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The Malefactor

A few years ago (let's call it three) my wife and my daughters made a great new friend at camp. They would come home from the Summer with their stories about what they had done, the fun, the laughter and even the stories about tears and I would be just a little jealous; They were getting to meet new people and have these great bonding experiences that I missed out on. It's sort of a childish thought looking back on it. But it was my reality at the time.

In the Summer of 2012 I got to visit camp a couple of times to drop off and pickup one of my daughter's. During one of those visits there was this girl talking to my wife, all pigtails and knee high socks, that I mistook for another camper. She was memorable for her smile and her bright eyes and for the way that my wife seemed to light when talking to her and the way my daughter smiled wide at her and she smiled so widely and warmly back. That moment stuck in my head. She reminded me of a pixie. She was magical.

Have e’er you seen the Pixies, the fold not blest or banned?
They walk upon the waters; they sail upon the land,
They make the green grass greener where’er their footsteps fall,
The wildest hind in the forest comes at their call.
They steal from bolted linneys, they milk the key at grass,
The maids are kissed a-milking, and no one hears them pass.
They flit from byre to stable and ride unbroken foals,
They seek out human lovers to win them souls.
The Pixies know no sorrow, the Pixies feel no fear,
They take no care for harvest or seedtime of the year;
Age lays no finger on them, the reaper time goes by
The Pixies, they who change not, grow old or die.
The Pixies though they love us, behold us pass away,
And are not sad for flowers they gathered yesterday,
To-day has crimson foxglove.
If purple hose-in-hose withered last night
To-morrow will have its rose.

Later that Summer I made another visit with my girls and there again I encountered this pixie, who the girls all squealed in delight to see and hugged warmly and chatted with. She was much different that day, in jeans and a jacket, laying on the top of a stone column, lazily dangling her leg off the edge. My daughter reached out of the car and grabbed her leg to pull her down, wanting so badly to bring her home with us and keep her forever. She still had that same magical quality even though her physical appearance wasn't the same. It was only then that I found out she wasn't just some camper, but one of the camp specialists, and the same woman who I had already heard so many stories about.

It was a singular moment of happiness in what was a really, REALLY, difficult Summer for me. It was a Summer plagued by illness and frustration. It seemed like every day there was a conflict between my wife and I, culminating in screaming matches and threats of separation or divorce. I hadn't been prepared for being without her for as long as I had been. I hadn't been prepared to have to deal with so much on my own. I hadn't been prepared for the jealousy and envy that I experienced while she was off having fun and experiencing new things. It was horrible and it took it's toll on both of us.

But through it all, there at camp, my wife had her friend, loving her, consoling her, cuddling her, telling her everything was going to be okay. And each time my wife relayed her experiences I was jealous, but also happy. I was happy that my wife had found someone who could sooth her when I was being so harsh and hurtful. I was happy that she had a friend who wasn't the type of person who would encourage someone down the wrong path (toward separation and divorce.) So in a moment of sentimentality and folly I dug through my wife's Facebook friends list for a name and eventually found a phone number and sent a text to say "thank you."

7/24/2012 - My wife said you talked her through her pain yesterday. Thank you for loving her and taking care of her. You are a lovely person. Thank you. Thank you.

What I didn't know when I sent that text was that this bright happy person that I had seen was also an intensely private person and that by finding her the way I had, I had inadvertently caused her concerns in the place she felt most safe, at camp. What I didn't know at the time, was that she had done everything she could to ensure people couldn't just find her number somewhere. What I hadn't known at the time was that she had a stalker.

So here we are over a year later. That text I sent started a friendship which blossomed despite a really hard year of ups and downs. My kids and wife still love this woman dearly, as do I. But there's still this miscreant out there lingering at the very edges of our life, regularly poking his head in trying to keep in contact with her. It's a constant frustration for me, because it's not within my control. It is HER ex and it is HER that he's stuck to harassing and so it's not really my place to say anything. I have said some stuff to be sure, but she's a headstrong and capable woman who has her own opinions and deals with her own problems.

So this mosquito has been buzzing around and every so often sending her a text or an IM, breaking into her accounts to ferret out some nuggets of information or unblock himself after she's blocked him. Until recently his activity seemed limited to her, and never involved me, although I am aware that he made contact with another ex boyfriend and possibly sent a letter to her mom, not to mention stickers on her car, and who knows what else he's done without her knowing (i.e. following her, digging up information online, etc.,.). She's been a trooper and just ignored him. I wouldn't have that kind of strength of will. But she does. She's mighty.

Recently he made the mistake of reaching out to me over AOL IM. Now I'm not a hard person to find by any means. I don't do anything to hide my digital trail out here. This blog pretty much exposes my entire life to the world. I'm not ashamed of who I am, my beliefs, or the ups and downs of my life. It is what it is. Take it or leave it. But what bothers me is the fact that he even knew about me. The fact that he knew about me and the mechanism he chose in order to contact me says a lot. It proves that he's broken into her accounts. It proves that he's read private messages between she and I. So he's violated not only her privacy but my own, and then makes a request of me to assist him in further harassing my girlfriend. What kind of idiot thinks up such a scheme? What kind of desperation drives a man to think that he can make such a request. It's laughable.

