Wednesday, June 29, 2011

18. steady

I replied to one of Jeremy’s emails today. Just a couple of lines. I asked about meeting up with him. As I hit the send button on the email I got cold all over. I’m still shaking. What have I done?

Monday, June 27, 2011

17. ready

Colin and I went to the park with a picnic lunch yesterday for the 4th. The whole park was filled with happy people, celebrating. I tried to act like everyone else, but I’m living in a dark world. My world is touched by darkness. Colin and I played Frisbee for a while and once when I was chasing the Frisbee I saw Jeremy sitting on a bench down the path a bit. Watching me. Watching me with Colin. I wasn’t even surprised. Everywhere I go now, I just assume he’s probably around somewhere. Not that I go anywhere much. I’m still a prisoner. I want my life back so bad.

After I saw jeremy I told Colin my stomach hurt and I wanted to go home. That much was true. I couldn’t even sleep last night.

I took out the hatchet and practiced some chopping on a piece of wood I fished out of a dumpster down the street and brought home. I took it into the bathroom. I tore it up pretty good. Pieces of wood were everywhere. I cleaned them up before Colin got home. And I sharpened the hatchet and put it back in the messenger bag.

Friday, June 24, 2011

16. getting ready

Jeremy continues to call and email. I look out the window through the cracks in the blinds so I can’t be seen. I haven’t seen him outside, but I know he must be out there, at least from time to time. I’ve thought about what to do, way too much, and I don’t think I can’t bash Jeremy’s head in, even though I really, really want to. In fact I feel a little ill from thinking about it so much and trying to psyche myself up to do it. Not a good sign. But I can hurt him. I can destroy his film.

I think that would be enough to convince him that I hate him. My plan goes like this… I go to Jeremy’s apartment with an axe. He lets me in. I ask for some water to get him out of the room. The final edit of his film is in the living room. That’s where he keeps it. I take out the axe and chop it to pieces. He couldn’t do anything to me while I have an axe in my hands, so I’d just tell him to leave me alone once and for all and I’d leave. He’ll be so traumatized over the loss of his film that he can’t possibly still want anything to do with me. I figure if I act as crazy as he is, he’ll finally get the message. And hopefully be scared of me.

I went to the hardware store today. In disguise. Which was ridiculous. Wearing a raincoat and hat on a sunny day in July gets you some strange looks. After looking around for something that looked pretty destructive I settled on a hatchet. I brought it home and put it in a messenger bag and hid it in the back of the closet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

15. decided

Jeremy has been calling and emailing non-stop. Even all night long. I blocked his regular email address so he started using several others under fake names. I keep the phone muted and just check the voice mail and recent calls for clients. I silenced the ringer on the house phone. I said I wanted some quiet.

Colin has to have noticed something is going on. Colin has some tough classes right now so he has been studying hard, lately. He’s got a stack of books to get through and a paper to write. So he’s distracted but I’m sure he’s noticed. He hasn’t said anything about it. He must still trust me and believe I’ll tell him everything eventually. He believes in me. He believes I’ll do the right thing. Will I? What is the right thing?

I may have come up with an idea. I’ve spent days trying to convince myself that I can do what needs to be done. If I’m cornered I can strike. And I’m cornered. I have to take my life back. Because I can’t stand living like this any more.

Monday, June 20, 2011

14. stalker me

Colin and I had a nice weekend. We stayed at home, created our own movie marathon and took turns picking films to watch. We lounged around in our jammies and ate microwave popcorn by the box load. The movies I picked were all spy thrillers. Espionage. Covert ops. And I thought about what to do all weekend. I have a plan.

The thing is, I can’t stand feeling like a victim. Feeling trapped. I’m afraid to leave my apartment! I never know when Jeremy will be out there, waiting. Watching me. I can’t stand it anymore. Time to turn the tables. Time for the worm to turn.

I got ready as soon as Colin left for class. Since today was a rainy, somewhat cool, day I put my hair up under a hat. Put on an old baggy trench coat of Colin’s. I found an old pair of sneakers I haven’t worn in years, took a nondescript black umbrella and sort of snuck out behind a couple of our neighbors as they were leaving. I turned and walked the opposite direction from the way I usually go and walked the long way around to the subway. Just in case Jeremy was out there, watching. I bought a newspaper to hide behind. I went to watch Jeremy’s apartment building.

There’s a Dunkin Donuts on the corner down the block from his building and I sat there drinking way too many cups of coffee, pretending to read the paper and watching the building. Jeremy went into the building about 11 AM and left about an hour later. I followed him. He went down into the subway station 3 blocks away. It’s a small, mostly deserted station in the off hours so I couldn’t follow him down without him seeing me. He could have been going to NYU, my house or anywhere else downtown. Nothing else happened. I waited a couple more hours but he didn’t come back. I finally had to just go home. Lame. I don’t know what I thought I’d find out. I just wanted to take some action. Stalk the stalker.

But while I was waiting, getting amped up on caffeine, I kept thinking about what to do. Fantasizing, more like. Rehearsing different scenarios in my head.

In one, I get a gun. I buy one off the street in the Bronx or Spanish Harlem. Some rough neighborhood where life is cheap and guns are sold on street corners. Or drive to some other state with no waiting period and buy one under an assumed name. with a fake ID. And then I get directions off the internet for making a homemade silencer out of common household items. I would take this contraption in a bag to Jeremy’s house and shoot him when he answers his door and walk away. Quietly, like a hit man. Getting away, scot free.

Think I’ve seen too many bad movies? Yeah.

Okay, getting a gun might be difficult. So then I thought, I’ll get your typical blunt object. Like a crowbar. Go to his door and just blitz attack, overpower him and bash his skull in. I’ve seen those forensics shows on TV. I’d wear a jumpsuit and a hood to cover my clothes and hair from the mess it would make. I would get the job done and remove the outer layer of clothes, put everything in a bag and walk away. Calmly, like a career criminal. No one would suspect me.

Hmm, maybe poison.

