Soon, I was gingerly making my way in the rain up the steps of busted pavement of Josie's family's house; her parents being two classy and idiosyncratic intellectuals, they let their classic Mission Revival style home crumble slowly to pieces, clumps of cat fur gathered in the corners of rooms, spiders making their webs among a neglected collection of expensive Fiesta Ware dishes. I liked it.
How odd to think that, unless Josie was mistaken, there was a grown man crouching in the rain and the dark and the mud outside her bedroom window, waiting to hear her say something about him on the phone perhaps, or for her to turn out the light and fall asleep, so he could watch her. I did not walk over to the side of the house to see if the presence of this stalker, on this night (for she told me he did this often, once a month since she'd broken up with him) was real, though I thought that this is what I should do. She was never absolutely sure, when she thought she was being watched or followed by him, that it was really happening, because to have actually wheeled around suddenly, to confront him, like on the day she was walking home from her school bus stop and felt his presence so near and even smelled him, would be to make eye contact with the Psychopathic, acne-scarred 34-year-old man she had nonetheless been instantly attracted to when she first saw him at a restaurant she use to go to with her family, and the prospect of making eye contact with him when he was following her seemed as grotesque as something in a horror movie.
We took special care to avoid looking in the direction where she thought he was hiding, once I was there in her room with her. Instead, she suggested we watch TV, and we settled on Key Largo, starring Humphrey Bogart and his love Lauren Bacall, a film striking for its anachronistically sympathetic treatment of Native Americans. This kindness on the part of the filmmaker made me less unhappy to be alive (for I was mildly suicidal as well), and I started to fall asleep with the film still on. Outside, the rain was steady. Once, Josie woke me up to tell me she thought she saw and heard him stand up to leave. "He wears black when he spies. I swear I saw him watching me from across the street once, the dumb fuck was wearing all black to camouflage himself, on the sunniest day of the year, he stood out like a sore thumb, like the dumb shit that he is. But I'm almost positive I just saw him from the back, walking away. I could see his neck."
"I wish he would just die," I said, but dispassionately, because I had a hard time believing that any of this was real.
A little while later, my cell phone woke me up. It was on vibrate, on the bedside table next to my head, and so Josie slept through the call, luckily. I took the phone into the bathroom and answered, whispering, "George? Is everything okay?" It was a grown-up question.
"Oh Molly, I don't know. I think I did something awful."
"Oh God, I don’t know where to start. I took your mom out for awhile tonight, and she told me about the man who has been bothering you and Josie. I guess he picked you guys up from your mother's house once before, and that’s mostly how she knew about him, is that right?" Yes, he had picked us up one time when Josie wanted me to come with them to a movie, and this was the only time I met him; Beth met him when he came to the door to get us. "Can you describe for me what he looks like, just his general look?" he asked, and I described Calvin. "Oh thank goodness," he said, "thank goodness."