“Hi. Are you up?” The text read. I was up but I didn’t reply. It was 2 am. Who texts someone at 2 am? I’ll tell you who. Stalkers and drunk friends. Thank God I turned off my last seen on WhatsApp otherwise it would have been a slippery slope.
The next morning, I got up as usual, prepared breakfast, took a shower then started up on some work. Before I could get a paragraph in, my phone started buzzing. Of course, it was Mr. Blow Up My Phone. This time, I answered the call although I knew I was about to regret it.
“Hello?” I enquired. I could hear his relief when he heard a response.
“Hi.. Hi Rose. Remember me?”
“Yeah I remember you. What’s up?” I’m usually more courteous but I really needed to get some work in.
“I’m good. How are you?”
“I’m in a hurry. What do you want?”
“Oh, sorry. Can we meet today? I miss you.”
Miss me. I barely remember the guy’s name but I knew his type and he would not leave me alone until I gave in so I decided to make it easy for both of us. “Yea. We can meet at Java around 4 pm.” I figured I’ll be almost done with my daily tasks and could slip in an hour or two.
“Great. I’ll come to pick you up.”
“No, it’s okay. I live close to Garden City. I can get an uber.”
Just like that, I dug myself into a wormhole. The date went okay. He was a nice guy but I knew he wasn’t my type. There was nothing wrong with him and another girl would swoon at the level of attention he was giving me but I wasn’t that girl.
He dropped me back home at around 8 pm which, in hindsight, was a bad idea. As I walked into towards our house a text from him came in.
“You looked lovely today. I think I have feelings for you.”
Okay. At least he didn’t say he loved me. It was a little creepy though.
“Can you come outside for a minute?” He texted again.
Was he still outside? I didn’t want to believe I had a stalker but the same thing had happened before. Some time had already passed when I declined his request saying I lived three stairs up and couldn’t go down again which was true. I don’t know why I was giving him so many details about my life.
After a few failed attempts to meet me, he stopped calling or texting and I thought I had shaken him off. That was until one night I was walking back home and a car suddenly braked in front of me. I heard my name coming from the car so I looked only to see him smiling like he had won the lottery.
“Let me drop you home.” He said.
“No, I’m good.”
“Come on. It’s the least you owe me after ghosting me.”
I felt like unleashing my full feminist power on him but it wasn’t the place or the time. If there is something I learnt from experience, it was learning to pick my battles. I tried ignoring him and walking away hoping the other vehicles would hoot and distract him long enough for me to escape. It didn’t happen. People were surprisingly patient.
“Get in.” His voice got hostile. I was scared of what could happen if I tried to get away. He knew where I lived and could easily catch up. The police station was at a distance and let’s be honest, they would rather interrogate me than help me. I decided to de-escalate the situation by cooperating but I barely spoke and clutched onto my bag like a weapon.
A five-minute walk seemed like a two-hour drive but I was home.
“Are you going to invite me in?” This did not come off as a request.
“I can’t. My roommate doesn’t like night guests.”
“Okay. Say hi to your roommate.”
I think that was the only thing that saved me. Our flat didn’t have a gate and it was easy for him to lurk and wait. I went to the rooftop to see if he had left. He was still there. This made me really uneasy. As much I had a roommate, she had left for a trip and I was all alone. I thought of calling my cousin to come spend the night but it was a little late and I didn’t want to alarm anyone.
A quick look around the kitchen and I realized I had nothing to eat, not even noodles or bread. The only option was to sleep hungry, dial a delivery which cost more than I could afford or not give a damn and go to the shops. I picked the last option which I underestimated its consequences.
His car wasn’t there. That was a good sign or so I thought. The streets were sort of empty at that time. A handful of shops were open and I could count the number of people I ran into. As I walked back to our flat with my shopping I felt someone coming from the shadows. I don’t know if it was paranoia but I wasn’t sticking around to find out. I took off like a mad woman not looking back for a second.
Luckily, I got home unharmed, locked all the doors, poured a glass of coke and vodka then called my roommate to tell her the story. She then called one of her friends from the building and told him to come check up on me. That was the day I realized we had an army cadet in our building. I never felt safer. I made dinner and served him as a thank you for being in the military and owning a gun.
After that incident, I never heard from Mr. Stalker which makes me believe that indeed he was the one lurking around that day. I’m just glad I got out unharmed.