This post is part of my series “Mi Vida Loca”. Believe me, it doesn’t get any crazier (or scarier) then being a stalking victim. I was one. For five years. Yesterday I wrote part one, today is part 2, the actual stalking years.
It took *L two weeks to find me after I left that July 4th weekend. Terri, my best friend took me in and shared what little she had with me. We would talk for hours every night while her 3 young sons slept. In the mornings she would get her sons off to school and leave for work. I would stay at her place and just sit and think. I tried to figure out what I would do. I literally did not have a dime to my name. No vehicle and no job. I also knew that *L was looking for me. He wouldn’t let me leave so easily. It just wasn’t in his nature.
So for those first 2 weeks I sat and tried to decide what I would do. I talked to my older sister about the possibility of her helping me get back to Wisconsin. I just wasn’t sure if that’s where I wanted to go though. I had been away for a long time. And except for *L, I loved Texas. I had a good friend in Terri and I just wasn’t sure I wanted to leave.
Terri had made it a habit of calling me several times a day. Just to make sure I was ok. One day after worrying and trying to make plans I fell asleep on the couch, I was just so emotionally exhausted. If I hadn’t fallen asleep I probably wouldn’t have made the mistake that I did.
Terri and I had set up a phone code (she lived in rural Texas and at the time did not have caller id). She would call home and hang up after two rings, then immediately call back and that’s when I would know it was safe to answer the phone. We knew *L was calling everyone he could think of trying to find me, so we also knew it was just a matter of time before he would call Terri. Anyway, I was asleep and the phone rang and I answered it without thinking. I picked up the phone and said hello. There was a short pause and then *L’s voice saying, “I finally found you”. My heart just stopped.
I debated just a few seconds of just hanging up. But, I knew he would just come over. And that’s one thing I didn’t want to happen! So instead I just said, “I guess you have”. He wanted to drive over and talk to me. I refused. I told him I didn’t want to talk to him. Then he said something that just blew my mind, but I think men like *L just are not wired right. He asked me why I left! He started crying! He begged me to come back. I said no. And that’s when I hung up.
The phone of course started ringing again. But I refused to answer it. At that point I felt nothing but fear. He had found me! I knew *L was going to come over. I knew he just wasn’t going to leave things be. I made sure all the doors were locked, that the windows were closed and locked also. I sat on the couch worried and scared. The phone rang again, but it was Terri’s code so I answered. I told her what had happened and that I was positive *L was coming. She told me not to answer the door and that she would try to come home as soon as she could.
It wasn’t too long before my fears were proven right. *L had come over and was pounding on the door. I yelled at him to go away. He said to open the door and talk to him because he wasn’t leaving. At this point I was just numb. I just wanted things to be over. I didn’t care how they ended. Just wanted the nightmare to end. So I let him in.
He begged me to come home. He promised me the moon, stars and sun for good measure. I sat and listened to the lies and told him no. He started getting more upset. I was feeling nothing. It’s kind of odd, feeling nothing. It was like my body was there and I was watching everything from outside my body. It was the strangest thing.
Terri had made it home and convinced *L to leave. He left, but I knew it was just the beginning. I knew he wouldn’t give up. I just didn’t know at the time how far *L would go.
(Jumping forward another couple of weeks.) I was in contact with my mother-in-law. She understood her son more than I realized. She and I talked and I told her I was filing for divorce. She understood why. She really didn’t try to talk me out of it. She just wanted us to continue being friends. That was fine with me. She was a great lady. *L’s parents were so supportive of me that they offered me a place to stay with them till I could get on my feet. They even co-signed for a car so I could find work! It was just too bad that their son was such a douche bag.
I found a job at an Antique Mall, the kind where they rent space out to different vendors, but the sales all went through the store. It was a great place to work. The boss was good and the other people who I worked with were great! I managed to get a small, cheap apartment in Ft. Worth and was actually beginning to hope things were going to go well. I hadn’t heard much from Larry for a few months.
Then he started showing up at my apartment. I would go out to my car to go to work and he would be leaning against it waiting for me. He got so angry one morning because I wouldn’t talk to him that as I was pulling out he kicked the front of my car so hard he dented it! I started worrying again. Started being afraid again.
I started to find notes left on my windshield when I got off work. Now he knew where I worked! The first note said, “I can always find you.” He started calling me at work. The same M.O as usual with him. I explained to my boss what was going on, and thank goodness she was so understanding. His phone calls at work suddenly stopped though after a couple of weeks. I never really questioned why, I was just so grateful!
I was still finding notes on my car. At work, at home, sometimes even at the grocery store. I knew he was following me some days. But, I was determined to live my life! I wasn’t going to back down! Then, even those started showing up less and less. Oh wow, I really thought he had finally given up. I wish!
