My friends tell me Phil is psychotic

From a letter I wrote a friend on October 1:

Everyone says Phil is psychotic, unstable, in urgent need of professional help.  My dad says he’s on the edge.

Even Phil’s friend Dirk, who’s trying to be objective but is Phil’s confidante much more than I’d even want him to be mine, says that pressures of school are probably getting to him as well as problems with me.

His home life is probably the biggest cause of this “psychosis,” especially since he lives at home instead of on campus.  Arguments are the way of life there, and it’s doubtful whether his parents even love each other anymore.

[When I asked Sharon, a Psych major,] if he was having another nervous breakdown…she said, “No, it’s a psychosis.”  She says he was already acting weird last semester.

(Maybe that’s why my friends started to not like him, even though the semester before they tried to get him to do things with us, and seemed to like him.)

Dad says he’d better find some counselor to talk to or maybe his priest, before he goes over the edge.

…Why do I keep falling for guys with problems?  I don’t even know about the problems until later, usually.  Why do the sweet guys I find keep turning out to be jerks?  I like weird, not psychotic!

For months my guy seems like a rare find, and then all of a sudden he changes on me.  I plan to send my story to [a magazine] as a warning to other people: Don’t get a “spiritual” marriage that isn’t legal!

I don’t want to regret the special times when Phil and I have “been” together, but I have been starting to.  I don’t know what to think of myself as: divorced or “fallen”?

I hope we do end up together, because our spirits have joined [Evangelical belief] and I don’t want to explain to my future husband that he’s not my “first.”

…Nothing makes any sense anymore.  My life was going along great and I knew where I’d be after graduation.

Now I don’t know what’s going to happen anymore.  I just want to leave this place, this whole world, but there’s no way I can myself without sinning [suicide=sin].

I feel like Job when he said, “Why does death come to those who don’t want it, and some seek for death and don’t find it?” (paraphrase)

I’ve been turning to my friends for a place to keep my sanity and make life bearable.  I don’t feel so lonely as I would have.  I’m not always inclined to do a whole lot, but I force myself to get out and do things.

This is one benefit I see in today’s more open society: Spiritual marriages and even sleeping with a boyfriend have become more “acceptable” than they were when I was in college.

I do see a spiritual marriage as real if the two people are truly joined in their hearts, and would no longer advise against it, unless it would cause problems with your religious leaders.

I don’t think I’d have such a moral quandary if I went through this now, in 2014.  But in 1994, I felt like I’d fallen morally.

“Soul Ties”

We’d always cheer if a glass got broken in Bossard: It was done during my freshman, sophomore, and junior years.

I didn’t usually cheer myself, just laughed at the cheering; maybe I clapped sometimes, I don’t remember.  I think I broke one myself, once.

The sad thing was, senior year, almost nobody cheered the broken glasses!  You’d hear the faintest “yay,” probably from a senior jock or somebody, but nothing from anyone else.

It seemed as if the freshmen didn’t know the traditions and didn’t care.  It was sad and wrong!

(Of course, in 1998 I discovered a Roanoke jock on a S– BBS, and he told me that people did cheer the broken glasses again, and the tradition had continued.  This was good to know.)

One day that semester, my friends and I went to Sonlight Books in S–, and we saw my old suitemate Tom there!  He cried out when he saw me, grinned, and chatted with me for a few minutes.

He was with a woman, I didn’t know who–sister?  girlfriend?  wife?  I kind of hoped she wasn’t his girlfriend (or wife), because here was a Christian guy who most likely wouldn’t treat me wrong.

After the way he’d changed, with the way he’d turned into this dynamic Christian, and the things he’d said and done before and after Peter broke up with me, I didn’t think he would treat me bad in any way.

But I didn’t know if I’d meet him again, or if I was really that interested.  It was still too soon after the breakup.

By the way, I never did see him again.  A websearch reveals that he got married, though it doesn’t say when.

After all this time, we finally got a peephole on our apartment door!  Now we could know if the person knocking–no, banging–no, slamming his/her fist against the door and scaring us all to heck was a crazed Zeta, or just our friend Mike, or even Astrid–she was known to do that, too.  (By the way, we found that amusing.)

Now that we had our PEEP-hole, after having ordered it so long ago (that was Roanoke maintenance for you), Tara liked to say, “We have our PEEP-hole!”  And we now liked to say, “Let’s look out the PEEP-hole! and see who it is!”  (We got this from here: )

A Sharon-ism, or something Sharon liked to say: “Schubert” instead of the sh– word.  It was amusing and unique, and much more colorful and creative than a cuss word.

Once, Jennifer and Sharon played a game on Pearl’s computer.  It had a kid who went through all the usual game levels and trials, and shot things, a game which seemed to be related to the game Phil had bought that summer with a kid who made a spaceship in his backyard and flew to Mars.  Once you got to a certain level on Pearl’s game, a homicidal Energizer Bunny tried to kill you.

Pearl said Jennifer and Sharon used to play it together all the time junior year.  Two people could play it at once, and they’d sing, “Kill the rabbit, kill the RABbit, kill the RABbit!”–yet another Bugs Bunny thing.

Once I made a remark about the electricity and water going off every year.  Charles said, “Say what?”  Actually, this turned out to be the only year besides maybe freshman year that the pump didn’t go out.  Sure, make a liar out of me….

One night, Mike and maybe one or two others called up the Psychic Hotline for kicks.  He hung up and told us they asked for his birthdate.  “If they’re psychic, they shoulda known my birthday!” he cried.

****

Friends and family told me Phil was psychotic and not good for me.

I asked God to please restore my soul, make me whole again, to return the part of my soul that Phil had received through sex with me, and return to him the part of his soul that I had.  I couldn’t deal with this connection, this joining, any more.

I wrote in a diary, “Part of my soul is gone, and I have part of my ex’s soul; without him around, I can’t reconnect with the part of my soul that’s gone.  There’s just an emptiness there, a feeling of being torn.”

This is a teaching in some churches, called “soul ties,” that with each person you have sex with, you exchange parts of your soul.

(This is not a teaching of the church I grew up in; I learned about it through The 700 Club.)

So to feel whole again and no longer connected to people you slept with before legal marriage, you must pray for your soul to be restored:

Obviously the two didn’t get married, but something spiritual “happened” when they were joined physically in the act of sex. They were “joined”; their souls were “tied.” …

Dangers of unholy soul ties

Unholy soul ties can be ‘demonic bridges’ between one person to the next. For example, if you were to have extra-marital sex with somebody who was involved in the occult and had horrible fears of demons, and was afraid of her own shadow..

you could end up with the same kind of tormenting spirits as she has, and be just as fearful (although you could have been afraid of nothing before sleeping with her!). This is because you are not only opening yourself up to a curse for sexual sin, but also a soul tie with a person who is tormented by demons. —Sex Outside Marriage

Once again, I took down Phil’s pictures and mementos, and put stuffed rabbit Benny back in the closet.  I hated putting him in there, since it wasn’t his fault and I’ve always tended to anthropomorphize stuffed animals.  But I just couldn’t look at him without crying.

Sometimes I would have him on the bed and whisper to him to tell his daddy to come home, sometimes he would be a comfort to me, but usually I couldn’t bear to have him around.

Peter’s gifts to me no longer bring me grief, and I can have them around if I wish, even smile at them.  But memories of Phil are so awful that I cannot stand to have Benny around.

In fact, when we moved in October of 1998, I found and threw out the rose stand of Phil’s first rose to me (Valentine’s Day 1994).  Mom has Benny now, and my niece plays with him.

I discovered some loot from Phil: a yellow highlighter I found in my bag, and some erasers he’d given me because he kept losing or ruining mine.

I didn’t remember where the highlighter came from, if he gave it to me or what, but he apparently forgot all about it, and it wasn’t worth giving back (if you want another one you can just buy one), so I didn’t bother.

Normally I’d insist on giving things back, but if he didn’t care enough about the highlighter to ask for it back, I might as well keep it.  So I gleefully did, feeling a sort of poetic justice about it.

****

One day my co-worker Megan and I chatted at the desk as we often did, and I said it was supposed to be a Christian college.  She said, “Roanoke isn’t a Christian college.  If it was, I wouldn’t have come here.”

Which supported the argument of my friends and I, that Roanoke wasn’t as Christian as it claimed.

This wasn’t just a conservative argument, by the way: Astrid and Mike agreed, and they were UCC.

Yet when I made the argument in a paper junior year, the teacher marked up my paper, saying I was wrong.

But it’s false advertising: If you’re looking for a Bible-type college, but get a secular one which calls itself “Christian,” now you’re stuck because you’ve enrolled, gotten financial aid, etc.

The “comfy chair” in the library was the one on the right behind the front desk.  Junior year we had that chair, which was padded, and a stool-like metal chair with a tiny back that didn’t lift me up very high on the desk.  It was hard to write while sitting on that chair without sitting on one leg, and I felt very short.

In the comfy chair, I still crossed my legs, sat on one leg, or double-crossed my legs–all very comfortable–but it was more for comfort than for height.  Senior year, we may have gotten a new, comfier chair and moved the old comfy chair to the left side, which would have been a great improvement.  I don’t remember now.

Megan said the person in the comfy chair had to answer the phone, so when I was there, I had to jump up and answer.

She was the rookie freshman and I’d been working there a year already, yet she kept telling me how to do my job.  The rest of us had fun giving back the remarks she gave us.  The library clerk was really good at that, so I wondered if he disliked her.

Megan said we were supposed to smile and say hi to everyone who came in.  So she did, and got after me for not doing it.  So I sometimes preferred working with Sharon or James, who I think worked with me that year.  They didn’t always say hi, either.

Megan also said I didn’t answer the phone right.  When it was on-campus I’d say “Library,” always wishing I could say, “libr’y!”  like the British do.  It would be much quicker and funnier.  When it was off-campus I’d say, “Roanoke College Library.”

Megan said for on-campus I should say who was speaking, and for off-campus I should say that along with, “Hello.”  I thought I answered the phone just fine.

