Aussa Lorens is a bonafide Hacker Ninja Hooker Spy, and I may or may not have a huge cyber crush on her. I’ve had a long spell of writer’s block, and in a recent conversation, I mentioned rather casually that I once had a stalker, which led to her insisting that I blog about it, so here it is….my stalker story.
Friday afternoon: I finished my last final and sped home. The pool party at my apartment would be in full swing by the time I made it, and after a full semester of classes, an all consuming heart break, and working three jobs and going to school full time, I was ready for a celebration and frankly, a break. I ran into my apartment, traded my jeans and t-shirt for a red bikini and a pair of jean shorts, filled my cooler with all of the Bud Light in my fridge, and headed down to the pool.
My neighbor from across the hall, Mark, waved for me to come join him and a few of his friends. I headed over, took the lounge chair that he offered, and cracked open a beer, making myself comfortable in the blanket of the sunshine.
Mark was in a fraternity, and his apartment was a revolving door. He always had at least a dozen people over, usually drinking and listening to music, so on the rare occasion that I wasn’t working at the piano bar, I usually ended up there. He kept a safe distance, flirting a little, but never crossing the boundary that I made when we first met when I explained to him that I wanted nothing more than friendship. Remember…broken heart. I hated guys, and at that time, I didn’t really care for girls either.
At the pool, Mark was a little more flirty than his usual, occasionally grazing my thigh with his hand and making jokes about my swimsuit, but every time, I put him in his place, and he would back off. I soaked in as much sunshine as I could until I finally had to bid farewell to the frat boys and head home. My shift at the piano bar started at 5:00, and I couldn’t afford to miss work on a Friday night.
I rushed home and showered, made it to work on time, and managed to make it through my shift, aided by Bryce, my favorite bartender and his excellent coffee that he made for me throughout the night. When the bar finally closed and the last customers filed out, Bryce and I were the only two left. He poured himself a drink and one for me, and we
made out on the bar talked about religion until around 4:00 am. Finally, I told him I was beat, and I left.
I pulled into my parking lot and languidly walked to my apartment. Before I even reached the door, I noticed something was taped to it. When I saw what it was, I laughed. Someone had left a Playboy Centerfold picture on my door of a really boobalicious blonde. I took it off and taped it to Mark’s door where I could still hear the bass tones thumping from the other side, and then I thought nothing more of it.
The next night, I got home from work around 3:00 am. Another centerfold picture was taped to my door, same girl, different pose, a little more racy. I took the picture and taped it to Mark’s door.
Sunday, the only day that I didn’t work, I spent at the pool, with a book and a big glass of water. Alone. I was home all night. The next morning when I left for work (my day job), there was another centerfold picture, same girl, dirtier pose, taped to my door. At this point, I didn’t find it funny anymore. I walked over to Mark’s apartment and banged on the door. It was 7:00 am on a Monday in the summer, and Mark didn’t have a job. He didn’t answer right away. I banged, and I banged. I yelled. I banged some more. Finally, he ripped open the door, and there he stood in nothing but his boxers, but I refused to get distracted.
“What the fuck is this?” I asked him.
“That’s (insert playboy bunny’s name).”
“Why the fuck are you leaving this shit on my door every night?” I asked, trying to ignore Mark’s morning wood.
He squirmed and finally shielded his wood with the door. “What are you talking about? Someone keeps putting her pictures on my door.”
“Mark, this is not funny. It’s starting to get disturbing,” I yelled as I crumpled up the picture and threw it in his apartment. Then I stormed off.
“It’s not me, Mandi,” he yelled after me, but I ignored him, stomping all the way to my car.
I came home after my day job, changed and headed to the bar to play the piano for happy hour. I could hardly concentrate. When the evening entertainment arrived, I jumped from my stool and headed to the bar where I tied on my apron and began my waitress shift.
The piano bar was dead that night, which only perpetuated my crummy mood. Finally after many attempts to cheer me up, Bryce convinced me to go home saying that he would close up alone. I got home around 12:30 am. When I turned the corner to walk to my door, I noticed a man walking away from my door, but I didn’t get a good look at him.
“Hey,” I called out to him, but he ignored me, picking up his pace as he walked in the other direction.
I watched out of my window for a little while, but I never saw him again. I went to bed wondering if maybe Mark was telling the truth and slept fitfully unable to ignore the image of the man walking away from my apartment earlier.
