Come and sit. I want to tell you a story… It’s a good one, I think, with all the important elements of stories. Characters in opposition. Love. Loss. Memory. Growth. Come, sit. Just for a moment….
The fall of my freshman year of high school, I met a boy. I was 15. He was a senior at my high school. Tall, dark haired. He played chess. He read. He did some type of karate training that allowed him to rest for hours in a low crouch without moving. He was my first boyfriend. I don’t know that I loved him, but I thought I did, and that was enough.
At some point, my father found out and forbade me to see him. It was the age thing, I think. That and the fact that I’d not told him in the first place. I said I wouldn’t.
Of course, I did. We dated from that fall almost until my birthday in April, if I remember right. (Which I may not. I have a notoriously horrible memory, which is half the reason I write fiction and not memoir). We went on dates when I could somehow sneak away, we wrote notes and traded necklaces (he promptly lost mine, which would never have happened in fiction either). But mainly we kissed a lot, mainly in the school stairwells.
At some point around spring, I didn’t want to date him anymore. I think it was more that I was growing and changing than anything else. He wanted to go farther than kissing too, and I knew that I didn’t want that, not with him. I broke up with him. I don’t remember how. Probably I told him in person. I’d like to think I did.
Here is what I do remember: His fist curling the edge of the locker next to mine (Mitch George — we had joint lockers from kindergarten to graduation, I swear.). His protests. The letters. His car, following my school bus home, and then the way he drove so so slow, following me as I walked the mile from the school bus stop to my house. The way my heart thudded every time this happened, so hard it closed my throat, and how he would veer away at the very last minute, before I got to my driveway. The spring break where I promptly got mono and spent the break curled up on my living room floor in pain. My father answering the phone. The words, the tone. Somehow, even in my pain-induced state, I knew what was happening–the boy had called my father, and somehow, unbelievably, was telling him that we were having sex, that he’d gotten me pregnant and wanted to marry me. The week I returned to school to his suicide note taped to the outside of my locker. So many whispered phone calls with me in the bathroom, saying, “Please, don’t do that. I’m not worth killing yourself over. You have so much to lose.” How he quit school a mere two months before he was due to graduate with honors. How I don’t know what became of him.
There’s more to this story, of course. There always is. But this is the part of the story that I want to tell. It was my first experience with any kind of ‘stalker’. The broken-hearted stalker. I’ve had more of those since then, but he was the first. The one who scared me the most. Not scared for my life, never. He wasn’t like that. But scared for him. Scared of what my father might do. Terrified of the power I now understood that I held. Of what I might become if I used it.
There are many ways to stalk someone. To make them afraid. To haunt their footsteps and send a shiver up their spine. Even more in today’s world of instant communication. Some stalkers are truly psychotic. Truly dangerous to life and limb. Others become that way through an experience. It can be a temporary, softer kind of pursuit. Love has the power to turn people into stalkers. So does fear. Anger. Hate. Grief. Lust. Desire. Suspicion. Greed. But love. Love is the hardest kind, because it breaks your heart even as you load your gun.
Kiss kiss bang bang, s.
When love is not madness, it is not love. ~Pedro Calderon de la Barca
PS – Yesterday and today’s amazing and incredible imagines from FaerieNymph