****

I went to lunch one day and, while getting my food in the line, Mike’s mom said to me, “Somebody here wants to see you.”

Who could it be?  At first I thought it was Phil, come to make up with me.  It turned out to be a blonde with short hair, one of Peter’s exes, dressed in the white plastic Food Service apron.

I’d never met any of his other girlfriends before, and I didn’t know how she knew about me.  Did Mike’s mom tell her, or did Peter?  Hopefully it was Mike’s mom!

Last I knew Peter and I were on good terms, and he said he was wrong to treat me the way he did, but I probably still feared what he’d say to subsequent girlfriends about me, especially after the lies he told Phil and Phil’s mom.

After she explained who she was, she said with a smile, “We both have something against him [Peter]!”

I didn’t say much, being stunned at the situation and not knowing what to say, and wondering how much I really had against Peter anymore.  It was…weird.  I wondered if she intended to talk to me in the future.  But if I ever saw her again, she said nothing.

I return Phil’s things and he skewers me; consolation from friends

On October 2, I went to Immanuel Bible Church with Pearl, driven by a middle-aged (or older) man who went to the church.  We were to go there several times during the semester.

It was far too conservative for me, though I had no idea until reviewing the website just now, just how conservative it was.  I would have–metaphorically–run screaming if I’d known!

I wanted to go to the Evangelical Free church, but our driver had graduated.  So I went wherever I could, whenever I could–that is, until I got too used to sleeping in.

Once, possibly this first time we went, we passed Phil on the road as we left Roanoke.  He saw me, and I think he smiled at me.  I just sat there, stunned.

****

I started putting Dolphin Philosophy, complete with my usual drawing of a frolicking dolphin, on the message board we had by the bathroom door.  I wrote this on 10/2/94, which the dolphin Darwin said on SeaQuest DSV: “Darwin scared.  People bad!”

In a return to sophomore and junior year practices, I also started drawing little beetles on the board as well, every now and then.

Around this time, I’d look around at couples who’d been together a couple of years, and wonder, Will I ever have a lasting relationship, one that won’t fizzle out before the end of a year?

I’d look at people who were engaged or married and had been together for several years or more, and wonder, Will I ever last in a relationship long enough to get married and spend most of my life with a guy? 

We had Cinemax and HBO in the apartments.  But then at the general meeting for all the apartments, the meeting in which our Resident Assistant (RA) gave us cleaning supplies, somebody mentioned we were getting Cinemax and HBO.

The RA told us not to tell anybody from other residence halls, or they’d get jealous and complain.  Soon after, the cable guy hooked up our bedrooms so we could get cable outside of the living room.  (Without cable, not one channel came in on campus.)

We discovered that Cinemax and HBO were now scrambled.  We feared this would happen!

****

I found one of my small packing boxes.  I put in it the game “Crack the Case,” some mementos and pictures of Phil that he’d given me, and the porcelain bird.  (I kept very little.)

I was glad to include that game, which reminded me of him verbally abusing me and making me feel stupid whenever we played it.

I also put in the books and pencils he left behind that night he made the final decision to divorce me, and the bowl and spoon he left behind on the previous weekend.

I had cleaned them; I may have cleaned them before his final decision.  Otherwise, I probably would’ve been tempted to keep them dirty.

I put in a note that said simply, “These are some things of yours.  I can’t keep the bird anymore.”  I found our marriage contract, ripped it in two, and put it on the top.

I sent these to him through the campus mail.  I remember packing the box in the living room by the TV, and Sharon might have been there.

Sharon thought sending the bird back (and the ripped-up contract) was a good move that showed him I was breaking with him. 

He told me to keep the bird.  I’d been tempted, even encouraged by my friends, to break the porcelain bird, but a dream told me I’d regret doing this.  Instead, I gave it back to him, getting it off the living room shelf and out of my life forever.  It’s sad that that woman’s piece of art ended up meaning what it did to me.

Phil found me the next day, probably around the fifth, on my way back to the apartment after lunch.  He mentioned the “torn-up paper” and had a long talk with me.  He was civil, though he wasn’t kind.

He seemed offended by the torn-up marriage contract, even though he had been the one to nullify it.

He told me he was interested in doing something with Persephone.  He said he was going dancing on Saturday night in Fond du Lac–which we had planned to do together–and he was going to take her along instead.

I think he was going there with a group.

He also said, “It was never ‘us.'”  What a cruel thing to say!  And what was it supposed to mean?  To discount the past eight months, to discount our entire marriage,  like they meant nothing!

I don’t think I said much to that.  We also talked about how maybe in the future we’d be ready for each other, and I said I just wondered, how long?  (At the crack of doom, I guess.)  I came back in the apartment and cried.

I later got the impression that he and Persephone went dancing in Fond du Lac all the time.  It seemed like dancing in Fond du Lac was popular with S– young people.  It seems odd, because Fond du Lac kids talk like there’s nothing to do here.  And I believe the dance place where everybody went is now something else.

****

I traded a shift with Dirk, 9 to 11 pm in the library.  I sat folding Roanoke folders.  I kept one for myself because they were free.  Some guy dropped off these folders for us, just as he did the year before.

I liked them, but one of the librarians hated them.  She didn’t like how they were made, that they were unsolicited, and that since they were dropped off in the library, we student workers had to spend time folding them.  They were then left in a pile on the desk for anyone to take.

I liked mine, and later on in Winterim class, I decorated it with Celtic drawings and markers.  I ended up storing in it some papers I wanted to keep.  So she complained about them, but I loved mine.

Working at that time of night was scary, especially in what could be a haunted library.  And even if it wasn’t haunted, it was still scary to be out and about on the campus at night.

I was alert to shadows and bushes as I walked home, as I often would be that late at night, watching for guys who might want to jump me.  I didn’t use to be so jumpy at night on campus, until the rapist sophomore year put the fear of darkness into all us women without even stepping foot on the campus.

****

October 7-8.  I went to the InterVarsity Lock-in at Mike’s house.  It was held in the basement, which was made up into a rec room, and in one corner was the door to Mike’s bedroom.

It was nice to be there with my friends and not see Phil at all, but I was also depressed.  Persephone was there, and once asked me, “Is something wrong?”  I didn’t tell her it was Phil.

Guess what?  Phil dropped her off!  She apparently considered him weird, and just thought of him as a friend, but he insisted and she thought, Okay, whatever.

I tried to enjoy myself as best I could.  After all, many of my friends were there, and especially Mike.

While standing around the pool table eating and watching people play, Persephone’s roommate Trina said to me, “Right now, P is in his room having sex with a girl who Phil and I both think isn’t that pretty.”

This girl, apparently, was considered a slut, who all the guys (except Phil and, I hope, Mike) were hot over, and other girls didn’t understand why.  I didn’t know her, and didn’t know what she looked like, so I could say nothing about her.

As for P, a freshman, he had a girlfriend, but was known as a womanizer.  The girlfriend wasn’t on campus.  (Shortly before the end of the school year, according to Pearl, he said that his girlfriend taught him the value of a relationship without sex.)  In her absence, he slept with whomever he could find.

Spring Semester, Charles kept going on and on about him–P did this, P did that, P is so funny, P is so cool–so Pearl began saying, “I think Charles is in love with P.”  We’d laugh, especially since Charles was very much heterosexual.

We watched the Saved by the Bell movie which aired that evening, in which the blond kid married his girlfriend, the girl with the lovely, long brown hair (which she later cut off!  ergh!  when she went to 90210).

I didn’t watch the show myself, but some of my friends did.  I didn’t like watching someone get married, though, after my own marriage to Phil broke down before we even had a public wedding.  But I forced my feelings down so my friends could enjoy the movie.

We spent the night camped on sleeping bags, blankets and pillows on the floor in the basement.  Once I got up to go to the bathroom, stepped around my friends, and reflected on how life went on without Phil, that I was doing this apart from him and still having a good time.

Mike’s mother made us breakfast pizza the next morning.

****

We had made Mike an honorary woman and Phi-Delt because he hung around with us instead of guys, and acted “womanly” at times.  He loved the distinction.

Also, my friends and I recently went to Country Kitchen.  We were Tara, Pearl, Sharon, Astrid and me.  I don’t remember anyone else being with us.

I think that was the time I had a strange desire for the car to crash and I’d die (because of Phil), but I fought it off because that was so awful and would kill my friends as well.  I get thoughts like that when severely depressed.

There, we had ice cream desserts, and somebody asked who of us had crushes on Mike.  Astrid didn’t like admitting it, but we discovered or knew that she did or used to.  Sharon did or used to.  And I did.  Pearl thought Tara did, but she didn’t.

We wondered why so many of us liked him, because he was basically a dork (we meant that in the best possible way; we liked him the way he was).  We wondered if we didn’t have a big enough circle of guy friends, and that’s why we all kept falling for the same guy.

Of course, it could also be that he was one of few truly nice guys on that campus, not a drunk, druggie or out for all the booty he could get.

This may have been the time when a waitress kept banging drawers and snapping at us, so we thought she was having a nervous breakdown.

I don’t think it was anything we did or said.  Working at the S– Country Kitchen at night was said to be very stressful because of groups that come in and sit and have something to drink but nothing more, making the place very busy but with small tips.

My letter to Phil

October 8.  My parents, fearing I was the same way now as when Peter broke up with me, came up to see me.

I, of course, was surrounded by friends, unlike the first time when all my new friends and everyone in the suite had gone home for Winterim Break.  I forced myself to take it better and not go through the same crap I did when Peter broke up with me.

I was doing quite well.  Mom said I didn’t need them quite as much as she thought I would.

They took me to their hotel, where they gave me this cute, little, musical white bear, to cheer me up.  It had a diaper and a pillow, and its eyes were closed.  When you pressed the diaper, it played “Frére Jacques” and other children’s songs.

But it got accidentally pushed a lot, and then Sharon and I had to listen to “Baa Baa Black Sheep” or some other little ditty at times when we would rather not.

Other than this, my friends thought it was sweet of my parents to give me that, and cool to come up and see me during this difficult time.

