I don’t believe it.
And I won’t stay silent when people say, “Boys will be boys.”
My husband isn’t and never was like that.
Nor is my son.
And I’m certain my father never passed through an abusive phase on his way to becoming a fine man.
And neither did Allan Turgeon.
Decency in College
As with most of my 40+ year-old memories, what I recall of Allan is a little fuzzy.
When I was a freshman at the University of New Hampshire, he was a senior.
Or was I a sophomore?
Both of us were part of the business school, and each of us grew up in Maine.
And for some reason I can’t recall, one week-end we drove to New York City — Allan, me, and his classmate and friend, Joey Nocero.
When we arrived in the wee hours they permitted me to stand between them like Debbie Reynolds flanked by Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor.
Then we danced down Broadway in the rain.
That memory is clear.
I won’t stay silent when people say,
“Boys will be boys.”
And the other thing that remains vivid is the hotel room we shared with its solitary, double bed.
When I first saw the layout, I didn’t experience fear or panic so much as a rush of concern.
But the feeling didn’t last.
Allan and Joey said the bed was mine as the two of them grabbed pillows and slept on the floor.
The next time Allan showed his true colors was at the end of his last semester.
He invited me to a fraternity dance, and I joined him there wearing an outfit I’d sewn in high school along with stilt-height wedge heels.
But memories of the party itself are unclear.
I know it was crowded and loud.
Thank you, Allan. Your decency helped ensure that I experience life without lugging around heavy scars.
And I’m sure alcohol was a dominant feature.
By the end of the party I was ready to crash in Allan’s room and call it a night.
But he refused.
“You’re not staying here.
“You can’t be around these drunk guys,” he said.
So he drove me to my dorm where I sleepily, if innocently, said good night.
In Hindsight a Gift
I am one of the two-out-of-three women in this country who has been spared sexual assault.
Yet I know the anxiety that accompanies fear of violation.
What woman doesn’t?
And whether that alarm bell is taught or acquired, I can’t say.
I didn’t have it growing up, and it’s not part of life now.
But in between, worrisome moments were frequent.
So thank you, Allan.
Your decency helped ensure that I experience life without lugging around heavy scars.
And while I understand that feeling safe in the world isn’t shared by all humans, it’s only recently I’ve come to appreciate how rare my reality may be.
• Thank someone who made your life easier or better.
• And read about the simple lessons Mr. Rogers exposed us to.
• • •
Ellen Synakowski (she/her/hers) lives in Laramie, Wyoming. Her website is EllenSynakowski.com.
“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” — C. West
* This post was written in beleaguered anticipation of the Kavanaugh Supreme Court vote.
** Allan Turgeon still lives in Maine. He has been married 37 years, has two sons, two very young grandchildren, and, I imagine, he’s still doing the right things.