Phil shows my letter to his friends; I’m triggered by reminder of forced oral sex–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–October 1994, Part 6

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.

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: