Persephone’s Own Outrageous Stories of Phil’s Abuse–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–February 1995, Part 8

On probably Sunday the 26th, the most likely date, one of the sororities held an 80s party in the Pub.  It was part of a theme week held by the fraternities and sororities.  There was a party each night, starting with a 50s party and ending with an 80s or 90s party.

I just went to the 80s party, since I was most interested in that.  On the day of it, 80s pop music was piped into Bossard during meals.  Charles complained because those weren’t the 80s metal songs he knew.  But the rest of us enjoyed it because we were into pop rather than metal in the 80s.

During the party, however, somebody apparently forgot it was an 80s night, and played a mix of songs none of us knew or that seemed to belong to the present day.  It may have been a radio station.

In getting ready for this party, I found a shirt I’d never worn, that my mom gave me.  The collar was torn–apparently a garage sale find.  It was really one piece, but made to look like a sleeveless sweater worn over a long-sleeved shirt.  The sweater part was green, and the shirt part was white and green-striped.

This kind of shirt was popular in 7th and 8th grade, but by the time my mom got it, it had gone out of style, so I hadn’t worn it.  It was perfect for 80s night, however.  I didn’t know how to roll the handkerchief-necklace that was so popular in 6th grade, but tried it anyway, rolling my big, brown scarf and pinning it around my neck.

Astrid remembered kids folding over and rolling their pant legs and pinning them tight, though I didn’t remember that; I just remembered fighting with my jeans every morning, wondering why the legs of all my new pairs had such tiny hems that I could barely even get my feet through them.

Nowadays, I only had two pairs of jeans, both either straight-legged or gently tapered, nothing like those mid-80s jeans.  I wore one pair and pinned the cuffs as Astrid described.

I still had a big, plastic hair clamp lying around, popular in 7th and 8th grade, and held up the hair on one side of my head with it, just as the clamps were worn back then.

Several TV’s were set up with Ataris on the Pub platform; I sat there along with several other students.  Both of my absolute favorite games were there: Pitfall and Demon Attack.  Frogger was also there.

I played them the best I could, though I had a hard time working the joystick and fingering the button without my thumb getting tired.  I guess I was rusty.  There were two kinds of joysticks there: the small, black standard and the long-handled, easier-to-use deluxe version.

(By the way: Also check out Pitfall 2.  I played that all the time on our Radio Shack CoCo computer in 1986 or 1987, usually listening to Whiteheart’s song “Fly Eagle Fly,” which fit with all the bats flying around.)

Persephone was also there; after a while we got to talking.  We were there so long that my friends left without me.

She had finally broken up with Phil for good.  (At least, that’s what she said then.  I don’t know if they got back together later.  I do know they were finally “done” before December.)

We had many things to talk about and agree on.  She told me her own problems with him; we laughed, complained and agreed about the ways he treated girlfriends.

She still went dancing with him as friends on Saturday nights, and laughed as she watched him flirt with girls there.

She said, “Phil practically lived with me and Trina” in Muehlmeier for a few months.  He didn’t like going home, where the dysfunctional living got worse.  (Either that, or a summer with my family showed him how a functional family lives, and made his own unbearable.)

He was at least as bad with Persephone as with me, if not worse.  She said:

“Once, he even slapped me.  I slapped him right back so hard that he never did that again.”  Good!  Persephone didn’t seem like the type of person to allow abuse.

“He didn’t want me to be friends with you.  That was suspicious.  Was he afraid of something?”

“We were very unstable: We broke up five times!”

“He’s not to be trusted.”

“I couldn’t believe his immaturity.  One night, one of his friends came over to my room to visit Phil and me.”

(It sounded like his Vampire Friend S–.  He didn’t want to introduce me to this guy, for fear he’d steal me away–as he sometimes did with Phil’s other girlfriends.)

“This guy thought I was pretty, and tried to steal me away from Phil.  Things ended up in a huge argument, and Phil ran away.  We finally found him hiding under my bed!

This guy even got my roommate Trina to spy on me!

“Phil’s minivan finally died because he knows nothing about taking care of a car.”

“Trina even had a crush on Phil.  She and his friends used to spy on me for him!”

