“Its been a long journey” from Laura’s Blog
I know I haven’t posted in ages. I’ve been going through a few things recently and it’s just been too heavy to write so openly about it. This whole year since John’s funeral hasn’t been easy. When he passed away everything went dark in my life. It made just getting out of bed in the morning a nightmare, waking up in that big empty bed was a stark reminder I’d never see him again. Our huge house became cold and eerie where before I was always telling John to tidy up his gear because I was always tripping over it. In those then empty evenings I found it easy to finish a full bottle of wine listening to bad romantic ballads to starve off the tears. I know, cliché.
I became intensely private, didn’t want to go out too much, barely talked to anyone outside of work. I got fed up with people asking, “are you alright? Is there anything I can do?” and it became easy to pall of friends’ worry with a fake “I’m fine. Just tired.” Well I was tired (shattered, destroyed, exhausted and so on) but I was also not fine. All I wanted to do was wallow in my private sadness. At the back of my mind, I thought that was as low as I would go and I would just thread this depth of depression forever. Then something happened and I found I could go much deeper.
Two months after John’s funeral, I was restless in the middle of the night. I just couldn’t sleep, every time I closed my eyes, I started to dream and that was something I desperately wanted to avoid. I didn’t want to think much either so I huddled up in my big duvet to fight the bitter cold because I no longer bothered putting the heat on at night for just me. I liked the quietness of the late of night because it felt somehow eternal, never-ending, a way to forget forever. But a screaming cat broke the stillness and I stuck my head under the corner of the curtain to see if I could spot the annoying minger. And that’s when I saw him.
He was standing outside our house, on the pavement, looking straight up at my window; a homeless man with a dirty tattered coat, a mottled blue woollen hat, black beard, scruffy and downright freaky. For ten minutes, I watched this guy but he didn’t move. I turned on the light and in that brief distraction to find the lamp the man was gone. Puff, disappeared like a magician in smoke.
I was quite shaken up. It reminded me of the night John died – I was home late from work that night. I remember coming in, throwing my shoes off and calling out for him, but he wasn’t there but I didn’t worry, just assumed he’d be home later. And then there was that knock at the door, two Gardai standing in the doorway, the blue light of the police car flashing in the background. I remember John’s body, cold and motionless, laying in the white room and me nodding, saying, “yes it’s him,” but not hearing the words actually come out of my mouth. It made me freeze, deep inside. Something went dead in me right then, but also another part of me wanted to run, wanted to buck everything, escape the nightmare. But this night, when I saw that homeless man, that part of me reared up again, yelling at me to get away, to escape, that it wasn’t real. My heart thumped vigorously for hours. But he didn’t appear again that night. If that was it, I would have been okay. I would have dismissed it, a once-off, that’s all.
The days after, I was a little paranoid, looking over my shoulder all the time and jumping at everything. I started to relax, started to forget the incident. Three weeks later, I had worked late again and on the Dart home, the train carriage was nearly empty. I was sleepy, nodding off for a few seconds at a time. That’s when I caught sight of the mottled blue woollen hat. I jumped, turned around and there at the other end, he was sitting looking at me. I stood up moving backwards and toppled into another traveller. I panicked at the door-open button and luckily the train was stopping at that moment. I got off, didn’t care where. I looked back at the train as it moved off from the platform, but I couldn’t see him any more, even though I knew he had moved.
I was a wreck then. I watched everywhere, but I never saw him. It was only when I wasn’t looking that I would see him. I tried to work as much as possible from home, avoided travelling anywhere. When I did travel, I always did it when loads of people were around such as at rush hour. Weeks passed and I couldn’t keep it up. I couldn’t keep hiding. But it was when I relaxed, when I wasn’t really looking, that I saw him. I saw him once when I was shopping and I hadn’t been concentrating on what I was doing, he was there in another aisle, staring motionless at me. Another time, when I was dozing at my desk, I spotted him outside my office, the crowds flowing around his motionless watching form.
I did contact the Gardai about it, but, as usual, they couldn’t do anything about it. The freak hadn’t threatened me, hadn’t even approached me, no breathing down the line or dirty calls. My stalker wasn’t considered a critical threat according to them. But I felt my life was under siege. I was trapped in our empty house and when I let my guard down, he would be there, watching. Once, late in the loneliness of night, I imagined that the stalker was John, come back from the dead for he was about the right build and height. That just shows you how fucked I was getting, all Helsinki-Syndrome.
I couldn’t live like this, a slave to my own fear. So it was one night, when I had been woken up by the screech of that annoying minger cat, I felt a strange determination. That part of me that wanted to flee was strangely quiet. It was replaced with something hard, something curious, something fearless. Without much thought, I grabbed my coat and walked to the front door. I paused briefly with my hand on the doorknob. I didn’t know what I was doing, just felt it was now or never, that I either stand-up or forever crawl into my bed in search of the bliss of forgetfulness. It wasn’t cold that night but there was a wind that nearly pushed me down the street. I had to hold strong and compose myself but then I followed it. I don’t remember how long I walked, but I couldn’t stop myself. It was only when a gruff a voice called out “ho!” I turned around to face the voice and I stumbled in shock. My eyes were deceiving me for I saw two scrawny monsters approaching towards me. They appeared generally human in form, but one had only a huge gaping mouth of sharp awful teeth instead of a head, the other one had two wailing bunch of tentacles instead of arms. They were approaching me slowly, like predators approaching a trapped prey. I couldn’t scream or even run, all I could do is watch these two things zig-zag slowly towards me.
Then the mouth-head leaped at me, its mouth wide open so that I could see the awful tongue that danced in anticipation of biting down on me. But there was a sudden flash and the mouth-head was rammed against a wall. Something was ripping into it, I saw a glint of a short but broad golden blade, striking down so many times I couldn’t count. Blood splattered the wall. The tentacle-armed freak seemed to move back in fear, and then this something with its golden blade was tearing into it. In less than a blink of an eye, I saw it gut the tentacle-armed freak in two, its innards spilling all around.
And then I recognised who this something was… the mottled blue woollen hat, the dirty tattered coat, the black beard… he turned towards me, in his hand the golden blade dripping thick red blood. I started to move away, my cold determination slipping away, lost in his fury of the blood. My stalker stood there, blood splattered across his face. He looked like he was waiting for something from me, he stretched out his hand for me. I was horrified, shocked and when he saw the fear in my face he recalled. I swear I saw tears as he pulled away. And in a flash he was gone and I fell unconscious to the pavement.
When I awoke, I was in a hospital bed. I was thankfully unhurt. A Gardai in plains clothes was sitting there asking me questions about what happened. Apparently the two “monsters” I had seen must have been a trick of the light or some weird delusion of my paranoid state. They had been two old drunk guys looking for trouble. They asked a lot of questions about my stalker and I told him everything, I told him how shitty he had made me feel, how locked in I felt and he just listened. And for some reason, I felt unburdened and when I went home, I dared to say, I felt free.
Three months later and it brings me up to today. No sign of my stalker, the fucker seems to be gone. I even went out with the girls last week for the first time since John’s death. I smiled today. It has been a year and a day since John’s death and it is beginning to feel like I’m coming out of the dark tunnel and letting light back into my life.