Bush?!  But I thought you were so cool!”

I laughed.  Hey, she thought I was cool!

So many people around school talked about Clinton and said they were voting for him.  One day in Fiction class just before the election, someone said with confidence that Clinton was going to win.  I laughed inwardly, knowing from Pat Robertson’s infallible predictions from God that Bush was going to win.  On the night of the elections, I waited eagerly for the results.

I sent in my vote early, since I had applied for an absentee ballot from Indiana and it was to be mailed before the actual election.  (Things are done differently there than in Florida; the absentee ballots have to be received by election day.)  It felt so good to finally vote for the first time ever.

I didn’t even think of voting for someone other than Bush, since it would be useless to vote for a loser.  Of course, I still felt that none of the candidates was the best this country could offer.

I went out for a while, but when I came back, Clarissa told me the projected winner.  I couldn’t believe my ears when she said–

Clinton had won.


How could this be???  God had told Pat that Bush would win, just as He’d told Pat so many other things that had come true.  God knows the future, so how could Clinton have won?  It just wasn’t possible!  There must have been a mistake!  It would all be sorted out in the morning; maybe some votes they’d missed would show up, and a recount would show that Bush had won.

I watched The 700 Club every night, waiting for Pat to explain himself.  Then on Monday the 9th, Ben Kinchlow finally asked him about it; a man had come up to him with tears in his eyes and asked, “What happened?”

Pat said, “I guess I missed it.”  He didn’t know what happened, either, but he suggested three things: Maybe he missed it, since we “see through a glass darkly”; maybe God just won’t override free will; or maybe the way Bush ran the war changed things (remember Jonah and Ninevah, how the prophecy of destruction did not come true because of Ninevah’s repentance).

That was it?  My faith in his predictions began to falter.  I mean, this was major.  He had said, look at your track record; up till now, his had been perfect as far as I knew.  But if one of his predictions could be wrong, any of them could be wrong, and you wouldn’t know which one until after the fact.

Peter is PW

On the 5th, I went to sit with Julie at lunch, seeing James with her (heart flutter!).  But then as I set my stuff down beside her, I looked up and saw who’d be on my left: Peter!

He looked agitated, but I stayed cheerful, especially with James at the table.

When I went up to the line, I saw Peter leave, and Julie yelled after him, “Peter, you’re retro PW!”–meaning, he wasn’t going out with me anymore, but was still p***y whipped.

Everyone at the table laughed.  Frank said, “Retro PW.  I’ll have to remember that.”  Julie said, “You have so much control over him, Nyssa.”

James joked that if I’d stayed with the Phi-Delts, I could’ve partied with the Zetas, and exercised my control over Peter.  (How did he know I quit? or that I was pledging in the first place?)


On the 6th, Clarissa told me that, on the stage steps in the Bradley, someone made a chalk drawing around Paul and his dog Maizie!

On Saturday the 7th, Darryl told us that a two-person fight at the previous night’s Zeta toga party almost sent somebody over the (second floor) railing.  Jennifer was right: The other Greek organizations were having problems with unity.

That evening, I stayed with very-latecomer Shawn after dinner as he waited to go through the sports banquet line.  It had to be after the attendees of the banquet went through.

We had a nice chat, during which he not only nearly emptied the salt shaker into the pepper shaker, but poured salt on the table and made pictures (some lewd) with it.  I playfully hit him once or twice, as well as I could from across the table.

Not wanting to chance having to wrestle someone for the Grossheusch lounge TV, he asked if he could watch Covington Cross with Clarissa and me.

He sat on the floor between the beds as I ironed, and later on Clarissa’s bed.  We found the show wasn’t on, so began looking for other things to watch.  Finally, at 7:30, we found Coming to America just starting.  They’d seen it already, but I hadn’t.

Clarissa’s mother called while I was in the bathroom, so Shawn left the room and turned off the TV so Clarissa wouldn’t have to have her call the guest room.  I decided to take this chance to get a snack from the Krueger vending machines (the doors were not locked in those days).

Shawn also decided to leave–things to do.  But before he left, and by the guest room, he gave me a hug.  As usual, he lifted me up.  I said, “Why do you never spin me around anymore?”

“I don’t want you to puke,” he said.  Away from the view of my door, he held my sides, then began pinching me.  “Have you lost weight?”

“I hope not.  I don’t need to lose any weight.”

He started doing a skin graft test on me and going on about where girls should be, compared to guys.  He thought about kissing me, but hurried out, saying he’d better not.  “It’s too dangerous.  Your roommate might come out.”

“That’s why it’s not dangerous,” I said.

We walked on a ways together on his way back to the dorm.  He said he “didn’t like doing that” (I forget what “that” was), but I said it’s fun.

The next day, around 4pm, I’d been writing “Candida.”  Shawn called to ask if I wanted to come over, so I made notes on what to do next in the story, then went over in the drizzle.  I found new concert pictures on his wall and the Whiteheart tape Emergency Broadcast playing.  Shawn said,

“What did you mean by saying ‘It’s fun’?”

I said, “Some of the things, yeah.”  I then sat in the chair in a way I hoped would look cute.  Out of the corner of my eye, he appeared to be looking at me.  I listened to the song “Montana Sky” until Shawn asked for a back rub, saying he’d give me one.  I knew where that would lead.

I came over, and things went as usual.  For a time, he wanted to hold and kiss and caress me; but afterwards, it turned into yet another lecture.

He again suggested ways to do my hair, tried to make my clothes look “sexy.”  He complained that I never put my hair up like other girls did.

Actually, that semester I had already put my hair up in an intricate and pretty style I had made up in high school, when I used to put my hair up all the time as a freshman.  I figured that because I had long hair, grown out so I could wear it like my idol Princess Leia, I should use it by putting it up all sorts of ways.

Then one of my friends complained that I never wear my hair down.  I started wearing it down all the time, but still put it up during the summer to get it off my neck.

Also, now in college, I saw Melissa wear her hair up occasionally and get complimented for it, and did not want to be outdone by her when I had all sorts of cool hairdos in my repertoire.  So I began wearing it up occasionally at college as well, though not often because Wisconsin gets cold.

I hated the whole lecture from Shawn, feeling like I wasn’t good enough the way I was, like everything about me was wrong.  Finally, I told him how bad his lectures made me feel.

“I’m going to give you a complex,” he said.  “You’re going to walk around wondering, ‘Is my hair all right?’  All right, I’ll stop.”

I said, “I’m afraid of talking to you because I always fear you’ll start telling me what I do wrong.  I feel like I’m on an examining table, and you’re trying to find out what’s wrong with me here and what’s wrong with me there.”

He suggested a bet: Every time he did not notice me doing my hair a different way, he owed me a pop.  Then it was changed to a kiss.  He said he was always picking me apart like this because he recognized things in me that he found in himself.  He said, “Tell me if I start lecturing you on something I do myself.”

Then Clarissa called.  She had come to Grossheusch and asked the RA to call Shawn’s room to see if I was still there.

It was almost 8:00, and Clarissa–being all alone in the room as it got dark, having the synopsis of my vampire story “Candida” in her subconscious, was freaked out when a poster slowly fell off my wall, making noises all the way.

She came up, and I said, “I told you there weren’t any ghosts in the suites!”  She and I left; I went to the Muskie for dinner, but stayed because the college was showing JFK on the TV.  Just a few tables away from me sat James!  Glee!

One day, Shawn called me over; when I went in the door, I found him playing his Sega with–James!  They were playing hockey.  I didn’t even know that Shawn and James knew each other.  Then the game ended and James left.  I don’t recall him saying much or flirting, so there’s nothing to tell.

Since I now knew Shawn and James were friends, I asked Shawn if any of his friends ever talked about me.  To my great disappointment, he said no.

But I do find it a great shame that I didn’t press the matter further, and tell him my feelings for James.  He probably would have been more than happy to help me–or else he would’ve gotten jealous, and wanted to be my official boyfriend.


On the 10th was a cultural thing put on by the Japanese students in the Pub: They served sushi and green tea, both of which I tried (liked the sushi but not the tea), and played a sumo wrestling match on a TV.  It was a lot of fun.

Probably around this time, Cindy told me that one of her friends, Randy, who had been best friends with Peter freshman year, now had ended the friendship:

Peter came over to his house while Randy had relatives over, and started bragging about smoking weed.  So Randy kicked him out of the house.

