Saturday, July 17, 2010
Hook-Ups in the Psych Ward
I forgot to give you some background between Mark's time in the old house and the new.
Sometime around 2004, Mark became very suicidal and checked himself into a psych ward in Bakersfield, CA. I didn't know he was feeling that way until he called to tell me he was there. It broke my heart but I was grateful he'd reached out and gotten help.
What I didn't know was, while there, he was becoming romantically involved with a fellow patient. General rule of thumb: Don't look for true love in a psych ward, whether you're crazy or not. JUST SAYING.
I didn't know anything about this new girlfriend (the first he'd ever had, far as I knew, and he was in his mid-40's) until he brought her home. Apparently she (whom I'll call "Mary") was from our small town, too. I imagined Mark had told her all sorts of elaborate stories about his import/export business (he averages $10/month profit in sales) in order to pique her interest. That, or she just needed a new person to mooch off of--which I later found out was her usual Mode of Operation. One of my best friends was Director of the local United Way, and it was through her that I found out she had a reputation for excessive drug use, stealing, winding up in jail/the psych ward, and taking advantage of naive men. Mary is tall and striking, in a prostitutey sort of way (picture Julia Roberts, minus the charm, in Pretty Woman before she met Richard Gere) so I'm fairly sure she uses that to her advantage.
About two weeks into their living together, they announced they were engaged. I could see this relationship was getting out of control quickly, but Mark sounded happy for once, and what could I do about it anyway? I figured oh well, at least he'll have known love in his life--even if it never works out. Well, that newly-engaged blissfulness didn't last long; about a week later, I got another call that he was now in jail. Apparently, they'd started arguing and Mary had physically attacked him; he'd pulled a knife in self defense, and she'd called the cops. Off to jail he went. Do not pass Go; do not collect $200!
So, there she was in my family's house, alone. Well, not really ALONE... she was having lots of male visitors over day and night, according to the next-door neighbor's report. I called the police and tried to get her kicked out (we had a fantastic little confrontation on the front porch when I tried to get rid of her myself--it was a scene right out of "Cops"), but they gave me some song-and-dance about why she was legally able to stay there. She later called me asking for money (told me Mark instructed her to--one of many lies), telling me she was pregnant with twins and they were his, and when I didn't buy her story or loan her money, she stole all sorts of things: our grandmother's dresser, family heirlooms, our parents' social security cards and birth certificates, blank checkbooks of Mark's, autographed copies of my mother's children's book (including a special Dutch-African version we can never get our hands on again), his telephone, even his dog. When he was finally released from jail, she was nowhere to be found and he realized she had not only stolen all of those things but had also somehow been cashing his disability checks and living off of them. He filed police reports, and as far as I know, very little was done.
FYI: I've gone back to tell you the story of Mary to (soon) explain some more recent events.
Once again, to be continued....