- Letter to Shawn
- Erotic Vampire Dream (Inspiration for Alexander Boa)
- I Ask Out James
- Peter Calls!
- The Fateful First Meeting of Phil
- The Birth of Dolphin Philosophy
- Our Group of Friends Splits Apart
I sent Shawn a heartfelt and beautiful letter in October, trying to set his mind at ease about my intentions–friendship only, despite residual feelings I admitted to–and asking to just start over. I said,
I do not want to go out with you or be anything more than friends; you don’t have to be paranoid about that. I put those thoughts out of my mind as long ago as before spring break….
I’ll admit that I have feelings for you. I always have, and they got so strong last year that I’ll probably always feel something special for you.
But just because I have these feelings doesn’t mean I want to go any farther than you do. They’ve gotten tamer, much easier to control, and they’re dominated by my belief that I wouldn’t be able to handle being married to you, let alone being your girlfriend. I just don’t want to be that so much anymore.
What means the most to me is our friendship, and that’s all I want to be–close friends. That’s always been more important, especially now. All those things in our past, they’re just that for me–in the past. Not forgotten, but gone. I’ve put my standards back up again.
A bit about how we both can be restored to purity, so don’t torture yourself over this. I complained that as late as the spring, Shawn had brought up my problems with Peter, even though for me that was becoming ancient history.
It’s been a year since you’ve been a mere Peter-replacement [ie, September 1992], and it always grated on my nerves to hear you say you’re not him. I know you’re not him (why do you think I liked you?); he was just my only point of reference.
Then a little bit about my going to parties and scheming with Pearl on ways to get James interested, though I did not name James, just coyly said that Shawn knew him. I have no idea what Shawn did with my previous letters, but I know he read this one, for a reason I mention in the December chapter.
By our October meeting, we had chosen two faculty advisers for InterVarsity.
I have a picture of Clarissa and me selling Candy Grams. This is probably when I first began saying “Candy Gram!” and knocking on the table, like the Land Shark on those classic, 70s episodes of Saturday Night Live. We sold these Candy Grams for InterVarsity in October; the picture was taken on October 20.
Of all the lecture series events that semester, the coolest by far was “The Devil, you say..?” by Scott Keely.
He dressed up as the Devil. I don’t remember it being at all anything most Christians would object to; it was, instead, an excellently worked performance of Satan trying to defend himself to us. I believe Keely also had a trunk on the stage, and would periodically get little costume props from it.
The auditorium was dark, with red light on Keely. He even dressed up in the tail and pitchfork and horns and all that to cater to common representations, then took them off because they weren’t really what he looks like. A description of his performance is here.
This October 6 lecture affected my October 25 dreams. From my journal for that day:
Like in tonight’s dreams, which were one continuous theme: a girl, having been kissed, etc. by the vampire who wants to take over her school, is under his power in a way and wants to join him, but to keep up appearances she acts like one of the other heroes and heroines trying to break his control. All she really wants is to be with him–an odd love story.
Now I can tell you what the dream was about. In the first one, Dracula and I stood together in a room.
He began to kiss me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to kiss him, him being Dracula and long dead, etc. But somehow he put me under his power, and I was drawn to him.
When we kissed, he kept his fangs behind his lips so I wouldn’t be hurt. He pulled me on the bed, and we started–you know. We got down to it. I woke up before we finished.
I went back to sleep, and this time I joined some others, who included Pearl, who wanted to break the vampire’s hold over our school. He was in the old church’s [one I grew up in] sanctuary, but it was here at school.
We listened to some speaker who said we needed to do four things. I’d done one already, so I took out only three of my long, white containers. We’d fill them with something and put them back.
As for me, I only pretended to be working against him. I remembered our incompleted time together, and therefore was drawn to him. I didn’t want a stake to go in his heart; I wanted to see him again, and went to him.
Maybe we kissed again, maybe by a door, a black door and/or a darkened room. Other people, maybe young boys or young men, at least one with black, thick hair, were trying to help us “vampire slayers” or whatever we were. I woke up again, maybe around 7:45, and fell asleep again.
I returned to him, and he took me with him in a small, covered vehicle. He put me in a sidecar. Pearl and another person, maybe Sharon, were in the car. The car moved, and we looked out over and admired the beautiful, magical-like landscape.