Remember Pearl writing to me that I wasn’t invited to Florida over Winterim with them because of Phil?  Well, now with Phil out of the picture, I was invited.  Pearl’s parents were paying part of the way.  I talked to my parents about this now, but they didn’t have the money for me to go along.

On the morning of the 9th, I woke up to the sound of a TV infomercial for Gary Smalley tapes on how to save a marriage and/or make it better.  He said he’d even helped divorced couples get back together and build a stronger marriage than they had before.  (This is probably “Hidden Keys to Loving Relationships.“)

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to get the number to order the tapes.  But Mom and I wondered at this strange coincidence, that this infomercial would be on now when I could see it, and if Phil and I were meant to get these tapes and rebuild our relationship.

We thought so even more when, a few months later, I found the infomercial again while at school and got the number for her.

Now, however, I know it wasn’t because we were meant to rebuild our relationship.  Perhaps it was a chance given me by God to put this idea of using the tapes in front of Phil, and see if he would go for it.

Perhaps it was to show me that Phil wouldn’t do it and that he was not worth pursuing.

Perhaps it was just to show me I was right that relationships can work if you work hard enough on them, even if they are what Phil would call a “dead horse.”

Perhaps it was so I could tell Phil this and plant a seed or two in his heart which, if paid attention to, would show him counseling is sometimes necessary.

Perhaps it was so I would know that a relationship can be saved even when it seems hopeless.  I got some ideas about why women act certain ways and why men act certain ways.  I used them in a letter I wrote to Phil.

After one of the breakups with Phil and during one of our talks, I told Helene I might be interested in James (though by now I probably lost the big crush I used to have).  She said, “Hmm! We’ll have to see if he’s available.”  It was someone besides Phil to think about, at least.  There was also Mike, of course, but Phil said Mike wasn’t interested.

Sharon thought James was distant from women, and noted he hadn’t had a girlfriend the whole time he’d been at Roanoke.  (I think he was a fifth-year senior, because sophomore year I heard he was a junior.)  She laughed and said, “I think he’s gay!”

In the winter, I discovered that James hated Phil.  Was that because Phil kept taking away his potential dates?  First I asked James to a Pictionary party in the fall of 1993, then started dating Phil.  Second, Persephone sent James a letter expressing her feelings in the fall of 1994, then started dating Phil.

Finally, another girl, Brigitte, liked James by Winterim and tried to get his attention; fortunately, Phil never dated her. (James ended up marrying her.)

I wrote a letter to Phil.  I proofread it before sending it, prayed a lot, and worked on it for three days; I believe this included time to let it sit a day or two.  I feared to let Sharon see it, thinking she wouldn’t approve.  But she did find out about it, and said,

“You have a right to write a letter and tell him what you need to tell him, get things out into the open.”

This was the letter:

Dear Phil,

I hope you’ll be receptive to what I have to say here.  And I also hope you won’t talk to Dirk about it (I really don’t want him to see some of the things I’m about to say in here–they’re not for his eyes), but, if to anyone, to someone older, someone who’s happily and successfully married, preferably a strong Christian.  Someone who knows what they’re talking about.

This isn’t a “beg” letter.  This is a letter to tell you that you’ve hit upon the problem–miscommunication–and I’ve been shown a solution.  Circumstances came together just right so I could see the following: an infomercial for a series of video tapes by a respected Christian counselor who I’ve heard of before.

My mom is planning to get more information about them so she can get them herself, and I have a strong conviction that they’re just what’s needed here.  These tapes teach couples how to communicate with each other, how to deal with and drain anger, and other problems that come up in a marriage.

The source of miscommunication for a couple (at least, a heterosexual one!) is that men and women speak two different languages.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t compatible–certainly not, or else the species would not survive–it just means they need to learn how to break down the gender barriers.  Those tapes teach that.

And if Mom can’t get them, there are other things available–tapes, books, seminars.  James Dobson, one of the most respected Christian counselors for years now, has tapes and books both, for example.

Dirk’s wrong when he says a couple should be able to work things out without counseling.  Sometimes they can, but, as was said on a program I heard today, oftentimes they just keep trying the same things in different ways, and get nowhere.

The counselor can look at things objectively, and has a bigger “bag of tricks,” fresh approaches that actually will work.  The counselor can listen and see what the couple is doing wrong and who needs to do what.

He doesn’t have an agenda, nor does he need to be the one who’s right, so he can see things more clearly than either person involved.

Working a problem out oneself is often futile.  Usually what’s needed is prayer, advice from people who know what they’re talking about, talking to people involved, looking at what the Bible says, reading books–whatever’s necessary to help a person see things more clearly.

Oftentimes the only way to successfully work a problem out is to give it up to God so He can work it out, and show you what you need to do. This may be going to a counselor.  Or watching certain tapes or reading certain books.  Or just listening to what God will tell you.

The goal of such tapes is to promote happiness so we can enjoy life like God intends.  Gary Smalley, who made the tapes we saw advertised, was asked, “Isn’t it mostly the women who want to do this? Aren’t the men more resistant to counselors?”–you know, the macho-manly attitude of, “I don’t need anybody’s help”–and he said,

“Not many men, when asked if they want to be unhappy and miserable, say they do.”

Who does want to, really?  I know I don’t, and I know you don’t.  But if we don’t both learn how to communicate better, then it doesn’t matter who we each end up with; we’ll be unhappy.

I can look to my parents now for how to communicate and get a better idea of what I need to do, but you sure can’t look to yours for a good example.

As you know, mine don’t live on arguing, but it seems like yours do.  As much as a person tries to do things differently than his parents, they can still rub off on him.  (I’m not saying “him” to be gender-specific; it’s just clearer that way.)

You’ve admitted yourself to at least one thing you’ve picked up from your parents: being intolerant at times.  If you’re receptive and willing to hear, I could tell you one or two other things, too.

And if arguing is all you hear at home, how can you be expected to know how to form a peaceful household of your own?  The chain must be broken, or else you’ll quite possibly end up like your parents, and unhappy no matter who you’re with.

I know you don’t want that.  And I don’t want that for you.

My own parents even had problems, especially around the time I left for school freshman year. …But they learned to communicate better….

Despite our differences, you and I are a lot alike, you know.  If our situations had been switched, I might’ve ended up more like you are, and you more like I am.  I might’ve wanted to be a nun for seven years.

We’re both the youngest, both stubborn, both with slow (usually) but fierce tempers [though the slowness of his is now doubtful], both intelligent (the points we got on that IQ test were very close)…

[Mine were only less because of math questions I missed.  That thing was full of math questions, which aren’t my strength.  A year or two later, I took another one, and got around 150 points, almost genius level by its chart, and Cugan got around 130.  This one only gave me around 130, and Phil around 140]

…, both role-players (you in acting, me in writing now that I’m too old to play pretend) [I used to play pretend all the time, but now I had to content myself with writing], both averse to having to go out and get work (you said so yourself once), both intolerant at times.

We both have struggled with self-esteem, trying to raise it after being teased as children; and we’re also both interested in serving God.

(By the way, I’m told that God doesn’t send His children to “destroy” others who are also His children, so that dream was just a dream.  It’s not my “purpose.”)

Our “different worlds” [as he’d said we live in] usually overlap somewhere, including these areas, and what talents you have that I don’t, I admire.  Different personalities is a good thing, as long as there’s that common thread I’ve just mentioned.

But I am the oldest of us and the female; maybe one source of conflict is the natural difference in maturity level.  I don’t know if it’s a very big difference.  We both agreed to a spiritual marriage when we weren’t even sure if it was a good idea.  Morally binding, spiritually binding, but not legally binding.

I tell you one thing, I don’t want to agree to one with anybody else or a spiritual re-marriage with you unless it’s legal.  Both my family and the law should know about it and enforce the vows.

[That’s why such marriages are no longer legal, even though they were in the Middle Ages and even pioneer days, because there was no way to “prove” a ceremony had taken place.]

And no sex without a legal piece of paper, either.  I don’t want to fall for the world’s lies, which say God’s laws don’t apply to today and love is enough of a bond for people to know each other that well.

No, like we’ve both always believed, a couple has to be married or it’s a sin.  God has a better plan for us.  He’s not a “cosmic killjoy” [popular Evangelical term]; He invented the act, and He knows what all is involved–a joining of both body and soul, and all its emotional and physical consequences.

It was made for married couples, who can handle sharing each other’s spirit.  So don’t expect me to agree to your “offer” [sex without commitment], because we’re no longer married and must remain chaste if we want to obey God.

Trust seemed to be a problem as well.  Up until I found out about the games you’d been playing with me, like you termed it I’d have trusted you until the ends of the earth; but for some reason, you seemed to have trouble trusting me.  I don’t know why that was.

Like you thought that someone could steal me away from you even after we married, even though I told you how firmly I believe in the bonds of marriage.  As the Bible, the Catholic church and the Nazarene church affirm, those bonds are not to be broken, and I was not going to break them.

It hurt me that you kept thinking the “perfect” person would steal me away or that you could never introduce me to your friend S–.  (Really, we’d probably have gotten along well, but I loved you, and I’m not into sadomasochism!)

As a song by the Christian group 77’s says, “If you’re looking for a perfect man that you can worship, baby, He ain’t on this earth, baby, no more.”  Couples can’t be clones of each other; they’ve got to be individuals.  Your old-fashioned, non-feminist (usually) [as he said he wanted] girl was not going to run away to find somebody better!

That bit about “being a better person when not with you”–that was taken straight from “Mrs. Doubtfire,” wasn’t it?  Well, I didn’t buy it then, and I don’t buy it now.  It’s not a biblically sanctioned reason for divorce.  If you don’t believe me, grab a concordance and a Bible and look up passages on the subject.

It also feels to the other person like they’re being blamed for how their partner acts.  The person isn’t the problem, it’s how their partner relates with them. They just need to learn how to relate better.

As that very movie shows, divorce tears families and people apart.  That’s why God hates it (Malachi 2:16 and surrounding verses; also see Matt. 5:31-32, Deut. 23:21-23; verses that may relate: Deut. 15:12-17).

(You may call me a holy roller, may even say I’m preaching, but if I know someone’s a Christian, I feel free to make references to what God says in the Bible.  Not spouting off verses right and left, but mentioning or quoting things that apply when it seems appropriate.

(Usually, people seem to appreciate it because it reminds them of how God feels about something they’re struggling with, gives them a better understanding of things.  If it convicts them of wrongdoing, they might not always like it so much, but that’s human nature.

(I don’t like to feel convicted of something wrong, either, but sometimes a person needs to hear it.  You even tell me Bible verses at times.)

You say the counseling idea is “like beating a dead horse.”  Well, I don’t agree.  It was never given a chance to revive the horse.

Three “dead horses”–couples that were already divorced–saw those tapes I mentioned, and were brought back to life: they remarried their ex’s.  According to Gary Smalley, good results because of the tapes have been reported without exception.

Love, happiness are increased; even the once-divorced couples report more affection for each other than they had even when they were first married.  This would certainly include a restoration of cherishing, which means “to care for kindly” and “to hold dear.”

Maybe this sort of thing could even help your parents restore their first love–in fact, probably could.  [His mother had told him the only reason she hadn’t divorced his dad was because Phil and Dave were still at home.]  And keep things from breaking down again, as long as the principles continue to be applied.

Once again, one person could feel their life had been wasted until they met the other person.  [Phil used to tell me that his life had been wasted until he met me.]  If I didn’t think this sort of thing had a fighting chance, I wouldn’t bother with it, wouldn’t bother even mentioning it.

One of the principles, one example of how to break the communications barrier, is one Smalley learned from his wife: When a woman says “Don’t touch me,” what she really means is, “Hold me, talk to me, make me feel better.”

This is true.  I can think of an instance in which you apparently didn’t know this, and it had consequences.  It was after that horrible argument we had near the beginning of the summer, when you were getting overwhelmed by that second sales job.

[This was when I thought he was talking in his sleep as he often did, but he just had his eyes closed.]  I finally got you to come upstairs and go to bed, my bed, but I was so angry and felt so betrayed that I said, “Don’t touch me.”

If I’d really meant that, I’d have told you to sleep in the guest room.  I wanted you to hold me, to try to talk things out, to be so worried about my attitude that you’d make me let you hold me.  Instead, you took me at my word, and turned over to go to sleep, leaving me feeling abandoned.

If you’d known what a woman really means when she tells her husband not to touch her, we could’ve resolved the problem better and more quickly.  It isn’t that she’s lying, it’s just that she’s upset.

Another thing is the “space” issue.  I see that as another example of poor communication.  I’m not always a good reader of body language; I go by what people say.

When you’d say you just needed some space, that it wasn’t me but you needed to sleep in the guest room that night, I wouldn’t like it, but I’d understand and sleep alone that night without complaint.

When you just disappeared and I found you in there, I’d feel like you were deliberately snubbing me or running from some argument.  I’d feel hurt, angry, abandoned.

To kindly say you need some time alone is much more effective than just getting mad or running off.  I’ve done that sort of thing myself before (to Clarissa), and it didn’t work, just made me feel ashamed because I knew I was probably doing something wrong.

We used to be able to resolve things [in the beginning of the relationship, we prided ourselves on being able to resolve things using already established principles that we hadn’t even heard of until afterwards]; I think we’ve forgotten how.

And I think if we learned how again, plus more tips that we never knew before, we’d see that “first love” returning, remember why we wanted to be together in the first place, why we wanted to be married and knew we were each other’s ideal.

But even if we didn’t, we could learn principles that can be applied in other relationships.  Either way, we’d both win.

We wouldn’t have to “get back together” before watching tapes or reading books or whatever; we could watch them, and then see if we’d want to give it another try or to just move on.

But there couldn’t be a “yo-yo effect” afterwards.  If we decide to try it again, then we’ll have to both give it a good try, not keep changing our minds when problems don’t go away right away.

Maybe there wouldn’t even be any left by then; maybe they all would’ve been taken care of through time and through learning how to communicate more effectively.  And I think God would be pleased by our efforts and bless us.

It seems we resolved things better until after we married. Perhaps what happened was, you unconsciously tried to make it into your parents’ relationship, which is familiar to you, and I unconsciously tried to make it into my parents’ relationship, which is familiar to me.

The two conflicted–unhappiness is incompatible with happiness, “light has no fellowship with darkness”–and everything broke down.

I hope you take this letter well, and in the kind spirit it was intended in.  I wanted to tell you about the tapes and other possibilities, and to tell you some things that I feel you should know.

I don’t know if you’ll listen to me, but I couldn’t trust that these things would be said to you by anyone else, as much as some others want to say them to you.  If some anger or bitterness still came through, well, I felt I needed to say what I did.  [Reading it over, I don’t really see any.]

But forgiveness is divine.  I don’t hate you.  If I can never even be friends with you, it would kill me.  I hope and pray you don’t turn into another Peter, because that would just finish me off, to see someone else I care for turn scuzzy.

But anyway.  If Mom can get ahold of these tapes or something like them, I plan to watch them.  But don’t tell me yet what you think of the idea, what you think of seeing them yourself.

Sometimes decisions made in haste are regretted later.  Give it maybe a couple weeks or more, let it sink in, mull it over and put it on the back burner; then decide.

Don’t listen to friends who don’t know what they’re talking about, which would probably be most of them–“The worst thing you can do,” Dad says, “is talk to your friends.”

[Dad’s advice used to be so influential with Phil.  He’d sit talking with him for hours–though Dad, at times, thought he was an idiot!]

Advice should be taken from the wise.  Pray about it, pray for guidance; God, the wisest of them all, hears the prayers of His children, and won’t leave them all alone.  That includes you.

Love,
Nyssa

Phil shows my letter to his friends; I’m triggered by reminder of forced oral sex

October 12, 1994.  I went out to the woods for a time, to be alone with nature and to pray.  Nature can be soothing in times like these.

I asked God to show me the way to peace and rest.  I followed a dark path and found a dead end.  I followed a sunny path, and found the elusive river.

I thought God whispered to me, “Do you trust me?”–like Aladdin in the 1993 Disney cartoon.

Then I heard the Bradley Clock, and had to turn back.  I was supposed to meet Sharon before dinner.  I got lost for about 15 or 20 minutes, which was fun, but made me late.  Sharon left without me.

While walking back from the woods, I was startled to pass right by Phil on the sidewalk as he left Muehlmeier, where Persephone and Trina lived.

We crossed paths; he went to the Campus Center as I headed back to the apartments to get Sharon for dinner.

He said nothing to me, just walked past me, snubbing me, so I ignored and said nothing to him.

I was right by him, close enough to touch, and saw and recognized the letter–the envelope, the thickness were the same–in his hand.  He held nothing else.

I mentioned it to my friends at dinner and said I wondered if he’d shown my letter around.

Charles said, “He probably did show it to someone.  Except for my friend S– and myself, most guys are jerks.  They only think about themselves, and not about their girlfriends or wives.”

I was furious with Phil.  This letter had personal things in it (which I deleted here), and it was quite likely he’d shown it to other people, especially after I specifically asked him not to talk about it to anyone who wasn’t in a happy marriage (which, obviously, would be neither Persephone nor Trina, who weren’t married).

This apparent betrayal hurt me deeply.  I also couldn’t see why he would treat my letter as a personal offense.  I still don’t, when reading over the copy.

I didn’t think of it at the time, but considering how mad he looked when I saw him, it’s entirely possible that Persephone and Trina saw the letter, agreed that it was reasonable, and angered Phil by not agreeing with him.  Of course, this is merely speculation, but it comes from a re-reading which I just did of the letter.

****

Charles broke up with Trina only a few weeks after school started, and probably by early October.  It seems they met during Orientation Week and started dating before they met anyone else; now Charles said he no longer felt a “spark” for her.  He didn’t hate her or anything like that.

Trina went through a short time of not wanting to be at the same table in Bossard with him, leaving soon after he’d sit down, but I don’t think it was more than a few weeks.

Charles invited people to a party in his apartment in my building, where he lived with Dirk and Carl, but Pearl and I were the only ones who showed up.  We had a good time anyway, watching Field of Dreams (first time for me) and Loaded Weapon.  We had popcorn and pop, and Charles was a courteous host, happy to see us and spend time with us.  Dirk even came in at one point.

I just realized something: Charles lived in Muehlmeier.  I know this party was before I started dating him, and that he lived in Muehlmeier afterwards, so he must have started out in the apartments and then moved into his own room in Muehlmeier.

****

One evening at dinner, probably during the second full week of October, I sat at a table set apart from the other tables, taking orders for candygrams for an IV fundraiser.  I kept knocking on the table (some of my friends were around) and saying, like the Land Shark on a 70s episode of Saturday Night Live, “Candygram!  Candygram!”

Unfortunately,  the cafeteria served something different: various ethnic foods they’d never served before.

At first I thought this was great, a chance to try new things, but one of the foods was okra.  I tried it, but I could not stand it because it was all sticky and had the same consistency and taste as semen. 

Ugh!  I couldn’t stand this reminder of oral sex with Phil–especially after he forced me into it.  I went hungry because there wasn’t much else.

That night we put the candygrams together: suckers and lollypops with little messages, written and sometimes decorated by the people sending them.  They were written on little cut-outs of shapes like footballs, hearts and circles.

Sharon told me later, when I asked, that she saw the one that Persephone wrote to Phil.  It read “Keep the faith,” nothing ooey-gooey and “I love you”-like.

This relieved me, though I couldn’t figure out why Persephone would tell him the same thing he had recently told me.  It wasn’t as if he needed encouragement that we’d get back together.  He was the dumper, after all, and chasing Persephone!

Now that Phil was gone, and I knew I would be allowed to marry again without committing adultery because I was the abandoned party, I let my crush on Mike begin to grow.  Why ever not?

Sharon had a crush on him as well, but since neither of us had encouragement from Mike, and he had rejected her late junior year, it didn’t feel like a true rivalry.  It just meant somebody with whom to gush over him.

