by C. Mayfield
March 12, 2018
I was sick in bed with the flu when my friend Janie called me crying. Our friend Cheryl had just been murdered by her boyfriend. He had been stalking her for months, and our greatest fears were realized when he went to her job and shot her four times as her co-workers stood and watched helplessly. For me, it was the second time I had personally experienced such horror.
I was twenty-one and had just been on a double date with my friend Pam and her new boyfriend. My boyfriend was driving, and when we took Pam home at the end of the evening, her boyfriend got out of the car with her to walk her to the door. When they approached the steps, a man suddenly appeared out of the nearby bushes and began shooting. Pam and her boyfriend were killed instantly right before our eyes. The killer, who was later caught, turned out to be an ex-boyfriend, who she had broken up with a month before because of his jealous rages.
Therefore, when I met Carl, I was fully paranoid about relationships with guys who displayed intense personalities from the start. However, the first time I went out with him, I was so thrown off by how fine he was, and his long black eyelashes, that I became momentarily distracted from my usual scrutiny. On the first date, he did three things that should have sent up a red flag, but I ignored each one and let my ego reign because he spent most of the evening telling me how beautiful and fascinating I was.
When an old male friend passed our table in the restaurant, and waved at me, he asked if he was an old boyfriend. (This is what’s commonly viewed as a hint of the person’s jealous nature, which has to be out of control because it’s displayed before any feelings are established.) During the course of the meal, he asked several questions about my past relationships with other men, and then asked if I could count the number of men I’d been intimate with on one hand. (This implied that he was possessive, intense and distrusting.)
On the way home in his car, my phone book fell out of my purse, and when he picked it up, he commented on how thick it was, and speculated on the number of guys I had listed in there. (This is usually a pure sign of paranoia, jealousy and a tendency to be suspicious.)
Unfortunately, I convinced myself I was flattered. After all, it seemed very apparent he was smitten and I rationalized that he was just protecting his feelings. I began dating him, and for a moment I discovered what being in “seventh heaven” really meant. He was attentive, devoted and caring, and I had just begun envisioning him as someone with marriage potential when the worst happened.
One night, I was on my way out with a couple of girlfriends for our monthly get together, when he phoned and demanded to see me. When I refused to accommodate him, he began shouting and demanded that I leave my friends and meet him. Suddenly, all his past actions flashed before my eyes, and I realized I was in trouble. When I cut off the call, he called back and threatened me with bodily harm. I became frightened, but I was prepared. I was not about to become a victim. I went to a drawer in my bedroom, retrieved a gun I kept for protection and put it in my purse. (I had a permit) He didn’t know I had a gun, and I counted that in my favor.
For several weeks, he followed me daily when I’d leave work and left threatening messages on my voicemail. I didn’t call the police because I knew it wouldn’t do any good. Both Cheryl and Pam had acquired orders of protection on their stalkers, but it didn’t help. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I had my two brothers accompany me to his house at 3:00 in the morning (when I knew he’d be asleep) in a rented car and watch as I shot out his tires and his back window. Later, I mailed him a note stating that if he came near me again, the same would happen to him. I signed the note, “The Avengers” I never saw or heard from him again. My plan worked because I set out to convince him that I was not alone and that the tables could be turned on him.