Only one problem. I don’t think I could do any of it.

But I have to do something. I can’t go on like this. I have to either take some action or give up. And I can’t give up. I don’t even know what giving up would mean. Leaving New York? Leaving Colin? Talk him into moving to Wyoming and changing our names? Skulking away in fear? Nah…none of that works for me. And I’m not too sure how much freelance art work in available in Wyoming.

Friday, June 17, 2011

13. report

I went to the local police station today. I didn’t know what else to do and I was hoping that going there and doing something would make me feel safer. They said if I file a report they will arrest him. I asked what would happen then. The detective was uncomfortably vague on that point. She just kept saying that it depends on the situation. But I already know.

I’ve seen enough episodes of Law and Order, 48 Hours and Cold Case files on TV. It goes like this:

  1. Jeremy gets arrested.
  2. He gets a lawyer and is released in less than 24 hours.
  3. He keeps stalking me.
  4. I get a restraining order.
  5. He ignores it and probably kills me in a vengeful rage.

And in all of this mess Colin will probably leave me for not being honest with him and trusting him. Maybe I’m better off dead. Because right now I feel so isolated and alone.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

12. resolve

According to the advice on the web, I need to tell Jeremy to leave me alone and then cut off all contact of any kind with him. It’s a plan, I suppose. Though, realistically, I’ve already told him to leave me alone. And told him. And told him. There’s no point in saying it again, so I guess the only thing to do now is the cutting off contact part. I just wish I could make him just go away. I really don’t get why he’s doing this. How could anyone be that crazy? What is wrong with him?

I really need to tell the police. And I REALLY need to tell Colin. I have to trust him and hope he’ll understand. But, he’s NOT going to understand. No one would understand the way I’ve behaved. I wouldn’t. I DON’T. I’ve handled this situation just about the worst possible way and I have to start fixing it. I just wish I knew how.

One email and one voice mail from Jeremy today. I didn’t listen or read, but I saved them. Documenting. I don’t even want to know what he has to say.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

11. the net life

So, I got up this morning and became totally obsessed with looking up information about stalkers on the internet. Because, I am a girl with a stalker. I am being stalked. I don’t know why it didn’t really occur to me before. At least not with any clarity. But that’s what it is.

Maybe it’s because my own view of reality was warped early on by having a teenage boy who sort of stalked me in high school. It felt pretty harmless, just irritating. I hardly paid any attention to it all. It certainly didn’t frighten me. Maybe I was just blind and over-confident. My teenage stalker certainly never made me feel anything much more than exasperated so I suppose I came to view the behavior as less of a threat than someone else might.

But there’s a lot of good information about stalking on the web. Here’s what I discovered:

1. Restraining orders don’t work
2. Jail doesn’t work
3. Stalkers may become violent
4. Tell your stalker “NO”

I also found out that most victims of stalking don’t want to think of themselves as victims and that you should report being stalked and document all contact with your stalker. I’ve done some documenting. You’re reading it.

I’m so screwed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

10. may i

I keep turning and twisting like a worm on a hook, trying to figure a way out of this. And no solution is coming to me. I’ve even thought of killing Jeremy. No one else knows we have ever even met, right? Except the other film student and she might not even remember. Maybe I wouldn’t get caught.

Except life isn’t like the movies. It’s a lot messier. I wouldn’t have the first idea of how to really kill someone. I don’t own a gun. Or even a crowbar. An axe? In a Manhattan apartment? Do hardware stores here even sell them? Even if I thought I could get away with it, I am vaguely aware from things I’ve read and seen on TV that it’s a lot harder to kill a human being that you’d think it is. People, as a rule, don’t conveniently break their necks when you push them down a flight of stairs like Alfred Hitchcock would seem to suggest. Thank you A&E true crime shows.

Maybe I wouldn’t even have the guts to kill someone. I’ve always felt like I was against the death penalty. I don’t think violence is the answer to violence. Life is a precious gift, right? No one has the right to take another person’s life.

But maybe I could. Would. To protect myself. I think I’m gaining a new perspective on the subject.

I’ve got to think of something. Usually when I have a problem I can’t solve, I talk to my friends about it. Or to Colin. I’m at a severe disadvantage with no advisers. I don’t always follow their advice, but talking to them often helps to clarify my thinking. So, I just keep writing this blog. All safe and anonymous. Hoping that a solution will occur to me.

I’m trapped like a rat on a sinking ship.

And it’s like Jeremy knows it, too.

He called me again today, just after lunchtime, and said he was down at the diner across the street and would I come down and meet him. It sort of surprised me when he called because I was working on a travel brochure illustration and not thinking about him, for once, so I just hung up quickly and didn’t say anything. But after about 20 minutes, I went down to my building’s front door and sort of sneaked a look over to the diner. I could see he was still there. Waiting for me.

I went back upstairs and sat down again. I knew he would keep waiting there. Probably all day. I thought maybe I should try to have it out with him again. Once and for all. Be really firm and try to act really bitchy, too, so he’d get the idea that I’m not the prize he somehow thinks I am. Yeah. I thought that might work. So I put on a plaid work shirt and my toughest-looking leather jacket and went over there. Being overcast, the diner’s windows were closed today so I went inside and sat down at Jeremy’s table.

He right away wanted to talk about his film, but I stopped him. I was trying to be very firm and totally straight with him and make him understand that he has to leave me alone. That I’m not going to put up with this. I tried to even be threatening. He was just looking at me indulgently like I was a child or something while I was speaking. Very frustrating.

It’s like he’s so confident in his own perceptions of reality that his unshakable faith in what is real is starting to warp mine when I’m around him. His acting as if I was the crazy one was starting to shake my own confidence. And that’s totally crazy.

