I remember when you thought I was stalking you. I don't even know if you remember me or not. What ever. Hope you are doing well. Let me know what's up, and if you don't remember me then don't worry about it. See ya.
- Frank (the name has been changed for obvious reasons)
Several thoughts came to mind: Frank? Stalker? Which stalker?
I, unfortunately, have had more than one stalker episode in my life, and when I refer to stalker I don’t mean the funny, run into you too often on the street sort of thing.
The first was in high school; we were both percussionists in the band. What started as an effort to befriend a lonely, socially awkward underclassman soon turned into an unsettling and frightening attachment. I remember the first time we spoke he offered me Mentos. Not knowing what lie ahead in that decision, I naively took one of his freshmakers and commented how I really loved those silly Mentos commercials. The next day he brought me an entire pack of Mentos as a gift. The next week he started remarking on the choice of shoes I was wearing with my outfit and proceeded to name off almost every pair I had ever worn to school. “How do you decide which of your 23 pairs to wear everyday,” he asked. “I don’t know,” was all I could manage.
Not long after that came the Valentine’s gift; an Aerosmith CD. As a closeted Aerosmith fan I found the gift to be a little disconcerting. How did he know that I secretly rocked out to that gorgeous Steve Tyler and his amazing rock ballads?
Finally came the shoebox filled with paperclips. This wasn’t a shoebox as in a box that shoes come packaged in at the store, but as in a small ceramic dish with a Victorian looking ceramic shoe on top. Inside were striped paper clips in a variety of different colors. What was he trying to tell me?
I brushed off most of our interactions as a weird version of friendship until the day when I was approached in the lunch line by one of his few friends, decked out in full gothic garb. “He loves you so much he hates you,” she said to me spitefully. “He hates you.” Upon relaying her message she stormed off in a whirlwind of fury. That afternoon I marched myself into the school’s social worker’s office, who also happened to be my track coach, and told him about my stalker. As a result the boy was moved to the library to study during our band class together and we never spoke again.
My second stalkerish incident occurred in college when I started receiving cryptic emails in my school email account from an unnamed source. Although I majored in a writing field, the messages contained song lyrics and messages that I didn’t quite understand. At first I didn’t respond, but then the curiosity got the better of me and I finally sent back a response loaded with questions for my secret admirer: Who are you? How do we know each other? What do all these creepy song lyrics mean? After I sent that message I received several more emails, even more frightening that the others. Several months later the emails suddenly ended and that was the end of it.
I found out from Frank’s Myspace page that he has built a new life for himself with a wife and a new career in the healthcare industry. I can’t help but wonder why the email? Why now? Was that you Frank that sent me those emails so long ago or was there some sort of inside joke that I can’t seem to remember?
For now at least, I’ve decided not to respond to his message, because if my experiences with stalkers have taught me anything, it's that a little encouragement unfortunately goes a long way.