In one spot we saw a natural fountain–the water squirted up, but this wasn’t man-made. There was green, maybe other colors, like blue or purple or yellow. Maybe there was another guy, a ghost, with the vampire.
I soon wrote my dream into a story about a vampire taking over a school; this story was also influenced by Keely’s performance, with the vampire doing a similar performance, and staying in the equivalent of Krueger Hall just as writers for the Great Lakes Writers Conferences sometimes did.
This story is now in my collection The Lighthouse, titled “Alexander Boa: Or, I was a co-ed vampire slave.”
On October 10, InterVarsity went to a Margaret Becker concert. I discovered that I didn’t enjoy loud rock concerts as much as I used to, which made me feel “old and mellow.” (Kind of odd, considering that my musical tastes were hardly “old and mellow.” Still aren’t.)
I had thought about James all summer. Now, I told Pearl about my crush on him. She said that freshman year, he used to stop by her room and play Pictionary all the time. She decided to help me out, and help herself, by throwing a Pictionary party after the fine arts event on Saturday the 16th, the Spanish dancers. She would ask her crush to the party, and I would ask James.
I made myself look cute on Tuesday, October 12, and waited until James came in just before I was to leave my shift. I was terribly nervous. I only had ten minutes or less to work up the nerve to do it. I said,
“My friend Pearl is having a Pictionary party on Saturday after the dancers. Do you want to come?” Could he tell how nervous I was?
“I played Pictionary with them once,” he said. “I didn’t like the game. I don’t know if I’ll go.”
Argh! I hoped he’d change his mind. Yet I also decided to look for other guys to flirt with at the party.
I still felt happy because I did it! I asked a guy to a party! Maybe this would only be the beginning: maybe one of us would ask the other out in the future, and not get turned down.
I hoped he really did like me back, as I’d suspected all sophomore year, and that this was just a minor glitch. If I asked him to a movie, something that was obviously a date, would he say yes?
On Wednesday, October 13, I went to a Bible study on Job in Pearl’s room. Pearl’s friend Dave O’Hara, Peter’s friend, came over afterwards. I had a paper to do, but he was cute and new to me, so I stayed. He even had sky-blue eyes, my favorite color.
He spoke of, among other things, his brother Phil and his sister Maura. I flirted with him, and thought we got along great. He soon owed me a backrub.
Starting that year, IV members divided into pairs, forming prayer partners who would meet at regular times. I met with Pearl in the cafeteria, and this really helped me throughout the year. We could talk over things that were bothering us or making us happy, and then pray about them.
On Thursday, October 14, Pearl and I got together for one of our first prayer-partner meetings. Pearl prayed that God would bring into my life whomever He had been preparing for me, and whomever He had been preparing me for. I believe I prayed the same for her.
Later that evening, after an InterVarsity information meeting, I got a call. I didn’t recognize the voice.
The caller said, “You really don’t know who this is? This is Peter.”
I cried, “Whaaat?”
“I thought it was about time the silence was ended. I’ve been acting like a jerk-off for the past year and a half. It took me that long to sort out my feelings. I’ve been thinking about you all summer.”
My heart thumped, and neither one of us could believe what was happening. He really wanted to be friends again.
We talked for a long time, mostly catching up on the time we were apart. He had come to visit with his “brothers” in the Zeta suite; Dave O’Hara told him I’d changed; so he called.
He kept saying that, just from talking to me, he could tell I had changed in many ways. It’s only natural, of course, especially when you go to college; he had changed a lot, too.
I have wondered a few things ever since, however, though they didn’t come to me at the time:
- How did Dave know I’d changed when I’d never even met him before? Was he going by what Peter told him, half-truths or misunderstandings or both, not on the way I truly was before?
- Why did I have to “change” before Peter called me? I didn’t have to “change” to be worthy of his friendship, and it had been a year since I had stopped wanting to date Peter.
He said that he got drunk only twice and never again, though Shawn would later tell me that he seemed plenty drunk several times when he saw him. Peter said he’d get a “buzz” but didn’t want to get drunk ever again, because he didn’t like “praying to the porcelain god.” He was twenty-one, so when he said he would drink, I said, “Well, you are of age.”
