AFTER ST. REGIS, I had a nervous breakdown, or so I was led to believe. Given the circumstances, whose nerves would not have been frayed? I gave up trying to find work and instead, I spent all of my time in my bedroom with the windows papered over.
I had taken pages from the daily newspaper and used them to cover my windows. I was honestly convinced that they, ‘the cafeteria people’, were peeking into my windows. It never crossed my mind that they had other means of getting their information.
I assumed that they were getting all their damaging information from following me around, peeking in my windows, and from standing under my window — at night — eavesdropping on my conversations. I was beside myself trying to keep my private life private.
I called the Maywood Police Department almost every night and reported a suspicious person standing underneath my bedroom window. To their credit, they did respond the first few times, but after that they stopped coming. When I could no longer get a response out of them, I took to dressing in all black and staking out my back yard.
One night when I heard the familiar rustling leaves under my bedroom window, I waited for awhile, donned my all back attire, and followed whoever it was as they were leaving the backyard.
I followed ‘them’ back to a house directly across the alley from my bedroom. I watched as they threw themselves laughing and giggling onto a bench on their back porch.
It was a young girl and boy, both in their mid-twenties, who looked too much like each other to be anything but brother and sister. The girl looked a lot like the other cafeteria girls. I thought to myself that they looked as though they were cookie cutter images of each other. I also recognized the boy sitting next to them as the same young man who had bumped into me on the bus the day I was fired from Helene Curtis. He must have been the one who had taken my wallet. I stayed stooped down in the hedges long enough to hear what they were saying. To my surprise, they knew I was there and they were laughing at me standing in the bushes, saying, “Look at her. She thinks she’s so smart. She looks like a fool hiding in those hedges.” I stood up and left, realizing they had intended for me to see them.
I had to think of another way of getting even. It popped into my head to type a note to the people on my block explaining that all the things these people were screaming about me were not true. In the dark of night I delivered the note to every house on the block. The Police were not pleased. My father delivered the news to me.
Lesson learned: Mind readers aka “The Voices’ are master manipulators.