Mrs. Dempster

I freely talk about my experiences in being bipolar. I am not ashamed that I have a mental illness, and while at times it is distressing or inconvenient to have to parse truth from fiction, it has left me with an absolute ton of story ideas. I’m well above 60.

So I understand that when I get paranoid my mind invents fancies. That being said, I am fairly convinced I’ve figured out a few things about my own past. It’s a double whammy, isn’t it- suffering actual and bizarre traumas which sound unreal to family, friends, and therapists or doctors, while also battling bipolar delusions. What’s real? What’s not?

I test my theories. I form them and I test them, because I am a scientist. When I am angry or upset, or feel I have made some insights into my own past and real trauma which happened (as opposed to trauma which I freely admit is up for debate), I form a theory and I test it as best I can. It helps to have data, so I collect as much as I can.

I’ve recently formed an extension of my evolving theories about my past, a character I call Evelyn in my “Hamlet’s Play” series (this is a real person, mind you), and interactions with several figures. There are several main characters in these interactions with Evelyn. One has only recently come to mind and I can remember when Evelyn “introduced” us. I was a kid in high school and did not wish to hear his name or undergo the little performance that she had planned out for us, so I actually don’t know what he’s called. But I remember what he looks like, and I can guess about Evelyn’s obsession with this particular tableau. It’s not even original on her part, it’s from a book by Robertson Davies, called Fifth Business. She’s been trying to force me to recreate scenes from that book, and trying to force me into the character of Mrs. Dempster. I don’t even know why she’s obsessed with this book. I recall reading it, liking it, and mentioning the most memorable scene with Mrs. Dempster (where she’s found having sex willingly with a hobo because the hobo desired it) because that struck me- it really is a strange thing to write- and apparently my fate has been to suffer endless attacks from Evelyn and people she recruits or hires or manipulates. I cannot even count the number of times Evelyn has contacted potential employers, actual employers, friends, family, acquaintances, total strangers, my neighbours, anyone she thinks I might get some kind of help from at all, and tells them all sorts of lies about me- that I’m a prostitute, that I’m mentally challenged, that I’m a compulsive liar, that I desire sex with all men and will have it willingly no matter the circumstances if a man wants it, and on and on it goes.

This would explain why, on so many occasions, Evelyn tells me that I’m cursed, and it would explain why someone in the BIO building on my campus, back in 2016, called me “Boy”. That’s an actual character name from the book.

I suppose I’ll have to get a copy of Fifth Business and read it now to figure out what Evelyn has been up to or wants me to suffer; I am not in any hurry because I have spent years now dissecting her interactions with me and quite frankly she’s really not that interesting. She probably thinks she’s untraceable.

She’s not.

I wrote to her a short while ago.

I know she won’t write back, but that was not why I wrote.

You kept accusing me of being “rude” and asking me, “What’s my name?”. You never told me your name, you never ever did, but I know it, I know what state you live in, I know what town and what street and what number. I know you have been impersonating a wide variety of friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and relatives to me using a variety of phone and email and social media accounts, and you thought I would never figure that out, either. I know what you did to your husband, and me; I know about what you did to the child that was taken from his father and maimed, I know whom you hit on the head with a brick on my campus (UCR) and left for dead, hoping I’d be blamed. Funny how you told your husband I was a friend of yours “from high school” when you’re eight years older than I am and we grew up in different countries. Funny how you thought I could experience all of this, either by you telling me in riddles over the phone, or by actually experiencing it firsthand, and funny how you thought because I was traumatized for decades, and re-traumatized by you and your associates often enough that I could not recover, or remember much, that I would never, ever heal and remember. You’re a real performer, aren’t you?

I saw you next to your husband- him I recognized from as far back as Vancouver- where I lived, by the way; I never even had been to your city, Chicago, back in the 1990s. Over the phone: “The gloves are off!” They’ve never been on. I remember the hotel downtown in Vancouver and what happened there, too, and afterward. Such a pity you did not profit as you had hoped. I remembered your grin back in that hotel. I remembered your grin from a surprising number of attacks, do you realize that any one of them can put you behind bars for the rest of your life? You never thought I’d ever be able to recognize you, didn’t you? You always thought I was an idiot for never being able to overcome the massive quantity of abuse you had heaped on me, and all the conditioning as well, to pack those memories deep down. What did you call it? The oubliette?

Did you really think you had gotten away with it?