He said, “I never expected to hear that from you!” He kept saying how much I’d changed. I had; college was changing me in many ways that seemed good to me: philosophy and spirituality, musical tastes, feeling more open about and proud of my “weirdness” rather than wanting to hide it, maturity.
He no longer claimed that I made up the idea of the mental Link. In fact, he brought up a mental link in the movie Demolition Man. I said that, freshman or sophomore year, I asked a hypnotist who came to Roanoke how a link can be broken down, and he said, “If someone’s afraid of it or doesn’t want it.”
“I know that wasn’t me,” Peter said.
We laughed about each other still using certain words we used when going out. His was probably “Holy cats.” Peter laughed when I used the word “disc,” a South Bend slang term meaning “dang” or “drag.” I do believe that “Mensch” was also mentioned; I don’t remember if Peter actually used it during our conversation, but he might have.
This part of our conversation, and the friendly way we talked, matched a dream I had and wrote down back in the summer of 1992. Its message, that we would one day be restored to friendship and have our relationship begin on a new level, was true.
At long last, it had come to pass, not just figuratively but literally. I had many precognitive dreams for some time after Peter and I had our mental Link and one back when I was only a child, though I don’t recall having any since.
We talked for a long time on the phone before he suggested we go get some Mountain Dew in the Pub. It was only about an hour before closing time. When we met, he gave me a hug, and off we went. With that hug, it felt like all was forgiven on both sides.
One of his friends, who was in the Pub, gave us a funny look when we walked in together. This was a blonde girl, I believe.
My old boss Nancy was even there, and looked at me as if to say, “Are you two back together again after all this time?” I didn’t know if we were, but it didn’t matter so much as the fact that we really had forgiven each other and liked each other again.
He was still smoking, and still trying to quit. But at least he hated getting drunk now, and all the horror stories I’d heard about him weren’t quite so true, at least not anymore. If only God were still in his talk.
I had a Mountain Dew; I believe he had a beer.
He had turned scuzzy, however. He hadn’t shaved; his hair had grown long and, I think, greasy. I wondered if he planned to ask me out; I didn’t mention that I did not want to date him.
With his scuzziness, the cigarette he was smoking, and things he said that showed me he was no longer Christian, he was no longer the Peter I had once loved.
I wondered if he sensed my feelings, and if that was the reason he didn’t ask me out. Or if friendship was all he’d wanted all along. I would never know. It’s not the sort of thing you ask.
I admitted I had always liked his hair better just before he cut it, and he said, “Why didn’t you tell me?” Of course, how could I tell him, when I thought he liked his hair short?
We talked on and on even there in the Pub, finding we both liked techno dance music. Peter was surprised, and said I’d always been listening to Christian music. (He said this even though he knew I liked Metallica and KLF and other secular artists as early as freshman year.)
He said he had a copy of KLF’s The White Room and could get me one; I asked him to, but he never actually did. It was hard to hear in the loud Pub.
I asked, “Did you know about Shawn and me?” He said, “Yes. Several people were surprised that you and Shawn weren’t going out.” (Come to think of it, it’s highly probable that my involvement with Shawn finally showed him I wasn’t still hung up on him.)
Peter and I both had lost weight since we dated; he was skinny now, and I had gone from maybe 135 to 115 or 120, which was plenty skinny enough for me. (I looked better at 120 than I did at 115.) So we congratulated each other.
When giving us our bill, the woman bartender said to Peter, “Are you going to pay for your lady-friend?”
We laughed. “It’s nothing like that,” we said at the same time.
Clarissa knew about this right away, of course, being in the room when Peter called, but I had to tell my friends the next day.
For some reason, for the next two weeks or more I felt antsy and a little depressed. For the first few days, I expected to hear from Peter again, and wondered if he would ask me out.
Despite his changes into a person I wouldn’t want to date, I felt like I wanted to say yes. I felt like maybe I was still in love with him.
The more days passed without me hearing anything, the more antsy I felt. Clarissa knew I felt this way, because she saw it and I would talk about it somewhat.
I wrote about it on October 26. It seems I was a little confused about what God’s promise to me was. Earlier in the year, I had realized that maybe God’s promise was for a restored friendship, not a restored romantic relationship. This had filled me with joy. Now, I saw that He had fulfilled this promise. Maybe I still half-expected that His promise was for more than that.
