You can’t make this stuff up. Stalker’s voice is at risk. The tool he used to seduce me cross-country, then to harass me, is being prodded and scoped. He is barely 60 years old, but he has been mixing alcohol with cigarettes for forty years. “I didn’t smoke as a teenager, like the rest of you,” he told me last year. “I didn’t start until I was 20, in Virginia. Do you know how cheap cigarettes were in Virginia? I can still sing now, of course, but, not like when I was lead in the band, in our day.”
Eight months ago, he first complained to me about the soreness in his throat. Symptom. Hoarseness or soreness in the throat that does not go away. Hasn’t his deep but clear baritone grown gravely over the last two years? The recent voice messages — yes, quite hoarse. I must play some of our early taped phone conversations and compare. Then again, better to keep them in the box. Pandora’s box.
I haven’t responded in so long, he had given up asking for return calls. But yesterday, his early morning, sober and matter-of-fact voice mail said he had information to share and asked for a return call. As I drove to work, I considered it. Perhaps the time is right and Mr. Hyde will be away, and I can rescue Dr. Jekyll from him? The second voice mail divulged his difficulty swallowing and upcoming throat biopsy. My heart sank and my stomach clenched. Waves of sadness. It’s too soon, too soon. He needs more time. Yes, I will relent in my boycott and call back at lunch time. But by then, 12 more messages. The voice mail box was full; each message loaded with another vodka dose. Time to put the wax in my ears to block the sirens of Mr. Hyde. My return call will have to wait for a better day.
The stages of Stalker intoxication —
- Calm, respectful, sonorous
- Cooing baby talk
- Singing off pitch
- Proposes marriage
- Tearful reminiscing
- Self blame and flagellation
- Calls Baby a fat whore, Jew bitch
- Blames Jews for killing Christ
- Wishes the Mid-east explodes in nuclear disaster and turns the region into glass, saving the rest of the world from its problems
- Calls Baby’s relatives bigots
- Threatens to kill Baby’s ex-boyfriends
- Threatens to kill Baby’s family
- Threatens to dig up the bones of Baby’s parents and piss on their graves
- Leaves threatening messages on Baby’s friends’ phones
- Threatens to commit suicide
- Passes out
I have grown so numb to this. Hit 7 to delete. By Stage 9, I’m hitting delete, delete without listening to the rest of the message. How do you exorcise Mr. Hyde? How do I get Dr. Jekyll back? Will it take a cancer scare? Or is it too late, and cancer will take Dr. Jekyll from me, in revenge?
I await the test results, but I do not answer the phone. Once I answer, once I call back, he will know for sure I have been listening all along; the little protection that doubt provides will be gone. If he stops drinking, perhaps then I will call back . . . but will he stop, and will there be time? His voice brings heartbreak a thousand ways. The sirens still can get me.
. . . to be continued