Tuesday, 8 July 2003
This is a tale of sadness.
It's the tale of a young girl called Kimberley Dryden and her struggle with anorexia.
It's also the story of a man who may well be a serial killer and the tale of a city I have come to know well during the past two years.
So, make yourself comfortable and let me take you on a short walk down the cobbled steets of an ancient city called York...
I returned to York on the 1st of April of this year after spending a few days in Paris. Paris is my favourite city - it's the most romantic place I have ever visited. A place which seems to have been created for lovers to walk hand-in-hand through its streets.
I returned to York for one reason and one reason alone. Kimberley.
Perhaps I told myself that I was coming here for another reason, but I know now that it was her who brought me back here.
It's funny, but Kimberley will never know just what I have been through during these past three months.
After arriving in York I stayed for two weeks at the worst hostel ever - York Backpackers on Mickelgate. Don't ever stay there - it's a nasty place full of nasty people.
After two weeks I made a decision to remain in York and I started to look for somewhere to live. It was then that I met the serial killer.
I was passing a post office and I noticed in the window an advert for a room for rent. I called the number and arranged to meet the landlord. What first made me realise that this might prove to be an odd encounter was when the landlord insisted we meet at a quarter to midnight.
We arranged to meet outside a telephone box on Mickelgate. He was late and so I called him and he told me that he was delayed because one of his windows had been smashed. Uh-oh.
So, a little disturbed, I waited.
After 20 minutes, a dishevelled looking man turned up with two dogs in tow. He told me he was in his forties. This later turned out to be untrue - he was actually around 55. He also told me his name was David. This was also untrue - his name turned out to be Jason. Memories of Friday the 13th started spinning through my head.
Jason took me to his house and showed me around. I couldn't help but feel a little strange as he left all of the lights out, except one, and he showed me the house in near darkness. This was, apparently, because he was afraid his windows would be smashed again.
This is all absolutely 100% true, by the way, and it gets a little worse. The room that would be mine was a pokey little box room and the last person to sleep in the bed was Jason's Mother, who, it's worth mentioning, had died in that very same bed two years earlier.
So, I left the house that night thinking that there was no way that I could ever live there. Then, as the hours went by, I slowly started to change my mind. All he wanted for the room was £20 a week - and £20 a week is a small price to pay for death and dismemberment.
So I moved in. And that's when things became even stranger. I soon found out that David - or Jason - was on a variety of pills. He was taking medication for a 'psychopathic personality disorder.'
When I foolishly mentioned that this made him a psychopath he insisted that, no, he just had a personality disorder. Okay, but that doesn't explain a few things - like the time that I was watching a video of The Simpsons with him, in total darkness, and he ran behind the settee and hid. (It happened).
One day I made the mistake of telling Psycho Boy that I had a secret. It's true - I do. I did something in my early youth that I'm ashamed of and I've only ever told a handful of people about it.
Serial Killer Boy then started sleeping downstairs on the settee and would rarely venture upstairs or anywhere near my room.
When I asked him why, he told me it was because I might go to the toilet during the night and he would "see" my secret. What? What on earth did he think my secret was - a sixteen inch penis!?
This went on for a few weeks and then came the day that I saw Jason/David's Princess Diana memorial. (He was in love with Diana). He put it in the window for all of the world to see - a huge collection of pictures, letters, framed photographs and other titbits. Wow.
Despite his strange behaviour, I eventually came to the conclusion that Jason was just a lost soul, someone who had been treated badly by people, and I vowed not to be like that. I started to buy him cakes and presents and things.
It's funny, but I remember that whenever we had a disagreement, he would say to me, "Oh let's not fall out" and I distinctly remember thinking to myself: Well, we never actually fell in!
A few weeks later Jason told me that he had decided to move away to be with his sister and so I had a week or two to pack up and find somewhere else to live.
I soon found somewhere - a nice, Italian-run Guest House, where I'm staying until tomorrow morning - and so I said goodbye to Jason and wished him well.
I thought nothing more of Jason/David until a week ago when I saw him just a few roads away from the House from Hell we had both apparently moved away from.
He told me that he was there to see an old friend and straight away this aroused my suspicions - Jason never had any friends.
So, a few days later I cycled past his house and, lo and behold, there they were. A hundred pictures of Princess Diana, staring out at me with their dead eyes...
Yes, Serial Killer Boy had lied to me. He wasn't moving - he just wanted to get rid of me! And he even went as far as to pretend to speak to his sister on the phone about leaving when I was there!
So, needless to say, I have absolutely no sympathy for Freak Boy now and the whole experience has only served to confirm for me many things I believe about humanity. This guy promised to send me a cheque for the kids in Belarus and this, along with almost everything else he said, turned out to be a lie.
Perhaps, in an Internet cafe somewhere in York, Jason sat down and typed a similar entry to this one telling his friends how he'd had a close shave with an odd guy with a crazy Versace coat! Who knows...
So, the four weeks I spent with David/Jason were an interesting, bizarre and unpleasant experience - and one that Kimberley Dryden will never know about.
But there are so many things that Kimberley will never know. She will never know that I have thought about her every day during the past three months. She will never know about this entry. She will never know that during the past few weeks I've come closer than ever before to taking my own life.
Every moment I spent with Kimberley was precious and wonderful. I felt utterly at ease with her, completely comfortable, and that's rare for because I often have problems relating to women.
Kimberley and I met when we worked together at York hospital. I still remember the way she looked as she walked the halls, with her brown hair and brown eyes, wearing an overall that was two sizes too big for her.
Kimberley and I spent a great deal of time together during the few weeks that we knew each other. Then in September of 2002 I moved away from York and began travelling around Eastern Europe.
I know that my leaving hurt Kimberley. I told her we would meet again. And I was right - we did see each other one last time. But it was different from anything I could have imagined.
I returned to York in April and I went back to the hospital to see her. She had not responded to any of my letters and I couldn't understand why. All I knew was that I had realised that Kimberley was the best friend I had ever had and I wanted to see her again.
So I saw her at the hospital and it was horrible. Very painful. She told me that she didn't want to spend any time with me. She didn't want to have feelings for me again. My last words to her were: "My heart is broken" and then I left and I never saw her again.
What Kimberley did to me wasn't nice and it hurt me a great deal. Being treated like that, knowing that I did nothing wrong, knowing that I only treated her with kindness and compassion, has been difficult to come to terms with when I cared for her so much.
But during the past few months I have begun to understand why Kimberley behaved the way that she did. You see, Kimberley is an ill girl. She has anorexia and she gets by on just a bowl of cereal a day.
I was like a little whirlwind in her life. Before me, she didn't really have a social life. She stayed at home with her long-term boyfriend who tries his best to control her. She had her little safe existence, with her routines, where everything was familiar, and then I came along and changed everything.
Suddenly she was going out and meeting new people. And she was starting to get better, too. I told her good things about herself, boosted her self-esteem, and encouraged her to take vitamin pills. She was starting to eat more. She was looking better, feeling better.
And then suddenly I left and she had to go back to the life that she had before. I know that I hurt her, though that was the last thing I ever wanted to do. And though nothing of a sexual nature ever happened between Kimberley and I, I know that I caused problems in her relationship with her boyfriend.
After I left, she probably apologised to her boyfriend and realised he was the only person that she could depend on.
And then when suddenly I reappeared seven months later it was just too much for her to take. The best thing for her to do, to protect herself, was to push me away.
Which is exactly what she did.
I know that Kimberley had feelings for me - she told me so - and I used to marvel at the fact that I wasn't in love with her. She was pretty, sensitive, funny - everything I could ever wish to hope for in a woman. And yet I didn't have feelings for her.
Then a few weeks ago I was lying on my bed, in the guest house, staring at the ceiling, when I had a realisation. What I realised, simply, was that not only have I been in love with this girl from the very beginning, but she is also the love of my life and the person I think that I should have married.
Kimberley was my salvation. These past few years I have moving around the UK, from Wales to York to Exeter, searching for that special someone. It has been a very lonely existence. And then I found that someone but realised it too late.
And I think, too, that I was Kimberley's salvation. Kimberley may not have long left to live and I think that I could ultimately have helped to save her life. And it is knowing this that hurts me the most.
So I have remained in York these past three months in the hope I might bump into Kimberley and strike up a conversation.
I have no friends here, they have all moved away or we have lost touch, and it's been a lonely three months. I stayed in the hope that I might see her again one last time. But it never happened. I never saw her again. And she never replied to my letters.
And now it is time to leave York and these difficult times behind.
I will always miss Kimberley, the love of my life, and I will always think about her and what might have been. I have given her three months of my life, waited for her for three months. But I should try to move on, although that's very difficult to do, especially as we once sat and shared a joke together in this very Internet cafe.
So, until next time, it's goodbye to Kimberley and goodbye to York.
I will continue to keep this city and that wonderful girl in my thoughts, and I will remember each of them until the day that I die.
Goodbye York - I will miss you.
Goodbye Kimberley - you were the love of my life.
From the memory box of a Professional Englishman.
- Professional Englishman
- London, ENGLAND, United Kingdom
- This is me. Read a few entries and they will tell you more about me than I can fit into these few paragraphs. Many of these entries started their lives as mass emails. That was before I discovered blogs. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for visiting my blog and reading about my life. Both a work in progress.
My Life Laid Bare
- ▼ 2003 (7)