A handful of weeks ago I decided to head to the used book store down the street. Aaron had just gotten home from class and he decided to stay in, so I headed off to the bookstore by my lonesome. It was a lovely afternoon so I didn't mind the walk alone, even though I prefer his company. Little did I know what was in store for me just around the corner.
I had just crossed the parking lot when I noticed a man talking to some woman about a kid. She left and when he approached me, I only stopped because I assumed he had lost his kid and needed help. Turns out instead, he just wanted to talk to me. No harm in that, the people in our new place have all been very neighborly and welcoming, so I thought nothing of it. At first.
He asks me my name, tells me his, explains he had bought cookies from one of the children near by and asked me which he thought he should bake first, the chocolate chip or the peanut butter. I'm like, "Uh... both?" Though easily the correct answer would have been to bake them both together so they would be peanut butter-chocolate chip.
He then goes on to ask if I was attending the college nearby and what classes I'm taking or would be taking. A little intrusive of a stranger to ask, but not altogether unheard of, so I mention I plan on taking ASL in a year or so and he exclaims that he's been learning ASL for a while now and that we should get together to study. I explain that it'll be a while until I attend, if I even do for that matter, and he instead offers the use of his Sign Language books.
I'm a little hesitant about taking anything from a stranger out of a weird sense of debt, but he's pretty insistent upon it and invites me inside. Red flag goes up and I mentioned that I really ought to be heading to the book store since it closes at six, and he waves it off and assures me it'll only take a moment. Reluctantly I follow him towards he door to his apartment, though I don't plan on going in. Especially since five steps forward he tells me how careful I should be, because there are, "Many bad men out there." Additional red flags, are they even needed?
I hover abouts the doorway, where his dog is lounging so it doesn't seem too impolite and he goes in to get the book. I hear him call out that he won't bite and he's got nothing to hide so I should, come in. Cautiously I tip toe a foot into his apartment, knowing the woman across the street saw me do so and that the door behind me was still open. Immediately I notice the over-grown tomato plants obscuring the view into/out of his window. He must have been able to tell that I found it odd, because he started explaining straight away that they used to be even bigger, but when new management took over and did their walk-throughs, they made him trim them down.
He then starts telling me plants can grow year-round so long as you tend them right, and I agree, because out here in California that's very true. If you keep a plant warm enough in the chilly months and well nourished enough, they need not enter a dormant phase. He hands me the book, and I kindly thank him, hoping to now head on to the book store, even going to far as to tell him that. Not quite yet!
He goes on then to introduce me to his dog. An Akita he rescued several years ago after his Lab-Retriever finally had to be put down. Her name is Sierra. Like the mountain, he says. I'm like, okay... It apparently dawns on him that I was walking to the book store, because he asks me why I'm not driving there. I explain that I don't own a car and prefer to go places that I can on foot. He get real close to me and I can tell, awkwardly, that he planned to hug me before thinking better of it and instead shakes my hand, complimenting my morals.
Which leads him to the story of why he no longer owns a car either. He's a born-again Christian sort of fellow and he used to visit all the local churchs like Paul or Peter or some other Bible character I cannot recall at the moment. But he did so in a white Bronco which lead several of the other church-goers to look down on him for, "thinking so highly of himself and riding in on his white horse," in reference to his vehicle...
So long story short, he sells his car to a pastor. I tell him then that I really have to go, as it has been forty-five minutes already and the book store closes in ten minutes. He stops me and says he wants me to use the ASL book to decipher what he says first. I mentioned again more expressively that I really do need to go, but he again insists it will take only a moment. So he signs something, I'm oblivious and the book isn't helping (since most ASL books don't without proper instruction). I realize I'll be here all night at this rate and throw in the proverbial towel. He then says he was saying, "I want something with you."
Mentally I'm thinking, "Oh, ffs!" But outwardly I'm more composed and polite about it, explaining to him that I'm already in a relationship and quite happy. You'd think that would be enough, but he then goes on to like... give me instructions on how to proceed in dating him should I want to and break up with Aaron.
We could only be friends for the first month, nothing romantic. And! If Aaron and I are living together, that's at least five months before he will date me. If Aaron and I were to get married and then divorce, I could not date him for a year per every five years Aaron and I were married.
Yes, these were actual words coming out of his talk-hole. I smile and nod and then, one final time, insist I have to go now. Finally, I'm free. I have to run to the book store by this point because it is so close to closing time, and once I get there I only have a few minutes to quickly peruse what's available. A shame, because there is a ton of great old books to sort through. I grab a couple nicely bound old prints and head out. By now it is growing dark and weird guy's behavior has made me nervous, so I call my mom as insurance on my way home.
As expected, he's waiting outside for me when I get into the parking lot. I assume surely no one would be so intrusive and creepy as to interrupt someone obviously in the middle of a telephone conversation... but he does. He stops me to tell me a story about some Christian radio show he had listened to some time ago about star crossed lovers. The entire time my mom is in the background, on the phone asking, "Who the hell is that? Is this the creepy guy? Was he waiting outside for you?" Etc., etc. None of which I can answer while he is RIGHT there.
I smile and nod some more, and take my leave, finally making it home to tell Aaron all about my experience and how I'm never leaving the house by myself ever again.
Just you wait. There's more.
Yesterday I was doing laundry, while checking the drier to see if it was finished, the same guy comes running up from across the complex shouting my name. I'm like, "???" and peek out of the laundry room window only to realize who it was. I instantly wish there was a back door, but alas there isn't so I just had to be trapped in the room with him.
I'm dreading this conversation but he starts it off with an innocent, "How goes the ASL?" To which I can only reply honestly, that I haven't had the time to start. Then he hits me with he creepy, full force.
"I've been walking this way with Sierra the last couple of weeks trying to see if I could find out where you live."
Not only is he completely socially inappropriate in most ways imaginable, he's also been trying to stalk me for two weeks straight. Since the day he met me. Creeper! To make it worse, the whole time he's talking to me he is obstructing the exit so I cannot leave, and I just so happen to have a laundry basket with underthings in it. Sigh.
He then clarifies just to make sure I did in fact have a boyfriend. I say yes, because... I do. Then he starts asking if any of the people outside are him. One by one. When I say it isn't the man in the baseball hat he says, "I thought for sure it was that guy in the hat, because he keeps checking you out. I guess it's just cause you're pretty though." When I decline that it is the guy watching us from across the street he says, "Huh, he must just be keeping an eye on you to make sure I don't do anything bad."
His friends show up to relieve me of him (not fast enough) and he asks them if I can go along. I don't know where they're going, not that it would make a difference. He then touches my arm after they agree and says, "Heh heh, just playin, I see you're doing laundry." and gives a nod to acknowledge my basket. I uneasily ebb by him and make a retreat to our apartment, but only after I was sure he'd gone and wasn't observing from afar.
This is why I lock myself -in- the house.