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. This is the third and final installment of “I Was a Stalking Statistic”. You can read part one (here) and part two (here). This is a true story, a part of my life.
“I told you I can always find you.” he stated.
I could hardly believe it. I blocked the doorway with my body and asked him what he wanted. He said he had some things of mine and thought I might like them back. I told him that since I had gone without whatever he had for the last couple of years. I didn’t think I would need them now. Then I asked him how he found me. He just smiled a cold smile and stated that he had his ways of keeping tabs on me.
I tried to reason with him, again.
“We are divorced, you are re-married” I stated. “You shouldn’t BE keeping tabs on me!”
He stepped forward and wanted to know if I was going to invite him in. I told him I wasn’t. Then he asked me if I would go get a cup of coffee with him at least, since he had driven all the way from Ft. Worth. (It’s a 2 hour drive from Ft. Worth to Waco, give or take) I almost said yes, hoping to get rid of him faster. But things felt “off”. In a few brief seconds something Terri said to me once went through my mind. She made me promise that I would never go with Larry anywhere! She told me she feared for my safety. And with the vague feelings I was getting off of him, I certainly believed she might be right! I finally convinced him to leave. He wasn’t happy about it, but he left.
The days following that incident were quiet. Too quiet looking back with hindsight. At the time, I was too busy settling into my new surroundings to give it much thought. My job was going well. I let myself feel happy. Then Larry struck again, with a vengeance.
I was at work when a phone call came through to my desk. It was a Waco police detective! He stated who he was, then asked me a few questions to determine if I was actually the person he was looking for. I was. Then he said something that nearly made me faint! He said, “Jackie, I have a warrant sitting on my desk for your arrest.”
I felt the blood drain from my face. I asked him from a mouth gone dry, why did I have a warrant out for my arrest. He said it was for ‘theft of services’. I remember thinking, what the hell is that?? Then he started to explain. It seems the Ft. Worth phone company was trying to collect 1200 dollars on a long overdue phone bill. He asked me if Larry was my husband. I told him he was an EX husband. Then the detective went on to say that the phone company had been going after Larry for the money since the bill was in his name. But somehow Larry had convinced the phone company that it was MY bill and that they should go after me for it. Seems there was this little used law that stated a company could file charges against a customer for “theft of services” to collect on a bill. This is what happened to me.
Ah, you wonder how the company could do that since my name wasn’t on the bill? It seems Larry convinced them that in the divorce decree I was responsible for paying that bill off. They in turn took his word for it. And no it wasn’t in the divorce decree. I was not responsible for the bill.
I was scared to death! Then the detective stated he had talked to Larry himself. He wanted to get a few facts straight since he had never in his 20 years being a police officer had to arrest someone for “theft of services”. He asked me if Larry had ever abused me. I thought at the time it was a bit of a strange question to ask. But, I answered, emotionally and verbally oh yeah. That’s the main reason I left him. “Physically?” the detective asked.
I explained to him that only one time did Larry hit me. I left soon after. I did explain to the detective about the stalking. Showing up where I lived. The notes, the phone calls. All of it. Then I asked him why he asked. The detective stated that during his conversation with Larry, he came away with the distinct impression that Larry would hurt me physically if given a chance. He strongly recommended that I try to never be alone with Larry. His words were this “Quite frankly, I disliked and distrusted the man.” This coming from a veteran police officer! I don’t know what scared me more. The threat of arrest or his complete confidence that Larry wanted to hurt me, maybe kill me!
He suggested I work out a payment plan with the phone company. He said once I had a payment plan in place the arrest warrant would no longer be in force. I promised him I would call the phone company as soon as our conversation was over. Then he gave me his work number, his cell number AND his home phone number! He told me to call him if I ever felt threatened by Larry. To not to hesitate to call him day or night. He stated that if he couldn’t come to me personally he would make damn sure some other officer was there pronto. I felt like he was my personal guardian angel.
Then came the days of constant phone calls. All hours of the day and night. I knew who it was even when they said nothing. But, I had no way of stopping Larry.
Several months after that incident my boyfriend and I moved to Nacogdoches, Texas so he could go to the University there. Again, I felt it was a good move to get away from my ex. Nacogdoches was a 5 hour drive from Waco. Maybe, just maybe, I thought we could finally get away from Larry. The stress was getting to both me and my boyfriend.
We lived in Nacogdoches for almost a year. A year of no Larry. Finally! My boyfriend and I thought we had finally heard the last of him. We moved back to Ft Worth because my boyfriends mother was having a lot of health problems. He was an only child and was very close to his mother. He owned a house not far from his parents and that’s where we moved.
It was less than a month after moving back to Ft. Worth that Larry showed up. I was in the back of the house when my boyfriend came to get me. He said, “Guess who’s at the door wanting to talk to you?” There was a funny look on his face. So not thinking of Larry at all I asked him, “who?” He stated it was my ex. I said how the hell did he know we were here??? I was angry!! How dare he?! After a year of not hearing from him now all of a sudden he shows up and thinks it’s perfectly normal to come over???? I stormed to the front door and walked out to the drive way where Larry was leaning against my car.