In time, I would feel less antsy, but I still felt that either Peter or Phil (to be mentioned soon) was the one I was to marry, and I didn’t know which it would be in the fullness of time. I thought this because Peter called the very night after Pearl prayed that God would bring the One into my life, and then I met Phil two days later.
Of course, years later, I discovered that it was all self-deception, that God never made a promise of a restored relationship of any kind–unless, of course, you count the dream I had in 1992 of pleasantly chatting with Peter.
After all, we joked about “Mensch” in the dream just as we did in real life on October 15, 1993, as I wrote above.
But looking for signs from God is not the way to determine His will, and some have even said that God will be silent if we do such a thing!
I read an article on the book The Last Studebaker by Robin Hemley in the August 9, 1992 South Bend Tribune. Then I discovered that Robin Hemley was going to be at the Writer’s Festival, which was October 15 and 16. Ooh, a South Bender writing about South Bend. And now my fellow classmates could read about it!
I bought a copy of the book and went to a book signing on October 15 in the Bradley foyer. I was there with probably Clarissa, but I don’t believe anyone else was there.
I told him I was from South Bend, myself, and had come here to the cows and cornfields of Wisconsin. He autographed my copy of his book with, “For Nyssa, From South Bend who finds herself now among cornfields and cows. From another South Bender.”
One evening, as Pearl and I passed by the library during James’ shift, I got into a hyper mood and made my duck umbrella “fly”: I opened it, and pulled the ring up and down to make the umbrella “flap.” I may have also quacked.
Pearl sped up her scooter, joking about my weirdness and not wanting to be seen with me. I laughed, and hoped James saw me through the library windows.
Then it was time for the party, on Saturday, October 16. It was because of James and Pearl’s crush, but neither one showed up! Still, there was a new guy there; he left the room; I asked somebody who he was; it was Dave’s brother Phil.
Physically, he fit my type perfectly: tall (a full foot taller than I at 6’5″), lanky, long nose, slightly slanted eyes–much like Keanu Reeves. His nose was arched. His mother supposedly was part Cherokee; his dad had was Irish.
He wore the goatee all the guys wore that fall, and I liked it. He wore a baseball cap, but it was NOT backwards. He had a goofy way of walking; I think somebody called it monkey-like.
When we all moved to the Muskie to play Balderdash, I sat by him and flirted with him all night. He flirted back.
(Balderdash is a word game in which you guess the definition of weird but real words. One word was “oom”; Phil suggested it meant “dyslexic cow.”)
Then he walked me back to my dorm. Pearl thought he liked her, but she wanted this other guy, so I later said, “If you don’t want him, I’ll take him.”
For the next couple of months, we would keep meeting at Pearl’s parties and other things, though not very often.
Phil thought I was a freshman, I looked so young. Who was at the party: probably several of my usual group of friends, and one or two guys besides Phil, maybe Mike S. or Dave or Steve.
Since Pearl had prayed on the 14th that I would finally meet the one who was meant for me, and on the 15th Peter called out of the blue, and on the 16th I met Phil, I considered this a sign that my future husband was one of the two. It was the strangest timing, after all. Now I just wondered which one it was.
Dave was a big football player with blond hair and sky-blue eyes; Phil had light brown, wavy hair, almost auburn, and brown eyes. Dave told Pearl he had a girlfriend he was almost engaged to. Pearl didn’t believe it, but I chose to–which was good, because it was true. I said, “I’ll have to work on his brother, then.”
For Homecoming, InterVarsity, along with other organizations around campus, entered contests for best chalk drawing and/or best banner. The chalk drawings were drawn on windows all around the Campus Center, including the Pub. We put our drawing or banner in the cafeteria.
I don’t remember what our totally original banner idea was, but we soon discovered that someone else took our idea and made their own banner. So we looked like copycats even though the other organization copied us.
The contest theme was the Magical Kingdom; the chalk drawing and banner ideas came from Disney characters. Somebody else won the prize. The banner competition was on October 18, and the window “painting” contest was on October 19.
Pearl and Sharon got excited about a “visitor” who would arrive soon. Though at first reluctant to tell someone from outside the suite, they swore me to secrecy. I couldn’t even tell Clarissa, though she found out, by either seeing the “visitor” or being told about it.