So now I had more things to pray for him for: smoking, cussing, drinking–and now pot.  Shawn also saw him sometimes at Zeta parties, coming up to him with a drunken greeting.  Shawn did not believe in underage drinking, and didn’t think much of him for this.

On December 4, the Mirror ran an article called “The Best Acting in Years” about the November 12 school play Lion in Winter.  Derek (from the pepper steak incident), Steve, Darryl, probably Ned, and others truly were excellent actors.

The play was both depressing and funny.  Derek seemed to love playing a prince.  As a black man, he didn’t look related to the king’s family, but that didn’t matter in a school play.  All that mattered was, he made me forget I was watching Derek and think I was watching a prince.

Steve played a whiny Prince John, and he did it so well that we wondered if he’d had a lot of practice as a kid.

My monthly paycheck wasn’t much.  I only made about minimum wage for ten hours a week, which at the time was $4.30 an hour.  But I felt rich, since the cost of living is so low for a student on a college campus who only pays for laundry, snacks, Muskie meals, and other things.  And Food Service workers got Muskie coupons.

During football season, guys wore both Packer and Bear clothes and hats.  The Bear fans were gutsy, since the Packers and Bears have been bitter rivals for years for some reason.  Sometimes a pre-game show would be on the Muskie TV when I got dinner; one of the sports announcers could never just say “Bears.”  He always said it “BEAArrrrrrrs,” in a derogatory tone.

Obscene Phone Caller 

Krueger Hall was soon afflicted by an obscene phone caller.  Some thought he used to be a janitor or security guard at the school.  He supposedly wasn’t anybody actually at the school; he always caused double-ringers, which meant off-campus.  But somehow he always knew where to call to find the girls on campus.  Krueger was his favorite target.

Occasionally he called other places.  One night around 3am, Clarissa and I were awakened by our phone ringing.  We listened to the ringing, then barely a split-second after it stopped, the phone in the guest room rang.

Once, when the obscene phone caller called Rachel, she actually had a whole conversation with him, asking him questions and such.  We were shocked; “Isn’t that dangerous?” we cried.  But he kept calling her, and she kept chatting with him.  It was funny.

Pearl had an answering machine, and put a message on it which went something like this: “You have reached the room of Pearl and Cindy.  If this is the room you want, please leave a message.  If you want Sharon, you have the wrong number: dial 388.  If you are an obscene phone caller, dial 371 for Rachel.”

Shawn Goes Animal-House on Me During my Shower

On Friday the 13th, I had seen The Lion in Winter the night before.  It was performed from the 12th through the 14th.  Clarissa was a prop-person, so she was usually gone until past 10, maybe 10:30, because the long play started at 8.

Around 9:00 on Friday, Shawn (whom my intuition had told me to expect) came by.  I guess it was good that I decided I was too busy to go play a game with Dori, Pearl and others.

I was busy watching certain TV shows and recording songs off CD’s onto a tape.  I’d also just opened up a bag of sour cream and onion chips and held it in my hand–though I’d had misgivings about buying this on a night when I strongly suspected Shawn’s visit.  He owed me three kisses for not noticing my different hair styles, you see.

He came over, I told him what I was doing, and he looked at my CD’s.  He picked out three of them, and said, “I want to go give these to P— [a friend of his in InterVarsity] to play.  We’ve been working on a shack.”  (Habitat for Humanity was doing their Shantytown thing again, same as the year before.)  “Maybe I should give these to him–say, ‘I have a gift for you, P—.'”

“You’d better not!” I said.

“I’ll be back in 15 minutes.”

I had to get up at 8:00 the next day, early for a Saturday, to work the pre-home-game breakfast shift.  I planned to shower that night so I could sleep that late and still have plenty of time to get ready.  Next day was Family Day, so Shawn planned to spend it with his family.  I don’t recall meeting them–I guess I just wasn’t important enough to introduce to his parents; shucks.

He came back around 9:30 or 10.  Not long afterwards, Clarissa returned.  I’d already told her that Shawn and I were a little more than just friends, or two people on a truce.  (She’d thought I couldn’t stand him, which wasn’t far from the truth.)