(That reminded me of September between our first and second breakups, when I felt like Phil’s friends were spying on me.  Now that I knew he did this to Persephone, I felt less paranoid to think he did it to me.  Since Trina was also her roommate, this was especially hard for her.)

“Oh, it was a major rebound for him.  He’d call me by your name, and I’d say–” with an angry tone–“I’m not Nyssa.”

“He treated me like a child.”  Just as he did me, and just as he did his mother.  “He respects you if you’re his friend, but not if you’re his girlfriend.”

“I think he has an Oedipal complex.  He complains about his mother but is trying to get a woman like her.”  To be fair, wanting a girl “just like Mom,” especially if Mom is a wonderful person, is not so bad, but treating a woman like a child is bad.

“After he got your last letter, he called Pearl over Christmas Break to ask what was going on.  Then he saw the school counselor, who advised him to stay away from you.”  I was glad, because I’d asked him in the letter to do just that, because he was being cruel to me and I didn’t want to see him.

“I didn’t play Dungeons and Dragons with Phil.  One night he complained to his D&D group because I wouldn’t have sex with him!  Then one of the girls in the group came to me and scolded me!”

This woman should’ve known better than to scold another woman for not giving her body when she didn’t want to.  Persephone didn’t buy it, of course, and was very upset about this.

I said, “What a loser.”  If she didn’t want to have sex with him, she didn’t have to.

All these revelations confirmed to me that it wasn’t me, it was him.  And that I was well rid of him, as painful as the breakup was at the time.  He was not just immature, but controlling and abusive, while pinning the blame on others.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Teddy-O Incident; Birth of These Memoirs–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–January 1995, Part 3

On the night of the 17th, I wrote in my diary:

God, help me
God, be with me
The whirlpool of depression and despair
Has sucked me down.

I know with my head
That You’ll bring me out–
That You’re all-powerful,
Almighty God
Able to do miracles,
Anything You please–

But my heart just
Doesn’t believe it–
Heart, don’t be so stubborn!
Help me out here!

God, pull me out!
Pull me out!
Reach down with Your mighty hand
And pull me from
These murky, watery depths
Up to the air of freedom

I need You
More than I’ve ever needed anyone
‘Cause I’m drowning
Under here

I wrote the following early in 1998: Ever since the whole problem with Peter and how it devastated me, I was determined never to go through that again.  Of course, that meant a difference in how I dealt with the Phil-situation.

I tried not to dwell on it as much as I did on the Peter-situation, tried to get my mind on other things.  I dealt with the situation so well that the counselor told me, “You’re dealing with this a lot better than most people do.”

I forced myself early on to face what Phil really was: an abusive, cruel jerk, not the wonderful, loving husband I’d thought he was.

With Peter, it took much longer to face that he was not the wonderful, loving boyfriend I thought he was.  It took what, a year or less to get over Peter, but only a few months with Phil.  Aside from one relapse during January (see below), I was over him by Winterim, and ready to meet Cugan and a few other guys.

I made sure I could get on with life sooner.  I cried sometimes, but not as much as I did with Peter, and tried to avoid sadness whenever I could.

Some may say I wasn’t dealing with the pain properly, not allowing myself to grieve, that I kept pushing the pain away.  But I still remember how bad my grief over Peter made me feel, and how my friends got tired of hearing about it.

I remember moving on to a destructive relationship with Shawn instead of looking around for guys to go out and just have fun with.  I could have asked out James, for example; I did have a crush on him.  I did ask him to Pearl’s party junior year, but I could have actively pursued him sophomore year instead.

But I was too drawn to Shawn at the time to pursue James the way I should have.  I look at all that, and think that my manner of dealing with the Phil-situation was the best I could have done at that time.

Or if not the best, then the best I knew how to do.  It’s hard to say.

I decided not to date another actor, because they were used to pretending in front of an audience and could easily pretend in front of me.  If a man was a good actor I wouldn’t know the difference.

Phil was so good an actor that I never could tell he wasn’t always sincere.  He fooled me with his “subconscious,” and in late September he had fooled me into thinking he wanted to be with me.  I didn’t want to go through this again with anyone else.

****

Pearl and I watched My So-Called Life every Thursday, but the network was now threatening cancellation because of low ratings.  It hadn’t even had a chance to build up a following yet, but they were already cancelling it.

