Catherine started planning a movie night, and we planned to play Dungeons and Dragons on Saturday the 11th.
Cugan called me to chat several times before then. He had a musical phone number and a soothing, gentle, pleasant-sounding phone voice. He said he liked playing D&D at about noon, but Catherine told him it was hard to get me up before then. He’d been to Ireland; I was jealous.
Catherine also called me on the phone a few times. When I told her Cugan had been to Ireland, she said, as one of the reasons I should go out with him, “He’s a world traveler.” Then, “Just listen to how soothing his name is.” She cooed, “COO-gan! COOO-gan!”
At first, neither Cugan nor I said much to each other about dating, despite how pleasant and chatty our phone conversations were. It was an unspoken understanding, and I was too nervous to bring it up. But then Cugan said with a smile in his voice,
“Is Catherine pushing you as much as she is me?”
One day at lunch, Persephone and Phil sat with my friends and me. I don’t know why Phil sat with us, since Persephone had broken up with him for good and none of the rest of us liked him. Maybe he just wanted to stalk us.
Persephone and I sat across from each other, and somehow got on the subject of men. I went on and on about Cugan and Stimpy, and how fun it was to date two guys at once. We both laughed about it.
Phil said nothing at all to anyone.
Then, all of a sudden, he got up in a huff and left. He didn’t come back.
I was both amused and mystified.
Why should Phil care who I dated?
It was five months now since he left me, and he made it clear he did not want to come back–even dating Persephone instead and telling her he loved her and wanted to marry her.
I sometimes wonder if he planned to get back together with me. If so, this discouraged him. But by now, I had moved on, and–with so many new prospects–no longer wanted to shackle myself to my abuser again.
On Tuesday, March 7, Stimpy and I went on a triple date with Krafter and Sharon, and Ish and Pearl.
This was the first time Pearl met Ish. I think we dressed up a bit. We went to Country Kitchen at 6pm.
We had fun, though Pearl wasn’t sure about Ish, and the guys all kept going on and on about computers. Pearl thought Ish was too old for her (at 30). Now, if Turtle had been in her place, you know she would have drooled all over him! Darn statutory laws….
Soon after this, Pearl met W– online and agreed to go on a date with him. He was between eighteen and twenty, probably more like eighteen, and a good friend of Flezter, who said, “Don’t hurt W–.”
After the date, however, Pearl came back complaining of the psychotic time she had. I forget if W– himself was part of this, or if it was just the circumstances, but I think he was.
I don’t remember much of the details, but I do remember that near the end of the evening they stopped at his house, where he soon argued with his family over something.
That night or the next, W– said to Sharon online, “Should I talk to Pearl? I’m afraid she thinks I’m psycho!” I think Sharon encouraged him to. Despite all this, W– did seem like a nice guy.
On or before Wednesday, March 8, Speaker ignored me whenever he came online. I got mad at him for this.
Then in the late afternoon, just before dinnertime, he called Sharon. We never spoke to him outside of TCB before, so this was quite an event. Sharon wanted to give me the phone, but I grumbled,
“If he even wants to talk to me.”
He did, so I took the phone. Speaker was surprised and, I think, amused that I was mad at him, and explained what had been going on. (I think he was just playing around.)
He said I had “a cute Southern accent,” which surprised me because I didn’t have a Southern accent, just a mix of S– and South Bend accents.
Of course, my mom sometimes sounded Southern with her lower Michigan accent, so maybe some of that rubbed off on me. South Bend is right next to the border, so there is a lot of intermingling, yet there is a distinct difference between the accents. Michigan’s accent is “rougher,” more “country,” with the old folks saying “dinner” for “lunch,” “davenport” for “couch,” and “crick” instead of “creek.”
Speaker had a cute accent, himself, with a strong “o” in his “no’s,” even stronger than in the local accents. I believe he was from M–.
I said I wanted to meet him, but he kept saying no, and “Why do you want to meet me? You don’t want to meet me.” He said it all playfully, making me wonder how serious he was.