For about two weeks, almost every other night a new naked picture appeared taped to my door, and a gaping hole ripped through my original theory. Mark went home to see his family for the first three weeks of summer, yet the pictures continued.
I called into work one Monday night too exhausted to play the piano or waitress, and crashed on my couch around 6:00 in the evening. I awoke close midnight, disoriented. I started to head to my bedroom when I noticed a man standing outside of the sliding glass door that lead to my patio. He wasn’t on my patio but on the other side of it in the grass of the courtyard where residents let their tiny dogs do their business. The vertical blinds were still open from the day, and I could see him clearly standing in the grass staring into my apartment. I immediately closed the blinds and turned off all of the lights. I watched him pace back and forth on the sidewalk right outside of my bedroom window for about an hour, and then he disappeared.
The next night was Tuesday and one of my busiest nights, so I went to work as usual and came home close to 3:00 in the morning. When I turned the corner to go to my apartment, I saw him again. He saw me this time and ran the other direction. Instead of going into the apartment, I made the smart decision to go to one of my favorite bars that always hosted the after party to the service industry of my small college town in hopes that I could drink away my fear. I sat at the bar where my good friend served me my favorite champagne cocktail (I know…only sluts drink those, right?), and told him the story of the stranger at my apartment.
“Why haven’t you called the cops?” He asked like that should have been my first reaction.
“Because he’s not doing anything illegal,” I replied and tapped my glass for another drink.
“He’s stalking you, Mandi,” my friend said.
I sat there and absorbed his statement. He was right. This guy was stalking me, especially if he was responsible for the pictures that I kept finding on my door.
My friend offered to come home with me, but I refused and told him that I would handle it and that if I saw the guy again, I would call the cops.
I got home at 4:30. I had never been more nervous walking to my apartment and wished that I hadn’t played the badass and just let my friend come home with me. When I turned the corner to my apartment, I saw him again.
“Hey! Stay away from my apartment!” I yelled at him, which in hindsight was really stupid because he could have easily turned around and come after me. He was at least 7 inches taller and quite a bit bigger, but my adrenaline was flowing, and I was pretty sure at that moment, I could take him. Plus, he was already running the other direction when I had my moment.
I ran into my apartment, bolted both locks, and slid down the door to the floor where I crumpled and began hyperventilating. And then someone knocked on the door that I was leaning against. I’m pretty sure my heart stopped.
They knocked again. I held my breath and slowly raised myself from the floor to look through the peep hole. I sighed in relief at the sight of my bartender buddy and opened the door for him and his roommate.
I told them about seeing him again, so the three of us went into my roommate’s bedroom (who was never home) to see if he was still walking around outside of my place. Sure enough, after five minutes, he reappeared. This time, he stood in the grass on the other side of my sidewalk and looked at my window, and then he started rubbing himself. They convinced me it was time to call the police.
While I spoke to the operator, they went outside to confront him. They found him pacing around the apartment complex. Instead of starting a brawl with him, they pretended to be walking around, too and just asked him what he was doing. He said he was a pizza delivery man and that after his shift, he liked to walk around to stretch his legs. Then my friend asked what he was doing jerking off outside of my apartment. He was caught off guard and didn’t have a response. I don’t know exactly what they said to him, but it was consistent with bodily injury if they should ever see him near me again.
By the time the police arrived, he was no where to be found.
I never saw him again, nor did I see another centerfold picture taped to my door.
I know now that I handled that situation rather naively. Frankly, I never had the kind of esteem to think I was worthy of stalking, so that idea didn’t even cross my mind. Secondly, with Mark and his flirting and the fact that he constantly played jokes on me, I just assumed he was behind it, but being naive is no excuse. It could have turned out much differently.
For weeks I had nightmares about waking up in a trunk of a car, bound and gagged. I looked over my shoulder constantly always aware of anyone who came near me. I even let Brandon, the ex-boyfriend, spend the night on more than one occasion because I was too nervous to be alone.
Then I woke up.
I took a self defense class, I learned about crimes against women, and I vowed to never become a victim. To this day, I keep myself fit and strong, always aware that not everyone is worthy of my trust.
Luckily, it ended almost as quickly as it began, and I made it out untouched. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always end so well.