It was really getting to be a bit overwhelming and I got up to go to the bathroom because I thought I might cry and when I came back he watched me walk from the back of the diner and he said, “Nice legs.” I said “Not gams?” before I even thought about what I was saying. Which is of course the line the victim says to the psycho killer girl in the film “May” right before she chops said gams off and sews them onto a big multi-sexual Frankenstein doll to be her friend. And I tend to be reminded of the movie “May” a lot when I think of Jeremy. As you may recall, for this blog I pseudo-named him after Jeremy Sisto, the actor who played the film student in “May.” Who made the weird cannibal love film, in that film. Just like this Jeremy.

Anyway, he got that fairly obscure film reference (of course he did!) and asked me what I thought the weird cannibal love film had represented in the movie “May”. And though it struck me as very weird that we were talking about it I said, somewhat viciously, that it was obviously a heavy-handed comment on the all-consuming nature of obsession as opposed to love, because love doesn’t imprison or place limits on its object. (hint, hint, clever me)

Yeah. Clever me. That was the general direction of where he was leading the conversation anyway so I fell right into it. He told me in an oh-so-reasonable tone of voice that he would always love me, but all he wanted from me was to be a part of my life in any way. Even a small part. Even if we could just talk on the phone once in a while, he would accept that. Just to be friends.

At this point I was fighting that “losing my grip on my own reality feeling” and I looked at him really hard and asked him if he really thinks that would be likely to happen given his actions of three weeks (only three weeks!) ago. And I’ll be damned if he doesn’t try to take my hands gently in his. I yanked it away from him as you can imagine. He asked me to forgive him for what happened and try to put it behind us. He says that he made such a bad first impression (psycho!!!) and he’s not really like that at all. And…that I would find that out if I would just give him a chance. I told him it’s not the kind of thing I can just forget and it’s not the kind of behavior I look for in a friend. I had almost started feeling really sympathy for him again for a minute there, but at the end I did remember to be more bitchy.

I got up and left before I lost my grip on Claire-reality entirely and got completely lost in Jeremy-reality. He is so completely certain of his world view. Talking to Jeremy is very bad. It’s like his psychosis is almost contagious. A psychosis virus. God, I’m such a wuss.

Problem clearly still not solved, however. Grr.

Monday, June 13, 2011

9. the worst

While I was out Jeremy called my apartment phone today, I don’t know how he got the number, it’s listed but in Colin’s name. He spoke to Colin! He acted like he was a potential client and Colin unknowingly gave him my new cell number. He called me this afternoon. It was totally out of the blue. when I heard his voice my whole body went cold.

I was on the elliptical with my headphones on and I never should have picked up, but I didn’t see the incoming number in time. I’m not used to this stupid new phone and it didn’t occur to me that Jeremy could have the number anyway. He apologized for calling my house but he said he really wanted to know what I thought of his film.  And that he really missed talking to me.

I got really pissed off and I told him that I didn’t want to speak to him and he needed to stop calling me and get a life. Not very original, I know, but I’m not at my most articulate when I’m upset.

After I hung up the phone I had that weird trembling feeling inside. And everyone around me was staring. He is forcing me to go ahead and do it. I’m going to have to report what he did and try to have him arrested or he won’t ever leave me alone. Maybe he won’t stop even if I do have him arrested. And the police will want to know why I waited so long. And Colin will want to know why I never told him. I can hear him. Why I wouldn’t trust him enough to confide in him?

Colin will never trust me again. It will never be quite the same between us after this comes out. And what if I have Jeremy arrested and he gets out and goes crazy and tries to kill me? Or, worse, kill Colin?

I just want to run away. Leave everything behind and live somewhere else as someone else. Not an option, I guess. Christ. What am I going to do?

Friday, June 10, 2011

8. fucker

It’s been almost a week and I hadn’t heard from Jeremy and I was just sort of starting to relax. A little anyway. I still had a feeling like it might not be over, but it’s been over a week. And last time I told him off, too. So, I was just hoping.

But today I got a DVD in the mail. It was from Jeremy. It was the final edit of his short film. I should have thrown it out or something, but…

1. I’m an idiot
2. I really like films

So I went into the living room and watched it. It was a lot more coherently edited than the rough cut I had seen that first day and the sound was cleaned up. There were a couple of really funny and clever moments. The totally fucked up thing was that it was really good. If I didn’t know Jeremy and I saw that film, I would be interested to meet him and find out what he was like.

I’m really starting to hate him.

Monday, June 06, 2011

7. it happened

I left this morning to go work at the agency. I was so nervous. Nothing happened the whole way to the office. But the ad agency is downtown in the general area of NYU. Now I’m realizing just how much of my whole life revolves around that area! I didn’t even go out for lunch, I just ordered in and ate at my desk.

I came home on the subway instead of taking a cab. I thought I better save money, since I haven’t made much this past week or so what with the being distracted and not leaving the apartment and all. I was almost home, I was just walking past the diner across the street from my building…they had their front windows opened up because it was warm…and I heard what I had been dreading. Jeremy calling my name. I stopped. I didn’t even mean to, but I just did. I almost decided to run, but I thought…it’s a public place… What’s he going to do? So I turned around and saw him sitting at one of the front tables in the window.

By this time I had built him up in my mind like he was some kind of monster. When I saw him, he just looked like a normal, friendly guy, smiling and waving at me. I don’t even think he was as tall as I remembered. I walked over to the window of the diner. I didn’t go in, I just talked to him through the open window. Only, I’m thinking to myself…What the fuck? This is the first time I’ve been out of the apartment by myself since I got back from Maine. Has he been sitting in there for days, hoping I’d walk by? I mean, REALLY!

He said he had been hoping to see me. That he wanted to talk to me. He said he knew he had freaked me out by the way he acted when I came to his apartment and he completely understood my reaction. He said he had overreacted to his own feelings and he could understand if I never wanted to see him again. I was waiting for the “but” but when that didn’t come, he just waited and it seemed like it was my turn to say something. I told him he was exactly right…I DIDN’T ever want to see him again. Then I said that I was very much in love with my large, burly, Irish-tempered fiancé and that it was impossible for him to ever think we could have any kind of relationship at all. I felt slightly silly even having to tell him something that obvious. It hits me that I still really can't even believe this is going on at all. It struck me while I was talking to him... That sense of unreality again.

