The other thing that puzzled me is that there was no more affection from Troy. That one kiss was all there was. But, I still really liked hanging out with him and his friends, Colleen and Timothy. We were a little band of friends that went everywhere together. I found Troy intellectually interesting too. We would discuss politics and he had this uncanny ability to predict current political events. His wisdom was unfathomable. He was a junior and a political science major, but that did not explain all of it. He used to just wink at me after making a very inscrutable prediction. It used to drive me nuts. How could he have known what he did?
So this went on for some time. One day, when Troy and I were at lunch I was pressuring him for an explanation and he said, “You know Sue. I have told you that I was a Government Student like the EO kids. But that was not entirely true. I am not exactly like the EO kids. I am in a special program. I have been selected for a fast track preparation and so have access to some inside government information. That is how I know what is going on in the news.”
“Oh. I was wondering about that. Why were you selected?”
“Intelligence and superior skills.” He said without modesty.
“Fast track to what?”
“That is yet to be determined based on what I can achieve.”
“Why is all of this a secret?”
“Because I had to get clearance to obtain the information I have access to and so we don’t want it to be common knowledge that I have it.”
“Oh. Well I won’t tell anybody. Does Colleen know?”
“Yes, both she and Timothy do.”
“Oh, I see. So you told everybody first, just not me!” I said trying my best to sound angry.
He laughed it off.
I don’t’ remember precisely how it started, but one day, Troy mentioned that there were tensions between the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America that might lead to nuclear war. I didn’t know what to think. I had trusted everything that Troy had said up until then, so why not believe him now? Why did it have to be nuclear war? That was my one worst nightmare. Immediately I began to have the mushroom cloud dreams again along with the muscle cramps in my legs. I couldn’t sleep and my grades fell off. I was getting stomach cramps. Whether I believed him or not, it was effecting me physically. I took an incomplete in jazz dance and dropped out of that class. I went to the infirmary and told them my symptoms. When they asked what I was worried about, I told them it was finals. Thank god they believed me. I was diagnosed as starting an ulcer and given valium in 5 milligram tablets and told to see the campus shrink.
On my way back to my dorm from the infirmary, a tall black man stopped me and said, “Hey, I hear you have something to sell.”
“Yeah. You do. I’ll give $5 per pill.”
“Uh, no thanks.”
“Maybe some other time then.”
He just walked away. Thank goodness. Now that is what I call communication.
When I got back to my dorm the gals across the hall were playing Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce. There never seems to be enough time. Timely indeed.
Later that week, Troy told me that nuclear war was imminent and we should wait for the call to evacuate to Florida with him by military helicopter. I was petrified. I don’t know how I held it together through my finals, seeing the campus shrink and finally boarding the bus to go home.
But I decided to tell my friend Toby everything and cry on that muscular gymnast shoulder of his. Toby held me tight as I cried and it felt so good. He told me that he would be there for me, but that Troy was crazy as a loon and why did I believe all of his crap? I wanted so badly to believe Toby, but my mind was looking for an adult that I trusted to tell me that Troy was crazy, not a student. Nuclear war was my particular Achilles heel. Toby told me that it was all too weird for him and that once I was through this crisis, he didn’t think he could be my friend anymore. I told him that I understood and respected his decision.
After finals, I took a valium on the bus, closed my eyes and next thing I knew I was home.
Once I got home, I told my mom about Troy and she just freaked out.
“Susie were you doing drugs? Did he rape you? He could have taken you to Florida and cut you!” On and on and on… She was out of control. So she called my dad to come over and sort things out.
So, my far more reasonable dad came over. Together they helped me come to my senses. Troy was paranoid schizophrenic with delusions. He was not a government student. He did not have inside government information. He was incredibly intelligent and that was how he is able to manipulate unsuspecting students. I really just needed someone to tell me that he was a crazy person and they did it for me. I’m not sure they ever believed that drugs were not involved or that we never had sex. Now, I’m kind of thinking that Troy was gay.
So the question became how to dump him? Mom said that I should just write him a letter. So I set about doing that. It was difficult because it had to explain why I would choose to stay in NY and die in a nuclear war rather than go with him to safety. Plus, I had to promise to keep his secret. Somehow I covered all of those bases and mailed the letter. Then I felt compelled to call Colleen and see if she had figured out that all of this was bull. Mom was hesitant, but let me.
So I called Colleen and she was really hesitant on the phone, but eventually it became clear that she had also made the same conclusion that I had. Then she told me that Timothy had too and he was going to call me. She was taking the next semester off to regroup. Timothy was going to transfer to another school.
Sure enough, Timothy’s call came later that day. He wanted to meet me at his house. My mom drove me there. He was waiting for me out on his driveway and I got out of the car to talk to him. He said some words, I don’t remember what, and then he hugged me and kissed me. I sure didn’t see that coming. Mom said that she did though. I never looked at him in a sexual way. Mom thought he was cute. Ew.
Mom and Dad made me promise to go a shrink that Dad knew that dealt with people like Troy all the time or they would make me transfer to the local community college and live at home (horror of horrors!!!). So I went. It was terrible. The shrink was way more interested in talking about Troy than me and was insulting. He told me that he felt that I was probably smart enough to be a scientist. Probably smart enough? How insulting! Anyway, I went and Mom and Dad agreed to send me back to school after the Christmas break.
Mom contacted the Dean of Students to report the problem with Troy. Apparently, Troy had received letters from Colleen, Timothy and me and freaked out and was found wandering aimlessly around campus not knowing his own name or where his dorm was. He was sent to a mental hospital near his home in New York City. That was the last I ever heard from him, though I worried continuously for years that he would find me and pop back into my life.
Mom decided that I needed to see what normal campus life was like. So she planned a trip for me to visit my sister Evie at Notre Dame University since her school started up before mine…