I finally talked him into meeting me, so we decided on Wednesday at 6:30 in the Campus Center lounge. We’d have dinner at Burger King, and then watch an episode of Doctor Who in my apartment.
I figured these things fit Krafter’s specifications for safely meeting a BBS user: a public place first, and my roommies would be in the apartment the whole time. He said he’d be wearing a blue coat, not zippered; jeans; and a black shirt. His hair was brown.
I went to the Campus Center lounge at that time with my Nyssa cup from Gypsy’s party, and waited for quite some time, watching the TV. It was just me and the guy working at the information desk.
Had Speaker stood me up? I got up to go back to the apartment and look for him on TCB. On my way out, I saw a guy fitting his description right outside the Campus Center. His hair was about shoulder-length and curly, and though he had unusual features, he wasn’t bad-looking. (Don’t ask me for details 20 years later, especially with my NVLD. But I believe his face was kind of pinched.)
He asked if I was Nyssa: To my great delight he was Speaker. He said he was late because I thought he was from a different place, and gave him the wrong directions, so he had to stop and get new ones. Oopsie.
We went to Burger King in S–, where we spoke of Avenger. (The Big Flame War was just an embryo at the time.) We returned to my apartment and watched the episode of Doctor Who, possibly “Paradise Towers.” My roommies were there.
I gave Speaker one of my college senior pictures, which had just arrived, and said, “Have a picture of your Nyssie.” I didn’t like the pictures, since I forgot to remove my glasses, but my friends thought they were good. They were certainly better than the ones from junior year.
We got along well in person, and often flirted online, but he kept saying, “You’re Stimpy’s Nyssie” and acting like he didn’t want a girlfriend.
I told him Stimpy and I agreed we could date anybody we wanted, but that changed nothing: Speaker said he wanted to be single all his life, despite his complaints about no one ever wanting to date him. He also didn’t like having to compete with other guys.
In those days my roommies and I still didn’t know why the vacuum cleaner kept spitting stuff out, so there were hairballs and dust bunnies all over the place. Silly us, it wasn’t broken, just needed a new bag. Argh….
Since all my life I have gone around in my stocking feet inside, I’d sit down and find blonde and brown hairballs sticking to my socks. Speaker laughed.
InterVarsity had a Lock-In from 7pm on Friday the 10th to noon on the 11th. It was supposed to be a sleepover in the Ley Chapel basement, but there weren’t enough people, so we made it a party in the apartment. Krafter and Stimpy came.
At the time I thought I could handle dating two, three, even four people at once. I felt no need to make a decision yet. Other people were able to date around. There was nothing ethically wrong with it as long as the guys knew they weren’t my one and only.
After what I’d been through with Peter, Shawn and Phil, I didn’t want to commit to one person and find out that, yet again, it was the wrong one: abusive, manipulative, deceitful, whatever.
However, I soon discovered that with Cugan I thought of Stimpy, and with Stimpy I thought of Cugan. Then there was the other guy I wrote to….I felt pulled every which way.
Though even my mom said it was okay to date around, and even though this is the time-honored way to date, it still felt weird, like I was supposed to pick one guy to date and potentially marry. Still, as I said, I was wary about commitment.
Table of Contents
December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?
April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign
October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:
Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams
- Classmate a stand-in for “Rudy”; Jigging at College Dance
- Library Tales
- Happiness Returns
- Living with Friends in Krueger
- Funny Library Stories
- Shawn Calls
- Psycho Roommates and Bug Wars
- Return of Rick
- Adjusting to New Dorm
- Spitball-Throwing Teacher
- Rat-Obsessed Teacher and Doctor Zhivago
- A Teacher Dated a Student; InterVarsity Fun
- Charlie Peacock Concert
- Random Stories
- Letter to Shawn
- Erotic Vampire Dream (Inspiration for Alexander Boa)
- I Ask Out James
- Peter Calls!
