I hope he hasn't been following my blog.
I suffer from paranoia. That’s nothing new. I think it started when my ex-husband began following me home from work at night and tried to run me off the road in his royal blue sports car with the multicolored racing stripes painted down the sides. I definitely think everyone is out to get me all the time — not my ex-husband. He’s dead — but I have plenty of other potential stalkers.
What can I say? I’m a popular girl.
My last relationship was a mess, but the breakup was divine. I’ve never experienced anything so satisfying. After dumping the lout via email — hey, it’s the 21st century — I blocked him via every possible avenue.
My ex-boyfriend loved me so much that he insisted upon filing my tax returns every year we were together. He did everything with such excellence, he told me. Never mind that I had successfully and accurately filed my own taxes since filling out paper forms with a sharpened №2 pencil when I had my first part-time job after school. He was taking over, and he was doing it for me.
He let me know what a sacrifice he was making, how he spent hours poring over documents and figures to make sure he was getting me the maximum refund. That confused me because it’s the 21st century and filing one’s taxes when there are no extraordinary circumstances is pretty straightforward. Yet he indicated that the harder he worked on my paperwork, the better my refund would be.
It didn’t make sense until I got audited and had to pay $20,000 in back taxes and penalties, some of which I owed because he’d reporting his earnings under my social security number. But I owed it to him for all the things he was doing for me.
When I told him about it, he insisted he didn’t know what I was talking about. I must be crazy. Clearly.
Then there was the time he canceled a book I ordered on eBay. How dare I spend $2.99 of my own hard-earned money on a book without consulting him. It was a book on yoga. Seriously? Why would I even need such a thing? “Good news,” he said. “I caught them before they shipped it. So I got you a full refund.”
Money was the most important thing in his life. I barely came in second.
That didn’t stop him from calling my cellphone using a private number after I finally broke up with him for good. Over and over and over again. He left copious voice messages that grew more and more pathetic — and desperate.
In one message, he would apologize profusely. In the next, he would demand an apology. Then he would blame my mother. Sometimes he’d cry.
No, I don’t feel bad. He was awful.
Two years after our breakup — or was it three? — I finally answered the phone. Private number. I knew it was him.
During our conversation, my ex-boyfriend laboriously analyzed a romantic relationship that didn’t exist based on his interpretation of several memes I had posted to my Facebook account — an account that hadn’t even existed during our seven-year relationship.
“You were involved with someone and it didn’t work out,” he said.
Yeah, that never happened.
He took a deep breath and added, “So, are you still into kickboxing?”
I didn’t start kickboxing until a year after our split.
“You are so creepy,” I told him. “How would you know anything about my kickboxing?” I’m not stupid. I knew exactly how he’d found out.
“Don’t you remember posting about it on Facebook?” he asked.
Of course, I remembered. Facebook was the first thing that popped into my head when he’d begun rambling about some relationship of mine that never happened.
Those bitter memes I’d posted about relationships were based on my interactions with him — like the one of Kermit the Frog looking the other way with the caption that read, “When you see your ex getting hit by a car,” or the status update that read, “If my ex calls me one more time, I’m going to beat him with a baseball bat.”
I deactivated my Facebook account.
It’s been a year since our last conversation — maybe two. I don’t think of him often; I never think of him fondly.
Then something happened that made me think of him again. One of my followers has his initials but no profile pic — and he hasn’t reacted to any of my posts, but he has reacted to several of my comments that were about my ex.
Could it possibly be him?
Logic tells me that it’s not him. I don’t use my real name online anymore, although if he came across my profile by happenstance, he would know it was me.
He’s also a bit too frugal to pay for anything that lies behind a paywall — and this person who shares his initials happens to be a paying member of my blog to the tune of five dollars per month. We’re talking about the same person who wore dirty underwear he found in the trash to save money.
The thought of him paying five bucks a month just to keep tabs on my blogging is almost inconceivable.
Still, I can’t help but wonder. Could it really be him? I hope not.
If he has been reading my blog posts, then he's in luck because I am constantly expanding my reach. That gives my ex additional opportunities to keep tabs on what I'm doing now if he's interested.
Unfortunately for him, I've recently learned to keep the most interesting information private. If he really wants to know what I'm doing during the pandemic, he will have to reach out and ask. Then I can tell him it's none of his business. He lost the right to know about my life a long time ago.