I start dating Charles–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–October 1994, Part 7
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.
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)
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