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Kitchen Sink

It Never Quite Goes Away, Pt. 3

June 30th, 2008

Part 1 Here.

Part 2 Here.

 

Far From the End

 

So he’s trembling on my doorstep, clutching a ridiculous and probably stolen, bottle of wine. He’s sweat-soaked, too, which I discover is because he walked the 16 miles to my apartment in the late August sun. I’m surprised to see him, really, I thought it was over. But, I’m hospitable to a point. I tell him, thanks for the wine, but I’m on my way to San Diego to visit a friend, which was the truth. He asks for her name, then scribbles an indecipherable message on the bottle label, wishing us a good time or some such crazy thing, and thrusts the bottle into my arms.

 

He’s almost whispering before I shut the door, begging me to re-think my decision to end the relationship. And now I see him clearly: a lost, unbalanced, surreal cut-out of the person I thought he was — and who he led me to believe existed. I fought the urge to be cruel, really there’s so much I haven’t told you of the selfish, twisted things he’d do — and I was largely successful. Still, there was no doubt that when I closed the door, it was for the last time.

 

I drove to San Diego a scant hour later, relieved and free. Later that evening, as my best friend and I sipped the wine, she confided that she’d always known he was “off,” and that she’d bitten her tongue time and again when I spoke of our relationship. Unlike any other break-up before or after, I flew light and unfettered — no regrets, no looking back. I’d done the right thing.

 

The weekend passed in a blur. Then, late Sunday, before I headed home, I checked my answering machine, and to my utter astonishment, heard the robot voice announce that I had 37 new messages. After the first 15, I hung up in numb horror. Each message he left — and he’d left all 37 — alternated between scary threats and yearning regret. He’d rotate from, “You’ve got a flat ass!” to “I want to caress your breasts,” within the same five-minute span. Listening, it came hurtling at me in one swift instant: this was not over and I had no idea what I was dealing with.

 

So I returned home to more messages. And more after that. Then, still more. I changed my phone number a week later, and so he’d stand outside my apartment, shouting up at my second-story window and yelling into my apartment intercom.

 

Nowhere was I safe. In the two months we dated, he’d seen where I worked, who my friends were, where I hung out. As a result, that entire post-break-up month I’d find him in my office, bearing strange gifts like a bear backpack stuffed with dead leaves; around corners, in the nooks, in the crannies. I never knew where he’d turn up, but I tried to be prepared for anything.

 

Co-workers locked me in the bathroom when he came to call, friends hid me in their homes. Yet, he’d find ways in. He showed up at my friend’s apartments, muscle his way into my parking garage, keen threats from outside restaurants. My mom called in a panic one day to tell me he’d contacted her with the news he might have AIDS. Then the next day, he put a phlebotomist on the phone to tell me personally that he in fact, did not have AIDS. And the games went on.

 

It got worse. So, so much worse. He vandalized the cars of people he thought I was dating, painted over every window at my office, threw rocks in my windows. During this time, I called the police repeatedly. And if someone came, the disinterested, couldn’t-care-less looks on their faces stripped me of any pretense of protection.

 

And so he grew bolder. One day, I received an unexpected call that the police had just taken him to jail for breaking and entering. Apparently, a neighbor observed him scaling my wall and climbing into my tiny bedroom window. By the time the apartment manager let the police in, they’d found him under my bed. When I think of what would have happened in those hours after I arrived home from work that day – had my neighbor not called — I still shiver.

 

I filed a restraining order the next morning and brought it to jail. He had no place of residence, so I’d never been able to serve him before, but this time, the deputy brought it back to his cell, and I really thought this document would conquer all.

 

Oh, but no. On my scheduled court date a few weeks later, I stopped by the Santa Monica courthouse on my way to Dallas for a business trip. I ran into him in the hall outside the courtroom — really, there were so few safeguards for the stalked at that time — and pleaded with him to leave me alone. After all, I foolishly didn’t buy that he were capable of violence or presented a real threat. I viewed him as an elevated nuisance, but something I could handle overall. And so he agreed. He’d leave me alone, and relieved, I left for Dallas — without arguing my right to the restraining order.

 

I do not have to tell you what a grave misjudgment I made. When I returned from Dallas, I came home to more of the same, but worse. I called his friends I knew and shared the gravity of the situation with them. Each time, I hung up with a promise made to talk some sense into him. Then, finally, I heard he planned to move to Europe.

