Sunday, May 16, 2010

Being frearful of protection, a story.

This is a story of a fiction.  The person and events are real though the name was changed to protect privacy.  I have told this story to people who did not know me when I was married and the first thing I'm always told is, "Why didn't you get a protective order?"  The local newspaper has reported on at least two occasions recently when women in a similar predicament sought protective orders. In both cases the women are now dead, having been murdered by the men who they tried to get a protection from or did get one and it did not protect them. I always think that maybe I did the right thing.

In February after Dennis died in December, I met Roger. He had seen me at the post office where my company had a caller box. It was my habit to go to the post office each morning and call for the mail. We got quite a bit of it so I would carry it out in a tub each morning. From his telling of the story later, he happened to be at one of the counters and saw me arrive, and call for the mail talking to the postal worker pleasantly. He saw that and heard me and asked the person what my name was. "I think I know that woman. What's her name?" He was told. He had heard the box number called so he wrote a letter to me at that address.

I wrote him back and we eventually met.

We went out to dinner. We talked on the phone. This was before the internet so things were in the manner that men and women become acquainted then. I would say that he was the reluctant party in the early days. I was creating a fantasy of not having to be alone. I was thinking how I would introduce him to my family. I had written the story in my mind before we had sex! For the first three years of our relationship my goal was marriage. I was a wife before. Being married and not alone was the usual way of things for me.

We worked together. We spent at least sixteen out of every twenty-four hours together either at work or my home. We never lived together, but we were together a lot. I introduced him to my mother and good friends. He took me home to visit his parents. I met his sister.

He told me all his stories. According to him he was an Army Ranger and had been to Vietnam on two tours. He said his parents didn't know he went to Vietnam. He told them he was stationed in Germany. He told me stories of being a L.E.R.P. and killing Gooks and how when he was out of the Army he still did "jobs" for the clandestine government agencies. He told how he also did jobs for a gangster in his home town and New Orleans. What he was trying to convince me of was that he was an assassin for hire.

Roger was the first truly paranoid person I knew. He always commented on someone listening to his phone conversations if there was a sound on the line while we were talking. He told me that I was in danger because he was in danger if "they" found him. He convinced me to buy a gun. Then he taught me to shoot. I got pretty good at shooting.

Some time near the beginning of the second year he told me that he was a felon. He wasn't going to tell me what he had been arrested for. He said, "It was the lead story in his home town paper on January 11, 197_." I thought about that and one Saturday when he was out of town visiting his parents, I drove downtown to the main library and asked them to let me see the microfilm for that newspaper and that date. They didn't have it but could order it from his hometown paper. I put in a request and paid the $2 fee. They said they'd call when it was available to view.

About the end of the second year the library called and told me the micro film was in. I went to a client meeting downtown the next week and stopped by to see what was on the front page that day. There was a picture of a much younger Roger with the story about his having been arrested in an FBI sting. He had discussed with an agent his intention to blow up school buses parked in a lot. This was during the busing riots in most near south big cities. He ended up being arrested, tried and was convicted. He was released early on probation.

In the third year he decided it would be a good idea if we married. By that time he had a good salary from my company to do whatever he felt like doing. He had a company credit card which he used for all his gas and anything he thought I or the business needed. If I mentioned having seen a particular type of gadget, he went out and bought it with that card and without my asking for it. That was easy for him to do as he didn't have to pay the bill, the company paid it.

The abuse was not physical. The abuse was verbal and emotional. I came to work about 8 a.m. every day. He knew the business opened at 9 a.m. but arrived when he chose. One of the things he did was go get the mail at the post office. He would pull his car up to the back door and hit the horn. That meant I was to drop everything and open the door. He would stand at the door and fling the mail down the tiled hall, then park out front and come in the front door. He wanted all the mail picked up and on his desk when he got inside.

He was not even civil to the employees. He stomped in and back to his office. After he got some coffee and had opened all the mail, he would walk into my office and sit down. Whatever I was doing I had to stop and give him my attention. Then he would pleasantly talk about the mail or anything else on his mind.

If anything happened during the day to make him angry, he would leave slamming the door. Or if he didn't leave he would go outside and tear up the yard or bushes or something that allowed him to physically attack it.

A little while after this point I decided I did not want to marry and thankfully never did. I started seeing others. I cheated on Roger. I feigned fatigue. I would call him when I had a date and tell him I was so tired I was going to lie down. I'd take the phone off the hook and leave! As far as I know he was unaware of this or if he was he was clever enough not to let me know. As long as infidelity wasn't discussed things would stay the way they were for him. I believe I cheated because I wanted to be caught. I had never cheated on my husband. It wouldn’t have occurred to me.

With all my randy adventures one evening five years after we first became acquainted, I ran into Lenny in a chat room. He and I had dated for two years in high school. We broke up shortly after I left home to go to college. Within two days of that chat we reunited and became a couple. That was Saturday. I went in to work Monday and told Roger we could no longer go out as I had reunited with my old boyfriend.

He was shocked. His first words were, "Well we can still work together, right?" I agreed, but I thought then I had found a way to get him out of my life eventually.

Two months later I laid him off. We had lost a big client and I told him I could no longer afford him. I helped him with his rent for a while longer but then stopped. I even took a night job because I was having financial difficulties!

It's difficult to describe the time after he left the business. He knew I was dating Lenny but would call a lot "to talk". I tried to be pleasant but there was a lot of whining about his love for me and how he didn't understand why I chose Lenny over him. His main complaint was he had been my hero, my help mate when I needed him after Dennis died. How could I abandon him now for another?