Then we were right back on the crazy train. Jeremy said, perfectly calmly, that he would always love me and he knew that we were destined to be together. And that he could wait for me to come around and realize it too. No matter how long it took.

That pissed me off. I guess I was feeling safer and less scared out on a public street and the sun was still out and the sidewalks were crowded and the man who owns the diner and his son were both right inside and these factors all combined to make me get really angry instead of afraid. I told Jeremy he had to stop this, that if he called or emailed or tried to see me again, I would call the police and report the kidnapping and tell them about the attempted rape.

He just looked at me and didn’t really even change his expression. Like I hadn't said anything at all. And when I turned to walk away, I heard him say “Why didn’t you?,” but I just kept on going. It was so fucking WEIRD!

And I still don’t know the answer to that question.

Colin got home from school a little while after I did. He asked me what was wrong. I guess he could tell I was upset. I was upset. I almost told him, then. I really almost did. Then I thought of something. There’s this little restaurant at the Seaport that we go to. We sit on the deck and watch the sun set. Every time we go it’s beautiful and perfect and I feel so close to Colin. So, I asked him if we could go there for dinner. I couldn’t take the thought of never feeling that way again.

We just had enough time to have dinner and drinks before Colin had to leave for work. He even called and asked one of the guys to cover for him if he was late. We sat up on the high deck with a couple of mojitos and watched the city skyline turn shades of deep red and purple.

I tried not to look around. But I thought I might have glimpsed Jeremy down by the ships. I kissed Colin. I really do love him.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

6. outer spaces

In a terribly misguided effort to be really nice to me, Colin tried to get me to go see a movie at the Angelica. The Angelica is the main independent film theater in town and normally Colin would avoid it like poison since he doesn’t really care for indie films all that much. He only goes to see them with me. Of course, the Angelica is not too far from Jeremy’s NYU building and is exactly Jeremy’s sort of theater. So you can imagine how I felt about that suggestion. Manhattan is a really big place, but right now it seems tiny and confining. I can’t even imagine what would happen if Colin and I were to see Jeremy.

I cooked supper for Colin tonight to try to make up for being such a crazy bitch. I made this chicken and rice thing he likes. But I the some chicken in the freezer and rice in the cabinet. I still don't want to go out, even to the store.

I made Colin take me to this big theater way up on Columbus Avenue. The upper west side is about as far away from the lower east side where Jeremy lives as you can reasonably get. Colin was happy…ish about it. With the movie, at least. We saw something with lots of explosions. I love action movies and special FX blockbusters, too. But I just couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t even tell you what movie we saw.

Jeremy has been emailing me. The last one he sent today was a really long one about how he loves me and he’s been thinking about it and wants us to move in together. He’s got this whole imaginary relationship going on in his head or something. I just deleted the emails.

And emptied the trash.

And defragged the hard drive.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

5. hermit crab

3 more voicemail messages today from Jeremy. I had to keep the phone turned on for work. Thank god for caller ID. I didn’t pick up. Of course.

I can’t make myself leave the apartment. I made Colin go out and get me milk and Cheerios, the staple foods of my existence. I got a call to work a couple of days in the office of an ad agency next week. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I told them I would be at their office on Tuesday. Tomorrow night is Colin’s night off and he wants to go to see a movie. I really don’t want to leave the apartment at all. Colin is trying to be patient and gentle with me, since I’ve been acting like such a psycho, and I have not been dealing with it very well. I sort of snapped at him today. Not really bad, but some stupid small thing like not hanging up the wet bath mat. I feel like a prisoner in my own home. It’s getting to me. Poor Colin.

This morning the last message from Jeremy was him asking me to meet him for lunch at this Mexican restaurant near the NYU film building. Oddly, it’s one of my favorites and he couldn’t possibly know that. But it’s a popular place, so maybe it’s not that odd. But…meet him for lunch? What the hell does this guy think? How could he be this crazy?

How could I be this crazy? After I got that message I called Sprint and had my cell phone shut off. That wasn’t such a great decision. How am I going to explain that to Colin? I guess I’ll say I’ve been meaning to switch services for a while now. How am I going to explain why I don’t want to keep the same number even though it’s printed on a thousand business cards?

I imagine that this is what drowning feels like. I can’t breathe and I feel like I’m sinking further and further into an abyss. I might as well call this blog “Diary of a Crazy Woman.” I need to pull myself together.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

4. new york, new york

I came home today. I didn’t want to, but I really had no choice. Colin met me at Penn Station. As soon as I saw his sweet, concerned, loving face I felt so relieved. I went into his arms like he was my sanctuary and held onto him like it was the last time. All the time I kept thinking, worrying that if I tell him what really happened, this will be the last time I get to feel like this.

Colin has clearly sensed that I’m in a very unusual state. He’s actually more perceptive than I ever gave him credit for. He was wonderful and sweet and held off asking all the questions I could tell he really was dying to ask. He did ask how my friends were doing and we chatted a little about nothing important, but the “big gorilla” of my secret was making its hairy presence very uncomfortable for me. I had to figure out what to tell Colin. I wanted to tell him the truth, but I just wanted to feel safe with him a little bit longer, before it all went to hell and he was gone. And all the way home I kept looking around, expecting to see Jeremy following me, somehow knowing where I am. I’m so freaked.

When we got home I showered and changed into my own clothes and asked if we could make love. Usually sex between us feels incredibly unifying. I wanted to feel that connection to him. It was good, but things are just tense between us. I’m all torn up inside.

