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Worldwide Ace » I Was a Pre-Teen Stalker

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I Was a Pre-Teen Stalker

26 February, 2009 (06:51) | Growing Up

stalker
Image found here.

My junior year of high school, Dodi came back to visit.

My friend Oolij told me Dodi had been a good friend before his family had disappeared down the East coast to Maryland. As is usual with kids, the reasons for his family’s move were muddled with elements of rumor and gossip.

“Dodi totally got a raw deal,” Oolij explained. “He had a crush on this girl and would walk by her house on the way home each day. But it was on the way.”

“Dodi was a stalker,” Staniel told me. “He lived in the opposite direction and was following her around. It was kind of creepy. She got a restraining order against him.”

“His family moved for work reasons after Freshman year,” Montserrat claimed. “I mean, sure, she was happy he was gone and it was probably good for him, but it had nothing to do with the restraining order.”

I wasn’t sure what to believe. In some ways, I wanted to hate Dodi and believe he was a psycho stalker. The way Oolij talked about him made me feel like I was just the Dodi replacement. I arrived at Brookline High School for sophomore year and Oolij became my first new friend at school. For over a year I had believed it was on my own merit, but perhaps it was simply due to opportunity.

But as much as I wanted to hate him, I couldn’t. I didn’t know where he had lived. I didn’t know the details of the restraining order. And I didn’t know Dodi. I knew one girl in school who had gotten a restraining order against a boy, and it was for a lot more than just walking by her house on a daily basis.

Hell, I had walked by the house of multiple girls I had crushes on and never even been yelled at or threatened.
It was this revelation that made me realize that I might have been a stalker.

What defines a stalker?

I’ve peeked in windows from the street, not trespassing on a lawn, trying to catch a glimpse of the girl who made my heart flutter. Is that stalking?

I’ve collected keepsakes never intended as keepsakes: a poem she threw out after getting a bad grade in English; a bracelet that broke and spilled beads across the lunchroom floor; a note passed to me asking for my notes for our next class together.

I’ve made an effort to do her favors, hoping to impress her and show her how awesome I was, though I never actually believed I was awesome.

I’ve gone out of my way a block or two to trace a route down her street when going someplace, simply because being that close to her excited me.

I’ve made an effort to sit next to her or behind her in classes in the hopes that we’d end up partnered in a group project.

stalkingshirtI’ve offered to take her homework to her when she was out sick, claiming that she didn’t live too far when it was a chore to swing by her house.

I’ve left secret admirer notes on doorsteps and in lockers, sometimes with shabbily written poetry on them.

I’ve followed her, since we were headed the same way anyway, yet never worked up the guts to catch up and talk to her as we walked, letting the conversations play out in my head instead.

I’m not sure whether any of these things qualify as stalking on together or on their own. While I wouldn’t perform most of these actions now–secret admirer notes, especially, since they never work except to disappoint the girl with the fact that you’re not the one they wanted it to be–none of them seem to be all that bad. Each one is oddly romantic in a strange low-self-esteem kind of way. Perhaps it’s my curse to see the romance in them.

I tittered with excitement the day Dodi arrived. I wanted to be able to look at him and see the stalker. I wanted to be able to feel the psycho emanating off of him. I wanted to watch him turn red in the face as he defended himself, the police handcuffing him and dragging him off school property due to the restraining order.

None of that happened.

Dodi was an average looking white kid with black hair and brown eyes. In some ways, he looked like he could’ve been my cousin or maybe a half-brother. My friends and I sat around the quad in the center of the school, eating lunch in the spring sunlight and he seemed downright normal. He never once mentioned the girl or the order, and when someone else did jokingly, he’d just snicker and laugh with us, never commenting.

As I sprinted across the lacrosse field during drills that afternoon I had a revelation. It could have been me. I could have been that kid who ended up with a reputation as a stalker. The restraining order could have come out of nowhere and taken away friends and free time and the freedom to be where I wanted or even needed to be.

With that realization, I found myself self-conscious of every action I took. I couldn’t reveal my emotions for fear of retribution. If I told a girl I was interested, would it be sexual harassment? If I leaned in for a kiss only to find her turning away, would it be sexual assault. If I tried to catch up to a girl in the hallway to ask her out, would it be stalking?

These questions may seem silly and over the top, but when the rules are so unclearly defined, how can a just man woo a woman without coming off as a relic of a chivalrous time gone by? After all, if my actions in the name of innocent puppy love had ever come to light, who know what would’ve happened.

I love to walk. I walk nearly everywhere if I can. It gives me time to think and consider things or write in my head. Sometimes, I simply watch what’s going on around me.

As I wandered down the 16th Street Mall the other day, I found myself a few steps behind a gorgeous woman wearing black stockings and a long gray coat. For several blocks, I tried to pace myself with her, almost shadowing her for several blocks before I found the sign marking my destination creeping up beside me.

I took one last look, watching her wander down the mall, a little voice in my head telling me to keep walking. She disappeared from sight as I pushed open the door and slipped inside.

I guess that’s the difference: Maybe I was a pre-teen stalker. I know better now.

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