I've decided to add a bit more of my actual real life into this blog. By which, I don't mean blathering on about my daily trials and tribulations, but delving into the vat of true real life stories I've collected over the years, many of which involve the affections of dumb men.
This is the story of the eighth-grade stalker.
There is some back story required here. My family moved to their current location from another one far away when I was twelve or so. This meant that in the middle of sixth grade, I entered a new school. A parish Catholic school where everyone was related and had known each other for life, to be exact.
Needless to say, I did not fit in, and this was middle school, so I obviously suffered plenty of abuse for that. I found a group of other rejects to hang out with, and dealt with being the weird ugly smart girl. It was hard, but I convinced myself it would make me a better person. There was even a "We hate Kathryn*" club. Seriously. It was started by the boy who'd been the smartest kid in school before I arrived and usurped his title. He and a group of cronies used to throw balls at my head during recess and play various other juvenile pranks on me. They even started a rumor that I was actually the devil (in fact, I think some of them might have believed this), and used to drop blessed objects and charms around me to see if touching them would make me writhe in pain or spontaneously combust.
I was also a singer. I'm no Alicia Keys, but I've got a decent set of pipes on me. Since we had to go to mass once a week, and there's a good amount of singing at a Catholic service, this was a well-known fact. It was also another prime source of ridicule, but I liked singing too much to care. When I was old enough (here meaning confirmed in the church, of which I am no longer a member), I became a cantor, which is the person who leads the singing from the altar. It was so tragically uncool of me, I'm not sure how I managed to survive. Incidentally, singing became a super popular thing roughly two years later at that same school.
I was clearly quite happy to move on to my private all-girls high school and leave that god-forsaken middle school behind. I was also quite vindictively happy that I swept the floor with the founder of the hate club at the graduation awards ceremony, but hey, we all have our petty moments. I kept cantoring at that church because I still loved singing, and was still a practicing Catholic at the time.
Shortly into my freshman year, the letters started arriving. The first one showed up in the regular mail, but without any stamps or a return address. The front said "To: Kathryn*. From: ????" It looked as if it had been written by a second grader.
It was the first of quite a few. After the first one, they usually just showed up on our walkway without warning. They always said similar things, all general stuff you would expect from a secret admirer. And then some. At one point, and I am not even exaggerating here, this kid told me that "I know I don't know you, but I love you." The general gist of the letters was that he had fallen in love with my singing voice, knew that I was absolutely perfect, wanted to get married and have children, etc. I was amused, flattered, and also highly overwhelmed. At fourteen, I was still 100% undeveloped, awkward, and generally not a good-looking kid.
He always ended his letters with clues to his identity. After a few, I was fairly certain he was someone from my middle school, but I didn't know who. Finally, he told me that "I once spoke to you, but you didn't know you were speaking to me." I used my acute deductive reasoning skills to determine that this was probably the explanation of the phone call I had received from a male about children's choir practice (I was the director for a bit, it did not go very well) and the noticeable lack of males actually at practice. I had finally figured out the puzzle.
And that was the weirdest part. Once I knew this kid's name (thanks to CallerID, of course), I still had no clue who he was. He was a grade behind me, and had actually never even once looked me in the eye. I had literally never interacted with this boy even once, and here he was convinced that I was the one for him, for the rest of his life.
The letters altogether went on for roughly two years, and then they stopped. I like to think he moved on, hopefully to someone he knew. Or at least affection based on some sort of reality.
This was the first encounter in my life with blind, obsessive love, and it wasn't the last. For a reason I have never understood, obsessive people are often attracted to me. Even when I was a seriously unattractive kid. Even now, I wouldn't even remotely consider myself attractive enough to garner that amount of fixation, but I still do. People often look at me like I'm crazy when I mention this as being a bad thing, but if you put yourself in my shoes, I doubt you'd like it, either. The undying "love" of someone who doesn't or barely even knows you is nothing to brag about. It can only end one of two ways: either they eventually get very angry with you for not returning their affections, or they get to know you and realize they don't actually love you after all. Neither ending is a good one.