Archive | long story RSS feed for this section

The Demon of Seduction

27 Jul

N.B.: This is my best story. I apologize if it’s your second, third, fiftieth time hearing it.

It is important to note that this is how I looked at the time of this story.

It is important to note that this is how I looked at the time of this story.

I could begin at the end, with him telling me that I was the Demon of Seduction. But to understand the end, you have to go back to the beginning. Not just the beginning of our relationship, though that will be important as well, but the beginning of the year. The school year, to be precise. Because that first day that I met my roommate really set the tone for the following months of insanity, to the point where me being dumped for being a minion of Satan seemed the only logical, rational result.

So I’ll back up.

I graduated high school at the age of 16, confident in my abilities and the false promises that I could do anything I wanted to if I just set my mind to it. I did well in chemistry and anatomy and abysmally in biology and physics and yet boldly declared Biology as my major with the intent of eventually going to medical school. I flippantly declared that I would not be concerned with the velocity of a gurney as it came at me and focused on the thrilling, if disgusting, pictures in the anatomy textbook. I selected a small, liberal arts college in Middle-of-Nowhere, Illinois, based on their strong pre-med program and a hefty scholarship. I visited the campus and ignored all the warning signs that this would be a bad fit, and eagerly packed my bags for the next stage of my life.

My parents drove me down, got me some bookstore swag, and promptly left me to my own devices. I was struggling to put up my new Blues Brothers poster at my desk, swearing profusely as it refused to stick to the cinderblock walls. I heard a loud thump behind me and turned to come face to face with a previously unheard of species: Born again Christians. Three of them, to be precise. Three blond haired, blue eyed, corn fed Christians, all with perfect ‘o’s for mouths gaping at me.

I jumped down from the chair and extended a hand in greeting. “Hi! I’m your roommate!” The girl looked at her parents in sheer ‘do I have to go through with this?’ terror, then turned back with a brave smile and friendly handshake and thick downstate twang.

The Housing Office, in its infinite wisdom, had paired two biology majors together. One from a small town in Illinois, approximate population 2,000, the other one of the few students to actually have a Chicago address. She thought I was in a gang, I thought she had possibly recently escaped a cult. We both brought our favorite books to college: mine were a large variety of mysteries, classics, and novels. Her collection consisted entirely of the Left Behind series.

The rest of our time together was much like that first meeting – one of us gaping open mouthed at the other strange creature. She only listened to Christian rock bands, an oxymoron to my way of thinking. She would turn them on, turn them up, and leave the room. I retaliated by buying every George Carlin CD that Columbia House had to offer. Other than that, we got along great. She read the Bible at me, I showed her The X-Files.

But by the semester break, things were not going well. We both dropped out of the Biology program, though for different reasons. I failed biology – a bitter blow to my ego – based a combination of factors. First, I was often unable to get out of bed for the early morning class. Second, when I was able to, I was unable to pay any attention. Third, the lab portion completely mystified me as I did not give a shit about plants. Fourth, I don’t remember ever opening the textbook. It was embarrassing and difficult to embrace, but the truth was, I couldn’t do anything by just setting my mind to it.

My roommate, in contrast, was doing fairly well. She dropped out of the Biology program on an entirely voluntary basis. I had not gotten out of bed and I had missed it, but apparently there was a heated discussion one day between her and the professor. She took the side of ‘dinosaurs are a conspiracy by the United States government to turn us away from Jesus’ and the professor took the side of ‘are you insane?’. My roommate sadly informed me that she didn’t think the college was conducive to a Christian lifestyle. I put George Carlin on pause and agreed.

Christmas break came, and I went home with my tail between my legs, facing my failures. I had flunked Biology. I had failed to make very many friends. The college I went to was very heavily into the Greek life and I had chosen not to rush any sororities because a) I already had two sisters and b) I didn’t feel like paying several hundred dollars for 40 more.

I came back to another failure: I had failed to keep my roommate. Either she was finally raptured, along with all of her possessions, or she had moved out.

I immediately missed her. She had been sweet, polite, and utterly fascinating. Her empty bunk mocked me with all my failures – I had failed in my chosen major, I had failed to make friends, and I had failed to even keep a roommate.

So I started looking for other methods of connection. I turned to the then-nascent world of online dating. And that’s how Adam* entered the picture.

