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Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Getting A Load Off My Chest

As requested by a few of you, I shall tell you the saga of what happens when someone likes me. A little too much. And I warn you now, this is not a happy tale.

My stalker was the oddest gentleman: he kissed like his mouth was hinged at the rear of his neck and walked like a clockwork soldier. For the sake of this entry, we shall call him Steven, and we met when he arrived in the offices of the magazine I used to work upon and asked to speak to someone about Star Trek: Voyager.

You'd think that it would be a marriage made in heaven, wouldn't you? But no.

As I was busy, I arranged to meet with him for a drink later in one of the more glorious holes in old London town, despite my misgivings of fraternising with the peasant class. He was from the sticks and found the lights of this town beguiling, as well as monetarily befuddling: they hadn't gone decimal in his backward village yet. He also seemed to hang off my every word, which is always terribly flattering.

There are two defining moments when Steven became a stalker. The first: while supping an elegant ale with a friend, I receive a rather panicked phone call from my then housemate. Steven had called around at my house and was sitting in my lounge, waiting for me to get home. He also kept trying to get into my bedroom to 'leave me a present' and my housemate was having to manhandle him down the stairs. I found this oddly hilarious and duly told him to throw him out. He did - with much effort - and phoned me to tell me Steven was waiting on the lawn and wasn't going away. I theorised that he had to travel back to his little village some hundred miles away sooner rather than later and would be gone by the time I arrive home. Fortunately I was correct, but in retrospect am sad to have missed a boy calling up to my bedroom window that he loves me, and have since made sure I have a long blonde wig and a plastic red rose to hand in case it ever happens again. When it comes to romance, the classical look is always best.

Now, I am a forgiving soul. The gentleman obviously had some issues, and I misguidedly thought I could help him overcome his now-professed love of me. Well, I'd seen Tricia once, and fully believed I was more capable than the fake-nailed harridan. Not taking this seriously really was my biggest mistake, but I really did think stalkers were things that happen to other people. So I met him for a drink or two, explained that he was sweet, but he wasn't my type, yet he obviously wasn't getting the message. In fact he was getting more and more desperate in his attempts to seduce me - including rolling up at my house after his last train had long gone and begging for somewhere to stay. As I made up the spare bed, something obviously had broken on his trouser zipper as he had stripped naked and had started fondling himself. And me, a devout Christian! I decided this was too big for me to handle, so to speak, so I did something almost unforgivable: I gave him to my Evil Best Friend Declan to play with.

That, unfortunately, didn't go to plan. Declan, of course, broke the boy; one time leaving him lying on the concrete, vomiting his guts up in Trafalgar Square. Yet he wasn't as stupid as we both thought, and slowly started driving a wedge in between Declan and myself. Very slowly, very cleverly, he engineered Declan and I to have an enormous argument (that for once wasn't based on what was better: Princess Leia in Endor wear or Princess Leia in Hoth bodywarmer) and Steven attempted to manoeuvre in to be very consoling.

Declan and I put aside our differences for one rather frosty meeting in a bar and talked it all through, and discovered the common source of the propaganda was Steven. I was not happy, Declan less so. His eyes narrowed across the smoky table. "Open season," hissed my best friend, and we resolved something really must be done.

It was around this time that I got the second thing that confirmed Steven to be a stalker. A phone call:

(ebullient, bouncy) "Hi, Lee! It's Steven!"
(reserved, cool) "Hi. How you doing?"
"Great! I've got some fantastic news! I've got a job!"
"Really. That's good. Where?"
"In London! Isn't that great."
I sighed.
"But that's not the best of it," he added.
"Go on..."
"I'm going to be working on the same magazine as you! Two desks away! I can be with you all day!"

Oh lord. It's not just me, but that is a little desperate, isn't it? Well, desperate times require desperate measures. I theorised the only way I left was to give him what he wanted, but make it as sour as possible. So, following his lead, I did the exploit in the most selfish and horrid way possible. Three times on three separate days. And each time I could see his hopes dashed a little more. It was quite horrid to see, but it was beginning to consume my life. His presence was constant, asking me what I was doing after work, and following me around. Indeed, it was a risky gamble to take, but it was either this or the police. And I'm not bringing in Judy Justice and Her Talking Broach in case they dredge up my old shoplifting charge.

That shade of lipstick - never suited me.

He didn't speak to me after the final time, added to which I left the company a month later. Steven was a definite contributor to that. I did bump into him and his present boyfriend a few months ago along Oxford Street. He didn't stop, but stare he did. I hope to never discover whether it was shock, hatred or longing.

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