How Not To ‘Kill’ A Stalker: A Throwback Kinda Story

How Not To ‘Kill’ A Stalker: A Throwback Kinda Story

That time was almost 30 years ago in Oakland, California. I remember that cool spring afternoon; the first time I was stalked and came face-to-face with a stalker. I was 21 and a JJC in America – “Johnny just come.” Before I bought my first car, I took buses and trains to school (interesting experiences). This particular stalker apparently watched me for 2 weeks. He knew my class schedule and my route home. Even knew my name because he heard others call me.

One not-so-fine afternoon for me, I got off the bus on Grand Avenue and had my Walkman on, while enjoying some good music(thankfully not too loud in my ears). Just one street away from mine, a male voice stopped me and called out my name, “‘Kem.” I turned around and saw a normal-looking man, so I stopped, thinking he was lost. He was indeed lost in his mind. He apparently had gotten on the same bus as me, unbeknownst to me. For two weeks, this man watched my every move, until he finally summoned the courage and audacity to approach me. I could see our apartment from where we stood on the sidewalk while I held my fast-beating heart in my hands. I was nervous but didn’t let him see my fear.

Before coming to America, I heard many scary stories about racism and women being raped. With a smile on his face, he told me that he’s been watching me because he liked everything about me. I was young and naive but knew that was insanity and abnormality staring at me at that instant. “God, help me. Don’t let this man hurt me” in my head. While he joyfully expressed his undying love for me, I remained calm and prayed. I finally said to him, “Thank you, Sir, but I am not interested” and kept walking. Though he already knew my apartment building, I made a detour. I walked as fast as my heart was beating!!! Moments later, I turned around and he was gone. I ran home.

As a matter of fact, that was my hair by the way. Ha!

The next day, I was waiting for my class to start. So, I went into a phone booth (I miss those) on campus to call my mom in Maryland. While exchanging banter in my sweet Igbo language, laughing and all, I heard the same haunting voice call my name. Before I could catch my breath, he was inside the booth with me, face-to-face. His chest was on mine. We were literally sandwiched. I bet he could feel my heart beating loudly, all over the place. “Ka m kpochi gi,” I said to my mom (Let me call you back). I took a VERY long deep breath with my bulging, now angry-looking eyes on him. He was begging and asking me to love him back. At that moment, I saw my life flash before me and remembered a film I had recently watched a woman was assaulted and raped. I threw away my fear and knew that I needed to protect myself. A voice in my head said, “Remember the gift Okey just bought for you?” Without hesitation, my hand gently went into my pocket and let go of the string from a device that my brother, Okey, had just bought for me. The alarm could wake the dead and quiet the storm at the same time. Like magic and a miracle combined, he opened the phone booth door and ran off. like a wild dog was chasing him. Only that he was the anumanu, the wild animal. Took me more than a minute to hear again and catch my breath before going to the campus Police to tell my tale and give a. description. Never saw him again, but I was certain that he was fixated on another innocent female the next day. #mentalillnessisreal

A year or so later, I received multiple voiceless messages on my answering machine from an unknown caller. No name. No messages. Simply beeped and no voice. One evening after school, a call came in (no caller id), I took the call, and the voice said, “Please don’t hang up. I have been trying to reach you. You don’t know me. I misdialed a number and got your voice on the answering machine. I instantly fell in love. Your voice soothed my soul. Can we meet?” Without thinking or blinking, I hung up. I didn’t feel my heartbeat for a few seconds.“Oh, my God! Is he back?” I was home alone. My big brothers, Eman and Okey, were still at work. “What do I do?” I dialed 911 and they told me what to do when next he called. It worked and he never called again. With CIA-kinda tone, “The Police are tracing this call” I promised him.

Stalkers don’t look or sound like stalkers (at first). They are normal human beings like you and I. But… Just but 🤔

You never know how strong and courageous you are until they are your only options. Oh! That was not my hair, but I bought it. Haha.

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