I had a disturbing phone call with one of my girlfriends today. Her stalker is back. My friend is in heavy nesting phase, prepping for her upcoming surgery. She's been home more than usual but was out all day last Tuesday. When she returned to her home, she got the creeping sensation that someone (and she knew exactly who that someone is) had been in her apartment while she was out. She chalked it up to stress and silliness until last night when she was preparing dinner and was unable to find the enormous bag of cheese she'd just purchased the week before in the refrigerator. She was sure she hadn't already eaten it. She would have remembered eating two pounds of shredded cheddar. She searched the entire apartment hoping that she'd left a bag of groceries in her trunk or hadn't fully unpacked all her tote bag. No dice. Someone had been in her apartment and had helped himself to a snack.
She called the police today to report the incident. She was nervous before the lone police officer arrived to take her statement. She's complained before about her stalker and had the cops not believe her. We went over the timeline of events together to make sure that she hadn't forgotten any details and to make sure that she didn't sound like an insane person. Yes, she's preparing for a surgery. No, she's not on any medications that might explain her nervousness over missing groceries. Yes the cheese is inconsequential, but this is the straw the camel's back. Yes, I've confronted him. No, he hasn't left me alone as requested. Yes, I want you to talk to him. No, I never had sex with him.
I've been stalked twice in my life. My first stalker was the teenage son of a family friend. He followed me around from age 10 to age 15. The fact that he was a pedophile in training didn't seem to register with anyone. My second stalker was a fellow college student. He spent five years following me around, calling me 40 times a day and generally making me feel unsafe.
The worst thing about being stalked is that you can never, ever relax. Walking, anywhere, alone could have serious consequences. Any wrong number or hang up becomes fodder for worry. The second worst thing about being stalked is the reaction you get from the people who are closest to you. A fair percentage of friends will give you their opinion that you brought whatever fresh hell onto yourself. Even if that fresh hell began with you letting a classmate cut in line at the movies and that's what started his five year long fantasy that you were in a relationship with him. And, there's always those people who just think you're crazy. Those three flat tires you got over the course of one month is just a coincidence. Anyone could have left that gift wrapped porno mag on your doorstep. Stop being so dramatic.
The sucky thing about my friend's situation is that there's nothing that she or the cops can do until her stalker physically assaults her. He can break into her house as much as he wants as long as he doesn't take non-edible evidence that can be traced. He can tell her that "He watched her sleep and she never woke up" or that "He can get any key made because he's a building manager so it doesn't matter that she changes her lock" and the cops can't do anything about it. And there's nothing I can do but treat her like she's totally sane and believe her completely. Even if it's a story involving missing cheese.
I'll believe her and listen to her for as long as it takes for her stalker to go away. And I know from experience that could take years.