I stopped one time at the same grocery store that Larry and I would always use when we were married. I just happened to be in the neighborhood and stopped for convenience sake. Not even thinking about it, I went to the same cashier that I used to. She smiled at me and stated she hadn’t seen me in a while. I said yeah, it had been a while. She looked around and said “No husband today?” Nope, I stated, we are divorced now. She looked at me for a second and then smiled really big. She came around the counter and gave me a huge hug! I was taken a bit back. She then told me that every time that Larry and I would come in to shop she felt sorry for me. She said that she could tell Larry was a bully. And then she said something that stuck with me ever since. She hugged me again, and said she always thought that when we came in I had the saddest eyes she had ever seen. But, today my eyes weren’t sad.
Anyway, back to my story.
I found out Larry was shifting gears. He had started calling my mother, my sister, my few friends, even my boss at work! He was telling them that I was sick. That I was having a mental breakdown. I needed professional help. He was being the caring, loving husband, and wanted only what was best for me! I was delusional. He wanted them to understand that what I told them could not be taken as the truth. I think the only person that he had half way convinced was my mother. But she was always quick to think the worse of me those days.
(Fast forward another couple of months) In the midst of all Larry’s craziness I had managed to meet a wonderful man who I fell in love with. He was smart, funny, cute and believed in me 1000 percent. He knew all the facts about my marriage and now ex-husband. And he loved me anyway. Bless him. But, that love was going to be tested in the coming months.
One day as I came back to work from a few days off, my boss called me to the office. She closed the door and told me to sit down. I sat feeling somehow after this talk it was going to turn out to be a really bad day. She then stated that while I was off work my ex came in and rented a space in the Antique Mall. I remember just staring at her! I couldn’t be hearing right! She told me that she tried to persuade him to go elsewhere. He told her that the store was in the business to rent space to vendors and to make money. He wanted to rent. The stuff he was going to sell fit into the mall’s criteria. Legally she had no right to turn him down and he knew it. (He obviously did his homework) Larry stated that if she wouldn’t rent to him that he would call the owners and his lawyer. She rented to him. She really had no choice. She was telling me so I wouldn’t be caught by surprise. There was just no getting away from him! I just cried. Then I went back to work. Wondering what Larry had next on his agenda.
What was next was months of psychological torture for me. Larry found me a few days later taking a break in the back of the building. He just wanted to tell me that he was re-married. “Why tell me?” I asked him. He stated he wanted to tell me so I would know that there is no chance of us getting back together. I think my jaw hit the floor! He was nuts!! Then I happened to glance to the side and saw a couple of employees hanging out. Of course they overheard! And of course they were two of the biggest gossips there! Oh hell! Larry knew exactly what he was doing! Damn him!
It was hell those next couple of months. In my few days off I would go and apply for different jobs. I knew there was no way I could continue working where I was. Even though I had received a promotion and more pay. With Larry there is was just too much for me.
What seemed like a godsend was that my boyfriend had an opportunity to go to school in Waco, Texas. He asked me if I would go with him. I jumped at the chance! I loved him, but in the back of my mind was also the thought that it would distant us from Larry.
My boyfriend was going to go to the technical school there and I would find another job. So that’s what we did. Larry in the meantime was being attentive in his stalking. He even left notes on my boyfriends car! So we jumped at the chance to move out of Ft. Worth. We didn’t tell anyone where we were moving. I just told those at work that I had found another job. I didn’t even tell my family where I was going. The only person who knew was Terri.
We moved and found an apartment that we shared. I found a job at the Waco Tribune-Herald newspaper. It was a challenging job, but fun. The first month was hectic, but quiet. No Larry. What a relief! That soon ended one afternoon. My boyfriend had gone back to Ft. Worth to visit family. I stayed in Waco. I wanted to get a few things done. I heard a knock on my apartment door. I thought it was the landlady. I was expecting her because I wanted to talk to her about the refrigerator that was not working right. So without thinking I opened the door. And felt my breath leave my body. There was Larry standing in my doorway!
“I told you I can always find you.” he stated.
***It looks like this is going to be a 3 part series. I’m sorry it’s turning out to be so long. It is a subject that I feel shouldn’t be just glossed over. It touches so many lives.
- 6 million women and men in the United States are victims of stalking each year (2)
- 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed (2) According to this article.
It’s a serious crime, but still most officers can’t do much until something tragic happens. It’s sad and it’s scary. But if I can just touch one person with this story, even to help just one person. Reliving this nightmare is worth it. It is turning out to be an emotional journey back in time. One that I have needed to go down for a while now. Thank you to all who have read my journey thus far. I hope you will join me till the end.