Passive Echoes

The "Blow Off"

Of course, the reality is that most high school in-love relationships do not survive.  They fall out of love or cannnot bridge the separation that graduation brings, when separate paths diverge, new directions are taken, and fresh opportunities and challenges open up. In most cases there is no pain-free way to bring an in-love relationship to a close. At least one party is going to feel injured when the other is ready to move on.
Break ups of in-love relationships in high school are particularly painful for the one who is broken off and feels hurt, helpless, betrayed, abandoned, or rejected. Sometimes the response to being jilted in an in-love relationship seems to be sex-linked.” - Carl E Pickhardt Ph.D
(Additional Link)

September, 1970:
Larry never had a relationship with a girl who was just a friend. In actuality, he did not believe that such a relationship could exist between the sexes based on the traditional definition of friendship. Thus, his relationship with Marcia always had romantic overtones from its inception. Yet, he desisted from acting in an untoward manner and treated her with the best intentions as a lady.
Hence, there could only be a romantic relationship between them, never a simple friendship and Marcia understood his position. They were both desirous of exclusivity in their relationship that year, but neither voiced it to the other out of fear of rejection. After the "blow off" from Marcia, Larry decided on a different strategy and approach altogether; neglecting and avoiding the display of any affection and having limited interaction with Marcia.

It was especially disturbing to him that he knew only two students there at the time and when he approached her after seeing her for the first time that school year to simply say hello and ask for directions to a classroom, she gave him a cold shoulder. She treated him as if he were a complete stranger, someone she had never known who was attempting to "come on" to her. Both agree that it was this simple slight or “blow off” on Marcy’s part that served as the catalyst to cause their warm and considerate relationship to turn cool and distant.

On the other hand, Marcia, was undergoing a severe identity and self-esteem crisis herself. She did not desire any emotional entanglements and this was her way of informing Larry to keep his distance and stay away for now. Also, she was concerned about what people might say to him about her and what he may think if something negative was said.

However, he was not aware of her internal conflicts and emotional upheaval. All that he knew was that he needed and desired to be accepted by her, to belong to her world. As stated earlier, one of his prime motives for attending NCSA was to be near her so that he could impress upon her that he had really matured and transformed his behavior.

A few weeks later, Marcia acted as though "nothing had happened". She tried, but he was unwilling to simply let it go. He felt like giving her a copy of the song, “Walk on By,” by Isaac Hayes. One morning between classes she asked him why he no longer smiled. He was tempted to be unkind and reveal to her that she was responsible for the scowl and tormented countenance that he bore. He had grown so very weary of her subtle rejections, inattentiveness, and foolish games.

However, Larry's thinking had become extreme, twisted, and had ignored that which existed in fact. He began rationalizing that he had been emotionally seduced and deflowered by Marcia.

His way of thinking was that his virginal heart had been violated in a ruthless and callous way and then simply cast aside as undesirable. In his mind this was the utmost abuse of affection, tantamount to the lost of one’s physical virginity to seduction by one whose heart was untrue and pretentious. He felt ravished, debauched, and emotionally molested.

Despite his intense longing and desire for her, Larry harbored a deep seated anger and hurt that only grew each time he saw her lovely face. It was beyond his comprehension, her inability to love him as he loved and cherished her. Her eyes when they looked upon him merely reflected friendship.

He wanted to see desire, longing, and passion. His favorite poet Robert Frost was quoted as saying that, “Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.” This is what Larry longed for. He desired to ask her why? Why was she incapable of loving him ...incapable of breaking off just a small piece of her heart and giving it to him? Why was he always kept at arm’s length?

Emotionally and mentally he had always exposed himself to Marcia....raw, naked, unpretentious, and never hypocritical. Characteristically, he never used “lines”, flattery, charm, charisma, or money. Nor did he engage in the typical mating games that guys often played to impress and secure an object of desire. He revealed his true self with total honesty, realizing that this could jeopardize his prospects for success with her, as it initially did.

Of all the guys that she had ever been involved with, he had never betrayed her, used her, or lied to her. In his mind, no guy had waited for her longer, praised her in poetry and song, wept for and cherished her, or loved her more completely than he.

It was also painful and bewildering to Larry that the actions that had so repulsed her such as his drinking and smoking, actions that led to his banishment from her affection in 1968, were now of no consequence two years later. 

Remarkably, during his period of exile, her new friends, male and female, somehow convinced her it was of merit and worthy of her acceptance as well as indulgence. Many of the core values he cherished in her were suddenly less apparent.

Conversely, Larry had never encouraged nor tempted her with his vices and would have strongly discouraged it. For example, after they had reconciled, he heard her using inappropriate language and asked her where she had learned such language. She reminded him that he was her closest friend and primary source of association. Larry immediately desisted using that form of speech and has never uttered a vulgar word from that day forward.

In fact, anything that could potentially harm her he ceased engaging in to protect her, such as smoking and excessive drinking. That is what true love does. Several years after the aforementioned example he had this confirmed for him by the personification of love, man’s Creator. Larry was shown in the Bible at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 the description of true love. There the Bible states:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” -NIV

“Not self-seeking” means that “love does not think of its own interests….” (NWT) A person displaying true love strives to protect, perseveres and does not give up when circumstances become challenging and difficult.  He is also willing to forgive.

Love is also characterized by truthfulness, not deception and deviousness. As Larry learned during this difficult period, the power of true love can even conquer arrogance and pride, and never gives up hope that perhaps someday the person to which such love is displayed will have a change of heart.

Though difficult, he never veered from this course or altered this pattern during that year, 1970. This too was costly, for he suffered internally, cognizant that if he would merely utilize the unscrupulous and insincere skills that he had honed over the years in acquiring the attention of women, Marcia could be his.