Of course I had to talk with Colin. I had to say something. I basically told him I had a kind of a breakdown and just suddenly felt the overwhelming need to get away. It’s totally unlike me, I’m not at all the “breakdown” type and he clearly isn’t buying it. Because it’s obvious bullshit. He keeps asking questions. He’s trying to be helpful, trying to understand, he's trying to be sweet and supportive. But I just can’t bring myself to tell him. The truth is too bizarre. I even started crying tonight to get him to stop pressing me for more information. Horrible of me. I’ve never lied to him before or manipulated him. I’ve never had to. We have been really open and honest with each other our whole time together. It’s just that I’m convinced that he won’t understand what happened. He tends to be kind of jealous even though I know he trusts me completely. The trust he has in me…that’s the worst thing of all. He has always trusted me and now I’ve betrayed it in a way that I don’t know if I can ever make right. I just can’t tell him what happened. I have no way to explain how I spent that time in some strange guy’s apartment, not tied up or anything, but couldn’t get away. I hardly even believe it, myself, it sounds so fishy.

Colin just left for work and I’ve turned off all the lights in the apartment and I’m even being really quiet. I turned off my phone. Just sitting here in the dark working a bit and watching the computer for emails. Nothing but spam so far tonight. Trying to sell me designer watches and Viagra.

Monday, May 30, 2011

3. more maine

I had a life. A nice, perfectly fine life. And just like that, through no fault of mine, I don’t. It’s like everything I counted on was just an illusion. It was so easily destroyed. Things changed too fast for me to cope with.

I called Colin back and talked him out of driving up here. I promised to come home right away. Well, tomorrow. Jeremy has been calling my cell and he’s leaving these long, chatty voicemail messages about his film project and how his day went and how he can’t wait to see me again, just as if we had a nice, normal relationship other than kidnapper and victim!

The nightmare time I spent being held at his apartment would seem like I just imagined it, except for one thing…Jeremy keeps trying to contact me. I don’t even know this psycho and he keeps acting like we are in love!! I really don’t know what this guy is capable of. He kept a girl he didn’t even know in his apartment for almost 2 days. I guess about a day and a half, really, but still… I shouldn’t be worried about what could happen to him. He needs help. From mental health professionals, not from me. Christ, I probably need help. I am definitely not acting rationally.

I really don’t want to go home. But I have to face things and figure out what I’m going to do. Make a decision. Do what I have to do to try and get my life back. But the consequences terrify me. I know I should call the police. I know I need to tell Colin. Somehow I just keep on not doing what I should do.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

2. maine


The insanity continues. No…The insanity gets worse.

I’m still here in Maine, in total retreat from my whole situation and from the insanity of being held prisoner… sort of. And I’m more confused than ever.

Last night, after my friends and I boiled some lobsters for dinner and we drank a bit too much and they went to bed, I couldn’t sleep.

And I called Jeremy.

OK! I know that’s crazy. I really, really know how crazy it is, but here’s the thing…I still haven’t told anyone what happened. The whole situation is taking on mythic proportions in my mind at this point and I’m afraid to tell anyone. I can’t imagine what my fiancé or my friends or…anyone at all would say. Or if they would even believe me. I’m really sure they wouldn’t! At this point Jeremy and I are the only ones who know what happened. I was a bit drunk. I was more than a bit upset. And so I called him. Maybe because I just had to talk to SOMEONE. I couldn’t stand it.

I know what you’re thinking. But I’m not totally crazy. I’m not. I know this guy is not my friend. I know he’s a possibly dangerous psychotic. For all I know, this guy could be getting messages from Satan through his neighbor’s dog! I know. I know. I know.

Yes, we were drinking tonight. My friends all love my special Peach Sunset martinis. and for some reason we watched “Coffee and Cigarettes” by Jim Jarmusch on cable. I was thinking about what Jeremy would say about the film. He does have interesting opinions on films. Calling him made a sort of weird sense at the time and it seemed sort of daring, too. Like I would be confronting a situation I was afraid of. Not letting myself be intimidated. Sort of. And I had every intention of really telling him off.

I went out into the garage so no one could hear me if things got loud. I called from my cell phone (now recharged) so he wouldn’t know where I was calling from or anything. But…when he picked up, I didn’t say anything, just silence. Then he said my name. Like he was expecting me to call. And he didn’t act mad or upset, he just told me how much he missed me and how much he loved me. I had thought I was going to try to talk some sense into him and then I realized there was nothing new I could say on the subject that I hadn’t already said a million times. I suddenly felt so exhausted and I just hung up without saying anything.

Now I’m the creepy one.

Then I called Colin at work (he works nights, remember?). I told myself I needed to explain it all to him, come clean, but I couldn’t think of how to start. I couldn’t think of a way to tell him about all the craziness and I ended up getting defensive and upset by all the questions he asked me. I was completely unfair to him. He’s pretty upset with me now and doesn’t understand. How could he? My friends here in Maine have just assumed Colin and I have had a big fight that I just haven’t told them about it yet. I don’t even have any clothes or anything with me! Obviously, they know something is up. Before we hung up Colin said that he was going to drive up here to get me.

The longer I wait to tell anyone the story, the harder it gets. I’ve never felt so alone. It’s my own fault. This isolation is totally self-imposed. Why the fuck am I doing this? What is it I AM doing? Maybe I’m as crazy as Jeremy. Is insanity infectious?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

1. the past

A very weird thing happened to me.

1. It was incredible and confusing.
2. I can't tell anyone I know.
3. My name isn't really claire.

I was kidnapped... or something more like held prisoner for almost a day and a half. I got away, but I’ve kind of freaked out over it and as if it wasn’t bad enough, now I’ve made things worse. My life is spinning totally out of control and I have no idea how to stop it. I just want my life back. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try.

I’m 26. I'm an illustrator. I live in New York City and I'm engaged to a wonderful guy. We live together. I’ll refer to him as Colin (not his real name) because sometimes he reminds me of the character Colin Firth played in “Bridget Jones’ Diary.” He’s so patient and loving and understanding and he’s also Irish-American and doesn’t the name Colin sound kind of Irish or something? I love movies, especially independent films, and I’m always thinking of the people in my life as characters in films. Or vice versa. Life imitating art and all that.