So here's what I get one morning when I wake up at 6am or so. I see this bunch of messages on my AIM on my phone from 1am in the morning and it goes like this:

Sept. 20th 2013 from wizofozstl
I know who you are and I'm sure you know who I am. We both care about the same person. I'm asking you man to man to tell her I am sorry for and and all problems I have caused. I have nothing against you. She won't answer me. Do a good deed and pass it on. Please.
Don't pass it one first... just you and me.
I honestly thought I was doint the right thing for her to let her go. Instead I should have let her decide what she wanted. I regret that. She's a special person, and I do miss her a lot. I'm not interested in any kind of relationship. Just to clear the air. I know she hates me for abandoning her. I thougt it was the right thing to do at the time. I hope you are taking good care of her. Good luck, but please help me end this chapter in my life. Inside I'm a sensative guy and need closure. Step up and help... please.
Please stop with the zen crap and just be a honest human. Answer at leat.
At least answer me without her being involved. I hold no illl will toward you.
She's a very special person and deserves the very best. Good luck, and God's speed.

So that's 9 minutes of an entirely one sided conversation, since I was fast asleep at the time the messages came through. But it has a wealth of information in that 9 minutes. From the veiled threat of "I know who you are" to the fact that he's read my blog from the "stop with the zen crap" comment. Then there's the desperation, the fact he's at one moment entreating me to assist him to let her know how he feels and then back-pedals and wants to make it just between us. But how can this be just between he and I. We don't have a relationship. I can't absolve him of his crimes against her and I won't tell him how she feels, it's not my place. So what does he really expect me to do? Nothing. He doesn't really expect me to do anything.

It's just more pressure to box her into talking to him. It's threat, just like previous threats to maybe go to her mom, or other attempts he's made to engage her friends, or all the other times he's told her he'd stop if she'd just meet him, just talk to him on the phone, or "one answer and you can block all of them [e-mail/im/phone#s] and never hear from me again", or just one word over text. Maybe he's hoping to just put that little bit of extra pressure on her and she'll cave (she hasn't, she won't, she's mighty.) Or maybe he was hoping that I'd engage him and give him some extra fodder to harass her with, like that I'm some idealistic idiot who believes in zen crap and is manipulating her in some way HA! As if she'd allow herself to be manipulated anymore.

Nope, she's her own person, she's a great friend, and I love her for who she is and NOT who I want to manipulate her into being. She's great just the way she is. In fact, I had written about this topic previously, but she tore into me because I was being condescending and making her sound like a delicate flower instead of Xena Warrior Princess that she is. Hopefully I avoid getting my ass handed to me again. She can be fierce when provoked.

What would be great is if this guy would move on; Stop sending the texts, stop sending IM's and e-mails that he thinks she'll like, stop making fake accounts or texting and pretending to be some guy from school or some random internet person. Stop pretending to be on death's doorstep. Stop digging into her life. Stop reading my blog. If he'd stop emotionally blackmailing her telling her that if she'd just respond he'd go away. It's just ridiculous for a 55 year old man to behave in such a manner. Childish really.

And the really funny thing about all of this is that I know exactly the mindset this guy has, because I've been there. There's some mild sympathy there for his plight. I mean no one wants another person to live in this loop of pain and frustration, and I've been there. Maybe not for quite as long or as deeply as he has, but still. When I was young and stupid and my self-confidence was rock bottom I pulled stupid ass stunts to get a girl's attention. Feigned illness, begged for absolution, pestered, manipulated, bribed, coaxed... But as I said, I was young. I was stupid. What's his excuse? Drinking? 55 and on his 3rd divorce? Lonely? Miserable?

To be certain his circumstances might be sad, but does that justify his behavior? Does it give him allowance to break the law by hacking into people's private accounts or to constantly pester someone who's made it clear that they don't want to talk to him? Does any amount of sadness give him the right to reach out to people around her when she's not responding? No. But still this malefactor feels entitled to get what he wants over and above the person whom he says he cares about. But isn't that the proof of his level of caring for her? The fact that he goes to such great lengths to work against her wishes is proof that he only cares about himself. No, I think he believes her to be a prize that he has lost and wants to regain. He wants to prove his love for her and win her again but first she must relent to him. It's an awful kind of love that makes those kinds of demands.

I would love it if I could spend time with her and not worry that the text she just got was from him. I would love to know that our time together isn't marred by more childish pleadings or bargaining. I would love to know that he's not going to show up somewhere we are or where she and my children are. But there aren't any such assurances for me. He's already shown that he'll cross boundaries to get what he wants. He'll call names and make assumptions, he'll lie, he'll break laws. I put nothing past him. I can only hope, trust my princess, and be patient and supportive of her. I'm in this for the long haul. Friends till the end.

- The Idiotic Idealist