August 28th, 2008
Part 1 Here.
Part 2 Here.
Part 3 Here.
Part 4 Here.
“A man and a woman, they asked me what happened, surveyed the destroyed door, and wrote on their pads of paper. There wasn’t any sympathy, which I didn’t expect, but found curious. I hoped that this latest incident would put my stalker away for good, but my heart sank when I heard the male cop ask me irritably, “What did you do to make him so obsessed with you?”…”
I responded with indignation. I didn’t care if I suffered from stereotyping, this guy was a typical spiky-haired, clueless goombah, who seemed to truly believe that the woman was the problem. His partner tried to save his gaffe, but I just walked away in disgust. From that point forward, I only answered her questions for the police report.
I was tired. So tired of this crap. I told her how “my stalker” had broken in a few weeks earlier, had hid under my bed, had thrown a rock through my window, vandalized my office, slashed the tires of some guy in my apartment, called me at all hours and now this. THIS. I wanted to tell the policewoman everything, plead for protection, ask what to do next, but she was just there for the report. Soon, both of them left. My apartment manager, who’d silently listened the whole time, told me there was nothing he could do about the door now. He’d have to install a new one. But I plain didn’t care. I packed a few things and left the splinters and the hole and the warped nuts and bolts and left for my friend’s house.
The next morning, I returned to my apartment where the damage looked far worse in the daylight. The door seemed made of paper, and the only part of it still attached to the door frame was one jagged sliver. I’d asked my apartment manager to escort me upstairs, just in case, and we both gasped as we walked inside and saw, strewn across my bed, flowers, cards, and letters. I knew the stalker had left them. He’d come back and had the complete gall to walk through the busted door he’d kicked in and leave me this further detritus.
Sure enough, the assorted cards — there were dozens — bore his signature. The letters rambled, but not one contained an apology or an acknowledgment that what he’d done was deranged. I gathered the bundle and kept them to show the police. Next I walked to my neighbor’s place and knocked on his door. He answered quickly. I gave him a flyer I’d made that morning, with my stalker’s photo and physical description, and asked him if he’d heard the ruckus last night. He paused, then admitted that he had heard the door knocked down and my scream seconds later. For a second, I couldn’t believe my ears, then asked why he hadn’t called the police. His answer — that he didn’t want to get in the middle of it — seemed pathetic, but de rigeur. I wondered who else had heard, but not done anything. I later found out that the couple just below me also opted not to call the police after hearing me scream and the pounding on their ceiling.
Deflated, I made plans to move out. I could not, would not, stay there anymore. Obviously, I had no protection and I needed to go somewhere unknown to my stalker. I felt completely alone and vulnerable. Luckily, my parents planned to arrive later that day to help me and to stay with me in my apartment until I could move.
As soon as I’d picked my mom and dad up from the airport, we started looking for new apartments. I found a couple that might work, but they weren’t available for weeks. Still, we’d made progress, and I felt a little better. It’d been a long 24 hours, so after dinner that night, the three of us returned to my apartment with its new door and settled in for the night. I’d given my parents my bed, and I slept fitfully on the couch.
It was early when I heard the rustling. Maybe 5AM or 6. It took awhile for me to register that someone was outside, trying to get in. I screamed for my dad, who hopped up from bed in his underwear. We all ran to the patio door and saw my stalker, clad in a white tux, attempting to open the sliding glass door. Since there wasn’t a balcony, he balanced on my downstair neighbor’s thin windowsill while he pushed at the door.
My dad could not open that door fast enough. I picked up the phone to call the police as I watched my dad try to pull my stalker into the apartment. I hoped the cops would get there before that happened. Luckily, for some reason, the screen door stuck, and as my dad yanked on it, my stalker kept telling him, “I want to marry your daughter!” I want to marry your daughter.”
If not for the seriousness of the situation, I would have burst out laughing. Years later, my dad did imitations of that ridiculous morning, which put us in stitches. But it’d be a while yet before any of us laughed at anything that happened that day. The police promised to come right away and I focused on pulling my dad away from the door. The stalker kept losing his foothold, and when my neighbor opened her window below, she grabbed his feet. He dropped to the ground, rolled, and took off.
A long half hour later, the police arrived. There wasn’t anything they could do, they said, as no crime had taken place. The stalker didn’t gain entrance to the apartment, so according to the police, there wasn’t anything to report. Still, at my insistence, they filled out an incident report, and left.
The apathy on the part of the authorities surprised my mom and dad, although I was pretty numb to it by now. Even later, as we drove to look for new apartments and saw the stalker making his way down my street with an armload of just-picked flowers and a new bundle of cards, the police refused to come, saying he was free to walk anywhere he wanted.
My parents left a few days later, and I never spent another night in that apartment. I broke my lease, for good reason, I thought, although the property management company disagreed, and held me to the contract, forcing me to find someone to sublet the apartment. After I moved, all stayed quiet. The stalker must have moved to Europe as I received several international deliveries at work — furry dayplanners, flowers, food.
Years passed, I moved a couple of hundred miles away, and didn’t think about my stalker for a long time. At least until I received a letter from a credit agency telling me that I owed money to an L.A. property management company. Turns out my old apartment manager charged me for breaking my lease and put it on my permanent record. Just before the statute of limitations on that kind of thing ran out.
I fought back. I wrote letter after letter, made phone call after phone call. In the end, I contacted the LAPD for copies of those police and incidence reports they filed all those years ago. Surely, there was a stack of them in the archives. But no. As I waited on the phone, a sheriff came back on the line to tell me that not one report had ever been filed. There was no record. Not one policeman or woman ever officially documented any of the things that had happened four years prior.
I hung up the phone, more sad than disgusted. And I wondered about all those women out there, who suffered far worse than I had from domestic violence, a stalker, a predator. And I hoped to God that they’d be all right.