- The Fateful First Meeting of Phil
- The Birth of Dolphin Philosophy
- Our Group of Friends Splits Apart
- Spring Classes
- Big Red Flag: Phil’s Dysfunctional Family Life
- The Drunken Stork (Phil’s Controlling Nature Manifests)
- Idealizing Phase and Early Sign of Control
- Phil Tries to Control my Friendships, Unfair Accusations from his Dad and Brother
- Phil Gaslights Me with Fake Dreams, Ridicule and Psychological Abuse
- Another Pre-Engagement
June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:
- The Abuse Worsens in the Summer of Hell
- Phil rapes me anally
- Phil tries to control me through refusing everything I want–even proper hygiene
- Phil’s cruel hoax on me: his “subconscious” coming out to be with me
- Phil’s “subconscious” explains why he’s coming out to talk to me
- The lies unravel as Phil admits to conning me; also, fright as my periods turn wacky
- How Phil’s behavior fit the signs of abuse
- Phil Mindscrews Me: changes history, blames me for things that were not my fault, treats me like an idiot during games
- Phil says if he abuses me, it takes two people to sign the divorce papers
- Pearl reveals that Phil is costing me social invitations
- Hints that Phil is checking out of the marriage
September 1994–Divorce: The Long, Dark, Painful Tunnel:
- Phil picks fights and avoids responsibilities to make me feel like a shrew
- My husband Phil, Dave and Pearl call me a party pooper for getting a Grade II concussion
- I’m ecstatic to be back with my friends (the ones Phil hates); I meet Charles
- Phil vanishes without a word of why
- Phil wants a divorce
- My friends tells me that Phil is controlling and possessive
- My first Pentecostal church service: They speak in tongues
- Phil refuses to accept responsibility for the divorce
- Phil cuts off contact
- Attack of Phil’s Flying Monkey and Sycophant: Dirk
- Phil the narcissist admits to manipulating people and using them as pawns in his game with me
- Phil comes crawling back to me–and we put our marriage on paper
- Phil demands my complete submission and forces me into oral sex–and my will is broken, for fear he’ll divorce me again
- Phil walks away from me again–because I dare to have my own mind, opinions and needs–and because he’s a sociopath
- Fierce anger against Phil and PTSD from the abuse
- My friends tell me Phil is psychotic
- “Soul Ties”
- I return Phil’s things and he skewers me; consolation from friends
- My letter to Phil
- Phil shows my letter to his friends; I’m triggered by reminder of forced oral sex
- I start dating Charles
- Friends tell me Phil is controlling
- I feel stalked by Phil
- Poem about being stalked by Phil
- Fury at Phil stalking me and rubbing my face in his new relationship
- A Date with the Vampire
- Celtic Class: Knotwork, Tin Whistles, SCA–and Drinking from a Skull
- The Teddy-O Incident; Birth of These Memoirs
- We Hook Up to the Internet–and Shawn Fixates on My Sex Life
- New Guy Begging at My Feet
- Life on TCB
- Meeting Cugan (Hubby)
- Learning my ex Peter was a love-fraud; New Men
- Before Tracy, There Was the Avenger (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 1)
- Torn between three men as Catherine pushes me toward Cugan
- The Love Rectangle
- Torn between FIVE men! Me?
- Persephone’s Own Outrageous Stories of Phil’s Abuse
- College-style living
- Online Shenanigans
- Phil Finds TCB; Meeting a Hit Man
- Gypsy’s Party: Healed friendship with Peter
- The Avenger Starts a Flame War (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 2)
- Meeting the elusive Speaker
- First Date with Future Hubby Cugan
- On Breaking Up with Kindness
- Loony Roommies and Flying Gargoyles
- The Goddess of Pleasure and Salt
- A Conversation with Oscar Wilde
- My First SCA Event
- Cugan: a vast improvement over Phil
- Easter with Cugan’s family and SCA
- Cugan breaks up with me
- After breakup: Phil’s return and trolls
- Cugan comes back
- SCA hippies; college senioritis: anxiety!
- Or should I move back in with my parents?
- Peace with Phil
- Defending my Thesis; Graduating with Honors
- Graduation: Trapped at school
- Epilogue and Apology from Phil