When I got tired of the constant mail with copies of pictures of us in happier times, the constant copies of news articles about things he just knew I should try to build up the business, the constant phone calls, I stopped responding. I put the mail unopened into a box back in the store room. I let all calls go to v.mail and I didn't call back. That's when the threats started.

He put nails in every tire in my truck. He broke out the headlights and put blood on the floor where I parked the truck. He left messages where he told me he was going to ruin Lenny's reputation at work by telling lies to his certification association. He told me he would catch Lenny out some day and shoot him. He told me I wasn’t safe because Lenny couldn’t protect me. Roger said he knew where I lived, worked, what shops I frequented, where I got my mail, and my groceries. He knew all my clients and all my employees. He could make my life unlivable until I decided the only thing to do was kill myself.

I discussed all this with Lenny, of course. All my employees knew about what was going on. We kept the doors locked at work. I changed all my habits of when I left home and came home or where I shopped and got a courier to get the mail for me.

Then I decided I would move, so I did. I rented the condo I was living in and moved to a place I had never owned when I was going out with Roger. I bought a second car and parked the truck. I never answered the phone at work and the first time he called asking for me, he was told I had taken a sabbatical and was traveling the world. He would occasionally watch the business, but he had gotten a job by then and wasn't able to do that all the time.

Thinking back I don't know what finally pulled him away from me. By then it had been about five years since we broke up and ten years since we first met. Though I would occasionally get that mail from him it was less frequent; a Christmas card and a card on my birthday for a couple more years. He sent me a picture of a woman's driver's license once. He typed a note to me that said, "She's a nice woman. She reminds me of you." I tossed it into the box in the storeroom. I thought, "I should find her phone number and warn her." But I knew if he really was with her she'd not believe me, tell him what I said and the craziness would start again.

Roger is still alive as far as I know. I had one more phone call at work and I answered it myself about six years ago. We talked for a while. He told me he was living in Florida now and had broken up with the woman whose picture he sent me. He reminisced about how happy we had been way back then. Was I still dating Lenny? I told him no, but I was involved with someone else and we were quite the item. He said, "It's a shame I'm not there. I could drive up from Florida some time soon and we could go to dinner." I told him no I was in love with the new man and didn’t want to do that. He remarked more than once he felt so good hearing my voice and was glad I was happy.

Today I still have my little gun handy. I still live somewhere he doesn't know about. I'm starting to miss my old condo though and if I can get out this place in a financially sound way, I plan on moving back in two years. In my particular situation I think I did the right thing by not getting the restraining order. Anyway according to the rules here if you're not living with someone nor have a child in common, you can't even get a restraining order.


  1. Thank you for sharing this story with us; you'd mentioned this man before but I couldn't find a post about your history together.

    This story is sadly very familiar; but it sounds like you did the right thing in a situation that could have been much worse. I'm glad you're safe.

  2. Blech. Sorry you went through that. I did get a restraining order. All depends on the type of person being restrained, I suppose. And I hope you do get back to your condo if that's where you want to be.

  3. sounds like you made all the right decisions and were courageous in ending the relationship. loved this post.

  4. Scary. I'm not much of a gun-lover, but if I were in this situation I would quickly become one. I'm so glad you got away.

  5. Another good reason why my life of 'almost' total seclusion sounds better and better.

    Old friends and acquaintances around here often complain when they do see me that they haven't seen much of me for the last ten years or so. My normal reply is that I've just been busy. Everything seems to work out much better for me when I do that.

  6. Urban Cynic: It is familiar. Just this week a man, who was a felon and had killed before, strangled his girlfriend during sex. His roommate said: "She was so quiet and shy." These kinds of comments always make me think they are trying to explain the man's crime on the victim.

    Subicia: Everyone knows their own situation better than anyone else can. It's like walking on the edge of a knife.

    Shanel: Thank you.

    Mrs. D: Although we had shot guns on the farm they were in a closet and never used after my Daddy died. I had no experience with guns.

    Keith: Our lives are our own, both the responsibility and the pleasure of living. I am more secluded than I'm sure others think I should be, but I find that those who truly love you are part of your life and those who are merely acquaintances soon forget you exist!

  7. I find it easier to just shoot them.

  8. Yellowdog: I did in a story I entered in a contest.

  9. Delusional people are frightening because they are so convinced of their view of the world no matter how far it strays from reality. And it is fairly resistant to treatment. You are well rid of him.

  10. Jesus. I think you did the right thing but I wonder...when he called...why did you pick up the phone or was that before caller ID?

    Odd that love can turn into fear, eh?

  11. Ah, Pretty Woman, good movie but I'm a sucker for romantic comedy. Anyway, nice to see a comment from you on my projects blog.

    Take care, Bill

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  13. Secret agent: I agree.

    Charmaine: If you are speaking of back in 1997, true, no caller ID, though I could often "feel" it was him. I think I thought he was only annoying at that point, not dangerous.

    BBC: You're welcome. I've followed your blog for a while. Always interesting.

  14. What a powerful story... as a commenter above stated... how sad that Love can turn into this...

    However, I know from my own experience that is so true...

    I am so glad you are safe today...


  15. Red Shoes: The thing is, when you love someone you MUST trust them, even if it's not immediately apparent they are worthy of the trust.

    I still say, Love is all.


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