I really love movies. That’s one of my main passions in life. I love how seeing a really powerful film can take you out of your every day life and transport you to a completely different state of mind. I love how some films affect me and how that feeling can last for hours after I watch it. I even have certain movies that I use to change my mood. I have some I watch to cheer me up, some I watch to inspire my creativity, even some I like to watch before a business meeting that make me feel confident and kind of kick ass. I love how a film can influence my emotions that way. I guess I’m susceptible to it.

But back to Colin. We actually got engaged only 3 months after we met. He told me he knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and I realized I felt the same way. I guess it was a bit sudden, but he said that he felt there was no point in being cautious and pussyfooting around and waiting to see if I felt what he felt, so he just came out and said it. Emotionally daring and romantic as hell. I was really swept off my feet. I guess it just happens that way sometimes. Being in love is wonderful.

That was two years ago. We have been saving up for a nice wedding, but it takes time. So we haven't taken the plunge yet, but as far as my feelings go, we’re already married. I know he's the man for me. I would rather die than see him hurt. Sometimes I feel like I need to protect him. He’s so... not innocent exactly, but... nice. He’s so nice, and so sweet, I just want to shield him from the ugly realities of life sometimes. I wouldn’t hurt him for the world.

But I will. I have to.

In my job I do all sorts of artwork, mainly paintings or drawings for magazines, books and films, and to make ends meet I sometimes do storyboards. Since I’m a big fan of independent films and I go see lots of them at the several great art houses around town, I tend to meet people who have similar tastes. Like film students.

A few days ago I finished some storyboards for an NYU film student. She was one of those kids with too much of daddy's money to throw around on their student projects. She hired me to storyboard a short film she was doing. I dropped the job off to her at an editing suite in the NYU building on Broadway where this she was working on some project. The student that had  previously been using the editing room was just in the process of leaving. The guy was gathering up his project and fooling with stuff in the room as I was going over the storyboards with my "client.” He kept staring at me. It was making me really self-conscious, because he was staring at me really intensely but trying not to seem like he was staring. Kind of awkward. I left after I was done, hoping to catch the elevator quickly, but this guy came walking up to the elevator while I was still waiting for it. So we rode down together. To be polite, and also to break the awkward silence I was feeling, I asked him what he was working on. He asked if I would like to see it. Of course he did. I said sure, sometime. What was I going to say?

He wanted to show me his film project right away and I couldn’t think of an excuse not to quick enough so we went back up in the elevator to an empty viewing room and he showed me the rough cut of his student film. It was really strange. It made me think of "Boxing Helena" or "May", but it was a bit less coherent. Like those films, it was about obsessive love and dismemberment with a hint of cannibalism thrown in. Pretty weird stuff, but it was done somewhat humorously. Maybe you’d call it wry humor. The camera work was really nicely framed and the pacing was very static in a Jim Jarmusch kind of way and I told him so. Turns out that isn't by accident, he's a big fan of Jarmusch's films and thought it was cool that I got that connection. We talked about films a little bit and then, since I had to get home and get more work done that day, I said goodbye and thanked him for showing me the film.

Listen, I know how things go. I’m not some simp. I made very sure that in the course of conversation I threw in a couple of references to my fiance, Colin. Nothing too overbearing, but enough to let this guy know that I wasn’t single or available. I’m always careful, as you have to be these days, and I don’t want to have any messy misunderstandings. I prefer to be very up front and honest. I really do. So, just to make sure you understand, I was not flirting with this guy. It was nothing like that.

Thing is...that encounter…it wasn’t anything very unusual. Nothing odd, really, except he kept looking at me intensely the whole time. Like he was trying to study me or something. I guess I didn't think it was as odd as some people might have. Being an artist, I suppose I've done the same thing to strangers on occasion. If I was trying to embed in my memory how they looked, or a certain gesture they had, or what they were wearing to be able to sketch them later I guess I might have seemed a bit creepy to them.

That night I got an email from this guy. I'll call him Jeremy (not his real name either) but his student project that he’d shown me reminded me a little bit of the indie film "May" that stars Jeremy Sisto. Plus that fact that he was tall and slim and had dark, curly hair, it just reminded me of the actor. So anyway, he said in the email that he got my email address and my business card from the other student that I had done the storyboards for. He wanted to ask me about doing some work for him. He couldn't afford to pay me but asked if I would be interested in perhaps collaborating on a new short film project. I wrote back that I was flattered, but I was too busy and too broke to work on anything speculative. I figured that was the end of it.

It wasn't.

He emailed me a few more times with questions about different things concerning films, minor things, you know? After a while he asked if I would just meet him for coffee and give him some feedback on some ideas he had. He said he didn't mind coming to my neighborhood downtown and after he asked really nicely a couple of times, I thought, well, it’s only coffee. I gave in and met him at the diner across the street from my building. I felt kind of bad for him, actually. I figured maybe he was here from out of town going to school and didn't know that many people. I mean, c'mon...I did think it was a little odd, but not that far out of the ordinary for New York City. I've lived here for quite a few years and it's a pretty strange place in general. You learn to make allowances for odd behavior.

The point I'm getting at is that nothing this guy did set off any major warning bells. He was just an interesting guy to talk to and maybe a little intense and awkward, but that was all. I had mentioned up front that I was engaged to a wonderful guy. Like I said, I’m careful. So, we met, we talked for an hour or so about films, he gave me his contact info and I went back home.

Colin, my fiancé, works nights and is also going to college. He has class four days a week and works six nights a week, so most of the time when he's actually home, he's asleep. Just as he was that afternoon I met Jeremy for coffee. I told him about the meeting when he woke up and we went across to the same diner to have dinner that evening. We eat there a lot. The guy who owns the diner showed me a backpack and asked if my friend had left it when we were in there earlier. It did look like Jeremy's so I said I would call him and ask. My fiancé left for work after dinner and I called Jeremy. Turned out it was his backpack. He said he didn’t know where he had left it and was very happy I had called to let him know where it was. He wanted to come down to get it right away, but by the time he got downtown the diner would have been closed. I was going out to see a band that night who wanted me to do a CD cover for them. The bar where they were playing was not far from Jeremy's apartment so I offered to pick it up from the diner and drop it by.

