8.01 / January 2013

How to Date a Stalker: Declarative Verb Edition

1. Revel in how good-looking he is, how he channels Jude Law when his lazy eye doesn’t wander, how his weaving a ghillie suit that he keeps in the rusted hutch of his white pick-up shows exceptional dedication.

2. Convince yourself it’s meaningful because he plays Nina Simone as you disrobe and paw at each other for the first time. Pay no attention when the music flips to “The PiƱa Colada Song.”

3. Find a point of adherence, your death-by-suicide fathers, and make it the only thing that matters, the very force that brought you together. Say destiny. Say you’re the same kind of wounded creature and flap your teary lashes like the wings of a condor.

4. Walk in the woods behind his family’s farmhouse fixated on the abandoned tool shed behind the weepy Spanish moss until the sun recedes and more fireflies than you’ve ever seen appear. Pretend you don’t see his mother watching you from the kitchen window.

5. Keep him away from your friends. But when the streams must cross and he agrees that George Eliot is great-insists he’s read all his books-try not to look repulsed or notice that everyone avoids your eyes but meets one another’s.

6. Lock up the apartment early after he doesn’t show for your exciting, Saturday-night date of barhopping the local dives and chain-smoking.

7. Wake up petrified in darkness thick as ink when he touches your arm after having broken in.

8. Freeze your hands into fists so tight your muscles cramp, but insist he stay on the couch because, like always-like all of them-he’s too drunk to drive.

9. Warn him that the next time is the last, and when it is, you’ll be gone for good.

10. End it three weeks later on a date after he follows a girl into the small bathroom of a wine bar and offers her cocaine that he bought with money stolen from your purse. Suggest he drive into a live oak on his way home. Confirm the feeling he has that everyone hates him is true. Remind him he’ll be replaced within the hour. Declare, as his chin quivers and eyes plead for mercy, that you will never, under any circumstances, speak a single word-not a grunted syllable-to him again.

11. Receive five emails and two texts the next day that alternate between declarations of love and pointing out your lack of soul. “I’ll never be the guy who shows up in five months,” he writes, “wishing you were still with me.”

12. Wake up the next day to nine more emails and twelve texts, the language so 18th century that you picture him in an ascot. “My worth may be nil to you,” and alone in your apartment, you nod your head in agreement.

13. Find flowers on your porch and a chicken-scratched love letter that romanticizes your time together so much that you pace the hardwood and wonder if he’s actually crazy, dangerous.

14. Google the words delusion, alcoholism, frontal left lobe, DSM IV, and pizza delivery.

15. Stalker Pamphlet Tip #1: “Tell the stalker to leave you alone clearly and firmly. Do not negotiate with your stalker.”

16. Email words clear as Saran Wrap: “Do not text, email, call, or come by my house or work.” Hope this will put an end to it.

17. Ignore his fourth emailed request for pictures of the two of you together and his fifth that calls you an abominable asshole.

18. Ignore the Peter-Cetera inspired one that reads, “I’ve been so lucky. You are my hero and inspiration.”

19. Look up from behind your bar to see his mother standing there with Basset eyes. Exercise patience when she tells you that you were the one and hands you a stringy, stuffed mouse for your cat.

20. Don’t bring his belongings to his house, miles out of town, in the middle of the woods. Imagine your head on a pike.

21. Agree with friends when they say, Police, but you don’t call because he’s on probation and don’t want the responsibility of him in a jail cell. Maybe you’ve always apologized for people. Don’t think about that.

22. Discover your belongings in a box on your porch. No note. Sigh relief.

23. Stalker Pamphlet Tip #2: “Keep a log of incidents. Even if you decide not to pursue prosecution, you may change your mind.”

24. Roll your eyes, 3am Facebook message: “Lately seeing the light at the end of the tunner hasn’t been easy. I muss you.”

25. Stalker Pamphlet Tip #3: “Save any packages, letters, messages, or gifts from the stalker.”

26. Arrive home to a Shel Silverstein book and lamp on your porch with another love letter. Assume the lamp is to illuminate the pages. Stick both on the table in your kitchen that used to house a sewing machine but has now become a stalker repository.

27. One-month tally: items on porch, 7; letters in mailbox, 9; Facebook messages, 28; emails, 64; text messages, 117. Responses from you: 4.

28. Open a letter that begins as a Just-Wanted-To-Let-You-Know-I’m-Getting-My-Life-Together note and devolves into a barely legible offer of a private jet slated for Paris.

29. Ask bouncers to remove him from your bar on a Friday night when you see him skulking behind a pole.

30. Tell your mother on the phone that things are great-have never been better, in fact.

31. Stalker Pamphlet Tip #4: “You can have your phone reject calls from anonymous or unknown callers by contacting your local telephone service provider.”

32. Rise on a Sunday morning to find a picture text of his lacerated arm that reads, “Cheers to bleeding and feeling anything, love.”

33. Block his number. Enjoy silence for three days, and almost stop jumping when your phone makes a sound.

34. Discover a hole in AT&T’s service when you awaken to a picture text of breasts with the caption, “great tits.” Mistake them for your own until you realize they are not freckled. Tell your friends this and endure two days of them calling you Old Freckle Tits.

35. Open another letter. “Let’s make babies to save the degradation of plant, wildlife, and anima. P.S. Studying for the GRE.”

36. Think of your ex, the one you almost married, who in your early 20s snuck into your room and hung every stuffed animal from the ceiling fan by nooses.

37. Stalker Pamphlet Tip #5: “Acquaint yourself with 24-hour stores and other public, highly populated areas in your neighborhood. If someone is following you, never go home.” Wal-Mart; the vegan coffee shop that smells like cumin; a gas station. Check. Eyes on the rearview at all times. Notice every other vehicle on the road in Florida is a white pick-up truck.

38. Stop sleeping in your bedroom. The couch is now home base, the TV on, light. Dream of knives, forests, tsunami.

39. Blank email with the subject, “having hand surgery next week, wanna watch?”

40. Pay out of pocket, 1/3 of your rent, to learn that transcendental meditation isn’t your thing.

41. A misspelled message: “Just give us a chnce. What do you have to loose?”

42. Ignore the email he sends that reiterates his mother’s holiday offer of turkey and no pressure.

43. A small, stuffed bear appears at your door, paper taped to its leg. It’s the I-Want-The-White-Picket-Fence letter. It’s the Soul-Mate letter. Develop a language of groans.

44. Hear from him less. Rogue shark in a small ocean that will occasionally graze your leg as you swim but probably won’t bite.

45. Say yes when the Scotsman you’ve had a crush on asks you out, but feel your muscles seize when he drapes his arm across your shoulder. Go home early.

46. Say no when the handsome, bearded guy at your bar invites you to coffee.

47. Say no some more.

48. Buy a new, ergonomic vibrator from Sweden.

49. See him behind you in traffic almost ten months later, and despite having just gotten a dynamite haircut, your hands shake so badly you have trouble downshifting.

50. Go home. Throw out tax returns, expired warranties, love letters. Pack all dresses too short and jeans too tight into Hefty bags. Learn to cook Indian, the apartment stained with garam masala. Ignore the zip of shame in your blood when you climb into bed and knead your pillow into the safe shape of a half man.

Stalker pamphlet tips taken from: http://www.safehorizon.org/index/get-help-8/for-stalking-36/what-should-i-do-if-i-am-being-stalked-4.html




Lisa received her PhD in Creative Writing from Florida State University, and her work has appeared in Harpur Palate, River Styx, Press 53's Open Anthology Awards (1st place, Creative Nonfiction), Night Train, and The Citron Review. She has recently finished her first memoir.
8.01 / January 2013