Our Flight: forced into deception–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–May 1994, Part 2

Probably late in the week of May 15, when we had finals, it was time for Clarissa and me to part as roommates.  I would now be Sharon’s roommate in the apartments, and Clarissa wouldn’t have another roommate, at least not the following year.

Clarissa took a moment to be solemn, and said to me, “You’re the most interesting person I’ve ever met.”  I don’t remember much of what we said that day, but I do remember that, and that it was sad to part.

I looked forward to rooming with Sharon, but my college life had included Clarissa as my roommate for so long that it was hard to imagine not living with her anymore.

Another sad thought: Muskie Pat was finally graduating after several years of taking more than one major.  You always knew he’d cook your burger up right, and you couldn’t be sure of this with anyone else.  Senior year, my Muskie burgers never did seem quite right.

He ended up marrying a girl in my class.

Dave soon graduated, and I remember his Pearl fussing over him and his cap and gown and everything on the day, and talking so proudly of him.  I believe she graduated the year before.  He ended up working in the sporting goods section of a home improvement store in S–.

I think it was just before the beginning of summer vacation when Phil and I went with Dirk to see a movie.  They asked me what I wanted to see; it was a “guy” movie, with action and a bit of gore, so they were surprised (and pleased) when I picked it out.

But it was a good movie, a science fiction one with prisoners held on a tropical island in the future.  The name was No Escape.

I don’t think the movie was very popular, because it was just the three of us in the theater with a big tub of buttery popcorn, free to talk or put our feet on the chairs in front of us.  That was a good time.


Phil and I drove to my home on Sunday, May 22, 1994.  The circumstances surrounding it were really trying.

It started when my mom suggested that Phil bring me home and then stay the summer.  There were lots of places looking to hire, and he’d have much better luck finding a job in South Bend than in S–.  It would also help them a lot to not have to come pick me up, or pay for tolls in Illinois and Indiana.

Phil liked the idea.  I had to tell Mom by Friday the 13th who would be taking me home, him or them.

Since they supported his driving me home for Easter Break, Phil thought his parents would support him driving me home and maybe even working in South Bend, so he mentioned it to his dad.  His dad didn’t mind, but said to ask his mom.

Phil did, but she was against it.  She said things like, he should be looking for a job now, we needed to spend time apart and not be together all the time, etc.

(Actually, it’s good that I spent so much time with him, because it taught me things about his character that I needed to know.  And he was going to get a job in South Bend: That was the whole point, because the job market was better there!)

Just as she and his dad often said about me staying over all the time: “She doesn’t live here.”  To this complaint, and to his mom saying not to take me home, he said to me, “You are my wife!”

Since she was against it, Phil’s dad joined with her.  But his sister said, “You’re over eighteen.  You don’t need their permission.  If you want to do it, just do it.”

My mom didn’t want him disowned over it, and I told him so, but he said,

“Call your parents and tell them I’m taking you home for sure.”

He didn’t tell his own parents or brother about this, though.  Instead of being an adult and not being ruled by his parents, he behaved like a child.  He let them believe my parents would come up on Sunday to take me home, and that I’d stay at Phil’s house till then.

I hated the deception, especially when his mom started going on and on about cleaning up the house for my parents’ arrival, and how I could help.  There was even talk of a little party.

I told Phil I hated this deception and secrecy, and that I’d rather he just told them, come what may.  I wanted a way to tell his mom without causing a problem.  But he still didn’t.  (It was his job, not mine, since they were his parents.)

His brother or mom would ask one of us a question; he would answer somehow, and I would evade the question so I wouldn’t have to lie.

The day before we left, we were supposed to help clean up.  I cleaned up Phil’s room while he was off somewhere else, vacuuming and possibly dusting it, and it looked better than it had the whole time I’d been with him.

I was proud of how it looked.  I wasn’t going to sit around on my butt while everybody else cleaned, even though my parents weren’t really coming.

We filled up the van.  It was partially packed already with things that I didn’t need at Phil’s house, on the pretext that we’d unpack them from his van into my parents’ vehicle.

Phil said nothing to his family (only his sister knew the truth), and had me take my stuff to the van and get inside.  Then his dad came out and called to him.  Phil went to him, and he asked what was going on.  I didn’t watch or listen, but his dad didn’t yell or anything, just let him go.  Phil went to his mom, kissed her, and said,

“There’s been a change of plan.  I’m taking her home.”

She was too stunned to put up a fuss.

He couldn’t believe we kept the secret so long.  I hated the whole thing.  It made me feel terrible, but Phil wouldn’t have it any other way.

Doing what he wanted to do, while still living in his mom’s house, seems to have been hard for him.  If he had more gumption to stand up to them and say he was an adult now, he would have said he was going to South Bend (no sneaking around), and we would have planned to get married probably before the end of the year.

Would there have been a secret marriage?  Probably not, because we wouldn’t need to do anything secretly.  And I wouldn’t have been forced to lie to my parents, either.  The whole thing made me sick.

I probably expected to get a taste of what it would be like to be publicly married to Phil, but I had no idea how bad that taste would be.

Then Phil took the van to Firestone in S–, to get the oil changed and such.  They told him the right outboard brake pad was 100% worn.  100%!

The brakes needed other repairs as well to make them work properly and safely again, but none of this was done on this day.  More about this in the September chapter.  We didn’t get to leave S– as soon as we planned, but we finally got home that evening.

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

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

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995: