Disconnect

I was enjoying a movie with a friend the other night when the doorbell rang. Considering how many people live in the house, it’s surprising how rare that is, but since I have a new roommate, and he seemed to be in a social mood, I figured that the visitor was for him. Alas, it was for me.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but there is this guy Nate who I “dated” for one month, four years ago. It was one of the most annoying, boring dating experiences of my life. There was no mental connection, no physical connection, at the end I wasn’t even enjoying his company at all, and I broke up with him pretty definitively. And now Nate just likes to randomly show up at my house, every nine months or so. Always at night, always a surprise, because he doesn’t have my phone number, or any way to get in touch with me. Because I really want nothing to do with him, and I thought I’d made that clear.

Every time he shows up, it freaks me out visibly. I’m sure of this. He absolutely refuses to see the freak-out; he just really wants to see me. Despite the fact that I stand there and look uncomfortable, despite the fact that I never invite him inside or offer to give him my phone number, he keeps coming back. And the time between visits is so long that I forget about him, only to be creeped out anew when he shows up on my porch.

The last time he came, it was in the spring. It was raining, and it was dark, and I was home alone, cleaning my room. I came down with garbage to throw in the bin, just as the doorbell rang, and there he was. He said “hi” and then followed me all the way down the driveway to the garbage bins, and all the way back, in the dark, in the rain, all without saying a word. He apparently had nothing to say – he just wanted to stare at me to the point where I started to feel panicky. I said that I had to go meet friends, and I bolted in the house and locked it up tight. All that night, and into the next week, I felt like I was being watched.

After every visit, I would think, why didn’t I yell at him? Why didn’t I tell him to fuck off and leave me alone? But the visits were so infrequent, so unexpected, that I would just be shocked that he was there, AGAIN. I was speechless in the face of his complete cluelessness.

When he showed up on Monday night, my new roommate told him that I was in the shower. I was relieved to not have to talk to him, but it didn’t last long. Right after my movie friend left, the doorbell rang again… at 11 PM… and it was Nate. I was suddenly incandescent with rage. I went down the stairs and flung open the door and let him know in no uncertain terms that I didn’t want him there, that it freaked me out whenever he showed up out of the blue, that I wasn’t his girlfriend or his friend, and that he should never come to my house again.

His response – “…So you don’t want to see me? You don’t want me to call you?” (The fact that he didn’t have my phone number seemed to escape him.)

I roared, “NO!” and shut the door in his face.

This idea that Nate seems to have, that he can insert himself into my life whenever he wants, like I’m just pining away, waiting for him to return? It’s insulting, and it’s disturbing. It completely ignores me, who I am, what kind of person I am. It makes me wonder if I’m a person at all to him, or just an idea, a concept that denies me any agency whatsoever.

And I wonder how far this disconnect goes in his mind, whether I as a concept am allowed to say “No” to him. Did I surprise him by yelling in his face? Will he decide that I was just being coy or playing hard to get, “like women do”?

At this point, I’ve alerted my roommates to the fact that I don’t want to see Nate at all. I have very clearly told Nate that I don’t want him around me. I don’t think it’s likely he’ll come back, but if he shows up again, I’ll start calling the police and working on a restraining order. It might be overkill. Maybe he is just harmless and clueless. But I’m not taking any chances with a person who can’t seem to let go.

And neither should any of you.

Comments

Julia said…
I think people should use the phrase "incandescent with rage" more often!
A Fuss said…
Clearly the universe does not want me to comment. I have tried twice now and both times my internet has quit on me!

And all I really wanted to say is: I can see why he can't get you out of his head. You rock.
tastyskull said…
(just found your blog from another, btw)
your story reminds me of a friend I have, who seems to have the same problem with a guy she sort of dated a year ago. He just shows up at her house every now and then, even though she ignores his calls and texts. All was fine and he was starting to get the point, up until last week when he turned up and she was drunk, and she slept with him! *sigh* I said to her 'have fun digging yourself out of that hole...'

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