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


4: Fifty-One Jokers and an Ace (Continued)

It’s hard to know who I’m addressing this to, because there is a considerable disjunction between everything up to and including the conversation of the night of day four and the letter that came on day six. The morning of day five, I received a text saying,

‘I am really sorry but I’ve had really bad anxiety after our phone call. After thinking about all this… it’s too much and too soon. Can we just be friends? I won’t be in Melbourne for a month but after that maybe after I have settled in we could catch up? I don’t expect you to wait for me or whatever I just need space. Apologies.’

The ‘wait for you or whatever’ thing is funny; I have not had any romantic/sexual contact with anyone since I saw you. I haven’t wanted it. It wouldn’t be fair to anyone else, either.

To be honest, if I had to wait another nine months for you, I’d do that, too. Someone once said of Marilyn Monroe; ‘She’s like other women, but more so.’

That’s you. All the others have faded into half-tones in the background.


I don’t know where you are now. I seem to remember you saying something about Windsor station. I live at ­__, which is not far from there. I am in apartment _, up the top. You can come over any time.

There’s a spare key at the back door. You can come in, eat the food, sleep in the bed, use the washing machine and leave whenever you like. I’ve got a spare bedroom; you can come and stay there. Or study at the dining room table, overlooking the road and the beautiful elm trees that line it.

I did re-read my last letter before sitting down to write this one, and it read as very confrontational. I apologize. The flip-side of it is that it’s all the truth, and that seemed to be the thing you initially liked best about me. That said, I feel like I’ve got a deck of fifty-two cards and every one’s a joker.

I feel small and ridiculous as you loom up in front of me, immense and silent. I don’t have a right answer or anything to please you and I feel awful. I wish I’d never said that I would love you. But at the time, it was all I had. I didn’t have the things to tell you that I have written here.


The only photo I have of you I took at the gallery, and ironically, it is a long-shot from behind, standing in front of Brett Whiteley’s Sydney Harbor. If I close my eyes, I can see you in Florence, standing in front of a Botticelli at the Uffizi.

Or a Rothko in New York at MoMA, or the Pollock at the Guggenheim in Venice, or a Bacon at the Tate Modern in London, Monet’s Water Lilies mural at the Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris or a Picasso in Barcelona.

I don’t know if you remember, but at one point, you apologized for being messy. I didn’t mind; I didn’t notice (which may have said something about my own condition). When I asked why you apologized, you said you were worried I’d go home and not like you anymore.

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