November 16, 1996 Sunday
It has been nearly three months since I have written anything like a journal entry. In the beginning I felt that I didn’t need to. In an email to Sidney, now at Knox, I told her, “instead of writing about life I am living it.” As new experiences began to pile up–events I knew I would want to remember–I began to recant and want to write a little, but I didn’t, and now so much of my freshman year has passed. To make up for this lost gap in time, I created, as the fourth volume of this journal, a pulled-together pile all of the emails that I sent Sidney in the fall, from August 25-November 10, calling it The Knox Letters. While it won’t tell everything, since I never really discussed Lexi with my old Second-string-best-friend, I will know try to tell the rest of the story. The story of my life at Western.
Before I begin to relate the many things that have happened, you should first become familiar with the of the people who will have important roles:
David Bollings: David is my roommate. To get this out of the way, I will be referring to him simply as “D.” To understand this, you would have to know that until another David recently moved over to Olsen Hall, there was Little D and Big D. Now, I find it strange to refer to a person as “Little D.” I mean, think about it: Little D? Anyway, I call him D and leave it at that. Of course we also call each other Sprinkles and Peaches (me being Sprinkles), but that’s another story that does back to playing with Brimfield last spring.
There have really been two major things that have happened to D while at Western. The most serious of the two was his heart condition. He had had heart “attacks” for the last couple years–even blacking out at the wheel on occasion–and had tried to keep it to himself as much as possible. One night when I was over at the sorority house, he began to have an attack, and Mike our RA and Jesse took him to the emergency room in Macomb’s regional hospital. There, the doctor didn’t believe D was having an attack and asking him flatly, “what he expected them to do at 11:30 at night.” D finally had it checked out, and fortunately it will not be life threatening.
Now for the other thing. When I first met D all he talked about is this girl from back home in Alton, Illinois, called Gabriel Rose. She was a senior in high school, one class behind him, but D had asked her to marry him. So at that point in late August they were very engaged. She was all he talked about, if he wasn’t talking about his antique Cadillac he liked to take us cruising in down what Macomb has of a main strip. He would wait for every night for the phone call from her. One night we had a long conversation–about many different subjects– but the thing we began discussing was out deaths. At that time D was still worried about his heart, and didn’t know if he could be apart from Ms. Rose, or vice-versa. To make a long story kinda’ short, the long distance relationship got strained. At first they were “going to see other people,” but eventually they broke up all together. At the time D had been making friends with a girl from the female side of our floor, the four floor of Thompson Hall, named Jen Parry. Now in November, they are almost inseparable. I guess this is a good thing, because my guess would have been it might happen anyway. I guess long-distance relationships really don’t work (killing my hopes with that one, aren’t I?) Oh well, let’s hear it for long-distance friendships!
Jeese Reese: Jesse might be my best friend at Western. He is on the tennis team, and is from Crystal Lake, Illinois.
Katie Looker: I’m doing this one to get it down and move on. I hadn’t known Katie very well until a small group of us–D, Jen, Jesse, Katie, and myself–went to an REO Speedwagon concert in Burlington, Iowa. She seemed like a nice person, if a little uptight. When things were nearing the end with Lexi, she would ask me all the time if I was still with her, which made me wonder. Regardless of that, one night we talked in our lounge as we played a little darts. She told me about her friend Glenn, and how she didn’t know how she felt about him, even though they were friends, even after along–and you get the idea. A few weeks later, in the beginning of October, we went to a party together, along with nearly everyone else on both fourth floors Thompson, with Kaite and I serving as the “takers home” people. The next night, Saturday, we went to Vitale’s, a local Italian place, and then went to rent a movie. By some strange occurrence, both of us had wanted to see Inventing the Abbotts. We had lot of fun the next week, as I went to the off-campus student group Students for Christ with her, and she went to the Turning Point Cafe with me. I suppose it was at this time I got a little off track. In the beginning I felt like she could be a very good friend. She doesn’t drink, studies very hard, and has a bit of a doubting personality. I began to like her a little, but maybe it was just the times we were having. There is a difference. Anyway, I knew what was about to happen: her Glenn was coming up for the weekend. “Just great,” I thought. I knew they were just friends, but still… I had kind of made my mind up I didn’t like this complete stranger, and somehow that Friday night I found myself in the group of eight or so. Flat out, he reminder me of well, me, but he was more obnoxious. He was very sarcastic, and even said I few things I was about to say, which scared and fascinated me. After that weekend Katie didn’t call, so when I asked about it, she said Glenn had called Wednesday night and yelled at her for a while, said they could be friends, and hung up on her. She said he fought with her a lot, and as a result had been crying a lot. Alright, it was more than official, I more than didn’t like this guy. After that weekend, this dynamic has been different. The day before Halloween Katie and I had a talk in her room. She said she still wasn’t over it all, and didn’t want anything new. We mutually agreed we were friends.
Lexi Trapp: It is very rare when we can remember when we first meet someone. I met Lexi in the lobby of Thompson on August 24th (I remember the date because it was her birthday, her 20th). She had come with Jim “The Shepherd” Rabhuck to pick me up to the small afternoon service the Shep puts on at this house ad hoc. Afterwards, I talked to her little, and she seemed nice. And a little ill. She might have excused herself once to throw up, actually. Earlier that morning, she told me later, she has been found on someone’s front lawn. She is from Chicago, almost a Junior, and lives in the basement of the Phi Sigma Sigma house on the other side of campus.
When I was let off back at Thompson, I offhandedly said : “If you ever need a house boy, call 5056.” Later that night I a call from her, which actually surprised me. It had been meant as kind of a joke. And honestly, I didn’t realize who it was at the time, as well as forgetting her name. She suggested we meet at the Turning Point Cafe, which was my first time there. While I waited for her, I asked for a Mountain Dew (at a coffee house… I know). She arrived soon after, and urged me to try an actual drink. I chose a Snickers, which was actually pretty good. We laid the usual groundwork, dispensing tidbits about our lives. One thing I found interesting was she had actually been dead for nine seconds after a car wreck, before being brought back. I thought things were going really well, I could tell she thought so too. The next night we went to Vitale’s (there must be something about Vitale’s…) and rented Love and War, about Hemingway in World War I, and went back to watch in at her downstairs place. I had a lot of fun with Lexi, and we had this streak going, in which we had been in contact with each other in some form for almost a month. So I will admit one conciete: the other guys my floor, freshman all just like me, sort of marveled at me, in the first week having an upperclassman sorority girl drop by, like when a huge group of us watched The Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon. You will see though that I have painted this story as no more than a fluke on my part. The one thing I probably don’t miss are the walks from Thompson all the way across campus. I even met her mom at the end, when she come down for a visit, at a cafe uptown. The week of Homecoming we didn’t see each other, as we were both very busy. The next Monday I got a call from her, and she said we needed to talk. It wasn’t until the next Sunday, again at Shepherd Jim’s, that I got a chance to see her, During the service she was crying… behind me, in the only other occupied metal folding chair of four total. Sheesh. I felt bad, mostly because I didn’t know anything about what was going on. Afterwards, I was even a little hesitant, but she finally told me what had been bothering her. The most serious was that a close would die of cancer in the next several days. One top of that, with school work, she said she felt on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I walked her home, and we talked more. When we were coming to Sherman Hall, she stated there was someone else as well. It seems that during the Homecoming week she had met someone. She said she felt bad, but I said it was okay. Even though I liked her a bit, liking was going to be the limit and end.
These few profiles took a long time to get down; I will continue this in the future, telling of the many friends that have filled my fall; (“A Who’s Who of the Fourth Floor”) Until then.