Now the weird part starts. Well, I mean the REALLY weird part. I rang the buzzer to Jeremy’s apartment and he buzzed me in the front door. There didn’t seem to be an intercom, so I walked up the 3 flights of stairs to his floor. At the end of the short hallway I saw that the door to his apartment was slightly open. It's not uncommon to do that here in the city when you are waiting for a friend you’ve buzzed in to walk up, but I didn't know this guy so I was a little cautious. I just yelled hello from the door and he called for me to come in. I cautiously stepped in, leaving the door open behind me. Jeremy was in the kitchen just a few steps down the hall and I went as far as the kitchen doorway and set the backpack down and said I had to get going. He responded by handing me a cup of hot tea. He said he fixed it to thank me for bringing his stuff by. I should have left right then. But I didn't. Trying to be polite, I made one of those errors in judgment that you always think about later and wonder why you did it. I went in and sat down on the couch to drink the tea.

Jeremy sat down in a chair across from me and said he had something important to say but didn't want it to upset me. Okaaaay. He confessed that he was in love with me ever since he had first seen me. I pointed out to him that it had only been 3 days ago since we met and told him that he had to realize that his being in love with me was a bit hard to believe. I was trying to be nice, but now I really wanted to get the heck out of there. The conversation had turned creepy, creepy. I said I was sorry, that I was very much in love with my fiancé, that he was the love of my life, and I really had to get going as I looked for someplace to set my cup down.

I’m not trying to pretend that Jeremy isn’t attractive. He is. In a dark, intense sort of way. And we obviously have a lot in common. But I want to make it very clear that I was not tempted. I was not attracted to him. I really did nothing wrong, even in my thoughts. Colin is my world, my love and everything I could want. We’re happy and I don’t play games with that.

So then, basically, what happened was Jeremy just wouldn't let me leave. I got up to go, setting my cup down on the floor next to the couch. He got up quickly and stepped into my path. He started trying to talk me out of going. I was still, foolishly, trying to be polite. He actually just seemed a bit pathetic to me. I guess I still felt a little sorry for him. But I stepped past him and headed toward the still open door. He rushed by me and shut the door leaning his back up against it. He was trying hard to convince me to stay and hear him out. As far as I was concerned I already had and I just wanted to go.

I was starting to get a little nervous by this time but I was still trying to reason with him and stay calm. I’ve never been very good with confrontation. I just never know how to handle it and this was so unexpected, too. I always end up wishing everything could just be nice and calm and logical. When I’m in an argument or a bad situation, I just want to get away. Far and fast. I hate getting into messy confrontations. I avoid them like dog poo on the sidewalk.

Jeremy was trying to convince me that we were fated to meet or something and that we were soul mates and all that crap. I told him firmly that he was mistaken, that it was all in his head because I was already with the most wonderful man in the world. I said that I was sorry about his feelings and I reached around him and tried to open the door. When I got close to him he tried to kiss me. I shoved away from him and said I was going to scream and he said he was sorry and tried to calm me down. I told him he had to let me leave right that minute or I was going to start screaming. He looked so hurt and so shocked then that I felt like a complete dork, like I was over-reacting. He looked like he was going to cry. Almost, somehow, I felt like I was the one being unreasonable. Which I know makes no sense. But he just kept talking to me seeming all calm and rational, but very earnestly trying to make me understand his point of view. That he was in love with me. His completely crazy point of view. And I knew that. I did.

It makes me feel so strange to even write this, but no matter what I did or said, he just wouldn't let me leave. We spent that whole damn night with him leaning up against the door and me trying to talk my way out in a kind of standoff. He wasn't threatening me or making any moves on me, not even trying to touch me. He just kept trying to convince me that he loved me and were meant for each other and that I would realize that if I would just let myself believe the truth. And I was trying to convince him that he was wrong for, oh, about the million reasons that he was wrong. I even tried to point out to him that the situation was a little too close to the subject matter of his film, the obsessive love type thing, but he told me that was just more proof that he somehow knew this would happen to "us". I did everything I could think of to talk my way out, but he was as dead set in trying to talk me into staying. It was ridiculous. I was afraid to even go to the bathroom and leave the door.

I don't know why I didn't scream for help at some point. I have no real explanation except maybe that he seemed like he was being so sincere and he was just so non-threatening. I guess I did feel sorry for him in a way. My cell phone rang a couple of times and he didn't do anything violent, but he reached out and held onto the top of my purse so I couldn't open it to get the phone out to answer it. It seems so childish, now. So ridiculous. But Colin might have been getting a little worried. He didn’t know that I had stopped off at Jeremy’s. Maybe he thought I was hanging out after the show I was supposed to go to or that I fell asleep when I got home. Colin goes straight from work to class on Tuesdays and Thursdays so he wouldn’t have gotten home to find I wasn’t there for quite a while. But he always calls to check in, so I knew he might be getting worried. Heck, I was pretty worried, too. Because I didn’t know what to do in this insane situation.

Sometime after the sun had come up I had to go or pee my pants. Jeremy pointed me to the bathroom down the hall but he would only let me go in if I left my purse, and phone, outside. I just threw my purse down onto the floor in frustration and went in. I locked the bathroom door and looked out the window, but it only let out onto an air shaft. I looked up and down the shaft. I could see a couple of windows, but they were far away and closed. And dark. It didn’t look like anyone was home upstairs or down. After I went to the bathroom, nervously, I just sat on the edge of the tub and tried to think what to do.

After a while, Jeremy asked if I was ok and then he asked if would I come out. He promised not to hurt me. Actually what he said was he would never do anything to hurt me. I really didn't want to even open the door and face him again, but I couldn't figure out any other way besides becoming Spider-Man and crawling out the air shaft so I finally came out. He had gotten us both glasses of water. I kept looking for an opportunity to get out. But he was being careful about staying between me and the front door. It really was way beyond total absurdity and I was very worried about Colin and what he would think when he got home and found me gone. I really can't explain the situation at all, except to say that arguing with Jeremy was like trying to push your way through a giant marshmallow. He would give but he just wouldn't be moved.

