Saturday just gone was Carnival Day in Shifnal, and it was a brilliant day, warm and sometimes sunny, lots of floats and people dressed up, lots of live music and people happy and smiling. Even the cat weeing on the top I was intending to wear didn't dampen my enthusiasm (though it soaked the top). I didn't wear it, btw...
Off I went for a day of drinking in beer gardens, with Sue and her boyfriend and kids, and Heather, and various people we met on the way.
About 5pm, Heather and me were both hungry, and being as we are veggie and the main food on offer in the pub where we were was a hog roast, we decided to nip to the Kebab Ye for a veggieburger. But as we got in, Heather muttered, 'nothing here for us,' and pushed me out.
So we walked two frontages down to the chippie. 'They've got veggieburgers here,' I said.
'But I like the ones from the Kebab Ye,' moaned Heather.
<puzzled face> 'But you said they didn't have any!'
'That's because STEVE'S IN THERE!'
Oooooooh..... Well that explains it then. Nothing is guaranteed to put a downer on my mood like meeting the abusive stalker ex.....
We decided to go into the Co-Op opposite and wait for him to go. Five minutes of lurking and peeking later, and Heather declared the coast clear. Then as we walked across the road.....
'Yikes!' I whisper-shrieked, followed by, 'walk-on, walk-on, walk-on, he's outside, he's outside'
So we tried to unobtrusively walk away and behind the row of shops, then sneak in from behind, up an alley. Once installed, Heather sat me on a seat facing away from the window, hidden from outside by the advertising banner.
We were waiting for our burgers when a Horrifically Drunk man came in. Slurring his words, stumbling about all sweaty and offensive, and smelling like somebody had sicked in a urinal.
'Hey, love, him outside says he used to go out with you.'
Well, of course, 'him outside' was Steve.
'Nope, never seen him before in my life.'
And off stumbled Horrific Drunk.
Then back he stumbled again, this time sitting down next to a distinctly unimpressed Heather.
'He says he went out with you for five and a half years.'
'Well he's lying then.'
'Why's he lying?'
I have no idea, you'll have to take it up with him.'
At this point Steve appeared in the doorway going, 'why are you saying that Karen? Why are you saying that.'
'My name's not even Karen. I don't know you, you are a stranger.'
'Yes you do'
'No I don't. Do you know him Heather?'
She shook her head and said, 'we're trying to eat, please go away.' By this time the men behind the counter were getting involved too. 'Come on lads, move it on now.' So off they went.
As we sat eating, Heather was giving me a running commentary.
'They're still there. They're looking in, don't look!' (Not that I was likely to look AT ALL) Then, 'oh my god, Horrific Drunk is kissing Steve - ON THE LIPS... Oh my god, he's SO gay.... Steve's really getting more than he bargained for there.... UGH!'
So of course, we then had the discussion about how I'd heard that Steve has done blow jobs for money in Telford, and how now he's back on heroin properly, without even any methadone to fall back on (unless he's sought help since I last spoke to him, which it didn't look like), there's every possibility he now sells more than blow jobs, and possibly always did.
Eventually they went away, 'in the direction of yours and my houses...' said Heather.
But no damage was done. I did feel a bit wobbly just from having that bit of interaction, but hey, that's what stalkers do and that's what dry white wine is perfect medicine for. We went on to have a brilliant night, watched Fruit Machine at the Railway, danced until I had blisters even UNDER my feet, staggered home and wasn't even too hungover the next day.
Now I feel so much better - because I would never have reacted in that way to him before, I would have felt an obligation to treat him with the courtesy I treat everyone else. And then I would have felt bad, because he would have used anything nice I did against me, and at the very least would have tried to use it as an invitation to initiate some further interaction. As it was, he wasn't able to do that. Anything he could have said or done was deflected by the constant, 'I don't know you.'
It's not even a lie. I DO know him, as well as anyone can. But I don't know the real him, because everything about him, even the evil, is a lie. He doesn't have a genuine bone in his body. It's impossible to know him and he will now always be a stranger to me.
He remains a threat to my well-being when I see him. But he's not in my head, he's not in my thoughts, he's not in my heart. He's just in my blog.
THAT'S how far I've come.