He asked to watch some recordings Clarissa had made of Star Trek:TNG.  Shawn tried to share my back rest; when I got up for something, he took it over.  So I lay against the right arm, which was surprisingly comfortable.

His fingers began to roam, making me squirm, worrying that Clarissa would see.  He moved me to the left side of the back rest, which I discovered was so he could do what he wanted out of Clarissa’s sight.  I had trouble getting comfortable again.

Then young Guinan said to young Ro on Star Trek, “I’ll bet you were a jumper.  It’s always the quiet ones–they look so innocent.”  All three of us laughed hard at that, but for different reasons: Clarissa thinking of herself, me of myself, Shawn probably of “troublemaking” quiet me.

At some point, he got control of the remote, found Animal House and sexy women, and wouldn’t let us turn them off, try as we did.  Once, in the bathroom, I said to Clarissa, “It’s like having a brother around, isn’t it?”  She agreed.

Mr. Octopus kept causing me trouble until Clarissa went to bed.  But it was late and I wanted to cuddle and go to sleep, so he decided to let me go to bed.

I told him I wanted to take a shower.  I went in the shower stall–and he began tormenting me.  He tried to get me to kiss him “because I’ve never kissed a girl in the shower before,” and to give me a goodnight kiss.

He also tried to get me to let him in the stall with me.  “I’ll clean that part of your back that you can’t reach,” he said.

If I let him, he would have jumped right in there with me, no joking.  I kept yelling, “Go away!”  (My suitemates were probably gone.  Clarissa would not have heard a thing with her hearing aid out, so she was no help.)

Something made the curtain fly up suddenly, exposing me, though he later claimed he saw nothing.

He stole my clothes and towel.  This greatly irritated me, especially when he did it a second time and left the bathroom, and I had to walk around naked to find them.

He told me, “You shouldn’t have let me watch Animal House.”  (As if we hadn’t tried to stop him!)

And this from a devoted Christian who reads his Bible and prays and listens to Christian rock and talks about youth group and thinks I’m a heretic for believing in ESP and my Mental Link with Peter…..Girls, you never can tell from a church membership, so beware!

After the shower, with my nightgown and robe on and my glasses off, I checked the lounge with my nearsighted eyes to see if he was still around.  I saw his jean jacket in a chair, and he tried to get my attention from the couch, but I didn’t see him, and went into my room.  Then I went into the lounge to comb my hair and visit with him.

A Les Miserables book sat on the coffee table; he picked it up, butchered the pronunciation (I know some French), and said I should do my hair like in the picture.  I growled at him for some time as he tried to do my hair.  I was tired, cranky and PMSing, and he wanted to comb my hair some odd way!

When he was finally about to leave and gave me a goodnight kiss, I had trouble getting anything out of it, even with my arms around him.  So he moved me along and down the short hallway, and pushed me onto the floor, with me underneath him.

Now came some heavy-duty kisses as he pressed his body against mine.  My body screamed to let him continue, but knew what it was leading to, so I finally stopped him.  Not then, not that time of the month, not there in the hallway!  Imagine my suitemates walking in on that….

Yet I wasn’t his girlfriend?  I was just a “friend”?  He didn’t feel that way about me?  Then why was it so easy for me to stir up his Irish blood again and again?…He left, and I went to bed.

I only got 5 hours of sleep, but refused to tell Nancy why, though she started to infer.  Then I worked with Dirk that morning, Dirk telling me to smile even though I was so tired.  I hate it when people tell me to smile as if I’m just Miss Grumpypants for not smiling for no reason.

My and Peter’s “song” came on the radio; he asked if I liked it; I said I do, but can’t listen to it.  He pushed, I said I’d rather not talk about it, then he went on about being trained as a counselor for his high school, people come in and out of his room all the time for such help, he’s always available when I want to talk, don’t let people get to me with their teasing because they see something in me they’re jealous of, etc.

Geez, too tired to smile and not wanting to talk about your romantic history with a near-stranger and now you need counseling?  Sheesh….

I waited for Shawn and wanted to see him all weekend, but he never came and I didn’t see him at meals, so he was probably with his family.  He did look at me oddly all week whenever I saw him.  I didn’t know why, though now I strongly suspect that he peeked, the scamp!


Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

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:

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