I’m nervous for no reason. Okay, there is a puny little reason. Totally undeserving of mention. But, you’re here and I’m here so I’ll just let it roll.
I have a stalker. Simply put, the guy follows me everywhere. Funny, because he’s always two steps ahead of me. There isn’t one thing I do that he doesn’t already know about. He’s suave. He doesn’t call thirty times a day, he doesn’t leave gibberish in my inbox, he doesn’t trail me in that icky way that amateurs do. He leaves no worthwhile evidence – no lingering scent, no fingerprints. The evidence he does leave, I promptly move to destroy. I don’t want it known that he was here.
Often I forget his existence – I get cocky, reckless, complacent. I stop looking over my shoulder, I stop waking up in the wee hours for a mad getaway dash, I stop double-checking my locks. And then he strikes. Of course. So predictable.
I should hate him. I do. I really do. But I sort of like his subtle presence in the far corner of my eye. It keeps me in check. I even like the memory of the few (many, many, many) times he’s caught up with me. Don’t get me wrong, it really sucked when he spray-painted his name all over my half-hearted efforts. I wanted to stay in bed and feel sorry for myself, but he was right there, threatening to come back with more paint. Could he do better than that signature ‘F’ of his? I’ve asked many times. His response? Could you do better than my signature ‘F’?
So yeah…that’s my little problem. Failure stalks me. Sometimes he gets me, sometimes I escape – just barely. But as far as stalking goes, I don’t have it so bad. I can say with absolute certainty that I don’t have any unknown children. One of the perks (and there are many) of being a woman.
I’m just going to pause here for a second.
What it must be like to run a mile in a man’s shoes. Wanting success. Craving it. Chasing it with all your heart. Dreading it with all the force of the little swimmers in your errrm…you know…
Wondering how many of those defiant little punks have gone rogue and are right this minute stalking you from the protected confines of their mothers’ wombs. Wondering how many might be lurking in the bushes of that press story, just waiting to jump out and ‘ruin’ your life. Why oh why did you run into enemy territory unprotected?
Now you’re naked. Destined to spend your days wondering when the slightest tap on the door will announce a conception by no means immaculate – a bull’s eye precision – a failure so catastrophically successful!
How wildly your heart must beat when a vaguely familiar woman approaches you. She is definitely your type. The legs, the waist, the bosom, the dimply face….holy shit, what is that tiny thing walking next to her? Why is it smiling at you? Why does its face look so…OH.MY.GOD!!
How ferociously your heart must pound when your face is printed on the cover of ‘something…something’ under the caption ‘Most eligible bachelor’ or worse ‘Happy Couples’ or worse ‘At home with Mr. and Mrs…’ or worse ‘Wedding Announcement’
Great! You’ll mutter under your breath. Just great! My prison just got a whole lot smaller.
A prison you slithered into because you thought you were sleek.
A prison whose key you basically tossed in the ocean when she handed it to you with a question – Honey, is there anything I should know about?
Well, to be fair, it’s probably not the easiest thing to say – I don’t actually know babe…but there might be…because…there are a few blind spots in my checkered past…by ‘past’ I mean last night when I bumped into my ex …you know how it goes…
Instead, you look her in the eye – the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with – you take her hand in yours – Honey, you already know everything.
She smiles, always enchanting – Of course. Forget I asked.
You smile back. You are giddy with relief. You want her to forget that question. You want to forget that question. You wish you could. You might actually forget it. But, she won’t.
In a year or two or ten, she’ll remind you in detail about that lazy Sunday morning when you tossed the key…she’ll jab a finger in your chest and pierce your heart, she’ll present the evidence – her conversations with Sandra, mother of Cassandra; her chats with Beth, mother of Bert; her discourse with…oh my God! Is Lilly pregnant? You did not see that coming! You had drunken sex in her quaint cottage but you did not see that coming. No siree!
Your heart begins to race. It’s waving frantically at your brain. Think man, think! But your brain is suddenly in a stupor and your thoughts are in shambles. Not one coherent thought in there. Never mind a word, a sentence, a speech…how the heck are you supposed to come out of this alive?
She’s not done though.
Next, come the photos. Then the screenshots of your conversations with Bella and Sheila and Laila. You just realized their names all end with ‘la’
La! Your brain screams. Deny it. Deny it all.
You open your mouth. She holds up an open palm. You know that thing women do when they want you to zip it because you failed to zip it? Yeah. There’s plenty more evidence…
For good measure, she throws in that tweet you posted a gazillion years ago. Something about men having multiple partners. You really did some chest thumping in that post. Never you mind that it’s dated way before you met her, way before you went gaga and started using words like let’s go exclusive. It doesn’t matter. In her mind, that post is the dead body in your backyard. It’s who you are. Who you’ve always been. Who you aspire to outshine.
Your brain slumps on the desolate bench in your head. There goes your defense. It mumbles. You cannot say it was a slip-up – come on, all six of them? And what about the fact that Cassandra is exactly one month older than that lazy Sunday morning when you deflected her question and finally convinced her to accept the ring? The very ring she’s now placing on the island in the kitchen. Even in your shock-induced stupor, you cannot miss the symbolism in that gesture. Because that’s all you are now. Two islands caught up in a dark storm. Bobbing farther and farther apart…
Jake? What are you thinking about? Her soft voice snaps you back to the present. Her arms circle your waist. You trace the outline of her fingers – the ring you just put there feels cold against your skin.
Nothing. You shrug. You are giddy with relief. Why worry now? That scenario is like eons away. Who knows if those swimmers will ever catch up with you anyway? It’s easy enough to ‘chase down’ an egg that’s practically stationary, but just try that shit with a moving target experienced in all matters bullet-dodging.
They can try, but you’re invincible – you’ve got sturdy legs. Your success rate speaks for itself. Even your Fs scream success. You lucky you.