Sam was stalking me, but not pursuing me excessively or harassing me; his stalking took the form of a journal he was keeping on me, which outlined all my comings and goings when I was not with him. He noted what I was wearing (anything showing my legs was “advertising myself”) and where I was going—from the time I left to when I returned. How much makeup was I wearing? How about that perfume! (He wrote about that many times.) The truth is, I like perfume and wear it whether I’m going out to dinner or to the grocery store.
I learned of the journal after Sam passed away. The writing of it took place during the last six months or so that we were together, before I ended the relationship. Sam was 22 years my senior and a retired executive, but had purchased a bar/restaurant business that he was struggling to make a success. I worked during the day, but he had to be at the restaurant a lot, so my evenings and weekends could get lonely. I started pursuing activities to occupy my time, and he knew I was enjoying these pursuits, much to his dismay. In his mind, I was slipping away. While I was branching out, Sam was stuck in an unsuccessful business in his retirement years. This was when the journal came to life.
One night, his obsessiveness reached its pinnacle. One of the new interests I had was in my church’s young adult bible study group. We all enjoyed the lessons and each other’s company, so we would routinely retire to a local bar after meeting—including our young associate pastor who ran the group. On our last night of study group before fall, our pastor invited us back to the rectory, where we had wine and snacks, toasted each other, and talked about the potential of continuing our studies. It was midnight, and we were still discussing ideas, when we heard a knock on the door. It was Sam. He proceeded to ask the pastor if he “routinely had the members over to drink until this hour?!” I was mortified, and naturally, everyone was wondering what was going on. To stop his embarrassing interrogation of the pastor, I left quickly, demeaned and annoyed.
The next day, I went to see our pastor to apologize for what had happened. He said, “I certainly was surprised to see your father coming for you at your age!” I had to explain that he was not my father, and his look was one of astonishment, while mine was embarrassment.
I found out about Sam’s journal from his son. He found it in Sam’s desk at the restaurant, and Sam had detailed that entire evening. His son said, “My father was obsessed with you.” He told me he read just enough to make him appalled, and that he wanted me to witness his destroying it. He tore it up right then and there.