Dear Creeper

Dear Creeper,

It's been a year or two since you found me again. I have done my best to run and hide and help you forget I exist, but I certainly haven't forgotten you. You are often on my mind.

I remember how we met at a party, a friend of an acquaintance-sort-of-friend. We had a nice chat at that party, over barbecue and beer. I was glad to meet you. You seemed like a nice guy, but I should not have given you my email address.

I remember your first messages. They were totally innocuous. We were simply continuing a conversation. I was a little lonely, and it was nice to have another person to write to now and again.

I remember the messages that came weeks later, too. We weren't quite what I'd call friends, but your messages were very friendly. Familiar, even. Nothing untoward, nothing that couldn't be said in polite company, nothing like that. But in between your words I read far too much attention. You made odd, chivalrous gestures. I went quiet, hoping that if I did not continue the conversation, you might not either.

I remember the day you found me through another medium. I hadn't emailed you in months. I hadn't told you I'd moved. But you found me via a friend of a friend or something, and you knew my address had changed, though it wasn't something I recalled sharing publicly. And that day, I wasn't just uncomfortable; I was afraid.

Much later, someone else found my new email address despite nearly three years, two moves and a name change. It was someone I was happy to maintain contact with, but when I read that email, I thought of you, Creeper. I wondered when I'd hear from you again.

I owe you this awareness: someone persistent can find me, even if I do not want them to. You are probably harmless, but maybe the next guy won't be. Your attentions keep me checking over my shoulder. Your dogged attempts to follow me from email to social network to home address remind me to watch where I step, and to wipe my tracks. I suppose I should thank you, but I don't know how to thank someone for making me uncomfortable enough to be more cautious.

If you read this, Creeper, know that I really do wish you well. We were friends for that afternoon, and we had a great chat. I'd just like to mingle with some other folks now, if you don't mind.