I liked that the actress for Angela (Claire Danes) was the same age as her character, fifteen.  You don’t see that often.

I sent e-mail over Thanksgiving or Christmas Break to the TV Guide‘s “Save Our Show” campaign, and voted for this show.  Pearl’s sister liked it too, and was proud of me for voting.

But the campaign failed, and the show still got canceled.  Network execs keep canceling the good shows before they have a chance to build up a following, and keeping the mediocre shows!

Several years later, Freaks and Geeks got the knife, while Popular got renewed. (Typical: the popular kids beating the geeks.)

My roommies all loved ER, and watched it every Thursday night at 9.  They said it “er,” not “E.R.,” just as Jay Leno did.  I was so-so about it.  It was gross, especially in the opening scene, and that was the same time I usually had my evening snack.

Some of it was interesting, though, like some of the relationships.  Once I graduated, I never watched it again.

The library workers began processing new books for the library, along with books for RC-Japan, a branch of Roanoke.  One of the RC-Japan books was Anne of Ingleside.  (I thought it was the last book in the Anne of Green Gables series, though actually it’s only sixth out of eight.)

I borrowed it to read, since this was okay, and then talked about it with Sharon in one of our many library discussions that year.  She’d also read it, and we both agreed that it was disappointing: too much of Anne’s kids and too little of Anne herself!  It shows you that a series can go on for too long.

This is true, not exaggerated: Everywhere we went in the S– area, with few exceptions, Mike knew somebody, and waved and yelled “Hi!” to them.  Was there anyone he did not know?  Catherine said that everyone in the world was destined to meet him eventually.

I found a review for a new movie called PCU.  PCU was a spoof, written by young people, of college campuses that are too politically correct, have too much activism, and are too unreal.  I was glad I hadn’t gone to a college like that: I wasn’t into all that stuff.

Mike told us, probably in the first part of senior year, about his recent trip to Milwaukee.  He was stopped at a stoplight when a man came up to his window and said,

“Do you want some drugs?  Are you a college student?  Here, you can sell this at your college.”

Mike kept saying no, he doesn’t want any drugs, yes he’s a college student but no he doesn’t want to sell any drugs, no, no, no!  This shook him up.  Finally, the light changed and he could drive on.

Each of us had small bottles of milk, rather than one big bottle in common.  There was always at least one bottle of sour milk in the refrigerator.  Once, one of us finally cleaned them all out, when many of them sat in there just taking up space.

****

We were told at the beginning of the year that we could get no stains on the carpet at all, or else the whole carpet would be pulled up and replaced, and everyone in the apartment would get charged for it.

That was to keep the apartments in good condition for years to come, but one little stain would not ruin the beauty of a whole apartment.  Out in the real world, apartment complexes allow normal wear and tear, and don’t pull up the whole carpet just for one stain.

Needless to say, we were paranoid about stains that year.  We’d rush to clean up the tiniest spills with the bottle of Resolve Carpet Cleaner provided by the school.

One day, Pearl and I were alone in the apartment, me on the couch and her in the kitchen making lunch.  Pearl tried to be independent as much as possible, so if she needed help, she’d ask for it.

I learned from her that the disabled don’t like to be seen as helpless, and are quite capable of figuring out how to do things.

Later on, I met a man with no eyes or hands, but he led me from his apartment to the parking garage.  He appreciated that I did not assume he was helpless, but waited to be asked for help: It was a relief from what people often did.

There is a key movement in the disability community for the right to self-determination, which means that we have the power to freely choose how and when we act or are acted upon, without having the will of nondisabled people forced upon us.

Or, in the simplest possible terms: disabled DOES NOT mean helpless. I cannot stress this enough.

Being a good person is a great thing, but please don’t do it at the expense of allowing me to determine my own needs. It’s time for able-bodied people to differentiate between politeness and infringing upon my independence. –Emily Ladau, Thanks for the help, I guess, but I’m not helpless!

So Pearl, on her own, stuck Teddy-O’s (a kind of Spaghetti-O’s) in the microwave (I think the microwave belonged to one of us), and heated them up.

They were in a covered Tupperware bowl.  She took them out again, got a good hold on the bowl and her crutches, and began to carry them out of the kitchen.  She probably meant to take them to the table.  Everything seemed normal, uneventful.  And normally, nothing would happen.