****

Friday, October 14.  At 2pm, I went to the Opening Ceremonies for the Great Lakes Writer’s Festival in the Bradley Building.  I stood up, as I’d done every year, when the Fessler Scholarship recipients were recognized.  Then we heard readings by Lucien Stryk and Sapphire, both poets.

Sapphire had been there before, but I missed her the first time.  I just wished they’d had a novel writer there again as in previous years: one poet, one novelist.  After all, I wrote and enjoyed some poetry, but my main love was novels and stories.

The weekend of the Writer’s Festival was also the weekend of Homecoming, so later on my friends and I saw the “Lighting of the R.”  The “R,” for Roanoke, was just a tiny piece of cardboard or metal with some lightbulbs on it that formed the shape of an “R.”

All the administration did was put it in the yard outside the Campus Center, in the same place we had the first picnic freshman year (where I met Shawn), and turn on the lights.  I remembered Sarah’s laughing comments the year before, saying she had just seen the “Lighting of the R.”  I now saw why she laughed.

It was strange, but whenever I sat with my friends at lunch or dinner and Charles was there, I’d be a little nervous and happy that he was there.  I’d hear him talk about asking girls out.

He once wanted to ask a girl out but was disappointed, because she had a boyfriend and was upset over a recent fight with him (meaning she was off-limits).  I would feel a little upset about this because I wanted him to notice me!

I wasn’t with Phil anymore, and Charles wasn’t with Trina anymore, so if I wanted to act on the strange attraction I felt for Charles, I could.  Before, when I was still with Phil and had just met Charles, I felt it and it was like forbidden fruit.  Now it wasn’t, but it was still enticing.  Maybe I felt it because he was a decent guy.

One weekend around this time, probably on a Saturday, I was doing laundry–whites–when Charles came over with his best friend S–, who was visiting him for the weekend.  The dryer got done and I had to go get my clothes and fold them, but I didn’t want to leave the conversation in the living room.

By the way, S– was cute and had two earrings.  He seemed like a nice guy with a good sense of humor.  He also had a girlfriend, but that didn’t matter to me because I liked Charles, anyway.

I sat in the living room folding towels while we all talked and laughed about things, and I think my laundry was the object of one good-natured joke.  I don’t remember if I folded my underwear in front of them, or if I excused myself and went into the bedroom for that.

I got the feeling that Charles liked me back, and that S– knew about it and was, well, checking me out.

We all had fun at Homecoming.  I never saw Phil at the festivities, so that helped a lot.

Friday night at 7:45 was the bonfire and pep rally, then the fireworks.  Just before Homecoming, Pearl went to the hospital for surgery related to her physical disabilities, so we were forced to go to it without her.

During the beautiful fireworks, loud rock songs played, such as the AC/DC song “Thunderstruck.”  The song seemed to fit well, and I went to another world, one with no Phil, just my friends and beauty and music.

Charles joined us there; I stayed near him as we stood and watched the fireworks.  Charles said, “I wish Pearl were here to see this,” and we all agreed.

After this, the new Homecoming Tent was opened up for us on the lawn outside the lower level doors of the Campus Center, so we could go in and dance.  It was a small tent, and I don’t know if many people went to the dance, or how many would have fit in it.  I went there with Mike and Charles.  I don’t remember where my other friends went.

Mike asked me to dance once, then started dancing like a muppet, but I didn’t dance.  This was outside the dance tent.  We didn’t like the music–rap, as usual–so we didn’t stay long.

We thought they should play alternative more, which people seemed to like, but it never got played.  Lots of people complained about the music that was always played at these dances.  When we were at the tent, we were the only ones there.  I don’t think I went inside.

Saturday night, after the Campus Cookout at 9pm, my friends and I (soon joined by Charles, to my glee) went into the tent not for a dance but for some entertainment.

There was this guy there, Hammerhead, doing magic tricks, but I thought he got a little too verbally lewd with the female student who went up on stage to assist him.

Then at ten was Pat McCurdy, who sang weird and funny songs.  At one point, he did a song in which everyone was supposed to put their hands to their cheeks and join in whenever he yelled, “Makes me nervous!”  It was his own song.  I really liked that one.

I especially liked when, before one song, he asked, “How many people here are in love tonight?”  People clapped.  Then he asked, “How many people here are in hate tonight?”  I clapped hard for that one, thinking of Phil, who was apparently nowhere around that night.  Persephone may have been there, though.

I start dating Charles

Mike’s driving was now a byword, and we had just had a debate in the Journal about it.  Astrid told us about the time she wanted to say, “Pick one lane and stay in it!”  There was another time he scared her half to death by nearly running into a truck.

But now we had to deal with Charles’ driving, as well.  He sped like a maniac and called everybody who didn’t a “putz.”  (That’s the first time I ever heard that term.)  He spent so much time getting mad and flipping people off and saying “you putz” that I worried for the safety of us passengers in his little, black car.

On Sunday, October 16 at 5pm, he took us down to Milwaukee to see Pearl in the hospital.  At least I wasn’t in the front seat watching, but in the back seat with Sharon.  She liked to zone and muse in the car and not talk, just like I often did; on the way back he thought she’d gone to sleep.

(But when I went to KFC and a movie with him on the night of the Shantytown, which I will describe later, I had to sit up front and see firsthand how he drove.  😛  )

At least I didn’t have to deal with Phil’s driving anymore.  He was an inattentive, erratic driver, possibly worse than Mike or Charles, often taking his hands off the steering wheel and dancing around.

That’s why Persephone and I both laughed when Persephone told me one day that he offered to drive a group of people to Fond du Lac for dancing.

And one time junior year, Carrie told me she was waiting at a stop sign when she saw Phil and me in a minivan; Phil took the corner and almost hit her.

We planned to go to Florida over Winterim with Pearl, whose parents would help pay.  But now Pearl couldn’t go because of her surgery, so her parents decided not to help us go to Florida.

At some point during the year, however, possibly Spring Break, they took Pearl to Florida as a family trip.  We were jealous, of course.

As it turned out, though, my taking a Winterim instead of going to Florida helped lead to meeting my future husband (and we went to Florida on our honeymoon).  But more on that when the time comes.

Pearl loathes Barney.  The nurses got their wires crossed somehow and thought Pearl liked Barney.  So they gave her a purple dinosaur balloon.  Pearl said to us, “Death to Barney!”

We all sat down in Pearl’s big, private room and watched some show about ways people got engaged and married.  I felt a bit uncomfortable, thinking of Phil, probably wondering why these marriage shows were everywhere now, but tried to hide it.

Charles said he liked tradition, and would go all out for his engagement and wedding: a buggy ride in the park, top hats, tuxedos.  My other friends weren’t too sure about tradition.  I said, “What’s wrong with tradition?” and Charles smiled at me.

****

I sat with Carrie and Elaine one evening at dinner, possibly Tuesday the 18th.  My roommies hadn’t shown up yet.  Carrie was Catherine’s roommate sophomore year.  They didn’t get along, so Carrie ended up with Elaine the following year.

Elaine’s parents used to be a priest and a nun!  (They went from being celibates, to being so lovey-dovey that Elaine couldn’t stand it.)  Carrie and Elaine often hung out with the Group.

Carrie said, “Persephone and Phil O’Hara have been going out.  I’ll have to warn her about Phil.”

No, I never talked to Carrie about Phil; she said this all on her own.  Maybe she heard things from Pearl, Sharon or Catherine.  Or maybe she always disliked him.  But it was comforting that other people saw him this way, after I was abused and unceremoniously discarded by him.

Then Persephone sat down with us and said, “Phil and I aren’t dating anymore.  He said something really bad at a really bad time.”  She wouldn’t tell us what it was, or what the situation was.  I didn’t ask; I didn’t want to know.

That evening, we had an IV meeting in the gazebo by Jubilee, probably an executive board meeting, which we had at 7pm each Tuesday.

It was a warm evening, lit by a moon which would be full the next night, a beautiful background to our meeting.  Charles leaned up against the inside wall of the gazebo and looked through the openings at the moon, saying how pretty it was.

I started back to my room after the meeting, but Charles asked me to go for a walk instead.  I was suspicious.  We walked along the side of the road in the moonlight and down to the lake.  We sat at the picnic table by the lake and he asked me on a date.

The subject of Phil came up for a moment and Charles said, stroking my hair and caressing my back, “You deserve better.”

I said, “I don’t want a serious relationship.”

“I didn’t say it would be serious.”

I was reluctant to take his hand, so he said, “You’ll set the pace.”

Charles walked me back to my room and my roommies soon discovered why he’d asked me on a walk.

However, even though I’d dreamed of this, and even though I’d been attracted to him ever since I met him, it started to fade as soon as he asked me out.  I didn’t know why.

But then, I’d felt that way soon after I started dating Peter and Phil.  It went away both times.  Maybe this would go away, as well.  Maybe it was just shyness, or getting used to a change, going from liking a guy to actually dating him.  It’s not as if that happened often.

One day in the next week, I sat with Catherine and Kay at a meal.

Catherine said, “You and Charles are a better match than you and Phil, because you’re both ‘royalty.'”

Through my paternal grandmother, my line goes back to King Duncan, immortalized in the play Macbeth.  Charles said he was descended from a Sicilian noble–a duke, I think.  I believe he also said he was a reincarnation of some noble or royal.  (Yeah, right, but anyway.)

Catherine and I spoke of Phil and I said, “I’ve decided Phil is a jerk.”

Kay got very quiet.  I later learned that Phil had been confiding in her.

I also said, “Charles and I are going slow because I don’t want this to be a rebound thing.”

Charles and I started sitting next to each other at meals (he usually sat with my friends, and had become a part of the Group).  He came over to my apartment in the evening and hung out.  We always watched Alternative Nation at eleven and Mystery Science Theater:3000 at midnight, which in those days was played in hour installments.

We cuddled up, but no kissing or anything else.  I didn’t want to fall into sin, you see, as badly as my body missed what Phil and I used to do.  Charles was soft and cuddly like a teddy bear.

