I have a confession. I know I have been sharing with you my amazing experiences on the cruise, and the beautiful photos from the places that I visited, but there was also something rather dark and frightening that came along with my time at sea.
I acquired a stalker.
I acquired a stalker.
It began with a simple request to dance. My sister and I had discovered the rather addictive appeal to Karaoke, and had just finished "supporting" another performer by dancing while she sang. I sat down in my seat, as another got up to sing. A man made his way across the room and asked me to dance. Innocent enough right? I said yes, we introduced ourselves, and when it was over I sat down. I thought that was it.
I thought wrong.
What followed quickly turned into a cat and mouse game. He found me the next day in the lobby and wanted to hang out - since he was with a group of people, I made the incorrect assumption that "hanging out" meant with him and the others. When I found out that it didn't, I excused myself.
Things started to get uncomfortable when I caught one of his friends secretly photographing me when he thought I wasn't looking. He had come with a group of 95 other people - what was my photo being used for? At first I thought I was being paranoid; until he began showing up everywhere I was. The scenario was like this: I'd see or pass by a person from the group (that I knew of), and 5 - 10 minutes later, he would show up. He showed up in the lobby, the pool (and there were 6 of them), the jacuzzi I was in, my stateroom floor.
He wanted to know my room number, my last name (none of which I gave), he would follow me to where I ate and sit down wherever I was seated, he'd appear on the dance floor when I was with my mother.I would have perfect strangers come up and tell me where he was - as if he were looking for me, and wanted people to direct me to him. Had he and his 95 friends distributed my photo amongst themselves? His friends began coming up to my mother and asking her questions about me. I spoke to the staff, and they offered to have security follow me so that they could idenify him, since I basically didn't have any information on the guy.
Here I was, on my very first cruise ever. I was absolutely loving the ocean views, the travel, and the new experiences. I was loving the crew, my waitstaff, and the friends I was meeting along the way: but this man and appartent lack of personal boundaries was threatening to ruin my entire trip. It goes without saying that being on a boat, I felt trapped.
Finally, I got angry. Here I was on this incredible, once in a lifetime cruise with my family, and here was this creep who couldn't take a hint, making me feel violated and uneasy. I was checking over my shoulder everywhere and he was behaving like he owned me.
The last night of the cruise, he snuck up behind the couch I was seated on an leaned over me. And I snapped. Afterwards I was so shaky that I just wanted to go back to my room. I was sure that I had been firm, and that I had put him in his place, and that now everything had been settled.
The night I disembarked the ship I had a friendship request from him waiting for me on Facebook. How on earth has he gotten my last name?
I had honestly thought that I had left him, and his pathetic drama on the boat, out at sea. But really, he had followed me home. I've had nightmares of seeing him here in my hometown. And while part of me feels foolish for letting the experience affect me in such a powerful way, I also have to come to terms with the fact that it really did frighten me. It's taken an emotional toll that I didn't expect, and it's affected my blogging as well. I can't help wonder if this man is now reading my blog.