Monday, August 4, 2014

Being Stalked

I’m no celebrity.  And at this time, I wasn’t even an author.

My mother was one of those firm believers that you should be nice to everyone because everyone is fighting their own battles.  I still believe this, but these days, I’m a lot more cautious.  I met Jon Dahl in high school.  He was a year older than me and dressed like your average nerd, safety-pinned glasses, plastic pencil holder in his shirt pocket, and all.

He didn’t have friends so I befriended him.  He became too friendly.  I managed to avoid him through high school, but college turned out differently.  He took every class that I did.  Instead of facing the teacher, he turned his chair around and stared at me the entire class. He followed me down the halls, yelling my name.  If I tried to comment in class, Jon was there making some flippant remark in return.  I became a bundle of nerves. I even had other male students I didn’t even know threaten him to leave me alone.

Even my professors had become uncomfortable with the situation and couldn’t help but question me whether I was all right.  What could I say?  I feared every corner I rounded.  I’d become a chin-trembling, pigeon-toed, stumbling wreck of a person with thoughts of dropping out of college rather than face the humiliation and uncertainness of what Jon Dahl would do next.

It didn’t end. Jon continued to stalk me.

One day, I arrived at campus and noticed my classmates glancing up at me from the school newspaper, whispering, grinning, pointing, and even a few embarrassed looks.  I had no idea what was going on but continued on to class, wondering with my stomach in knots as usual. I immediately noticed Jon’s absence and gave a sigh of relief.  Could the paper have said he’d dropped out?

I wish.

With timid hands and a red face, one of my classmates slid the school paper in my direction.  There on page two the headline read, “My Wife, Cindy” by Jon Dahl.  I sunk in my seat, my heart hitching in my chest and sobs trapping in my throat.  I peeked beyond the paper to everyone staring at me.  I might as well have been naked standing before the class.  I shriveled in my seat but my body wanted to flee out the door.

I can’t begin to remember, nor do I want to remember, all of the horrible statements Jon made about me in the paper.  The day continued with everyone staring at me because they knew Jon meant me.  I couldn’t believe a college newspaper would print such…such garbage.  Yes, there’s such a thing as freedom of the press, but what did someone’s misguided fantasies have to do with life on campus, world events, or the truth?

I couldn’t take it any longer.  I’d been beaten down and wanted the emotional pain to end.  I would drop out.  I didn’t care what my future held.  My friends begged me not to leave and for several days, Jon didn’t come to class, giving me a much needed reprieve.  When he did reappear, he had a black eye.  He didn’t turn around and face me in class.  Someone had physically threatened him.  I felt a sense of pride that someone had stood up for me, but also guilt that it had come to such a level.

Not long after, Jon was expelled for hacking the college computer.  Life became easier, and I continued my education.  I didn’t become a total introvert, and I still have a tendency to befriend everyone.  I guess my mother’s teachings will never leave me.  Sometimes, I’m lucky and make a good friend and sometimes I get used.  In fact, John wasn’t my last experience with a stalker.  But, that’s another story.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
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Copyright: Novic / 123RF Stock Photo

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