It was a male puppy. The little puppy was cute and friendly, but only partially housebroken. The Phi-Delts took it for walks in the grass outside the Hofer building on the side with the balconies, but the puppy still occasionally left surprises on the carpet and maybe the couch.
Since no one was supposed to have pets in the dorms, the Phi-Delts had to clean up the stains as well as they possibly could to avoid embarrassing questions.
On October 22, during Homecoming festivities, I went outside with Pearl and maybe others at about 8:45 p.m. as they walked the puppy. We watched the Homecoming fireworks from there, but Pearl decided they would scare the puppy, so we took him back inside.
Soon after they got the puppy, the Hofer RA saw one of them walking it. He did not tell the administration, but they had to find another home for the puppy. I think one of the Phi-Delts took him home.
Copy of a letter written to Shawn on 10/22/93:
Things are so different now between Peter and me that I thought you’d better know. One of my biggest problems has finally been solved!
You see, he called me up last week, admitted to being a jerk for so long, and wanted to be friends again. I was so shocked. He said it had taken him this long to sort out his feelings. He said he’d heard I’d changed, and that he could tell just by talking to me.
He’s gotten better than he was last year. He’s cut down on his smoking. From something he said, the pot-smoking might be a thing of the past. I sure hope so, because that stuff’s not harmless at all. He’s only been drunk twice, and he felt so bad that he doesn’t want to do it again.
I keep hoping he’ll call again soon. We enjoyed being together and talking together again so much. He took me to the Pub for a Mountain Dew, and we got a couple funny looks. I’m really confused now, though. It’s like I’m in limbo. I don’t know exactly what I want anymore. I’ll see a guy I liked a lot just a couple weeks ago, and think, I don’t know.
10/26/93: World Civ is going great. I’ve gotten a 97 and a 96 [on tests] so far–and the 96 was because I didn’t study enough! The only way to get 100 pages behind [as some friends did] is by not reading for two or three weeks, so it’s not bad at all.
I’m glad I have Dr. Williams. The people with [the other World Civ teacher] boast about having it better, but they’re behind us now and they have to write two papers! When they boast, I think, Yeah, yeah, I’ll stay with Williams, thank you very much.
I foresaw this when I decided to take Dr. Williams instead of the [To Be Announced] class, and now I see I was right. A year of World Civ doesn’t seem so bad anymore.
I love my library job. My homework gets done, and I have more time for fun things than I would’ve had. And I like the things I get to do. I see people I know and they see me, not like before when I just saw them through the tray window.
I like being in Krueger, but I also don’t. When I hear squeaky beds (with two people in them) and yelling underclassmen and radios blasting long before I have to get up, I go nuts and want to go back ‘home’ to the suites. I’ve been feeling so ‘homesick’ lately, just walking past them….
But anyway, that’s how life is here right now–some bad things and some good things. It’s definitely not boring. One of my worst worries has been removed, even though now I’m stuck with a love for Peter that I thought had calmed down.
It’s bittersweet, I’ll call it that. You’re probably shaking your head and saying ‘no, not him,’ but I’ve seen his good side, and I know God has something special in mind for him. Please just pray for me, and I’ll pray for you.
For a short time, Jennifer’s Mike started paying quite a bit of attention to Pearl, and touching her in strange ways–massaging her neck, for example. Sharon said to her, “You’ll be his next girlfriend.” But despite all that, he and Jennifer stayed together for a while longer, and he didn’t go after Pearl anymore (that I’m aware of).
Around October 25, Jennifer got “deathly” sick with some awful virus, maybe mono or the flu. She had tons of pills to take for it, and spent her days in bed. Her Mike took care of her the whole time, making sure she got her pills and was comfortable and all that. We kept telling her she should hold onto this guy.
Each year, one of the humanitarian organizations on campus hosted Shantytown: You’d make a cardboard shanty and sleep in it overnight, with awards given the next day for best shanty.
This year, on October 29, InterVarsity made its own shanty. A bunch of us worked on it, including me. It was simple and triangular, tied with ropes or ribbons, not complex and impressive like some shanties could get. I forget who stayed in it, but Astrid probably did.
