Salem MA, 10/29/1980

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October 29, 1980

It’s been a week, and there hasn’t been anything else from the person who claims they know who I really am. The lack of follow up hasn’t done anything to ease my fears.  I haven’t slept a full night since seeing the letter, mostly I lay awake running through every possible option, and part of the problem is there are too many.  First, I don’t know who they are, but also, I don’t know what they know, or think they know.  Do they know I’m a time-traveler?  Do they think I’m a con-artist?  Why would they send me a warning that they’re going to confront me?  I keep traveling down a rabbit hole of possibilities, and none seems to bring me to a conclusion.

I’ve become obsessively aware of my surroundings; two nights ago, a car kept running down the street for more than an hour.  I looked at it through the window for half an hour, before going out to see what was going on.  When I approached the car, there was a couple making out in it.  Luckily, I saw them before I reached the car, and although they looked over at me, I didn’t get close enough to see if it was more than making out.  I was however confident, that they weren’t spying on me.

 

Melanie wrote me a letter back, that I got this morning.

 

Darren,

Thank you.  I’m sorry that I’ve been venting so much during our calls, but I’m so glad I have you to talk to.

You know, I really haven’t figured you out yet?  I always feel like you’re hiding something from me, but not in a nefarious sort of way.

Sometimes I think that you must be pulling away from me.  The physical distance seems to be mirrored by emotional distance, but then you write me a letter, or just sit and hold my hand in the car, and I cannot imagine being closer to you.  What is it that you do to me?

One thing that I’ve wondered about, something I haven’t told you that has kind of stuck in my brain, has been why you have this mysterious family that you’re getting to know better, whom I’ve never met.  Are you ashamed of them? Or me?

I know it must seem crazy, but every little unknown thing like that makes me wonder why you are secretive.  I suppose that my fears about us, haven’t really helped the already overwhelming state of mind I have due to my internship.  I’m sorry if I’m blowing this out of proportion, but it is difficult to get a full sense of up and down with everything that’s going on in my life.  I’ve been hoping you would become the anchor holding me to reality, and you’ve definitely started doing that, but I still have so many other insecurities about you too.

I hope that I can see you soon.  Definitely before Christmas if possible.

I love you,

Melanie

 

For a few minutes, I was able to relax after I had read the letter.  I thought about introducing Melanie to my grandmother, and thinking through the logistics of it was a welcome distraction from the loop my brain had been stuck in.

 

My grandmother had seen how off I was when I saw her on Monday.  I was looking in the faces of every person at the diner, scanning them all for any sign that they were monitoring me.  Most people made eye contact, but none seemed to have any lingering quality that I could pick out.

“What’s wrong, Mike?” Her tone was quieter than I was used to, and I shook the distraction out of my head to focus on her.

“Um… I got a letter last week…” I told her what had been going on, and how I had been trying to figure out who it was.

“Do you have the letter?” she asked, with a concerned look.

I pulled the letter and envelope out of my pocket, and handed it to her. She removed the letter and read it.

“Well, I don’t recognize the handwriting either.” Then she looked at the envelope, and the postage area.  She pointed to the postal office’s stamp of approval over the actual postage stamp.  “Sent from Salem.”

“Salem?” I hadn’t been to Salem since traveling back in time, although it was only twenty minutes from where I lived.  It wasn’t a hot lead, but it was something.

“It’s not Maria’s handwriting…” she said thinking to herself.  I agreed, it wasn’t her handwriting, and I hadn’t even considered her, but she did go to Salem State, and so it was the most logical thing to consider.

“Well, assume for a minute that Mom had someone write it…” my brain was bouncing back and forth trying to find any possible reason. “Maybe she knows that I know you…”

She shook her head.  “I don’t think that’s it.  When I mentioned bringing that ‘young man that was new to the area’ to Thanksgiving she seemed open to the idea without any objection.”

“It’s not Dad’s handwriting either…” As soon as I said it, I tried to search for a time when I had seen my father’s handwriting, and I realized it would have only been his signature I would recognize, because I couldn’t think of a time when I had seen him write anything else.

“I still don’t know your father too well, so I don’t know if would be him, but I would imagine if it is either of them, they’re just being protective.  What I’m more worried about is someone else.  This seems like it’s a setup for some kind of extortion.”

“You think so too?  I was starting to think I was paranoid.”

“No, this is pretty ominous.”

“I’m going to go down to the post office in Salem and see if I can find anything out, but I don’t know what else to do.”

“Well, if nothing new occurs by Thanksgiving, we can just see how that day goes, and watch your parents close.”

I laughed, the laugh of someone who couldn’t bare something anymore and had no other choice.

“What’s so funny?”

“What if I came all this way, for them, and they don’t understand and lash out?”

“Well, then you’d be the parent I guess.”

 

After I left the diner, I went to the post office in Salem, and asked the person at the front desk about the lack of return address, and the stamp of approval.  The date was October 17, and so I didn’t have much expectation of the guy at the desk remembering anything, but I was left without any hope when he mentioned that the letter could have been placed in a mailbox as well.

As I was leaving, a woman with a baseball cap and sunglasses was walking toward the post office, and when she saw my face, turned around and walked towards the Witch Museum.  I tried to catch up with her, but with only two days to go until Halloween, the street was far too crowded to catch up to her.

I frantically searched the crowd for a half an hour, and there was no sign of the mystery woman.

 

When I got home, I took out a notebook, and started a list of facts about my ‘stalker’.

  • She’s a woman.
  • Late-40’s to Mid-50’s.
  • White
  • Short, about 5’2” or 5’3” (couldn’t see footwear to confirm height)
  • Doesn’t want to be meet me yet
  • Knows about me

 

At the very least, I was relieved, because I had just knocked out a huge part of the population that I no longer had to visually assess.

 

I think I’m going to go for a run and see if I can get a full night’s sleep tonight.

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