After being at this all night, I don't know how to explain it, but we just had settled into a kind of tense routine. I guess you’d call it a standoff. With me trying to think of new logical arguments to convince him and him countering everything I said. It reminded me uncomfortably of that movie "The Night Porter" at times. But without the mutual attraction. It was just surreal.

I thought about the time when I was 16 and I had a boyfriend who became weirdly obsessed after I broke up with him. He wouldn't let it go and would drive by my house at all hours and show up wherever I went and just basically hang around, hoping for I didn't know what. He tried to pump all of my friends for information about me. This went on for almost 3 years. It was creepy and annoying, though I have to say, I never was scared of him, I just thought he was lame. I even stopped dating high school boys after that. I dated older guys, mostly in their 20’s. Thinking, I suppose, that maybe his age had been the problem even though he was 2 years older than me. Who knows?

I never figured out how to deal with that guy any better than I was dealing with this one. Jeremy just kept trying to convince me that he really loved me and I kept trying to reason with him that his feelings weren’t and couldn’t be real. And the weirdest thing was that I was starting to feel like his intense conviction was warping my own perception. At moments, I started almost feeling like I was the one being crazy, just because he was so completely convinced. Jeremy acted like everything that was happening was totally normal.

And there’s another thing…it isn't like there’s anything obviously wrong with Jeremy. There isn't. He doesn’t look like a psycho. He's tall and good looking. He's intelligent and interesting. He was even acting tender and very caring and thoughtful of my feelings (except for the letting me leave part). If I wasn't already in a relationship and I didn’t know he was completely INSANE, I might have gone out with him.

As time went on, it just got more and more surreal.

I don't know how to explain this, I can't even understand how it happened, but I was trapped in Jeremy's apartment for almost a day and a half. We moved around after a while, Jeremy always keeping himself between me and the door. At some point my cell phone must have run out of juice because it stopped ringing. I was really achy from sitting on the hallway floor and I agreed to sit on the chair in the living room. We sat in the living room. We ate crackers. After a time we stopped talking. Nothing more to say, I guess.

I kept looking for an opening to get to the door and get out, but Jeremy positioned himself in the hallway, just watching me. Watching me with this irritating, loving look on his face.

There was one point when I felt myself getting so tired I couldn’t stay awake. And I knew I couldn’t afford to fall asleep. So I figured I had to act. I got up quickly and tried to push my way past Jeremy to get to the door. He pinned me against the wall and for a minute I was sure he was going to try to rape me but I struggled and started to scream and he didn't. He put his hand over my mouth and he just kissed my hair and held me too tightly for what seemed like a really long time after that. That was really tense and creepy and I struggled and he finally let me go back to the chair.

The end was actually very anti-climactic. He finally nodded off a couple of times and the third time I grabbed my purse, managed to step over him since he was blocking the hall, sneaked very quietly out the door and ran like hell down the stairs and flagged down a cab.

After I left his apartment I was feeling very emotional and confused and scared and really a bit crazy. I was in conflict about what to do. I told the cab to take me to the police station but I wasn’t sure which precinct or where it was and the driver didn’t know either. I thought I should call 911, but I wanted to get far away from Jeremy first. And then I started thinking about what I would tell the police anyway. That I was held prisoner? By someone talking to me? I hadn’t even fought or really screamed. What would they think? What crime was committed? It didn’t even sound convincing to me. It sounded like I was an idiot.

And what I was going to say to Colin after being gone for so long without calling, picking up the phone, leaving a note for him or anything? I knew he must be frantic with worry by then, but I couldn’t think of what to say to him. I kept trying to think of how I could explain what happened, but nothing would come. I was worried that he would be so angry that I would lose him. I needed time to think.

Then…I didn't go to the police. I didn’t go home. The cab driver was waiting, not at all patiently. So, I finally told the cab to take me to Penn Station. I went in and got on a train to Maine. My best friend and her husband live in Maine. And I just wanted to get far away. Escape the nightmare. It was just too much.

It's a long train ride and I slept most of the way. I changed trains in Boston and still didn't call anyone. I didn't call anyone at all until I got to the train station in Maine and then used a pay phone to call my friends to come pick me up. Needless to say, they were surprised. Luckily, they were home. It hadn’t even occurred to me that they wouldn’t be. Wow. Crazy. So crazy.

I still don't know why I did what I did. Maybe some sort of emotional avoidance mechanism? My behavior was very disturbing and getting more disturbing and I knew it. The most disturbing thing was that I kept thinking about Jeremy. Like I was worrying about him and how he would feel about me sneaking out like that. Worrying about my kidnapper? Or whatever he was.

I was worried about Colin too, but it was strangely seeming to me like more time had passed than actually had. My perceptions were all off and I couldn’t think straight. I felt so distanced from Colin. And I was also terrified to have to explain something this crazy to him. Colin should have been my refuge, but I was deathly afraid of losing him over this. I just wanted to postpone it. I just knew he wouldn’t understand. How could anyone?

I'm not explaining this very well, but I still can't understand it either. I must have gone a little nuts. I think I must still be crazy. I'm in Maine right now. I’ve been here for more than a day and I still don't know what the hell I'm doing. I haven’t told my friends in Maine what happened, I just told them that I had needed to get away. And Colin, I did finally call him, and I told him that there had been an emergency with my friends in Maine and I had rushed up to help them. And my cell phone ran out of juice and I didn’t have the charger. That's a totally lame excuse and he is trying to be nice, but he keeps asking me more questions than I can really answer. I mean, I keep telling myself I've been the victim of a crime, but it was so weird and I’m not hurt.

Am I harmed? WAS it even a crime? I'm not injured or anything. But I’m absolutely terrified though I’m not sure exactly why. I’m safe now, right? I'm just trying to figure out what happened and what I feel about it. I just had to write this down so I started this blog. I'll write more tomorrow or the next day.