These are some of the letters that my high school ex-boyfriend sent me during my first year at McGill University.
It was a messy breakup, with its own share of 19-year-old drama (well, I was 19; he was 26). And because e-mail hadn't been invented yet and long-distance was still expensive, we wrote letters.
And these are the letters that my high school ex-boyfriend's roommate sent me during my first year at McGill University.
You see how things got complicated.
I have the long version printed out for posterity in my journals from the period, but I can't read that version, those entries, just as I can't read any of the letters I still carry around without feeling immediately and violently nauseated.
The short version is that the boyfriend dumped me and the roommate moved in to comfort me (prompting the ex-boyfriend to continue to be intrigued) and, over the course of a summer and my first semester away at university, the comforting turned to stalking, with all manner of stalking accessories: the twice-weekly and lengthy emotional letters, the gifts, the phone calls at all hours of the day and night, the showing up unannounced at my door (from a different city), the suicide threats and emotional manipulation (well, I suppose that emotional manipulation is part and parcel of it all as opposed to its own thing), the cutting off, and the final letter, the only one I don't have, the one I steamed open in my dorm room, surrounded by my friends.
There was no return address. He had used a window envelope, and a postage meter as opposed to a stamp, all in the name of trying to pass it off as just another letter. The ex-boyfriend, though, had tipped me off, even if the clumsy attempts at concealment wouldn't have. I opened it and read the last line — "I pity you and I pity the mediocrity for which people like you stand" — and sealed it shut again, wrote his address on it and "Return to Sender," and stuck it back in the mail.
I am writing this here, now, not to tell you the whole story. Maybe one day I'll tell the whole story, one day, if I can find a way to get some larger meaning out of it. But I'm writing this here, now, because perhaps the larger meaning is that you already know the story. You've heard it a thousand times, different details, but the same accessories. How many of us have our own stalker stories, that pile of letters that we keep around, more than two decades later, just in case we need evidence one day? That's the story, and it still sucks.
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I am taking part in NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month, which has me posting a blog entry every day throughout the month of November.