Next thing I knew, she tripped and/or dropped the bowl, and the Teddy-O’s flew, spilling all over the kitchen floor and the carpet next to it.

We both laughed and joked about it, but of course, we had to clean it up, for fear we’d get charged for new carpeting.  Pearl couldn’t do it herself, so I grabbed the Resolve and some paper towels and did it myself.  I don’t remember if any stains were left behind, but we were not charged.

****

One evening, probably during Winterim, my friends and I went to the opening night of Wayne’s World II.  The lines to the movie were so long they stretched outside the doors.  I was used to a very short line, if any.  Across the street, a digital bank clock showed how cold it was: below zero, I believe.

We loved the movie.  We laughed at the kung-fu moves (which reminded me of Peter’s ninjitsu); the weird, naked Indian; the parody of the 70s/80s Calgon commercials; the naked Indian crying about the litter on the landscape, just like in the old 70s/80s anti-litter commercials.

The group of middle-school kids right behind us didn’t get the commercial parodies at all.  They scoffed at how much we laughed.  They also kept talking–not whispering, talking–through the whole movie.  Argh!

****

That semester, I worked on two writing projects in addition to my schoolwork: a novel based on Roanoke, and a novel about my seventh-grade dream about ancient Egypt.

I wrote many pages for the Roanoke novel before wondering just how long the thing would take.  Those pages have become my memoir’s introduction to Roanoke, the chapters “Meet the Suite” through “Tales of the Campus.”

In 1996, when I resumed the writing of these memoirs, and wasn’t sure whether to make them into a novel or an autobiography (though I knew I had to at least write down the true story before making it into a novel), I incorporated these chapters.

Besides the interesting bits of my own life, I wanted to put my friends in the book because they were so much fun themselves.  The whole group of us had been through many things together.

Pearl said one day that “Someone should write a book about us,” so I said I was already doing that.  She and my other roommies got excited and told me what names I should give them.  Yes, “Pearl” was one of those names.

By Friday, January 13, I had written about thirty pages of my Roanoke book, and made a note to include Penisman Christopher’s poems in the novel.  Unfortunately, I later realized I couldn’t, since I had no idea how to contact him for permission.

I actually started making notes for such a book during junior year, and began to write it senior year.  Of course, very little of it was fictionalized; I decided to write everything as it happened and then fictionalize it later.  Its current form is all truth, no fiction.

I later decided to write my memoirs but not make them into fiction, because that, in a weird way, could set me up for libel–while if I wrote an autobiography I couldn’t be sued for libel because it would all be true.

Eventually I abandoned the idea of publication, since I was afraid my family would disapprove of certain things.  Instead, I started using the memoirs as inspiration for novels, which I’ve read that most authors do.

Then in 2001, after friends requested to see the memoirs, I put them into e-mails, removing whatever seemed too boring or personal for other readers.  Those e-mails have now been adapted into this current form.

****

Around mid-January, the senior class hosted a Hunk and Honey contest, which elected the best couple.  You voted with pennies in a big, plastic jar set by the name and picture of your favorite couple.

Penny drives like this popped up now and then to raise money for something (and to get rid of spare pennies).  We had another one that year, in which the classes (junior, senior, etc.) competed to see who could put in the most pennies.

To my shock and dismay, someone nominated Phil and Persephone.  One day in the week of the 16th, probably Tuesday or later between 11:30 and 12:30, I walked past James and my co-worker Megan as they sat at the Hunk & Honey contest voting table.  It was on the south side of Bossard and near the bathrooms.

James said to me, “I nominated Phil and Persephone because they deserve each other.”  He hated both of them.  He said, “Persephone is the most negative person I’ve ever met.”  Then he put a bunch of pennies in the big, plastic jar.

Megan agreed with him, and said she voted for them, too.  They probably thought it would cheer me up and show they supported me, but it depressed me.

(By the way, I’ve reconnected with Persephone on Facebook.  In a recent status update about those days, she said she eventually realized why she had so much trouble making real friends at Roanoke–and made changes in herself.)

I worked at the senior table with Sharon from 4:30 to 6:00 on Monday, June 16.  I looked at Phil and Persephone’s container.  It was filling up with pennies!