I forget, now, what site I found him on. I don’t think match.com was a thing yet. However it happened, I stumbled across this older (a senior, how scandalous!) farming mechanics major at the nearby State University. He fit all my criteria: he was tall, dark-haired, handsome, and he actually liked me. Our first few dates went well and he started calling me “Sweetness.”

I forget, now, how, when, or why the subject of religion came up. It might have been that first date at the low priced “fancy” Italian restaurant. Or it might have been when I went to his apartment to watch movies and found several Bibles by his bed. However it happened, it did come up that I was a lapsed Catholic and that he was a really big fan of Jesus.

No big deal! I thought. I have experience with this type of species! I may have driven her away by the semester break, but now I knew what mistakes to avoid. I put away the George Carlin CDs. I cut down on my swearing. And it was, initially, worth it. We had a great time together. He was considerate and charming and he made me chocolate chip cookies from scratch. Yowza.

So I understood when he declined to attend a formal dance at my school, so that he could attend play practice at the local church he was involved with. He had the leading role, since he was the youth minister of the small congregation. So I played my part of dutiful girlfriend and went to the local mall to buy a new dress. It was way too long and a little too big, but I felt pretty and proud.

And so I happily rode in Adam’s pickup truck to the world premiere of “Spiritual Warfare.” The plot, such as it was, struck a few chords with me. Adam, going against type, played the youth minister of a small congregation. But Adam was too successful for Satan’s liking. I snickered quietly as Satan sent the Demon of Alcohol – a teenager exaggeratedly drinking out of an empty beer bottle. Satan’s next move was a little more surprising, since this was not 1959, but the Demon of Rock and Roll was equally unsuccessful.

And then I gaped, open mouthed, as Satan sent his last, best minion: the Demon of Seduction in the guise of a college aged girl. Adam – or his character – started spending more time with her and less time at church. And then Adam called her “Sweetness.” Oh, I knew where this was going. I sat stone faced through Adam’s tortured monologue: “What am I doing with this girl? I can’t marry her – she’s Catholic, not even Christian!” The congregation clapped their approval as I started fuming inside. Remember – I’m only 17 at this point and not thinking about marrying anyone, let alone someone who doesn’t understand that Catholics are Christian too. The play ended in vigorous song, complete with arm swaying and a rockin’ drum solo.

The preacher thanked Adam for his fine performance. Then the preacher asked if anyone here tonight needed Jesus. He encouraged us to “Come on down!,” as if this was the worst episode of The Price is Right ever.

And this is the part of the story where people start to not believe me, but, yes indeed, down I went. You see, one of my nephews had been born shortly before the play, and was having some difficulties. I wanted to pray for him in the nice, quiet, reserved Catholic way. And so I went on down for my chance at the Showcase to say a quiet prayer.

Adam’s face lit up as he saw me making my way down the aisle. I got to the front, knelt, and made the sign of the cross. Unfortunately, Adam didn’t get to me first. The Demon of Rock and Roll did. She grabbed my hand and shoved her face THISCLOSE to mine and screeched, “You tell it to Jesus! You lay it at the foot of the cross!”

Terrified, I did the only thing I could: I turned and ran, tripping over my too-long dress as I made my way towards the Sunday School classrooms. That’s where Adam found me, huddled on a chair. He pulled up a chair next to me and calmly and sadly explained that it was over – the play had made everything clear to him. I was the Demon of Seduction, sent to sway him from his ministry.

I started crying – I had really liked him and didn’t want to be alone again. But I couldn’t argue with him, and I didn’t even try. How could I argue against such obvious manipulation from his church? How could I make him see he’d been played? It was a battle of Spiritual Warfare I would never win.

In every relationship, we change ourselves, even if only slightly, for the other person. We tone down our bad habits, we sand off our rougher edges. We open ourselves to new experiences and new interests. We bring our best selves to the table.

And then, sometimes you get to the table only to realize the other person is crazy. And so you run, you hide, you take pride in the best parts of yourself, and you find yourself secretly flattered that Satan selected you, of all people, as a Demon of Seduction. And you use that line for free drinks for a reallllly long time.

**not his real name.

p.s. Check out the new official Facebook page and like it and tell your friends and have a great day:

https://www.facebook.com/evenmygpsislost

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: