And guess what the first question the detective
bastard asked me?
What does your husband think of all this?
All this? What does my husband think? Is this freaking 1889 where I need his permission to press charges? I am the victim here. But rather than argue with the patronizing detective
bastard, I opted to unveil a few choice samples of the letters.
And this is where you'd probably like for me to quote verbatim from my eight-inch stack of hate mail. Except I
can't won't put my hands on them right now. I think, but am not sure, they are up in some remote corner my attic.
But here are a few choice phrases that
are forever seared into my memory I recall:
! In one of the earliest screeds, he called me the black widow spider. And lest I miss his meaning, he provided a large illustration of a spider on a web complete with red hour glass.
! I was accused of wielding my psychological powers to manipulate his family into doing my evil bidding, in particular to control the individual who controlled his purse strings. He affectionately termed my powers, Susanna's* Secrets.
*Let's say that my given name is Susanna but I have gone by Susie my whole life and have avoided ever going by the name Susanna, because it sounded pretentious and was only used by angry mothers, grandmothers, teachers and nuns. Therefore the weight of Susanna's Secrets was all the more onerous.
! In one letter I was called an east coast yankee carpet bagging* beady-eyed bitch.
*Carpet bagging? What does that mean exactly? In my case, I mean? At the time he wrote that line I was somewhere in the last stages of getting my doctorate. Whose carpet was I bagging, exactly?
! He threatened that if I didn't put an end to Susanna's Secrets I would regret it, be sorry, and pay in terrible pain. To emphasize this point he drew of a large knife dripping in red blood.
! He accused me of murdering my best friend*. My crime was failing to discourage her from moving on with her life and pursuing a new relationship. My method of murder, of course, was her contracting HIV from the new guy. Duh.
*His former girlfriend, who, by the way, was, and is, quite alive and doing much better without his letter-writting ass.
!He threatened to take action to have my license revoked by reporting Susanna's Secrets to my oversight board. He claimed that by consoling and offering support to my friend, his former girlfriend, I was violating the board's rule of ethics. If he was to do this, I would have suffered the aggravation and likely the legal expense of defending myself. This caused me quite a bit of worry, moreso than knives dripping in blood.
!He tampered with a picture of me that was hanging on his mother's wall. A picture of my husband and me sitting close, smiling big, taken several months after our twins were born. It was one of many in a montage-type frame. He had apparently carefully dismantled the frame, removed the picture, cut the eyes out, replaced it, and re-hung the frame.
!He said that I waddled when I walked. Now, here you shall know the true evil that resides within me. The sin of vanity. This waddling business caused me just slightly less anxiety than the licensing board worries.
The short story is this: The police did not issue a warrant. Though one year or so later one was issued after he letter-stalked a friend of the family. He did get arrested. He did go to jail. He was let out on bond by the purse strings: Obviously Susanna's Secrets were not working. He failed to appear in court. Nothing further happened except the rising blood pressure and dismay of one black widow spider.
We haven't seen the author of the manuscripts, as we call them, in almost twenty years. He lives in Sam's hometown, jobless, supported by
his mother my mother-in-law the purse strings. He has never met or, to my knowledge, laid eyes on my kids, other than photos.
For the record, Sam was fully supportive of my pressing charges. He sat with me through a previous report in his hometown. Made the call, even. I am grateful for his pledge to stay away from him, made without my asking.
I've gradually moved beyond fear (most of the time) to appreciating the humor of it all. I used to have a rubber spider stick-on stuck to the dash of my car. Some of the letter phrasings have become code words. When I don't give Sam his way? Damned beady-eyed bitch. When the purse strings lean in our favor? Susanna's Secrets are finally working.
And so we won't be going to the reunion this weekend. The scribbler will be there. He'll be driving
his mother, my children's grandmother the purse strings.
As for those letters, I'll leave them in their attic grave, no doubt closely guarded by a black widow spider whom, I know, has got my back.