Creepy Old Guy
By Lauren Huffman
I don’t know how I missed you being a creep from the start. Your park ranger hat and fake limp should have given it away. But, I was blinded. I was blinded by compassion toward your loneliness. I felt for your sad life. Per your description, your 65 years on Earth was without family or real connection to another human being. Your vulnerability in opening up and telling our a Capella group how you have not had a place to go for the holidays in decades broke our hearts.
I wanted to help you. We all wanted to help you. We all invited you to outings, parties and shows. We all friended you on Facebook. We all emailed you about potential jobs and volunteer opportunities. We all cheered you on when you tried to connect with an old "girlfriend."
I invited you for Thanksgiving at my parents’ house since I was the only other a cappella member who would be in Chicago for the festivities. My family welcomed you, fed you and said their door is always open.
You started sending me emails about how I was changing your life, which I found strange because as a group, we were all including you. When I received a job offer in California, you wrote me a dark email about how you have been depressed and suicidal at the thought of me leaving. It was too much and I was starting to realize things were off.
Then it happened. We were chatting on Facebook Messenger. You told me you had someone for me — they liked me and wanted to date me. I asked you who? Jared? Adam? Brian? No, not them. You changed the subject.
A few days passed and I asked you again to whom you were referring. You avoided it. You told me this person had anxiety and was afraid to ruin the friendship. I thought that was silly and asked again who it was because maybe I could talk to them, if I was also interested. You responded with one letter. A simple "I." I thought it was a typo. But then it all made sense.
You were the one interested in me and wanting to date me. And you knew it was out of line so you masked it. I said I’m not interested, turned off my phone and went to bed feeling violated and disturbed.
You kept showing up at the shows I host. I was cordial and polite but did not engage in conversation because being around you gave me stress and anxiety. Not to mention the deep disgust and personal invasion I was feeling. Whether that was warranted, I don't know.
I was hoping this would pass and you’d get the hint and life would move on. Until you decided to make it public on Facebook.
Your status read: “What to do? The person I found so inspirational is no longer talking to me. I had the choice to lie or tell the truth and I told the truth. And I can’t get her red dress that resembles a slip out of my head. Now, I think I may have lost her as a friend. I am so innocent woe is me.”
Reading this blatant cry for support made my stomach turn. And reading the comments in support of you was comical. But also disturbing.
You were kicked out of a capella and rightfully so.
Next time my heart will check in with my brain.