I probably thought, “Please tell me people are voting for them because they deserve each other, not because they make a great couple!–which they don’t.”  I kept thinking, “It should say Phil and Nyssa, not Phil and Persephone!” Ugh, stupid residual pain.

Then Persephone came along and saw how full it was.  She said, “Oh, wow, look at that.”  She chuckled.  “I think I know who nominated us.  I’m going to have to get after him for that.”

This depressed me even more.  I thought I was finally getting over Phil, especially after my wonderful Christmas Break–but this threw me into a relapse.

I told Helene all this as she drove me back to my apartment in her minivan on a cold day.  There in the apartment parking lot, as usual, sat Phil’s minivan, close by my bedroom window.

I hated coming out of my apartment in the morning and finding it still there.  Just like John Cusack’s character in the movie High Fidelity, all sorts of horrible images popped into my head of Phil having sex with Persephone all night long.  I hoped he stayed in Dirk’s room, not hers.

(She later told me they never had sex, though he essentially lived with her and her roommate because his home life had grown intolerable.)

Anyway, I pointed out Phil’s Dodge Caravan to Helene.  She charged at it with her minivan.  She’d speed toward it, then slow down, turn around, and speed toward it again.  We giggled.

I don’t remember who won Hunk and Honey, but I do know it wasn’t Phil and Persephone.  I don’t think I even knew the couple.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Phil Spreads Lies About Me–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–December 1994, Part 2

This probably happened between December 5 and 12, though not the Friday before December 12: My choir friends went to a church to practice for their upcoming tour.  They would perform Handel’s Messiah in churches, including the Hallelujah chorus–most impressive of all.  They weren’t going to do it at Roanoke, so this was my only chance to hear them.

I came along to help Pearl with her wheelchair, because my friends said I should come and watch the practice.  I believe they first practiced in the sanctuary, but for some reason I wasn’t in there.

Instead, I stayed nearby and wandered around a bit.  It’s quite possible they went there just to do the Hallelujah chorus, and I wasn’t able to go in there, but went looking for the bathroom.

Later, they moved to a choir room.  Just as my friends suspected, the choir director didn’t mind me watching.  Somebody said she’d love it.

I felt a bit uncomfortable having to face the choir as I listened, the only place I could sit, and I flipped through a Life magazine while I listened to keep from looking at them and feeling weird.

But the singing was lovely.  I don’t think I’d ever heard the choir sing better.  The choir director asked me, and I told her how wonderful it sounded.

(Phil wasn’t in the choir this year, so I didn’t have to deal with him.  He had been trying to get away from the Singers and the choir, though the director wanted to keep him in.)

Remember Ned, the tall blond who flirted with every girl who moved, dated Catherine for a while, then dated Melissa, and did Virtual Reality shows with Darryl?  He was there, though he’d graduated, because he was in the S– Symphony Orchestra that accompanied the choir during the tour.  He came over once and hugged Pearl.

****

One day, Clarissa showed me a weird cartoon called Two Stupid Dogs.  I’m almost certain that’s where this line came from for Dolphin Philosophy: “I’m your friend.  You don’t eat your friends!”

****

We had InterVarsity meetings every Tuesday in the Muskie conference room.  We ate dinner there together.  On December 6, Persephone said at the meeting,

“I’m going to break up with Phil.  His parents have been harassing me.  They keep calling every half-hour looking for him when he’s not in my room.  I’ve had mono, but they act like I’m not really sick because I’m up and around now.”

Mike said at one Tuesday meeting that he got a totally unexpected letter from a high school friend he hadn’t heard from in years.  This made me think I should start writing letters to my old high school friends, just out of the blue, like that girl did.  So I wrote a few, though none of them wrote back.

****

Cindy wanted to set up Tara with Randy, but was afraid to because she also tried to set up two people back in freshman or sophomore year.  I didn’t know much about that, but heard it was a big fiasco, and the two people ended up hating each other.

To our surprise, Tara had never met Randy before.  One night during Winterim, Sharon and I tried to reassure her that he was cute and a nice guy.

I had all my Roanoke yearbooks there in my room, so Sharon and I went through them to find pictures of him to show to her.  We finally found his freshman year Cross Country and Track picture, the best we could find.

Tara and Randy decided to meet in the computer lab one night before going out on a date.

