I went back to the Collector once.
For over a year, he was relentless in getting me back. With one exception, the men I’ve fallen in love with have all been stalkers, but the Collector was the most persistent. I stayed in my Western state because it felt more safe. I stopped using the email account he’d used to communicate with me for years and opened a new one. When I stopped working as a prodomme in San Francisco, took an office job, and eventually started domming in my home town under a new stage name with all-new photos, he found my ads on the sex worker ad malls and started emailing me there. He called my mother at her home and would talk to her for hours–leaving her with a very positive impression, of course. He send me birthday cards and gifts, none of which I opened. When I decided to teach a course at one of the local colleges in exchange for a partial tuition waiver (and a nominal salary), he somehow found out and enrolled in the course, which was online due to COVID.
I went to the administration and explained that he was my Ex who was stalking me long-distance. They told me that they needed to see a restraining order before they could block him from taking the class. I’ve been through the restraining order process before and the last thing I wanted to do was have to answer some very awkward questions about our BDSM relationship.
“He doesn’t need to be in my class! He’s an attorney in New York! He’s not working on another degree!” I told the administration. The administration was sympathetic–I could tell that they believed me–but their answer was the same: restraining order, or it didn’t happen.
Every time I logged into Skype, there were his texts: You’re hurting me. Stop hiding from me. I had to change my phone number twice and he found me both times. How, I do not know, and the anxiety about not knowing fueled my ever-increasing paranoia. The third time he found me, I gave up and got TracPhone, which is a virtually untraceable burner.
In the meantime, I was ranting and raving about the man to my therapist once or twice a week.
“Stop letting if affect you to this extent. You don’t owe the Collector anything. He dragged you into the gutter and made you do the worst thing you’ve ever done,” the therapist reminded me.
“But you don’t understand. You don’t understand what he’s like. What if he sends the school administration my ads? What if he sends the ads to my mother and tells her I’m and S&M hooker? He could ruin my life! And sooner or later, he always gets what he wants!”
“Well, you don’t have to give him what he wants.”
But in the end, I did.
“Margo, just get on the plane. I’m looking right now. There are still three leaving today. I will make you the reservation immediately,” he said when I finally called.
“I need to go home and pack. I need to get my contact lenses and makeup bag and cancel my appointments. I need to tell my family where I’ll be going!” I sniffled pathetically in my hotel room, surrounded by the detritus of my last session. Of course I’d been drinking and made the mistake of reading his most recent emails to my work account, which is what made me call.
“You don’t need to bring makeup and you don’t need more clothes. Everything is here, exactly as you left it. I’ll buy you whatever you need. I’ll take care of it. I’ll take care of everything. We can discuss it all when you get here. Just get on the airplane. Margo, this can’t go on! Do you know what this has done to me, Margo?”
That’s what they all say when I leave: I can’t believe you’re doing this to me!
“I’m going to get there and you’re going to punish me for leaving you!” A very legitimate concern.
“I will not! I promise you I will not. I would never hurt you, Margo! I love you!”
The magic words.
I got on the airplane. A first-class ticket back to God-knows-what. Except that if I was being honest with myself, I knew exactly what. Layover in Chicago, during which I told myself You need to turn around and go right back home. Instead I boarded and availed myself to the complimentary booze.
The plane touched down in the middle of the night and I texted him when I arrived, expecting to take a cab into Manhattan. He was already waiting for me at the baggage claim.