On Halloween, the Pi-Kapps held a Halloween party in the Pub. I went to Pearl and Sharon’s room and we got into our costumes. I forget what Pearl and Sharon dressed as, but I took a hippie-type dress Peter’s mom had once given me and a big, brown scarf, and dressed as a gypsy. Pearl and Sharon put lots of makeup on me, including mascara, so I would look the part. They said gypsies wore lots of makeup, especially colorful eyeshadow.
Then, for some reason, Pearl or Sharon decided to call up the Pub and ask if it was a costume party. The Pi-Kapp who answered sounded like she thought it a weird question. But who holds a Halloween party without costumes?
We didn’t want to get out of the costumes we had so painstakingly donned, so we spent the night in costume, watching movies in Pearl and Sharon’s room. Some of their suitemates probably stopped by and asked what was going on. One of the movies was Maximum Overdrive.
Several times, I’d be there visiting and Sharon would ask me to sleep on their floor. Though the floor was hard, I loved the slumber-party fun. Once, they even had me bring over blankets and a pillow because I’d probably end up sleeping there.
Sarah, Carol and Tara were good friends with Judy, who left to get married and never came back, except to visit. The visits were rare, and called “Judy sightings.” Whenever pledge month came around, Sarah, Carol and maybe Tara would cry, “Pi Joo-dy Woo-dy!”
Sarah and Carol did not like fraternities, sororities, or the annoying calls and songs yelled by pledges, so this was the closest they’d ever get to pledging. I believe they even had “Pi Judy Woody” T-shirts made.
The school planned to build new apartments; this annoyed Sarah and Carol, who would graduate before the apartments were completed.
Once, Tara said that “Butthead’s the cute one” on Beavis and Butthead. So everyone began teasing her, saying she had a crush on Butthead. She didn’t; she just thought he was better-looking than Beavis, though not actually “cute.”
Tara, Astrid and Mike were all in the Roanoke Choir sophomore year; now, Pearl and Sharon joined them. They all would burst out into song at the table or walking between buildings together.
So I knew what they were working on (“We, like sheep, have gone astraaaaay”), the choir tricks (exaggerate “oo” in “Good-will”; say “watermelon” if you forget the words), and the in-jokes (the female teacher’s little yellow sports car, the teacher dating a member of the administration).
During rainy seasons I would, of course, carry my red duck umbrella everywhere. When IV met in a second-story room in the library, the duck umbrella went along.
Once, when Pearl was late or unable to come to a meeting, Astrid propped up my duck umbrella in a chair and proclaimed it to be the IV president. She addressed it like Pearl, and afterwards joked that the umbrella was our president.
(One year, she even took a bear I gave her for a gift exchange, named it Nyssa, took it on the annual choir tour, and said Nyssa went with them on choir tour.)
Clarissa and I began watching the new show Seaquest:DSV. Darwin, the dolphin, would chatter and squeak; the teenaged member of the crew translated with a device he developed himself.
Once, Darwin said, “The light is dark and one.” I believe this meant his knowledge was turning dark and he didn’t want to die alone.
I said to Clarissa, “The light is dark and one…That sounds like philosophy…dolphin philosophy!”
We laughed, and I ran to write “The light is dark and one” on our message board along with a drawing of a dolphin playing in the water, balancing on his tail.
Thus Dolphin Philosophy was born. Whenever Darwin said something new that sounded philosophical in one way or another, I’d post it on our board, often with a drawing of a frolicking dolphin.
Senior year, when Darwin didn’t show up as much and Seaquest turned lame, I pulled strange sayings from other sources and posted them so Dolphin Philosophy wouldn’t die.
It was selective: A saying had to be special and weird to be posted as Dolphin Philosophy. After college, I began e-mailing it to friends. Maybe one day I should find the old list of Dolphin sayings and post it on my blog…..
Clarissa and I also did other fun, silly things with the message board, such as Queen’s Proclamations and strange Words for Today.
One of the guys on Seaquest, Ted Raimi (Lt. Tim O’Neill), reminded me of Shawn, when he wore glasses (though Shawn was cuter). He had a knobby nose, just like Shawn’s. You may remember the Shawn-clone who led Anna’s Bible study freshman year. How many Shawn-clones are there in the world, anyway?
