Saturday, April 29, 2006

Stalker, part 1: The Escape

Wednesday, Dec. 30, 1998

Since I didn't trust St-, I took my most valuable possessions -- namely the papers and documents I needed in order to stay and work legally in France -- and, on my way to work in the morning, I dropped them off at my new apartment.

In the evening, I started to discuss with St- the fact that I would be gathering my things and leaving. He continued to insist that he wouldn't let me go. He suggested that we should go out to Monoprix and get something to prepare for dinner. I agreed to this because I figured it would calm him a bit, and I could begin packing afterwards.

Just as we had stepped out of the apartment into the hallway, the phone rang. Fearing a dangerous reaction, I said we should just let it ring, but St- decided to go back into the apartment and answer it. It was E-, who had called because he was worried by the fact that I hadn't called.

This threw St- into a rage. E- said that he could come over with his brother G- if necessary, but St- cut off communication before we had determined exactly what to do. I tried to start packing, but St- wouldn't let me. All the while St- was furious, saying that he shouldn't have called when we were just going out shopping for dinner.

After some time, St- allowed me to call E- back. I think it was because he wanted to explain to him how wrong it was for him to have called. I told E- that I thought that it would probably be necessary for him to come with G- to help me.

At this point, St- changed strategy a bit. He stopped physically preventing me from putting my things into my suitcase, so I started madly gathering things up as quickly as I could. I was so focused on finishing the task at hand while I had the opportunity that I didn't pay the slightest attention to what St- was doing in the other room. Because I failed to spontaneously notice him, he started to moan and cry out, so I put down my things to see what was the matter.

There he was, huddled over the sink in the bathroom, where he had slit his left wrist. It wasn't in the correct direction to actually commit suicide, but it was certainly a gruesome sight. There was blood everywhere: all over the bathroom, and red in brilliant contrast all over his new ivory-colored sweater.

I grabbed his wrist to apply direct pressure, and with my other hand went to the first aid box and got some supplies and bandaged it up. Then I took all of his razor blades and threw them out the window into the courtyard. Then I went back to packing.

After this, he made a big show of eating something he pretended was poison. At first he didn't tell me that that's what he had done, though. He was playing something of a little game with me of insisting that he wouldn't tell me what he had done, and when I responded by saying "okay, don't tell me" and continuing with my packing, he would go off and make some horrible cry, or otherwise indicate that I should be concerned about what he had done to himself.

Later he switched to saying that he wouldn't tell me what he had eaten, but that he knew how to induce vomiting, so he could undo it if he wanted to. I am nearly 100% certain that what he took was a sugar cube. (I later ended up staying with him that whole night, and I noticed that he did not at any point vomit, yet he lived through the night and didn't appear to suffer any ill effects.)

E- and G- shortly arrived in the neighborhood and G- called from a pay phone at the traffic circle. He talked to St- for some time was surprisingly skillful at calming him down. He got St- to let me come downstairs without my baggage, and I came all the way out to the traffic circle where E- was sitting in the car.

We talked for a bit, and G- continued to talk to St- on the phone, and finally it was agreed that I would stay the night in the apartment with St- on the condition that in the morning I would be allowed to leave with my baggage. We set a fixed time that G- would call in the morning, and made it clear to St- that if he was unable to get through, he would call the police. It was already very late when we went to bed, and, out of fear and stress, I didn't sleep a wink the whole night.

Thursday, Dec. 31, 1998

In the morning St- made some sort of comment to the effect that it was nice to have been able to have calmly spent the night together like that. I couldn't believe he could imagine such a night as having been pleasant in any way, and began to fear that he was suffering from some sort of delusions. Again I gathered my things and tried to leave, and again he blocked the door. This dispute continued until finally G- called.

St- told G- that I was free to leave at any time. I told G- that he says that while he's on the phone with you, but he's been keeping me trapped all morning. G- somehow convinced him to let me down the stairs and out the door with my luggage.

I schlepped my three huge bags to the pay phone at the traffic circle and tried to call a cab. Unfortunately, no one answered the phone at the one number I had that was supposed to be a taxi service, so I had to carry my bags all the way to the taxi stand at Porte d'Orleans. Bizarrely enough, St- decided to help me carry my things to Porte d'Orleans and didn't try to grab any of my suitcases and run off with them. I wouldn't let him get near me, and I shouted at him to go away. I saw that people on the street and in buildings could see this scene going on, but no one did the slightest thing to help. This was the first of several incidents in which I learned the hard way that if someone is harassing you and you scream for help, people will just stare and walk on by without doing anything.

I finally made it to the taxi stand at Porte d'Orleans and took a taxi to my little apartment in Paris. I put my suitcases inside, and set off for work.

From the new apartment, I took the métro to work, and had a much shorter commute than I had had from St-'s apartment in Montrouge. Two stops from the station where I had gotten on, as the train passed through another subway station, I saw St- waiting for me on the subway platform. He didn't get on the subway or anything -- he was just there to remind me that I had agreed to see him that evening. It was really quite creepy that he would follow me in this manner.

to be continued...


Cyn Bagley said...

Did this really happen??? creepy. And, it sounds like the start of a great fiction novel. :-)

C. L. Hanson said...


Unfortunately, it is a true story, and it gets much worse.

As I mentioned in my previous post, it was Natalie's book that reminded me of this memoir I wrote years ago.

I'm planning to post it as a serial here because I occasionally make reference to these events when things like stalking come up in conversation, and I hate having to give people the condensed version because it's impossible to describe it properly in a paragraph or two. This way I can just give people the link. :D

I've thought about writing a fictionalization, but I'm more into writing relationship comedies than thrillers. I would never have written anything like this if it hadn't really happened.

Rebecca said...

Very creepy. My dad had a stalker once, but she eventually switched to someone else, thank god. Just so CREEPY.

C. L. Hanson said...

Actually on some level I was kind of hoping he'd just find another girlfriend, which I know is evil to wish on somebody else....