Desperate Romantic: My Life as a Stalker (A Lamentably True Story)


3: Fifty-One Jokers and an Ace

Dear Eurydice,

I tried to call you last Sunday, to no avail. I am sorry if I made you uncomfortable.

One of my favorite writers is Margaret Atwood. She wrote a book called Cat’s Eye which I read – and loved – as a teen-ager. It opens with a line that comes back to me, year after year.

“…I began then to think of time as having a shape, something you could see, like a series of liquid transparencies, one laid on top of another. You don’t look back along time but down through it, like water. Sometimes this comes to the surface, sometimes that, sometimes nothing. Nothing goes away.”

I remember lots of things about our six days, but the main one that comes to the surface was when you asked, “Who is going to love me, Jarrod? Who is going to want to marry me?” The injustice of you needing to ask such a question cut me to the quick. I said, ‘I will love you!’

I didn’t know what the hell else to say.

For the next six weeks, I did not read either your letter that followed or my reply. Things like letters turn into labyrinths if you keep poring over them and they tell you less and less about their author and become more about the topography of your own head.

What I do believe is that I first had to convince you my feelings were not about possession and control. I hope that, if nothing else, six weeks of silence has acquitted me of being a man you should be either frightened or wary of.

I have also been consistent, which is another hallmark of sanity. I find that drugs don’t change me much; they just make things more intense. After your final letter, I pretty much stopped masturbating because I didn’t feel like it.

I have probably jerked off once a week and every time I have an orgasm, I find your name is in my mouth. I can’t watch porn, either; I keep hearing the girls say, “Who’s going to love me, Jarrod?”

For the first two weeks, I woke up at 3am every day with a head full of you, as vivid as neon. I spend a hell of a lot of time walking around my house, talking to you about all kinds of things. I want to talk to you about all the books I own and all the films I’ve seen.

Most of all though, I want you to talk to me. The week we spent was like reading the first chapter of the best book I ever started and then losing it in a fire.

I want to take you places in my big yellow car; the Yarra Valley, the Dandenong Ranges, and all kinds of other places besides. Had we continued as we began, I would have asked you to go to Bali or Thailand for a week so we could do nothing but be together, lie on the beach and make love.

And you could sleep in my arms every night.

All my friends have heard the story (I like to relive it), except for the parts I keep a secret. I like to keep those secrets; I feel as if they are the final things that keep us close. I spend the day with all these things hanging round my neck, this chain of beautiful, glorious pain, and lie down with it at night.

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