In those days, the only dorm kitchen was in Krueger. Not even the suites had a kitchen. Anyone who wanted to cook something had to find a way into Krueger, which, after all the doors began to be locked all day, had to be through a resident of Krueger. When the apartments were built, they, at least, would have their own kitchens.
The school did have a song, but no one seemed to know it. One day, somebody pointed out what song played by the Bradley clock was the alma mater. My choir friends learned it, but only because they were in choir. I never did learn it, myself. I only knew the tune. Unless you went to games, when would you hear it, except in the occasional choir concert and on the Bradley clock?
One night soon after new phones were put in at the main doors of all the residence halls, and each Krueger girl was forbidden to let male strangers into the dorm or any male who wasn’t there to visit her, IV held a Bible study in the Krueger lounge.
A young black man from our class, an extremely intelligent guy whom I respected, came to Krueger, only to find the door locked. Since he had never come to one of our meetings, we thought he came to visit a friend. Pearl and others gestured to him to use the phone.
Eventually, somehow, he got in; maybe one of us went over to talk to him, or someone else came in Krueger. He said he was there for the IV meeting. We explained the Krueger rules. At first, he’d thought we wouldn’t let him in because he was black; he felt much better once he knew the real reason.
During the meeting, he asked about the salvation of people in other religions of “The Book,” or the Hebrew Bible, namely, Judaism and Islam. Pearl insisted that the Christian Bible specifically said the only way to Heaven was Christ.
But I had wondered about this for some time, if God would save even the Jews and the Muslims. I don’t know why I said nothing; was it the lack of a biblical back-up? I should have said something to support my classmate.
In 2005, I discovered that Catholic and Orthodox views of the Bible say that God will have mercy on whom He will; we can’t say who that will be. But I did not have their arguments in front of me.
Once, IV advertised a meeting at which the group would discuss abortion. Anyone was welcome, and everyone thought it would be packed with people on both sides of the issue, which they said was popular on the campus (though I rarely heard anyone talk about it).
Yet no one showed up besides the usual group. This surprised us, and we never did figure out why. I don’t remember if I went, or if I was bored with the whole issue: The arguments were always the same and never did resolve anything.
During this time, there was a shake-up in the Group: Catherine, Rachel and Cindy had various problems with Pearl and Sharon; I think it started with one thing, and then other issues got added on to it.
Catherine thought Pearl said nasty things about her fiancé Glen, when she hadn’t: Rachel overheard something and misunderstood it.
Catherine had problems with Pearl leading InterVarsity, even though the whole group had voted for Pearl’s strict requirements for IV leaders.
In an entire roomful of prospective IV members, I seemed to be the lone voice who said that if we voted for these requirements, Christians with more liberal beliefs or questions would be left out.
(That’s why I never became a leader, despite being asked: I had questions about the salvation of non-Christians, and knew I wouldn’t qualify as a leader.)
The vote was taken, and I may have been the only person in that entire room who did not raise a hand in favor. So blaming Pearl for the Evangelical tone of the group was not fair.
Cindy also thought Pearl was saying bad things about her. Catherine had asked Pearl to be her maid of honor, but now unasked her; Rachel became her new maid of honor. I don’t know how Sharon got into all this.
Since they are all still my friends, I don’t want to go into more detail.
Clarissa and I got caught in the middle, watching our group of friends split apart. Though they later made up after Rachel sent an apologetic letter and everyone began proper discussions, the Group was now permanently in two parts.
Table of Contents
- Meet the Suite
- Meeting Shawn–and a Ninja
- Campus Stories, Wisconsin, Campus Radio Station
- Campus, People, First College Boyfriend
- Dating a Ninja
October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:
Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams
- Classmate a stand-in for “Rudy”; Jigging at College Dance
- Library Tales
- Happiness Returns
- Living with Friends in Krueger
- Funny Library Stories
- Shawn Calls
- Psycho Roommates and Bug Wars
- Return of Rick
- Adjusting to New Dorm
- Spitball-Throwing Teacher
- Rat-Obsessed Teacher and Doctor Zhivago
- A Teacher Dated a Student; InterVarsity Fun
- Charlie Peacock Concert
- Random Stories
- Letter to Shawn
- Erotic Vampire Dream (Inspiration for Alexander Boa)
- I Ask Out James
- Peter Calls!
