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A Time To Speak

No longer riding on the merry-go-round, I just had to let it go.

John Lennon


Chapter Twenty-One

Alecia

I remember the next day well, because of what came after it. Nothing suggested that anything unusual was coming. I taught piano lessons in the morning, had lunch with a friend, and held office hours in the afternoon. Three of my students had just gone through an adjudication the week before, and they all wanted to talk about the judge's remarks. After office hours came a rehearsal for Vespers, then dinner in the cafetorium. There was a sale on blouses at my favorite store in the mall, so I took my campus daughter to do some much needed shopping. I didn't get home until 9:30 that night, and I was too tired to turn on the computer to see what Regina, Katrina and the rest were up to. I went straight to bed.


John

I remember the next day pretty well too. It was an ordinary day, just work and stuff, until my boss called me aside late in the afternoon and asked to talk to me. Usually that means bad news, but that was the day he told me I was getting a promotion. They had signed on a major client that had sites up and down the southeastern coast, and they would need me to travel a lot to do maintenance and troubleshooting on their network systems. My title wouldn't change, but my responsibilities and salary would. My boss and I talked about it until almost six that night, and then when I got home I took Janna out to celebrate. We both got kind of plastered, which was unusual for the middle of the week, for us, but we were celebrating, you know? When we got home neither of us got to sleep for a while, if you know what I mean. I sure wasn't thinking about going online right then.


Win

The next day was a long one. There was a staff meeting at lunch to talk about how to implement the achievement testing we would have next month, and after school I tutored three students in remedial math. After I got home, it was time to serve dinner, grade spelling tests and call two parents to set up conferences, and then Clark and I had to pay some bills. I almost didn't get on Facebook at all, I was so tired, but I hadn't checked online all day, so I kissed Clark good night and said I wouldn't be long. He went to bed while I logged on and went to the Survivors page. My eye was immediately caught by the top thread of the day. It had been started by Katrina, about an hour and a half previously.

Katrina

We've been saying all along that FCU doesn't take allegations of abuse seriously. Now we have proof. Proof! Check out the comments made by a CURRENT faculty member, sent to us by a concerned reader. We have the names blocked out for privacy's sake, but read for yourself and see if this sounds like FCU really cares about what abuse victims have suffered.


WinQuote

It took me a minute to recognize the words from the conversation I'd had with Alecia and John, in our private group. My heart dropped. It dropped right to the floor, and then kept on going.



Katrina

And here's a conversation that this same faculty member had about me, sent to me by another concerned reader.


Win Quote

I felt sick, violated. That conversation we'd had was supposed to be private.



Regina

This same faculty member also demonstrates the rampant homophobia on campus at FCU:


Alecia Quote

You see? This faculty member doesn't want to admit what she knows is the truth. Even though she works in the music department, and KNOWS that there are many gays there, it's easier to say that Neville is mistaken about his own orientation than to admit to a gay presence on campus. This is homophobia at its worst. This senior piano faculty member also doesn't think the school should be open and transparent:


Alecia quote

I hadn't known anything about this conversation between Alecia and Reg. Poor Alecia. There was only one senior piano faculty member who was active in FCU circles on Facebook. Everybody would know it was her.



Bonita

To the faculty member who wrote all these things: you know who you are. You're a coward for saying all these horrible things about Katrina and then not admitting them publicly. You're what the Lord calls a wolf in sheep's clothing, a whited sepulcher, a valley of dead man's bones. Stand up and own your words and actions. OWN THEM!!!!! You can contact me, personally, to make your apologies, because Katrina shouldn't have to face your kind of hate after everything she's been through. Send me a PM, TODAY, explaining how you plan to make this right. Do it, or there'll be hell to pay some day. Some day soon. SOON!


I couldn't believe it. I'd sent Regina and Katrina copies of that conversation with Alecia while I was working with them on the petition, I'm not sure why. Maybe I was just eager to have their approval, by showing them that I wasn't part of that horrible machine that didn't believe Katrina. Katrina had seemed to need that reassurance so badly. But now here was our private conversation, online for the whole world to see.

Reg and Katrina had definitely gone overboard with this one. They had never mentioned anything about publishing any part of the conversation. I was going to have to contact them and ask them, nicely, to take the post down, even if I ruffled a few feathers doing so. I might hurt their feelings by asking them to do that, but it just wasn't right to air that kind of thing publicly, when Alecia had no chance to explain her remarks. It wasn't fair to her. Reg and Katrina were worked up, a little over the top, but if I told them more about Alecia and got them to realize she was one of the good guys, they'd definitely take it down.

Don't laugh. Honestly, I thought it would be that simple.

It was too late at night to call either Reg or Katrina on the phone, but I did it anyway. My hand shook as I dialed Katrina's number, while Clark, who had come downstairs for a glass of water, just looked at me in amazement. I was going to have to explain all this to him sometime soon.

I called both Katrina's number and Reg's. Both were busy. They were probably talking to each other.

Just across the street from our house was a big playground, always filled with kids during the day but empty now, with all the equipment motionless in the street lights. I remember staring out at the playground after trying to reach Katrina and Reg for fifteen minutes that night. There was a merry-go-round there, an old-fashioned metal one with room for only six kids at a time. Some of the kids in the neighborhood, the bossy ones I guess, liked to commandeer that merry go round. They would go sit in the very middle of it and yell at the kids on the outside to turn it faster and faster, while they sat in the middle and enjoyed the motion the others created. Then, just when it got going really fast and the kids on the outside tried to jump onto it, the kids in the middle would push them off.

I knew exactly how those kids felt.

merry go round