I was recently happened upon the story of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century as an “off topic” link in another web log I read. As I re-lived his horrible adventure of identity theft, lies, and whistleblowing, I was reminded of a misadventure in my own life that occurred about 10 years ago that I will recount for you now.
The thing to remember about the following story is that I was an incredibly mature, responsible individual at 25 who had the self-esteem to say “no” to a beautiful woman who showed all the signs of eventually ending up on the Jerry Springer show. Yeah, right. Sometimes, I almost believe it too.
This is a tale about K. I met K. online , at the local matchmaker.com site. I’d just broken up with my girlfriend of about a year, and was looking to bounce back fast, by meeting someone who was all the things that my girlfriend wasn’t but I thought she should be. I won’t go into the exact list of things that appeared there, but, remember that I was an incredibly mature, responsible individual at 25, and you can be sure that they were really important. Things like, you know, a certain hair color. Or having a woman on your arm that was so amazingly good looking that other men would envy you and drool when she walked into a room with you. Mature things like that.
K. turned out to be many things. She was a formidable flirt, and I quickly felt a sense of chemistry when I communicated with her online. That flirting online turned into flirting over the phone, and eventually flirting in person, following a pattern that was rather new then, but old and familiar now. She also turned out to be physically gorgeous, half Asian and half European, fit, curvaceous, and possessing a “rock video girl” fashion sense that included some interesting choices in lingerie. She was, in short, just the sort of woman that an incredibly mature, responsible, self-confident 25 year old on the rebound was looking for in a soul mate who possessed a long list of profound, mature charactistics. Yes, she seemed to be a perfect fit.
After we had been out a couple times, a few wrinkles began to appear that lent a certain sense of drama to our relationship. Like the night I called her and discovered that she was hiding in her apartment with the lights off, terrified, because her “ex” was stalking her. Her “ex”, you say? Well, yes, she was also recently out of a relationship and the guy in question did not seem to be reacting well to the split. She was afraid that he was going through her garbage, coming to her apartment while she wasn’t there (he evidently still had keys that he hadn’t returned), and hitting *69 on her phone to see who she was calling. She was talking about how the restraining order she had out on him was not working. Now, being an incredibly mature, responsible 25 year old on the rebound dealing with a woman who could have tried out to be a Playboy Playmate, I decided not to treat these facts as warning signs. NOOOOOOO…. I was going to be her Knight on the white horse and come to her rescue by helping her through these difficulties. She was going to just love me all the more for being the person she needed to lean on during tough times, right?
Things got decidedly more interesting from there. Her “ex” called me. I have the feeling that he hit *69 on the phone, because he had no idea who I was or how I knew K. Our conversation was rather curt. He wanted to know who I was. He wanted to know why I was calling her. He informed me that he was married to K. and he was trying to locate her. Now being an incredibly mature, responsible 25 year old with a deeply developed intuition regarding character, I didn’t believe him when he said that they were married. After all, K. and her friend M. had laughed off the notion that they were actually married, didn’t they? Or maybe they just remained painfully silent while I stammered “can you believe that he told me that you were married? can you believe it?” After all, K. had told me that her “ex” would say anything to control her relationships with other people.
K. and I stopped seeing each other a few weeks after that. She suddenly announced that “she was moving in with another man.” I was dumbfounded. Another man? I thought she was only dating me. I was crushed.
K. and I kept in touch online though. I suppose that I was still hoping that things would work out between us somehow. I also called occasionally and things seemed pleasant enough. I eventually became hopeful.
Any hopes I had were irrevocably dashed one night after midnight a couple months after our breakup. I called her for the first time in a few weeks. Her “ex” answered. I quickly but politely ended the call, but he used *69 to call me back. He said he remembered talking to me. He asked when I’d seen K. last. He repeated that they were married. I asked if she was there. He said no. Again, I politely ended the call, adding that I would appreciate it if he didn’t call again.
Remembering all that talk of a restraining order sometime back, and noting that he was at her place and she wasn’t, I decided to do what any mature, responsible 25 year old would do — call the police. My hope was that if he was stalking her once again, I could at least help establish a paper trail that would detail his activities. So, I called the police department in the nearby town where she lived.
The woman operator at the police station turned out to be rather helpful. Since there was some question about whether or not K. had moved recently (all I had was a phone number at this point) and because she was in no imminent danger, all the police could do was call and inquire after her safety. That call would also have a low priority, and could only made when there was nothing else more important going on. That said, the woman on the other end of the line seemed to have a pretty good idea of who I was talking about based on the first names involved and the fact that a restraining order had been filed. She said she would call me back after they called K.
I called the police at about 9:30pm, and they called me back three and a half hours later at 1am. The news was devestating. K. was ok, and was home, but, she was married to her “ex”. In fact, her “ex” wasn’t even her “ex” — they were undergoing a trial separation when K. and saw each other, but, had decided to reconcile. I think I slept for about 2 hours that night.
I called K. one more time (from a pay phone) in the middle of the morning when her husband was likely not to be home. She explained that she and her husband were back together but she felt that they should divorce. She said it was complicated. She said she was sorry. I said that I didn’t really see much point in even remaining friends if she couldn’t be honest about something as important as say… being married. I hung up the phone like any mature, incredibly responsible 25 year old now doubly on the rebound.
After that, I took about six months to a year off from dating. I used some of the time to figure out what exactly went wrong. I also tried to straighten out some things with my “ex” — the woman I’d been seeing for a year before I met K. I used the time to put some things together about K.; how she was a great flirt because it disarmed attempts to talk more seriously and honestly about what she really felt, how she had moved from a household with a domineering father to one with a domineering husband who saw her as a trophy, and how she really needed therapy to break up some of these patterns in her life.
That experience was when my dating life hit bottom. True, she was probably the most physically attractive woman I ever dated for a significant period of time… but she was also one of the most troubled women I’ve ever known. Thankfully, she is one of the reasons why I love and treasure my current girlfriend. S. fits into my life in all the ways that K. never could… and S. makes me very happy.
And K., if you’re out there, I hope you finally found some happiness. You deserve it.