We got along very well, having several things in common, such as a love of alternative music.  We talked a lot and enjoyed each other’s company.

We were both Republican, though his views were more conservative than mine, which did make me nervous at times (he could be loud with people).  (I eventually became a moderate Independent, and around 2004 or so, turned more liberal.  Around 2010 or later, I realized I was a Democrat.)

He was 24, which seemed old to me.  He was a senior when I was a freshman in high school.  “You’re one of those old seniors!” I said, and laughed.  He made a sound of fake annoyance.

Sharon didn’t hide from Charles her annoyance that he was always there in the evening.  Later on, my roommies and I thought he had a crush on her because he liked women with opinions, she wasn’t afraid to give him hers, and he acted like he liked her.

****

Sharon and I began straightening up the microfiche drawers at the library, making room for new microfiches, putting them in order, etc.

It seemed tedious at first, but with both of us doing it, it became a chance to talk on and on about guys and life and things like that.  Many of the microfiched magazines were short-lived, and Sharon started calling them “failures.”  “It’s another failure,” she would say as she put one into the drawer.

I think I listened to alternative music as early as elementary school, about 1983.  I remember listening to a little-known station that soon got replaced by Sunny 101 (shudder).  It was great.  They played songs U93 didn’t play, such as Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom.”

Then there was the stuff played on the Notre Dame University station late at night, which I discovered back in my junior year of high school and listened to all through college (on breaks).

And I also liked the alternative tapes that the weird, redheaded, leather-jacketed skinhead brought in to Drawing class my senior year of high school.  He played Misfits and Faith No More.  Everyone else at our table ripped on them, and said, “These Misfits don’t know how to play their instruments!”  But when one of the guys asked me if I liked it, I said I did.

Of course, now alternative music was turning oddly normal and boring.  102.1 overplayed a lot of so-so songs but played little of the really good stuff, such as “Deliverance” by Compulsion (which I saw on MTV).

Alternative, suddenly popular, became too popular for its own good–which eventually ruined it.  It became a cliché, a joke, and lost a great deal of its popularity, just as heavy metal had done in the late 80s and early 90s.

It was replaced by electronica, techno, even swing for a short time.  By 1998, listeners lamented that all the bands sounded alike now–and, for an example, named several bands which all sounded like Matchbox-20.

It took the fusion of metal and alternative, forming a new style of music around 1999, to breathe new life into alternative.

****

The night of the annual Shantytown, Charles and I went to see Only You, a cute movie about a young girl who grows up believing her future husband’s name has been revealed to her on a ouija board.

Charles and I loved the Italian scenery, Charles especially because of his descent.

I wondered if Charles and I were meant to be together, because at the time we seemed more suited than Phil and I, and he was kinder.

We had a wonderful time, both at the movie and at Kentucky Fried Chicken, where we went afterwards and talked about many things.

He told me about his time in the Air Force, which I thought was cool.  He didn’t want to join a frat because he’d already been through boot camp.

(Unfortunately, he changed his mind for some reason in the spring semester, and joined–can you guess which frat?–the Zetas.  Why did my exes keep joining the Zetas?)

We got back to Roanoke and went over to the Shantytown, which, as usual, was on the large lawn between Old Main and Krueger.  Almost everyone in the IV group was there, since they were all sleeping in either the IV shanty or the Phi-Delt shanty.

Clarissa slept in the RC-Cab shanty.  I think Pearl, back home from the hospital and on pain medication, was in the Phi-Delt shanty.  Mike, of course, was sleeping in the IV shanty.  One other person, a woman, slept in the IV shanty.  Of course Mike and this person would never do anything naughty, but it looked bad enough to joke about.

The shanties, as usual, were all cool, some cooler than others.  Astrid decorated the IV shanty with various Christian designs, crosses, fishes, trees and verses.  She was very proud of it.  The rest of us may also have helped.

Charles and I joined our friends in roasting marshmallows by the bonfire on pointed sticks.  Carrie or Elaine said one of us had a crush on a guy, but wouldn’t tell me who.  I feared, of course, that it was Phil.

I don’t remember who had the crush or if I ever found out who it was on, but I doubt it was Phil; she was probably just shy.  As a group, we entertained someone’s young son with ghost stories.

Charles and I went back to the apartment for a while, since neither of us were sleeping in the shanties.  Then we went to the door and exchanged a good-bye kiss.

It was the first and only kiss we ever shared, and very long and sweet.  I was enchanted by the evening and felt attracted to him at the time, and like I was really starting to fall for him.

It was a pity I didn’t feel that way for long.

Friends tell me Phil is controlling

When we went to school events, Charles put his arm around me and I didn’t mind, but I feared other guys would see this as a sign that I was “off-limits.”  I wasn’t: We were both allowed to date anybody else we wanted.

That’s what we meant by not being serious, by taking it slowly, by being, as Charles told Pearl, “very casual.”  And I wanted to date at least two other guys at the time, including Mike.

Helene and her best friend Kay became my friends junior year through Phil, who liked to sit with them at lunch.  They met in Sophomore Honors and liked him then, but now they were my friends as well, and Helene didn’t like him so much.

Helene said, “Phil has been talking to Kay.  I think he sees her as a sister.”  That might explain why she got quiet when I said Phil was a jerk.  What truth twisting did he tell her?

Helene said Catherine told her Phil and Persephone were dating.  Helene’s thoughts:

“It shows he misses you….You shine compared to her….It confirms my worst fears about him.  I really think little of a person who–like a person who gets a divorce and then goes out and finds someone else right away.  They don’t want to work on the relationship they have, and they go out and find another one?…He’s going to regret it.” 

(Pearl said that Persephone’s going to regret it–which turned out to be true, a year later.)  I said Phil didn’t want a feminist; Helene noted that Persephone was extremely feminist.

Helene also said, “Last year, after you two got engaged, Phil came to us [her and Kay] once and said you had an argument but worked it out.  But he complained that you wouldn’t just do whatever he wanted.  We saw this as controlling, and hoped you would realize this before you married him.”

I remembered that argument.  It was over whether or not I could listen to a rock station in the minivan, one which only came in outside the campus and played better songs than any other station.  Remember, this was in the Stone Ages when college kids couldn’t just hook up to campus Internet and pull in a webstream whenever they wanted.

I found the following paragraphs in The Psychology of Romantic Love by Nathaniel Branden:

Imagine that an individual feels, perhaps beneath the level of conscious awareness, that he or she significantly lacks worth, is not lovable, is not a person who can inspire devotion for any sustained length of time.

Simultaneously, this individual desires love, pursues love, hopes and dreams to find love.

Let us suppose this person is a man.  He finds a woman he cares for, she seems to care for him, they are happy, excited, and stimulated in each other’s presence–and for a time it seems that his dream is to be fulfilled.

But deep in his psyche a time bomb is ticking away–the belief that he is inherently unlovable.

This time bomb provokes him to destroy his relationship.  He may do this in any number of ways.  He may endlessly demand reassurance.  He may become excessively possessive and jealous.

He may behave cruelly to ‘test’ the depth of her devotion to him. [Phil once told me this was why things had gotten so bad.  It’s in my diary.]

He may make self-deprecating comments and wait for her to correct him. [Phil did this all the time.]

He may tell her he does not deserve her and tell her again and again and again.  [Yep.]

He may tell her that no woman can be trusted and that all women are fickle.  [He refused to let me meet his “vampire friend S–,” with the fear that I’d fall for S–.  And he didn’t believe me when I said I would never leave him even if I found a “soul mate.”]

He may find endless excuses to criticize her, to reject her before she can reject him.  He may attempt to control and manipulate her by making her feel guilty, thereby hoping to bind her to him.  He may become silent, withdrawn, preoccupied, throwing up barriers she cannot penetrate.  [This whole paragraph sounds like Phil over the course of our relationship.]

After a while, perhaps, she has had enough; she is exhausted; he has worn her out.  She leaves him.

He feels desolate, depressed, crushed, devastated.  It is wonderful.  He has been proven right.  The world is the way he always knew it was.  ‘They’re writing songs of love, but not for me.’  But how satisfying it is to know that one understands the nature of reality!

Suppose that, despite his best efforts, he cannot drive her away.  Perhaps she believes in him, sees his potential.  [That was me.]

Or perhaps she has a masochistic streak that requires that she be involved with such a man.  She clings to him; she keeps reassuring him.  Her devotion grows stronger, no matter what he does.

She simply does not understand the nature of the universe as he perceives it.  She does not grasp that no one can love him.

In continuing to love him, she presents him with a problem: She confounds his view of reality.  He needs a solution.  He needs a way out.

He finds it.  He decides that he has fallen out of love with her.  Or he tells himself that she bores him.  Or he tells himself that he is now in love with someone else.  Or he tells himself that love does not interest him.

The particular choice does not matter; the net effect is the same: in the end, he is alone again–the way he always ‘knew’ he would be.

Then, once more, he can dream of finding love–he can look for a new woman–so that he can play out the drama all over again.

It is not essential, of course, that his relationship end so conclusively.  A literal separation may not be necessary.  He may be willing to allow a relationship to continue, providing both he and his partner are unhappy.  This is a compromise he can live with.  It is as good as being alone and abandoned–almost. –p. 128-129

(According to the author website, this book is now out of print, but you can find it at the above Amazon link.)

Around this time, I saw Phil with his head on Persephone’s shoulder in the cafeteria.  It made me sick.  I was glad to have Charles around.

Charles and I were taking things very slow and casual, while Phil just seemed to jump from one serious relationship to another.  The bed wasn’t even cold before he started dating her!

I feel stalked by Phil

Here’s a letter to the school newspaper editor in 1952, reprinted in the fall of 1994 in a special edition.  You can see things hadn’t changed much:

Would you please tell me why something hasn’t been done to solve this unfortunate transportation problem on campus?  It is a shame when a student cannot move from campus without becoming a parasite on some person owning a car.

Many college students are working at the present time to support themselves in school and thus do not find that they have the money to pay for the up-keep of an automobile.  Does this mean that they have to continually be shut within the walls of this campus?