 

In the days following that news, I rejoiced. All remained quiet. For the first time in months, I wasn’t awakened by a rustling outside my apartment, a shout from the stair, a gift on the doorstep. Up to that point, I’d slept at friend’s homes many nights, or they stayed with me. Emboldened by the respite from his relentless emotional assault, I came home one night to my own place and fell asleep easily for the first time in months.

 

I remember screaming. I don’t recall what woke me up, but surveying the scene, it must have been the sound of my door being obliterated. The wood lay splintered in the entry and a large hole gaped where the door used to be. And as my eyes further adjusted, I saw him there, standing silent at the foot of my bed.

 

{{One last continuance…The resolution is coming. This mother took way more out of me than I realized it would…and I’ve got PROMPTuesday to prepare…}}

 

Part 4 Here.

On June 30th, 2008, Steph said:

Jesus, Mary and Joseph…if I didn’t know that you made it out alive, I’d be more than a little scared and a whole lot pissed about a to be continued here.

Thankfully, I know you made it out alive, so I don’t have to chew my hands off while I wait for the conclusion.

By the way, I love you, and I’m glad you made it out. More glad than I can say, my friend.

On June 30th, 2008, Jenn @ Juggling Life said:

This is incredible.

On June 30th, 2008, Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said:

Honey, rest your weary head and come back to it when you can. We’re here for you, waiting with your pipe and slippers.

On June 30th, 2008, Melanie said:

Wow. This is one amazing story you have to tell. Thanks for having the courage to share it.

On July 1st, 2008, Da Goddess said:

I, for one, am grateful you made it through the ordeal. The emotional scars never really goes away, but they do fade.

You’ve written so well and so vividly, this should be mandatory reading material for ANY woman who’s ever faced or is facing a stalker.

On July 1st, 2008, matteroffactmommy said:

wow, deb. i certainly hope that this is somehow calming or therapeutic for you to put this down ‘on paper’… a stalker, indeed.

so glad you made it out ALIVE. :D

On July 1st, 2008, Deborah said:

Unbelievable. Half way through I thought, oh I so know what you were going through, because I’ve had a stalker too. Then as it proceeded it became apparent this was way, way worse than anything I ever experienced. My God. I hope this guy ended up in a mental institution, and is still there.

On July 1st, 2008, Eden said:

Oh come on! I need the next part of this now!

I might steal the bear backpack full og dead leaves idea ;)

On July 1st, 2008, Clink said:

Holy crap.
I just keep thanking god that you are ok.

On July 1st, 2008, pajama momma said:

wow, just, wow

{{{shudder}}}

stomach ill reading that

On July 1st, 2008, Amanda - The Mom Crowd said:

Gosh. That is SCARY. I am so thankful you are okay. I am with Da Goddess you should have this published somewhere that other women cn read it.

On July 1st, 2008, Mark Salinas said:

What a story and wow!

On July 1st, 2008, Jill said:

OMG!!! I’ve been waiting to hear the end of this story… I can NOT believe this is how it’s turning out. I’m seriously on the edge of my seat.

On July 2nd, 2008, To Think Is To Create said:

You are fabu, too. Amazing.

On July 2nd, 2008, Noel said:

OMG, this is so scary. :(

On July 7th, 2008, Jennifer H said:

My god. I’ve just read parts 1 and 2, and this. My stomach is in knots.

As others have said, it’s good to know you came out of it alive.

On July 16th, 2008, mommypie said:

HOLY HELL.

How have I missed this story?!?!? I still have to go back to the beginning, but all I can say is … WOW.

I thought I had crazies in my past. You definitely win.

SOOO thankful for your neighbor.

xoxox

On July 16th, 2008, mommypie said:

PS — Have I told you lately what an UNBELIEVABLE storyteller you are? Criminey.

On August 15th, 2008, robyn said:

Hey, when are you going to tell us the end of this creepy story? Maybe you did, and I missed it. (Yeah, maybe I’m a creepy stalker. Don’t mind me.)

On August 27th, 2008, sandiegomomma.com » Blog Archive » It Never Quite Goes Away said:

[…] Part III Here. […]

On August 27th, 2008, sandiegomomma.com » Blog Archive » It Never Quite Goes Away, Con’t said:

[…] Part III Here. […]

On June 9th, 2009, San Diego Momma » Blog Archive » It Never Quite Goes Away, Pt. 5 said:

[…] Part 3 Here. […]

On June 9th, 2009, San Diego Momma » Blog Archive » It Never Quite Goes Away, Pt. 4 said:

[…] Part 3 Here. […]

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