I told him I couldn’t be his friend, much less anything he desired. I didn’t mean to hurt him. The very act in itself was brutal to us both. But I had to put my foot down.
When we were friends, I enjoyed his company alright, even when he made things awkward, lingering in my hugs just a little longer than anyone else. We had a lot in common from our love of old movies to the books we read, music we enjoyed.
So that’s when I thought he was just goofing around when he leaned over at the movies to tell me he wanted to kiss me. I giggled quietly and said something to the effect of how ridiculous that was. “No, I’m serious,” he told me and when I turned to look at him, he continued, “I have had my eye on you for a long time.” “Me?” I asked, “Why me?” “Oh, I can’t think of a bad reason why not,” he said. Well, I could think of several. Our friendship was good, I had someone in my life, just to name two. He looked crushed.
Well he didn’t get that kiss and we said goodbye in the lobby of the theatre. No hug that day, either. After a few weeks, I get this text: I wanna be with you so badly. Please say yes and make me happy. Okaaay, what the hell?? Shaking all over, I text back: Are you crazy? You know I’m with someone, and you know we are friends. He texts back: About you, that’s all. I text: Where is this coming from? He texts: My heart. Hmmm…. I don’t know what to say, so I put my phone down to think. 5 minutes, 10. 15. My phone buzzed. I go pick it up and another text appears: Do you think you’re too good for me? I quickly respond: no, I don’t think I’m too good for anyone, I just didn’t know how to respond just yet and was thinking what I wanted to say. Pops up: Stupid bitch. You’ll regret this. Okay, I went from amusement, to puzzled, and now I’m scared. Really scared. But I have things to do, so I don’t respond. Later that night as I’m recanting the story to my boyfriend, he tells me, “I always thought he was odd. Stay away from him.” “Right,” I confirm. I blocked his number from my phone thinking I wouldn’t hear from him. He then began leaving messages on my wall on Facebook, leaving crude comments on twitter and Instagram. Block. Block, block. I am thoroughly creeped.
The next morning, coffee and book in hand, I decide to sit on my patio. My neighbor across the street is watering his flowers and when I catch his eye, I wave. After finishing, he jogs over. I look up from my book and say good morning, but the look on his face suggests otherwise. “What’s wrong, Ron?” “Come here”, he says grimly. “You need to see this.” He began walking across the lawn, so I get up to follow. He stops at his driveway, so I too, stop. He takes me by the shoulders and pivots me so I’m facing my house. To my shock and disbelief, I now see what troubled Ron. Scrawled across the siding in red, is a message: “Die Bitch” and “Whore”. Red spray paint. “Oh my God. What do I do?” Ron assures me he has taken photos and emailed them to the local precinct. He then takes a hysterical, sobbing me to the station so I can fill out vandalism reports, because, clearly I know who did it. No, I didn’t catch him in the act, I don’t know if he will come back. Yes, I would like help getting it off. Please. I see Ron in the glass walled lobby walking, no pacing, phone to his ear. After an hour, finally the cop I talked to cuts me loose. Ron talks me into breakfast. He excuses himself to take a call outside. When he returns, he looks relieved.
Turning the corner onto our block, I see cars lining the street. Then my house comes into view. The ugly paint is gone, and my little grey home gleams, sparkles. I look at Ron who shrugs, and says, “I know people.”
The next few weeks go smoothly. No corresponding messages. One night I was having trouble sleeping so I get up, make a cup of tea when I hear rattling. It’s my back door. I duck behind the pantry door and call Ron, then 911. I don’t dare move. After 5 or 6 minutes I hear Ron’s voice, booming, “Hands up or I’ll shoot!” Then the unmistakeable red and blue lights. I pull on some clothes and walk outside. “Ma’am, we need you to identify the suspect. Is this the same one you filed a report on?” “Yes,” comes out a hoarse whisper,”That’s him.” I learn later he was arrested on a laundry list of charges. After placing him in a cell, the officers left that part of the jail. When the day shift arrives and began making rounds, they discover him hanging in his cell. He’d been dead 4-6 hours.
And that’s when the true horror began. Doors slamming, lights that were off, come back on, faucets being turned on,then off, dishes on the cabinet were on the counters the next day, television blaring then muted. I could hear his whispers all the time. One night, sitting in my darkened living room, he sat next to me on the couch. I wasn’t scared, annoyed, but not scared. He asks me if we can still be friends. “No” I say. “Can we start over?” “No,” I repeat. I explain how I can’t be anything to him now. No matter how many times I explain, he just doesn’t get it. Tomorrow I have a priest coming. And I’m not Catholic. I just want him to leave me alone. I don’t feel that’s too much to ask.