An individual gets sick of asking a friend or acquaintance for a ride into a neighboring town or community, and so does the driver of the car get sick of hauling five or six passengers every time he leaves the campus!

This transportation problem also makes it hard for dating (a natural pastime at all colleges).  The fellows who do not own cars have no means with which to take out their girls.  On Friday and Saturday nights, when it is most likely for them to have their dates, the book store isn’t open to the students.  Where are they going to go?

Maybe a few are lucky enough to be able to double date with a friend who has a car, but maybe they are not that fortunate.  The dorms are closed to the students of the opposite sex after certain hours in the evening and therefore only one solution comes to the couple: sitting in someone else’s parked car!  It is only due to the many inconveniences around campus which force the students to take this undesired course.  Can you blame them?

It is about time for the students on this campus to get busy on solving this transportation problem.  It is a sure sign that if we don’t do it, someone else will!

(What would you do in the book store on a date, anyway?  Buy some textbooks or a college sweater?  And it’s funny because I don’t recall guys having trouble just hanging out with their girlfriends on campus.)

By our day, the campus did have shuttle vans to S– on certain days and at certain times (I think on Sunday afternoons), though it probably hadn’t started up for the year yet when I needed Phil to take me to get milk and orange juice.

I usually got haircuts and stocked up while at home on breaks so I wouldn’t run out of toiletries at school, except for ones available in the Campus Shop.  Senior year, Mike started a “shuttle service” of his own, taking a bunch of us in the Group to S– on Friday nights to go grocery shopping.  Now that we had our own kitchen, we liked to keep food in it.

As the Mirror said, some of the dorms had now put computers in the lounges for people who couldn’t get to the computer lab.  The following year, they’d even get Internet access.

Every other college in the country seemed to already have Internet access, so it’s funny to see how times have changed, reading on the Roanoke website [1998] that now they’re “one of the ‘most wired colleges’ in the nation.”  Wow, they even have access ports in the dorm rooms now!

In 1994, the Internet was only just starting to get popular, having been a little-known service for academics and government researchers before then.  Beyond users of Compuserve, Prodigy and AOL, few people had heard about it until the mid-90s.  (A source.)

****

Anna met Persephone through the Mirror, and seemed to like her.  She liked her sense of humor; Persephone would say things that made Anna look at her in surprise.  I think Anna said I was the same way.

****

Wednesday, October 26.  Sharon and I went to third-floor Jubilee, and sat outside an office waiting for our turn or maybe for Pearl.  To my consternation, Phil showed up there as well.  (Why did this sort of thing keep happening?)

He said hello.

Sharon said nothing.  I just looked away.

He said, “Okay.”  He hung around for a few minutes, and tried to say one or two things to me or Sharon, but I just kept quiet.  He even congratulated me on dating Charles!  (Seriously?)

Sharon went in one of the offices and Phil went through the door to the stairs, saying to me in a surprisingly non-sarcastic voice, “Good-bye.  Nice talking to you.”

I asked Sharon if I’d done the right thing in snubbing him.  She said maybe I should coldly say hi and bye–but that he was an idiot to try to keep talking to me when I clearly didn’t want him to.

Pearl said I gave him the treatment he deserved.  So it’s hard to say.  Anne of Green Gables would probably agree with Sharon, though.  🙂

I see from my diary at this time that I felt like these constant instances of running into him, were not coincidence.  On the sidewalks, at meals (he was a commuter, yet kept sitting with Persephone, who sat with my friends), coming out of the Campus Shop….

He had my work/school schedule from the beginning of the year, which I gave him before the breakup; was he watching for me, so he could pass by?

It seemed the more I wanted him to go away and leave me alone, the more he came near me.  It infuriated me.  I felt stalked.

****

Thursday, October 27.  My friends and I went on the Halloween tour through the woods that night.  There was a huge line by the Pavilion, but we finally got through it.

The Hall Council advertised that the tour would be scary and we’d learn all the legends of the haunted Roanoke woods.  Instead, it was funny at times, and had rusted cars and other debris here and there, but I don’t think the stories we heard were true.

It wasn’t scary.  It was a walk at night through the woods with a flashlight or two.

We saw Persephone in the line while we waited, and she grinned to see us.  She was friendly with me and I was friendly back, especially since last I knew she and Phil were broken up, but I still felt weird around her because of Phil.  It’s possible that, by then, they’d gotten back together and then broken up again.

Either before or after reading a CCM article about Brent Bourgeois, who’d grown up with Charlie Peacock, Pearl got his new debut CD, Come Join the Living World.

(Websites say the CD came out in January of 1995, but I could swear she had the CD before then, when I was still in deep depression.)

She also got one by a group called Pray For Rain.  I thought it was new, but it was copyrighted 1992.  (Not surprising, since my sources of Christian pop at school and at home were limited.)

I soon had three favorite songs from these CD’s: “Blessed be the Name” by Brent Bourgeois, and “My Time” and “Stay” by Pray For Rain.

Two were sad and fit my present situation without being unbearable, unlike many secular songs based on sad situations.  One was based on Job, and one was about a marriage in trouble.

“My Time” was about devotional time.  That one took me away from my situation.

They were also musically superior songs, with original, innovative tunes that I loved (love) to listen to over and over again.

Sharon said, the first time she heard the Bourgeois CD, “That sounds like something I’d listen to over and over.”  It had a calming effect on me, as did plenty of Christian music.

I’d been playing my Christian CD’s more than anything else, especially Shape of Grace by Out of the Grey.  Unlike romantic-love-soaked pop music, they took me away from my situation and reminded me of God’s love for me, that He doesn’t leave me alone, ever.

I didn’t want my music to remind me of the breakup.  Pop music would remind me constantly.

(By the way: Pray For Rain had to change their name because of a pre-existing group with that name.  Yet the secular group Mastodon has the same name as pre-existing Christian group Mastedon, yet never has to change its name?  What is up with that?)

****

Trina didn’t like to hear that Charles was dating me now.  One day he saw her through the Campus Center window (she was sitting in the lounge), and waved.

He left the window and re-joined me on the sidewalk, then said, “I really shouldn’t have done that.  You’re not supposed to rub it in your ex’s face when you start dating again.”

That made sense to me, especially now that Phil kept rubbing it in my face that he had a new girlfriend.

For example, even though none of us liked him except Persephone, he would sometimes sit with us at meals.  On November first, he even flirted with her while sitting right across from me.

I don’t think Charles did things like that to Trina.  I don’t think she sat at our table when he was around.  After a short while, she seemed to get over him and start looking around again.

Charles said Phil congratulated him on dating me, too–and right in front of Trina.  That’s weird: Congratulations are for engagements and weddings and the births of babies, NOT for dating somebody casually.

Those machines!  We only had one washer and one dryer for the whole building.  We didn’t have a lot of people using it, so this would be okay, except that our brand-new machines kept breaking down, and other halls were locked to non-residents.

The suites’ laundry room, last I knew, wasn’t locked, but that was all the way over on the other side of the campus.  The Phi-Delts heard a rumor that their sorority suite key cards would also open up all the other hall doors, but I didn’t have such a key card.

When we first got there, the washing machine would fill up with water, not drain properly, then the water would get all over the floor and soak your clothes, so water would stream out of them when you took them out of the machine.  I learned this the hard way, thinking it had been fixed.

Then they finally fixed that, but I think the dryer broke, or the washing machine again.  So I had to go over to Muehlmeier, but the only way to do that was to call up Persephone and ask her to open the back door for me.

It was a short walk, just to Muehlmeier in decent weather, down the hallway to the other end of the building, then downstairs to the laundry room in the basement.  But carrying a load of laundry made it harder to handle, and added to that was having to ask Persephone to help me.

By this time it must have been late in October.  We were friends, but for me it was a wary friendship, since she was seeing my ex-husband only a few weeks after our final separation.  I just didn’t understand how she could do this if she wanted to be my friend.

When I talked to her, it was hard to keep unwelcome images out of my head–her dating Phil, kissing him, talking with him, laughing, dancing, maybe even worse.  I didn’t know yet that she refused to go past kissing him.

Poem about being stalked by Phil

Sometime during the month of October, Pearl, Sharon, Tara, probably Astrid, Mike, and I went to a Halloween party at Tanya’s house.

This Tanya was a Christian, sweet, outgoing, and–as Sharon put it–one of the cool people.  She occasionally came to InterVarsity.  I’ve mentioned her before, along with her boyfriend Matt; they had been in Sophomore Honors with us.

I didn’t get a written invitation–my friends were allowed to bring me along as their guest–so I don’t have a record of the exact date.

I dressed up like a gypsy again, as similar to my junior year costume as it could be.

Cindy’s friend Rick was there.  He was the one who promised to call me sophomore year, then never called me, basically standing me up when we were supposed to have a date.  Then I saw him again early junior year at a dance.

Tara dressed as Death.  She put white makeup all over her face and black stuff in her hair, and wore a black dress.  We loved it.

I think Charles was at the party, too, and I know Cindy, probably her boyfriend Luke, and Jennifer were there.  Jason may have been there with Jennifer, but I don’t remember.  Ralph Z. may have also been there.

The party mainly took up three rooms in the big farmhouse, with three different things going on, whatever you wished.  You could watch movies or play games, whichever room suited your fancy.  It was a great set-up, very well planned.  There were lots of people, but it didn’t seem crowded.  There was food, too, and a scavenger hunt.  (No alcohol.)

Tanya’s house was in the country outside of K–, and it was a beautiful–though cold–starry night.  Tara, Sharon and I grouped together with Pearl, and took turns pushing her wheelchair.  Pearl usually used a scooter, but since her surgery, she needed a wheelchair.

We went around on the family farm and to another farmhouse, looking for clues.  At the other farmhouse, an elderly couple waited for us in Halloween masks in their indoor porch.  They gave us candy and another clue.

We had to find one clue around the back, at a door at the back of the house leading to a closet or shed downstairs.  We had some trouble finding what we were looking for there.

Later on, I ended up in a room in which some people (some I knew, some I didn’t) sat in a circle and played a game.  I don’t remember what it was, exactly, but I think it was like Taboo.