They liked each other, and Randy said to Cindy, “She’s so sweet!”  Cindy asked Tara for Randy, “Do you like Bryan Adams?”  Tara loved Bryan Adams.

They had a few other things in common, too.  I said with a smile, “Sounds like a perfect match!”

They decided to start dating, and Tara dressed up for her first date in great anxiety.  She still feared they wouldn’t like each other.  Pearl and Sharon went to her and Pearl said,

“Tara, we’ve decided to live vicariously through you.”  They, like me, had trouble getting dates, and wanted to know everything that happened on Tara and Randy’s date.

The first date must have gone well, because not only did they become a couple, they got married in 1997.  For the rest of senior year, Randy was a common guest in the apartment, which we welcomed–since, after all, Tara never had to kick her roommies out of her bedroom.

****

On the 10th, I wrote a paper for American Lit titled, Richardson and Dickinson–Two “Feminist” Writers.  I noted that both writers–though Samuel Richardson had a different idea of what a proper wife “should” do–depicted

women as capable on their own, and happiness in marriage does not necessarily occur.  Both portrayed women as quite able to be equal to men, if only given the chance.  Such concepts were quite unusual for the day.

Though Richardson’s view of a wife’s role was more traditional, he hardly expected women to be just ornamental or silly, unreasoning creatures.  His novel Clarissa depicted an intellectual and pious young woman, who often acted wisely, though at times she was trapped by her own piety.

For example, her friend Anna Howe noted that if she had not been such a dutiful and sweet-tempered daughter, her family would never have thought they could force her to marry “the odious Solmes.”  She said, in modern terms, that you teach people how to treat you.

Clarissa’s mother, though a perfectly submissive wife, was also trapped by her submission, because she became a doormat, depended on by the rest of the family to submit to anything her husband required her to do.

She felt obliged to go along with her husband when he decided, on his son’s advice, to force Clarissa to marry a contemptible man who offended all her sensibilities.  (Think Wormtail from the Harry Potter series, only with money and land.)

Clarissa agreed that she would have to submit to her husband–but she at least wanted a husband who was worth submitting to and trusting.  Richardson obviously felt women should decide whom to marry, and not just have it decided for them.

Dr. Nelson wrote on my paper, “I’m impressed by your reading–the amount you’ve read and your impassioned condemnation of standards women had to live up to in the 18th and 19th centuries.”

He also wrote that I needed to expand my analysis.  He wrote, “There’s definitely a senior honors thesis to be done here–‘Rebellious women in 18th and 19th century Anglo-American Literature’ or some such.”

****

On the 11th, Anna told me she was wrong about the guy she thought God planned for her to marry!  She had all these “proofs” that God was telling her to marry him, yet he was going out with other girls, not her.

Still, for the past couple of years, she believed he would one day be hers.  Then she found out in November that he was engaged–to someone else.

That’s when she realized it was the Devil’s lies and not God at all.  This also shook my faith in my own fleeces about Phil.

****

By December 15 I sent Mike the following note:

Querido Miguel,

¿Tienes mucho hambre?  ¿Tienes mucha cumtha?  Tienes muy guapos ojanaddiz.  No estas un dorcos pero un uchasosio.

Estrella

I signed it “Estrella” to hide who I was, since you don’t need a return address for on-campus mail.  The meaning was,

“Are you very hungry? Do you have a lot of (Nonsense word: food)?  You have very handsome (nonsense word: eyes + nose).  You are not a (nonsense word: dork) but a (nonsense word: U.C.C. member).”

Yes, it was a joke, something he couldn’t translate.  Pearl told me he went mad trying to translate it, and wondered why someone would send him that.  He soon found out who sent him the message.

I also sent this to Astrid around the same time, and signed it with the name I picked for myself in German class in high school:

Liebe Astrid,

Guten Tag, meine Freundin!  Bist du gut aufgelegt?  Hoffentlich hast du ein guten Tag.  Und hier ist ein gutes Lied:

Mein Hut, er hat drei Ecken,
Drei Ecken hat mein Hut.
Hat er nicht drei Ecken,
Er ist nicht mein Hut!

