Sunday, May 21, 2006

Stalker, part 6: Spying and Terror

Continued from our previous installment here.

Monday, Jan. 18 - Thursday, Jan. 21, 1999

St-'s harassment activities were incessant. He came to our apartment almost every evening demanding to be let in. Considering what had happened the previous week, we had already stopped letting him in at all.

On one occasion he forced his way through the door -- he had asked Sh- for a cigarette, and when she opened the door a crack to give one to him, he pushed his way in -- and he refused to leave. I wound up getting into a physical fight with him, which was unwise because he was a lot stronger than me, but I was so worn down by being constantly terrorized in this manner that I couldn't think straight.

I received a number of bruises and a large bruised cut straight through my work jacket and across my arm, but we managed to get St- out. After that incident, he would come over to our apartment and stand just outside for hours screaming that he just wanted to be let in for a cup of coffee.

Our apartment couldn't be worse in term of vulnerability to this type of harassment. The outer gate of the complex actually housed several buildings, and our apartment occupied the whole ground floor (except a small common entryway) of the building in the middle of the courtyard. This meant that we had the advantage and disadvantage of having windows on the front and the back. Because of this, St- could walk all the way around the apartment and yell at us from all sides, which he did frequently. It also meant that he could look in through the windows of any room, which he also did frequently.

My bedroom was in the back and had a huge, tall window with light wispy curtains. After a single experience of having St- come around and look in, I took a printout of a Java program I had written and used it to cover every square millimeter of my window with paper. I did it all the way up to the top because St- could (and did) climb up on the metal bars of the window to look in from various angles.

The day after I had papered my window, St- was outside again yelling to me that it was very "stupid" of me to have put paper all over my window. I wasn't acknowledging his presence, but I told Sh- that my response was "And how do you know that there's paper all over the window -- because you were trying to look in? Well, that's why there's paper on it!"

The windows that had shutters were shuttered closed at all times (in Sh-'s room, the kitchen, and the glass door in the living room). Still, there was a small window above the glass door that we hadn't bothered with, and so one time when we were minding our own business in the living room St- startled the living daylights out of us by jumping up and looking in through that window. In no time, we had papered that window as well.

The worst window problem of all, however, was in the bathroom. In the shower stall there was a small window that was heavily tinted so it would let in some light, but it was impossible to see through it in either direction. St- responded by breaking it. He just broke it a little so that we wouldn't notice it right away and have it repaired. We noticed it pretty quickly, though, since showering in January with a window that you can't close completely is not the sort of thing that you might do without realizing it. We repaired the hole as soon as it appeared by stuffing it with a ratty hand-towel and covering it with a fair amount of duct-tape. Our showers were still chilly, though, since the crack let in a bit of air and there was no radiator in the bathroom.

One evening after my usual hot-water-cold-air shower, as I was finishing my routine at the sink (still naked), I distinctly heard some faint muttering, and it frightened me so badly that I jumped. I looked all around and for a moment I couldn't think where it might be coming from.

I thought perhaps I had imagined it, but then I heard it again. This time I looked at the window and noticed that our diligent repair job had been re-opened a tiny bit near the top, leaving a small slit that someone could look through. I was terrorized by this new and intimate invasion, so I ran to the bedroom.

I got the distinct impression that St- had deliberately made noises because I hadn't noticed him at first, and he was as intent on frightening and traumatizing me as he was on simply spying.

I got dressed and got back to the book I was reading, but I could hear him climbing on the bars of my window, and from the tiny noises coming from the bars I knew he was there for some time. I sat with my back against the same wall as the window because it was the only spot in the room where he couldn't see me even if he were able to make out some shadows through the paper screen.

The next day I repaired the window again, even more thoroughly, and afterwards made sure to check the repair job carefully before each shower.

to be continued...


Anonymous said...

My god! Was this guy independently wealthy? He must have thought it was really flattering to you that he'd spend as much time harassing and stalking you as most people devote to earning a living.

C. L. Hanson said...

No, but as I mentioned in the previous installment, his job had put him on some sort of extended medical leave (because of his psychological problems).

There's a certain logic to doing that -- since he was a bus driver, they want to be careful that he's not posing some sort of danger to random people on the streets of Paris -- but unfortunately it gave him just that much more free time to obsess about how wronged he imagined he was and how much he needed to force me to correct the situation.

It would have been nice if he'd had something constructive to do with his free time...

Sideon said...

This is totally creeping me out.

I'm riveted and can't stop reading this!


Chanson - I'm having a beast of a time reading in the pdf format. I'm gonna bite the bullet and order your book :) I want a signed copy, though!!! :) Help!

C. L. Hanson said...

Honestly, it's true that easier to read in book format than on the computer!!! ;-)

I would be very happy to sign it for you. I will certainly come back to the US one of these days. Hopefully for the 2007 exmo conference!! :D

Anonymous said...

Of course he would be watching the bathroom...that just makes you more of a vicitm doesn't it?

Puh-lease. You need psychological help.