I asked him what he wanted. He calmly stated he just wanted to say hi and welcome back. I told him he had to stop coming over. We had been divorced for a while now. He just had to stop all this crap. He leans back against my car and asks me if I wanted to go get an iced tea somewhere and talk about it. The man was insane! I got over being mad and started being scared all over again. There just was something not right with him. I stepped back closer to the house and told him no I wasn’t going to go anywhere with him. I tried to reason with him. I told him that he had to remember that we were divorced. He was married and had been for almost 5 years now. I was in a committed relationship of my own. He needed to move on.
I asked him to leave and to not come over again. He agreed. But I could tell he was angry. He left though. Which at the time was all I wanted. That very night the phone calls started up again. A few days later the first of many notes started showing up on my car. The stress was almost too much. Years of this. With a few breaks just to make me hopeful that it was over. Then the nightmare would begin all over again. His psychological warfare was taking its toll. On me, my boyfriend and our relationship. It had been almost 5 years. Five years of constantly looking over my shoulder. Five years of wondering what he would try next.
I decided to try one more thing to make him stop. Something I had never tried before. I called his wife. When she answered the phone I told her that I was returning a phone call that Larry had made to me. She got really quiet. I knew then as I had suspected, she didn’t know a thing of what was going on. She asked me when Larry had phoned me. I made sure she knew that he had been in contact with me for years. I made it sound like him and I were very friendly. It was an out and out lie, but she didn’t know it. I’m not sure what besides desperation made me call her. I knew from a few brief things Larry had let slip through the years that she was the person with the purse strings. She had money. He did not want to lose that money! That was the way he was wired.
The phone calls, the notes, stopped. I did it!!!! I thought. I was wrong. Soon after, my tires were slashed. When my boyfriend and I would leave the house, things got stolen out of it. That happened several times. We reported it to the police, but we had zero proof it was Larry. We both KNEW it was. Just couldn’t prove it.
Our electricity and phone got turned off. Took us days to get it back on. Both the electric and phone companies stated, WE asked that it be turned off. We had to convince them it wasn’t us. Which was a big hassle. They stated a man claiming to be my boyfriend requested they be turned off on a Friday. (Larry knew that nothing could be done to get them turned back on till Monday.) They said he had all the information he needed to prove he was who he said he was.
The next six months were pure hell. We didn’t know what was going to happen next. The strain was showing in both of us. We lost count on how many times we saw Larry drive past the house. I had finally come to the decision that I needed to leave. By myself. I needed to distant my boyfriend from Larry. My boyfriend had some major health issues, and constantly being under pressure from my ex was aggravating these issues. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life. I told my boyfriend I was leaving. I was moving back to Wisconsin.
My mom and my sister flew down from Wisconsin to help me move. My mom, bless her heart paid for it all. We rented a UHaul, and a flatbed. We filled the Uhaul with all my belongings and put my car on the trailer. My sister and I would take turns driving across country, with my mom in the middle, from Texas to upper Wisconsin. Although my heart was breaking, I knew I was doing the right thing.
A few months later I knew through phone calls to my boyfriend that Larry was leaving him alone. Also, Larry had found me again. He phoned my mom and sister both. Neither one gave him any information. But, he let it be known he knew I was there. I got a job, a place to live, and a phone. Soon after the phone calls from Larry started coming. I would never say anything to him. I just hung up the phone.
Then one day I saw his truck! I thought I was seeing things! I was driving to work and I saw him following me! How could this be???? NO!! I didn’t tell anyone. Who would believe me? For about a week I would catch glimpses of him. Now, where I was living it was mostly woods. It was a very small town. I worked at the Casino in a neighboring town. But I knew it was Larry! I just knew it had to be! I lived there for about six months. In those six months I saw his truck following me twice. The phone calls came every day. Every night. He left one message on my recorder. One was plenty. It said that I would never get away from him. That he knew where I was, again. To expect a visit some night.
Again, I never told a soul. I thought I was losing my mind. That Larry had finally won. And I knew I had to leave again. Run. Again. But where? During these months I met a man from Canada. He was a nice man. I really liked him as a friend. He asked me to visit him in Canada and he would show me around. I went. I never left.
He knew my story and all about Larry. We had long conversations on my visit. I confessed to him that I was scared for my life. If Larry kept his stalking up for 5 years, he would never let it go. I was terrified he might even decide to kill me. It seemed to be working up to that.
Rob and I are ONLY friends. There was nothing romantic or sexual between us. He was a nice man who had been married several times before. We got along well. So one day we were talking about my ex and all the crazy stuff and Rob said, “Don’t go back. Simple really, just don’t go back.”
“What do you mean don’t go back? I have to, that’s where I live now.”
“Stay here, you can live here.”
“I have no job, how can I live in Canada? And don’t I have to immigrate here?”
“You’ve been staying in my extra bedroom, you can stay here and look for a job. Have your family send you your things. I have this whole house, no reason why you can’t stay here.”
So here I am. In Canada. Married to a really nice man. I told him all about *L and the many years of stalking. It’s not a torrid love. But, we have mutual respect and caring for each other. We enjoy being with each other. We have love of a kind. And no *L. He has called both my mother and sister looking for me. They tell him nothing. About once a year around my birthday he calls someone I know trying to find out where I am. So far so good. I feel safe for the first time in many years. I have come to love and care for the man I am married to. I have come to call Canada home.
But, I miss my family. I miss my real home.