Then he became friends with my neighbors. Not the good neighbors. The more questionable ones. The ones below me who were really, really loud. (Isn't it usually the upstairs neighbors that are the problem? I could hear conversations through my floor!)
X started showing up more often to see his new buddies. Sometimes, the girls saw him, sometimes they didn't. It was starting to get bad. I was beginning to feel less and less comfortable in our apartment. I never knew when he'd be there. One time, he came in without my knowing it and scared the crap out of me. After that, I was checking the lock constantly. Another morning, I went outside our front door and he was out in the hallway. I don't know how long he'd been there.
Soon after that, I got a call that X had been arrested. Part of me was relieved. He'd be out of my hair for a while. The other part of me wondered how the girls would take it.
I know that some of you will question whether or not I should be telling the girls. I have come to accept my decision. There were problems associated with it, of course.
After the first time I told them, I heard later that there was quite a scene at the school when Sylvia told some friends. However, when he would call from jail, it showed up on the caller i.d. as "LA Prison" so they would've found out somehow.
Meanwhile, my neighbors started talking to me about him. They knew about his arrest - he had been with a friend of theirs. They started talking about money he owed them, and how he was doing too many drugs. They didn't seem to get that this was why I was divorcing him. It was just all getting really weird.
And then I got another call. From someone who claimed X owed him money. And that he knew X had kids. It wasn't so much a direct threat exactly, but it was all very creepy. And I totally started freaking out.
I knew this guy had to have gotten my number from one of the neighbors, and I let her know that this was totally unacceptable, that they are to leave my kids out of it.
And I started looking for a new place to live.