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A Friend in need, no friend indeed…

I once befriended a woman who was down on her luck. She came from a good family, was well-educated and seemed perfectly normal, though the signs were there that the jig-saw puzzle of her life didn’t quite fit together neatly. I was traveling a lot for work. She was struggling to get back on her feet after a divorce and other hazy circumstances. I invited her into my home. She house-sat for my pets and plants. I would return, road-weary and spent from fighting corporate battles, endless flights and weeks of dull, meaningless meetings. A home-cooked dinner, fresh flowers and small gifts were waiting in my spotless home.  All seemed well and I joked that she would make someone a great wife. I helped her find a house to rent, painted and decorated, and soon she settled across town.

The more time we spent together, the more I realized, the large cup she carried was not filled with just cranberry juice. She began slipping into a drunken stupor. She had several incidents that caused me to worry about her mental state. She made excuses that her life had been so uprooted she was just fighting to get back on her feet. The stories and timelines didn’t add up. The police called one night looking for her.

I cut off the relationship following one particularly stormy scene. Frankly, I was worn out by her constant crisis and slightly worried about her mental state. Six months later I came home to find my home burglarized. The items that were taken were antiques I had bought from her to “help out” when she was short of cash. There were other things missing, though some took me months to discover; my favorite winter coat, a pair of my riding boots, an antique sterling silver boot my ex-husband had given me. I reported it all to the police with my suspicions but was told:

1. She had been declared “incompetent” by the State for previous actions. This meant they were unwilling to pursue her as there was little they could do to arrest or charge her.

2. Since I had invited her into my home in the first place, the theft would be difficult to prove if they did approach her.

3. My only recourse was to try to find my things on my own.

I installed an elaborate and expensive alarm system. I felt violated and my security was shattered. I scoured the antique stores for my belongings. One store owner called me a year later. She had received a phone call from a gentleman who wanted to sell some items in a storage unit. When she went to look, she recognized paintings that had been stolen from her store. The police arrived. The very embarrassed gentleman was the father of the same woman who had returned my kindness with a theft. The store owner shared photos from the storage unit that revealed my items. I almost vomited when I looked at the little silver boot in the photo. She had taken the time to catalogue the items she took from me.

Months dragged on. I couldn’t get into the storage unit to retrieve my belongings until her parents returned from their winter home down south. The police were compassionate but couldn’t help.

Six months later, the store owner called again. She had received a rather threatening message from the woman. She charged the owner with slandering her name, (interesting perspective as no one could destroy her name more than she had done herself) and went on a rant about the fact that I suffered from multiple personalities, was a drug user and not a stable person. I had to laugh though my stomach was twisting as I listened to her voice.

The elaborate alarm system  is back on. My sense of security is rocked once again. Her photo is now in both of our stores in the event she shows up when either of is not working. Precautions that seem strong, but this woman is seriously sick and one never knows where she will strike next.

That said, my life is a fairly open book due to my book and blog. I can’t shake the sense that evil is out there in the form of a person society has deemed “incompetent” yet is allowed to move through people’s lives causing grief and torment. Her family has turned their back on her. The authorities’ hands are tied. My only compensation is to know that the life she lives in her head must be very tortured and miserable…

I hope this blog post will serve as a warning to others. The time I have spent, on reliving those thoughts and fears; the emotions that twisted my guts and occupied my precious moments when I should have looked at what I have; the security of my life, the joy and comfort of coming home to a place in the world I cherish. I need to put into perspective what I have control over. Taking “things” from me will never diminish my joy, time to put this particular evil in its place and move on.

So, KC, if you are stalking me, if you are reading this in a library somewhere because you have no home, no place of happy memories and security, yes, you got my attention again today. But I vow not to live in fear of you ever again, and that, my dear, is the lesson your sickness taught me.

DSC_1358

Purposely blurred and retouched to protect the guilty…

 

 

10 comments on “A Friend in need, no friend indeed…

  1. Touring NH says:

    I hope some day your possessions will be returned to you. Unfortunately, nothing can give back the sense of security you once felt in you own home, alarm system or not. When my son was in second grade his house was burglarized and it had a profound effect on him. He wasn’t old enough to understand the sickness, only that his playstation was gone. Hope she eventually gets locked up and never does that to someone else. As they say, “No good deed ever goes unpunished” and that is a sad statement of our world!

    1. I’m ready for her this time, alarms, surveillance cameras and lots of neighbors stopping by at odd intervals to check the house.

      Sick people need help and beyond that should not be let loose on society to damage the lives of innocent folks who are just trying to move ahead with life.

      I’m sorry your son had to go through that. More hideous when you steal the sense of security from a child…

  2. What a shame you had to go through all that. It’s understandable that your generosity has been replaced by a cautious lifestyle. Good luck.

    1. Thanks Joyce, hate living in “security lock down” but it is an unfortunate fact of life, even in the woods of NH.

  3. It’s a sad story but one that shouldn’t keep us from still trying to help when we can. I let a homeless dad and his son stay in the spare bedroom one winter with me and my son and had no problems at all. Maybe I was just lucky.

    1. Most people would never treat kindness with evil. I learned a hard lesson but it doesn’t change my belief that for the most part people are good. Glad to hear a good story.

  4. AM Simpson says:

    It’s really unfortunate that you had to go through all that, we’ve all had similar experiences in one way or another. At least she’s not a relative and have to see her at every family event. It’s a real test to your character that you have come through with flying colors.

  5. mariekeates says:

    What a terrible thing to happen. I had a lodger once who was similar in personality, her life full of drama that I eventually realised was either of her own making or in her head. When my sympathy ran out she left and found someone else to believe her stories. She went around telling everyone how horrible I was and making up stories about me but at least she didn’t steal anything from me. You’ve made me wonder what became of her.

    1. My stalker is still around. So sad when sick people latch on.

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