Jutta-Uschi

It meant, “Hello, my friend!  Are you in a good mood?  Hopefully you’re having a good day.  And here is a good song:”

The following is an actual, German drinking song, which Frau taught my German class:

“My hat, it has three corners, / Three corners has my hat. / If it doesn’t have three corners, / It is not my hat!”

I received many Christmas cards with wonderful messages.  My favorites:

From Sharon: “I really enjoy having you as a roomie.  You’re a great person–one of the most unique people I know.  I thank God for friends like you.”

From Mike: “Who hatched the egg that [our teacher] laid?  We did!”

****

Charles knew Phil, who kept trying to be friends with him, but Charles thought he was trying too hard.  Charles didn’t like people pushing to be his friend.

I talked with Pearl the night of the fifteenth, and she told me that Randy had started to be good friends with Phil now.

Randy used to be friends with Peter freshman year, before Peter started smoking weed and embarrassed Randy at a family function by bragging about it.

It seemed like some sort of requirement that my exes be friends with each other and with Randy at some point, and that they join the Zetas (which Charles did in the spring).  It was weird.

But then, I guess that’s small-college life for you.  Fortunately, Randy didn’t seem to like or stay friends with Phil for long.

I feared that Randy’s friendship with my exes explained why he didn’t want to date me, that they poisoned his mind against me with lies.  But Cindy set him up with Tara, and they eventually got married, so it no longer mattered anyway.

Cindy told Pearl that Randy told her that Phil said I forced him to go to Indiana and stay there for the summer, that my parents wanted to check him out and see if they wanted him to keep dating me.

This blatant lie shocked me.  I wanted to confront him about this as soon as possible.

I already wanted him to get out of my life and go far away where I would never see or hear of him again.  I did not want him back anymore.  But this was the last straw that sent me over the edge; I wanted the controlling and abuse to stop once and for all.

I didn’t see him, so I wrote a note.  Furious, I mailed it without letting it sit for long, which I shouldn’t have done, since I wrote some things that were mean, not just righteously angry.

I still regret them, and did later apologize for them, when I found him online years later.

But among the mean things, I wrote many things I never regretted, because they confronted him with the lies he kept spreading about me.  Sometimes such letters must be sent to get closure.

I told him what I just heard, that he knew it was a lie, and if he kept lying, I would report him to Memadmin.

I said I’d been trying to forgive him, but he wasn’t making it any easier.

I said I was sick of his abuse and being his scapegoat for what went wrong.  

I did give him a chance to tell me if the report I heard was wrong, but I also wrote, “Leave me and my life alone.”  Though I didn’t think of calling him a stalker, I probably could have justifiably.

Over Christmas Break, I worried whenever I thought of the note, whether it was really justified, and what would be the results.

When I got back to school, I kept expecting to open my mailbox to a scathing reply, but got nothing.  No defense, no cries of being unjustly accused.  Just complete and utter silence–not even to say hi or nod when we passed on the sidewalk.

I later learned that the school counselor (bless her heart) told him to stay away from me.  Finally, peace!

He told Pearl he didn’t say those things.

But I don’t believe him because, as I told you in the July & August 1994 chapter, one day over the summer he went on and on, reproaching me about the things he gave up to stay with me over the summer.  Though I never forced him to stay with me, he talked that day as if I had.  

And I’ve also shown you in the September 1994 chapter how he pretended to be depressed and lied to Dirk because he wanted Dirk and his roommates to feel a certain way.  He told his friends lies about me, lies which kept coming back to me, so why wouldn’t I believe he said this as well?  

I knew he used his acting ability to lie and manipulate.  Why wouldn’t he do the same to Pearl?

Once, right after I got back in January, I saw him sitting alone with Persephone, in a solitary part of the cafeteria.  He saw me.  He sat all hunched over and upset-like, his head down and his fists up to his shoulders.

Ever since then, he gave me weird looks when he saw me.  Like he felt guilty or was mad at me or just didn’t know what to say to me–I really don’t know which.

For a while, even Persephone seemed to look at me oddly, almost as if she feared to talk to me or something.  Then she talked to me sometimes, but I tried to avoid her.

I didn’t trust her.  I felt like she and certain others could be kind of like spies, whether they knew it or not: Anything I said or did around them could get reported to Phil, so I tried to guard myself around them and avoid them.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
%d bloggers like this: