First off, let me apologize to "Jenna" for what I will write next, but I want to get this off of my chest. During the Summer of 1992, some weeks after I made things right with Jenna on June 22nd of that year, at a movie theater where she worked on a Monday night, I came to consider the possibility that Jenna's dad had sexually abused her as a child, a very young child. Jenna would employ a non sequitur mannerism at times; she would sit in a chair and look as if she were thinking about something and laugh to herself and shake her head. I remember in January of 1992 how Jenna had said, "My dad didn't even send me a Christmas card. That bastard!" with a sideways grin of indignation and look of reflection in her eye as if to add to her tally.
Several times, when Jenna and I sat next to each other, starting in the truck on our drive to Kansas City with my roommate Davey at the wheel, Jenna acted as if she wanted for me to make a move on her, such as hold her hand. I never felt comfortable doing anything like that at these times, for whatever reason. Every time after these "missed opportunities," Jenna would hook up with some other guy in a matter of days, and often act snotty towards me as well.
The first time I talked to Jenna, days before our Kansas City trip, she criticized Davey and I for not intervening when an older woman touched her inappropriately while conversing with Jenna at a party we'd all attended earlier that night. Some days later, after the Kansas City trip, and after she turned down at date request from me, John-John at G/M Steakhouse said she had some guy who wanted to take her to a nude Lake Travis swimming hole, and how she really didn't want to go, but how she wanted a guy to be at her place to answer the phone in case he called again.
For my part, during that whole time I pursued Jenna romantically, I played to the notion that she reminded me of Sara, someone I had cut loose in 1988. By that time I'd figured that Sara may have been a virgin during the time our cat and mouse game played out to the point of me cutting Sara loose. In the Spring of 1990, I'd come to embrace the conviction that I'd made a big mistake in cutting Sara loose. By the time Jenna came around, I'd become determined to see matters pertaining to these charged love interest types to the very bitter end.
I tried to let Jenna know by the whole of my interactions with her that I didn't just want her for sex. Those times when it seemed that she wanted to try to initiate intimacy through these "jump through my hoops" moments just fell flat with me. People at parties would seem to put out some vibe that I came off as foolish, or as a dumbass who didn't know enough to just go for it when she gave me the chance.
I even forsook potential opportunities with two other young women during the first few months of 1992, supposedly on behalf of my deal with Jenna. After a particularly noisome rebuff of Alice's sexual overture to me at her party in April, I inadvertently began to really ramp up the pressure on Jenna. Jenna loudly and forthrightly said that she did not want to "do something" with me during Memorial Day weekend, and I demanded that she would have to call me if she ever wanted to go out with me again. She did not take that seriously.
I saw Jenna at Emo's the following week on the Friday after Memorial Day. She walked up to me and tried to introduce me to a girl friend of hers. I angrily asked for a light for my cigarette, then said, "Forget it! Forget I said anything," and walked off. I saw her the very next Friday at Emo's, she vibed pissed and standoffish.
I decided that I wanted to just leave Jenna alone after that, so I didn't go to Emo's that third or fourth Friday in a row. On that fourth Friday, I attended a party at a girl named Michelle's house with my friends. At the party, Gil Wilson showed himself. "Let me ask you this then, are you still having encounters with your mind?" Gil asked after we sat together to catch up. We talked about "Tim." a mutual friend we'd both grown up with, and how he'd ratted out some accomplices in the aftermath of a big pot buy gone bad.
In the day or two after my conversation with Gil, even though he never mentioned Jenna, and I never mentioned Jenna, I just knew he wanted me to make things right with her, so I did. I saw her at the Dobie Theater when I caught a movie there, talked to her a little, and parted with her by saying, "You can call me if you want to," then left.
In the days that followed, I'd come to the conclusion that Billy Biliams, a known serial date rapist, had, through his word or merely his presence around her, offered himself as protection for Jenna from me. I freaked out in the following weeks over this and eventually went to the psychiatric hospital for the first time, where I received treatment with antipsychotic and antidepressant medications and a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
In the Fall of 1992, after my release from the hospital, the pendulum swung from extreme psychosis over to extreme depression, and I had to go to another hospital for that by December of 1992. I got stabilized enough for them to release me after three weeks, and I just rested and chilled out in Big Spring with my dad from early January until I returned to Austin in May of 1993.
I saw Jenna at a party in mid-June that Summer. She greeted me with her snotty, "Oh, it's Riiich. Hey Rich," after I greeted her. I caught some bits of conversation she made with some guy where she said, "If you or anyone else give me any trouble, I'll beat them up." The guy came off as polite, and Jenna just said this as if to say, "That's just how I roll, nothing personal towards you." I just caught a bitchy vibe off of her, and didn't much want to talk to her that night.
I'd certainly changed a lot through my experiences of my romantic pursuit of Jenna, but was I the only one who'd changed? In the years leading up to the completion of that whole saga in my books, I thought about what Jenna had said to that guy at that party in mid-June of 1993. The girl I first met in 1991 had criticized Davey and I for not intervening on her behalf when some older woman had touched her inappropriately at that New Guild party where I first talked at length to Jenna. From what I remember, Jenna just passively sat there as that woman talked to her and touched her in a way that made her feel uncomfortable. A few weeks later, John-John related the story about the guy who'd invited Jenna to Hippy Hollow, a clothing optional swimming hole, and how Jenna wanted some guy in her apartment so he could answer the phone in case this invite extender called again.
Maybe Jenna had learned early on to passively endure transgressive behavior from her dad, and therefore had trouble fending off such behavior as a young adult, thus making her a tempting target for Billy Billiams. Okay, okay, and yeah, I'll say it: Maybe, just maybe, maybe, because I was a guy who wouldn't jump through her hoops whenever she tried to rush intimacy with me, and I tried to let her know in other ways that I valued her as something other than a recepticle for my seed, maybe I made her feel loved to the point where she could find the wherewithal to tell a Billy Billiams to go fuck himself and his offer of "protection."
So any woman out there who tries to make me feel as if I'm not performing up to their expectations in supposedly consummating our deal can go fuck themselves running, for all I care. The only expectations I have to live up to are my own. If I never meet someone who can give and receive love in a way I can understand, then so be it.