I sat next to a cute guy in the crowded room.  He paid some small attention to me, which I liked, and I may have made one or two funny remarks to him.  I wanted to stick around longer, but the game was about over.  He was just what I liked–tall, long nose, skinny.  He was kind of a blond Phil.

With me, both blonds and brunets could be cute, though I seemed drawn to brunets most of all.  I saw this guy later on at various places around the school, such as the library.  I had a tiny crush on him because he was cute, but it never went anywhere because I didn’t know him.

I decided to be nice to Rick again.  I had figured, junior year, that it would pour coals of fire over his head to be so nice after he stood me up.  I wondered if he remembered me, though.  One of my friends thought he must have; how could he have forgotten?  In any case, by being nice I wouldn’t make a scene, and if he asked me out again, I would calmly say no.

At the party, he played Trivial Pursuit in the dining room with Tanya and Matt and a few others for some time, while I was with my friends in the living room.  At one point, we in the living room played Taboo.

Later on, several of us were in the kitchen, and I stood next to Rick and others by a counter.  I sometimes felt or saw his eyes on me during the evening, looking me over.  But I said nothing to him and acted like nothing had ever happened.

He ended up marrying his girlfriend; I don’t know if he was with her at this time, since they broke up on occasion.  And yeah, he remembered me, even asked Catherine about me when he saw her years later.

On October 30, some of us went to a party thrown by Astrid.  We first went to Astrid’s UCC church, a one-room affair except for the little foyer (though it may have had classrooms downstairs).  This church looked like a miniature cathedral.

Then we went to Astrid’s house.  I believe it was near West Bend, close to Kettle Moraine State Park, and in Washington County, a nearby county but a long drive from Roanoke.

Outside was a dog and an A-framed playhouse, which was neat.  Lunch was good, and I even tried a few different cheeses from the spread.  One had dill pickle in it.

Later on, after eating lunch and watching ZTV, a Christian music video station, on the satellite TV (and Pearl saying, if she had ZTV, she’d watch it all the time), it was time to leave.

This may have been the time Pearl and I ended up in the Beechwood school.  We sat in the pre-school or daycare room and smiled as Astrid and her mother entertained the kids.

On the way back to Roanoke, I composed a poem in my head.  I later wrote it and additional verses in my diary.  It gets harsh at times, but I put it here because it shows the often losing struggle with anger I had in my heart, and because people might identify with it.  It also shows just how dark this time was for me:

I pushed away the pain
And it worked for a while
But it came back again
And won’t be denied this time

I try to push it back away
Try to kill it
Try to stab its night into day
But it’s made of bullet-lead

Die, die!
Die, the source of my pain
The one who gave in to the lie
–But I can’t think that way

Obsession
Watch your heart, watch your thoughts
Damnation
If you give in to hate

As Ahab hunted Moby Dick
I hunt my pain
This hatred makes me sick
Fills my stomach with bile

Leave me!
Leave me with peace and love
Pain, how is it you can’t see
What your greeting does?

Why I greet you not,
Why I pass you by?
Why my anger is hot
And you see only a scowl?
God, take this thorn
From my side!
I’m wretched and forlorn
And on insanity’s edge

Help me, help me
Lest I perish
Rescue me
From time’s oppression

In October, the American Lit class read Moby Dick.  Catherine had hated it when she took the class.  But Dr. Nelson let us skip the “whale lore” chapters so we read the actual story.

The sexual innuendoes were surprising: Ishmael and Queequeg in bed at the beginning, Queequeg putting his arm around Ishmael, everyone squeezing out the sperm (oil) and having a wonderful time….

I read that the author was gay, so it’s possible he actually meant it that way.

Fury at Phil stalking me and rubbing my face in his new relationship

I found devotional books and Bible readings, both for devotions and InterVarsity, to be soothing, a reminder that there was more to life than Phil.

I tried to get on with life and not spend too much time dwelling on the divorce.

Some say it’s bad to push your emotions down, that they come up later and don’t get better, but this was the only way I could deal with the intense pain.  I did spend at least some time trying to deal with my emotions, such as in my diary.  I tried not to talk about Phil too much.

But when I look back over how dark this time still was and how hard it was to control my hatred for Phil, I wonder if it would have been better if I’d let my grief come out freely for a time.

What made things even worse was that Phil wouldn’t leave me alone.  He’d try to talk to me, sit with me and my friends at meals even though only Persephone wanted him there, get all lovey with Persephone (holding hands, etc.) while I was sitting right there.

At the beginning of the year, I gave him my schedule; I wonder if he kept it and sometimes contrived to show up where I was.  We showed up in the same place an awful lot, not just between classes but in other parts of the school.  Once, he held the door open for me in the Campus Shop.  Sometimes I wonder if he was stalking me.

I didn’t let myself harm him or his car, didn’t threaten him or become a stalker or anything like that, since I knew it was wrong, but the struggle was so intense it frightened me.

According to Wikipedia (an earlier version of the page), being stalked can cause intense, even violent anger–just as being abused can do.  I’ve never felt this way before or since about anyone, thank God, though I came close when someone harassed my husband and our SCA group, back in 1999.

(This person–more on him here–repeatedly posted derogatory comments about the group and particular members on the group’s website, and has no qualms about using viruses to “punish” companies or corporations he feels has wronged him or someone he knows.  I suspect he even sent us an e-mail bomb, or a large amount of e-mails, all saying “karma.”  This is stalking behavior.)

[Update: This was written in probably 2006.  This guy who harassed my SCA group, was thrown in jail in 2009? for taking naughty pictures of a teenage girl.  Also, I did feel this anger again in 2010, after I was abused once again, this time by “friends,” over two and a half years.  I felt it again in 2012 when they, too, began stalking me, refused to admit wrongdoing, and threatened me.  The story begins here.]

When someone you’ve been married to and lived with all summer starts flaunting his new girlfriend to you, you feel like he’s ripped out your heart and served it back to you on a platter.  And that infuriates you.

****

Around this time, I started to distrust the stories The 700 Club ran each Halloween on the evils of rock music and heavy metal.  I once thought they found the truly bad lyrics and exposed only them.

But now that I had been listening to secular rock music again, I discovered these lyrics were subject to interpretation.  They showed part of the lyrics to the refrain of one of my favorite songs (“Man in a Box” by Alice in Chains), but took them out of context.

Some of my favorite bands were listed as “bad” when I didn’t think they were.  I complained about this to Tara as the Halloween episode aired.

Once during early fall, while Phil was gone and I was still hurting, I tried to feel better by doing good for humanity: I believe it was Circle K, James’ group, which put on a Hunger Banquet.  They had a spinner set up, and you’d spin it to see if you’d get a first, second, or third-world meal for dinner that night.  (I forget if any money went to charity or if it was just a hunger awareness thing.)

First-world got a regular cafeteria meal.  Second-world got rice and some other things.  Third-world, which I got, got only rice and water, and you had to eat it while sitting on the floor by one of walls.  I was disappointed to get this one, but it was a good experience.

****

On Halloween, I went to dinner with my roommates, preparing for another evening of InterVarsity’s annual praying for the buildings.

To my dismay, Phil sat with Persephone at our table, right across from me.  We didn’t want him there.  And Persephone seemed insensitive because she let him be there.

He started joking around, she said something, and he said to this, “She’s so demanding lately!”  It seemed suggestive.

Later on, as my friends and I got up and began leaving, I passed by the table and saw Phil and Persephone sitting across from each other.  They held hands and read from Measure for Measure playbooks, rehearsing Phil’s lines.

I believe the handholding was part of the script, but if they’d been at all sensitive, they would have done some other scene.  Instead, Phil seemed to be doing this just to make me miserable, since he didn’t even bother to wait until I left the cafeteria.

Didn’t Persephone think about how her own actions helped him to hurt me?

I felt like taking my key chain and smacking him with it, though I wouldn’t dream of actually doing that.  Even worse, I was supposed to be feeling all spiritual because it was time to pray for all the buildings.

Finally the IV group left, and I didn’t have to see him anymore.  I could just leave him in the dust.

He was obviously an insensitive lout who cared nothing for my feelings.  He must have known this would upset me.  And if that thought never crossed his mind, then he must have been very stupid.  He knew I was still hurting from the way he’d just dumped me, and he rubbed his new “love” in my face.

The dumped person has a right and almost a duty to show a dumper who’s also a jerk that they’ve moved on–that just because they were dumped, they’re not going to curl up and die, which the dumper might expect.

But the dumper has no right to hurt the dumpee with such a display.  The dumpee already is the one who hurts the most, and is going to hurt whether the dumper does or not.

Such displays only rub in more the fact that the dumpee has been rejected–basically, it’s deliberately pouring salt on a wound.

The InterVarsity group was Clarissa, Pearl, Charles, Astrid, a new member, and me.  Just in case you think this was something only Evangelicals would do, Charles was Catholic.  Pearl’s scooter did not run down this time, unlike last year, when it ran out right as we got to her dorm.

When we started out, I was still fuming about Phil’s obnoxious and jerky behavior at dinner, and didn’t feel very spiritual.  But after only two or three buildings this changed.  I felt much better by the time we finished.

Near the end, we went outside the Pub, which was dead, and sat on the benches to pray for the Campus Center.  As we did our “popcorn prayers,” basically anybody praying anything whenever, two girls–just a few yards from each other–yelled greetings to each other outside the Pub door and went inside.

Charles, who was praying, said, “I’d like to thank You that I still have my hearing.”

A few minutes later, those two girls started singing “Jesus Loves Me” at the tops of their voices.  Charles prayed for them, and we laughed that they praised God while trying to make fun of us.

I said, “If we’re being persecuted we must be doing something right.”

Astrid or Pearl said, “Thanks for the compliment, guys!”  We smiled and waved as we left.

Pearl noted that things didn’t seem so scary this time, and didn’t things change after the last time we prayed for the buildings?

November 1994
Life at Roanoke: My College Memoirs–September 1991 through May 1995

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:

 

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