This was especially so during the fall of 1970, his senior year at NCSA. As he originally anticipated, their mutual attraction made her vulnerable and she began to long for any display of affection and attention from Larry. Marcia began to fear that she had allowed the sweet wine of his love to age too long and now it had soured and become bitter.

He could see it in her eyes, hear it in her voice as she persistently approached and pursued him, the intense desire for some sign or indication that there was still a remnant of love. Or perhaps a smoldering ember that could be stirred and reignited into a passionate flame.

However, Larry also discerned that she was no longer the precocious, innocent and wide-eyed fourteen year-old girl that he had fallen so completely for. She was now an enlightened, worldly-wise yet unchartered sea of womanhood whose unpredictable tides he feared to sail.

Thus, he decided to remain safe in port and emotionally anchored to his dismal harbor of familiar loneliness. For three years he had sailed the stormy waters of their relationship, becoming lost without a compass to guide him which ultimately resulted in emotional shipwreck in January, 1970. He scarcely survived his mental breakdown. Hence, he feared that a further voyage would result either in his demise or in a perpetual drifting into oblivion.


"The "blow off" from Marcia was intentional but she was not aware of the severity of its effect on me. Nevertheless, she noticed a gradual change in my disposition and attitude towards her, a very disturbing one. In fact, my attitude and demeanor towards her was the antithesis of my former treatment and manner of interacting with Marcia.

We both contributed to several critical misunderstandings that left me irate and rarely speaking to her and leaving her completely baffled and confused. In all honesty, my behavior was disproportionate to the initial perceived neglect on her part.

Perhaps the most significant factor was my perception that Marcia had misgivings about my attending NCSA, something that she later admitted. Initially, I had noticed a distancing of herself after chorus class and several other brief encounters during the first few days of her return to school in September of 1970.

However, what truly perturbed me was her teasing me on several occasions by implying that I was not attending classes. On the final occasion, I spoke very directly, stern faced with raised eyebrows and said to her in my normal voice, "don't play with me!".

Marcia had observed Marilyn Griffin and I teasing and kidding around and mistakenly felt that she could do the same. Although we were not truly friends, Marilyn and I had a purely platonic relationship that went back three years to junior high school when we were classmates and played in the marching band together at Anderson High.

After my rather blunt statement to Marcia, she walked across the balcony bewildered and confused. Then she leaned over the railing and began staring at me sitting at the window of a lounge in the Commons. Not one to back down, this led to a staring contest for two or three minutes until she shook her head and walked off."

For Marcia to engage him in that type of  teasing was insulting because their relationship was a very serious one and the basis for the teasing was reminiscent of the forms of behavior that she had found unacceptable and had criticized him about at A&T, his cutting classes.

After reflecting on everything that had transpired between them during those initial two weeks and carefully observing Larry's serious and disciplined demeanor, Marcia immediately endeavored on a number of occasions to rectify matters. 

Hoping to repair their strained relationship she asked him to attend the first concert with her and several friends, including Marilyn. Strangely, Larry  thought that she was attempting to set him up with one of her girlfriends. According to him:


"I don't understand how I arrived at that conclusion except that when I inquired who would be among her friends she mentioned several girls and male friends of hers.

I assumed that among the male friends was perhaps someone she was dating, which was not the case because she was seeing no one during that period. She later told me that my assumption was ridiculous. In actuality, she wanted us to spend some time together so that we could talk and hopefully begin dating again.

Without explanation I abruptly declined her invitation and told her that I was there to train as a composer, not to socialize and make friends. I had many friends off campus if I felt the need for companionship."

When Larry refused her invitation to go out with her he did not provide an explanation nor was he tactful in his rejection. In this instance, Larry was just being unkind because he was still upset with her.

The truth of the matter is that he was unable to accept her invitation because his band had a gig on that particular night. However, he did not attempt to explain his reason for declining the invitation. He wanted her to assume that he had no desire to be with her. Despite this, she made weekly and sometimes daily attempts to restore their relationship.

However, on another occasion several months later, Marcia was concerned and essentially accused him of drinking on campus. This was after observing several "unopened" half pint bottles of wine in his attaché case when he opened it to give her a pencil that she had requested. Perturbed by her accusation, Larry told her in essence that it was not her prerogative to monitor his behavior and that it was not her concern.

Angered by his blunt response to her genuine concern and warning that he could get expelled from school by merely having it in his possession, she stated, "You have not changed at all!" Then she proceeded to roll her eyes at him and abruptly walked off.

The reality is that he never cut any classes that year nor consumed a drop of alcohol on campus. Furthermore, her statement that he had not changed had reference to his immature conduct and drinking when they had dated in 1968 and led to their breakup. Her questioning his judgment and conduct tore into Larry's heart because he had changed extensively, mostly because of his love for her.

Although he understood how incriminating it looked, it pained him that she did not at least permit him to explain why he had the wine in his attaché case but quickly assumed that he was drinking or would soon be consuming alcohol on campus. Larry had bought it the previous night on his way home and had forgotten to take it out of his case. He was equally surprised to see the bottles of "Ripple".

Nor did Marcia take into consideration or acknowledge that his overall conduct was in no way similar to his mistakes of the past. She did not smell alcohol on him nor was he conducting himself inappropriately as he customarily did when he had been drinking. Rather, he was quietly composing as she had always observed him with no change in his typical demeanor.

On the other hand, Larry should have appreciated that it was out of genuine concern for his well-being and status in school that she spoke up. She had his best interest in mind and only made the remark about his not changing when he strongly rebuked her for warning him of the serious consequences of his actions.





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