Saturday, March 19, 2005

Sinister contact

Right after my last posting, I checked my e-mail, then spent the next couple of hours driving in the dark trying to escape the panic that came over me.

The e-mail I use as a contact point in my writing contained several messages. One I nearly deleted as suspected spam -- it had a subject line of "Here is a voice from the past!" I expected it to be a message promoting some medicinal aid for my love life or some such. If only it had.

The name used by the writer was unknown to me, but the content of the message was hauntingly, frighteningly familiar. It also frightened me to read that this person had made the effort to become very familiar with my writing over time. Clearly, she's read my work very closely over an extended time, noticing details that would go unnoticed by a casual reader.

Perhaps the scariest thing to read was criticisms of the people I've written about, from name calling ("snooty high-society types") to attacks on one family's breakfast bar ("For goodness sake, EAT AT A TABLE!!")

By this point, I could scarcely catch my breath. Then came a series of personal questions about my title, whether I keep in touch with former co-workers, where I live, etc. The hair on the back of my neck was standing straight out now. I finally paged down to the end of the message to see if someone had signed a real name to this curious and terrifying letter, and I had my answer. It sounded so familiar because it was written by someone I worked with more than a dozen years ago. She had been fired, for good reason. I won't go into further details about that, but will say that I always felt she blamed me. I had nothing to do with it. It was management's response to her actions, which were in direct defiance to a supervisor's directive.

I went back to read the rest of the letter. I was struck by a paragraph where she explained she had taken on a spiritual exercise this Lent of building bridges, mending fences and making contact with those she knew in the past. She caught me up on parts of the years since we last were in contact. Ten years ago, she was injured in the Murrah Building bombing. After that experience, she attended theology school and has found within herself a servant's heart for the dispossessed -- the homeless, mentally ill and addicted. This is a tremendous change from the person I knew for so many years.

Despite the fear which filled my heart, I am so interested in learning more about this new aspect. Certainly I would be open to helping with her spiritual exercise. I think a healing conversation may be appropriate, as there's been a dark veil hanging there for far too long.

I have to say, the contact has left me very unsettled. I am struggling to see if fear or hope wins out. I won't respond immediately until I have more clarity in my own heart.

5 comments:

Erudite Redneck said...

Let's try an ER parable.

Feeling settled again will win out. Not necessarily fear or hope, which sometimes are just temporary forces within an unexpected emotional upheaval. Like the violent updrafts and sudden collapses of a thunderstorm. Neither outlast the storm itself. :-) (Maybe only a ponderous Okie, after a glass of wine, on the cusp of storm season coulda come up with that!)

TECH said...

Just watch your back, Trixie. It sounds pretty creepy to me.

FrenziedFeline said...

You could simply write back and congratulate her on finding the courage to take on such an exercise. Answer only the questions you're comfortable answering, even if it's just one or two, and then wish her luck in her future endeavors. After that, don't respond to any further emails.

Personally, it doesn't sound to me like she's made a complete commitment to her exercise if she's calling other people names and criticizing them. Even if she really feels that way, why would she tell you?

Good luck in whatever you decide.

CrystalDiggory said...

Listen to your first gut reaction. It's usually the right one. Please be careful, whatever you decide to do.

Kitty said...

As a recent victim of a stalker,

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE

be very careful and, if at all possible, distance yourself from this person in every way possible.

I wish you luck, safety and the logic to know how to proceed!