- The Fateful First Meeting of Phil
- The Birth of Dolphin Philosophy
- Our Group of Friends Splits Apart
- Spring Classes
- Big Red Flag: Phil’s Dysfunctional Family Life
- The Drunken Stork (Phil’s Controlling Nature Manifests)
- Idealizing Phase and Early Sign of Control
- Phil Tries to Control my Friendships, Unfair Accusations from his Dad and Brother
- Phil Gaslights Me with Fake Dreams, Ridicule and Psychological Abuse
- Another Pre-Engagement
June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:
- The Abuse Worsens in the Summer of Hell
- Phil rapes me anally
- Phil tries to control me through refusing everything I want–even proper hygiene
- Phil’s cruel hoax on me: his “subconscious” coming out to be with me
- Phil’s “subconscious” explains why he’s coming out to talk to me
- The lies unravel as Phil admits to conning me; also, fright as my periods turn wacky
- How Phil’s behavior fit the signs of abuse
- Phil Mindscrews Me: changes history, blames me for things that were not my fault, treats me like an idiot during games
- Phil says if he abuses me, it takes two people to sign the divorce papers
- Pearl reveals that Phil is costing me social invitations
- Hints that Phil is checking out of the marriage
September 1994–Divorce: The Long, Dark, Painful Tunnel:
- Phil picks fights and avoids responsibilities to make me feel like a shrew
- My husband Phil, Dave and Pearl call me a party pooper for getting a Grade II concussion
- I’m ecstatic to be back with my friends (the ones Phil hates); I meet Charles
- Phil vanishes without a word of why
- Phil wants a divorce
- My friends tells me that Phil is controlling and possessive
- My first Pentecostal church service: They speak in tongues
- Phil refuses to accept responsibility for the divorce
- Phil cuts off contact
- Attack of Phil’s Flying Monkey and Sycophant: Dirk
- Phil the narcissist admits to manipulating people and using them as pawns in his game with me
- Phil comes crawling back to me–and we put our marriage on paper
- Phil demands my complete submission and forces me into oral sex–and my will is broken, for fear he’ll divorce me again
- Phil walks away from me again–because I dare to have my own mind, opinions and needs–and because he’s a sociopath
- Fierce anger against Phil and PTSD from the abuse
- My friends tell me Phil is psychotic
- “Soul Ties”
- I return Phil’s things and he skewers me; consolation from friends
- My letter to Phil
- Phil shows my letter to his friends; I’m triggered by reminder of forced oral sex
- I start dating Charles
- Friends tell me Phil is controlling
- I feel stalked by Phil
- Poem about being stalked by Phil
- Fury at Phil stalking me and rubbing my face in his new relationship
- A Date with the Vampire
- Celtic Class: Knotwork, Tin Whistles, SCA–and Drinking from a Skull
- The Teddy-O Incident; Birth of These Memoirs
- We Hook Up to the Internet–and Shawn Fixates on My Sex Life
- New Guy Begging at My Feet
- Life on TCB
- Meeting Cugan (Hubby)
- Learning my ex Peter was a love-fraud; New Men
- Before Tracy, There Was the Avenger (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 1)
- Torn between three men as Catherine pushes me toward Cugan
- The Love Rectangle
- Torn between FIVE men! Me?
- Persephone’s Own Outrageous Stories of Phil’s Abuse
- College-style living
- Online Shenanigans
- Phil Finds TCB; Meeting a Hit Man
- Gypsy’s Party: Healed friendship with Peter
- The Avenger Starts a Flame War (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 2)
- Meeting the elusive Speaker
- First Date with Future Hubby Cugan
- On Breaking Up with Kindness
- Loony Roommies and Flying Gargoyles
- The Goddess of Pleasure and Salt
- A Conversation with Oscar Wilde
- My First SCA Event
- Cugan: a vast improvement over Phil
- Easter with Cugan’s family and SCA
- Cugan breaks up with me
- After breakup: Phil’s return and trolls
- Cugan comes back
- SCA hippies; college senioritis: anxiety!
- Or should I move back in with my parents?
- Peace with Phil
- Defending my Thesis; Graduating with Honors
- Graduation: Trapped at school
- Epilogue and Apology from Phil