the man in the white bandana

tuesday 28 June 2011             (new post)

This is a companion post to the man with the white hair. This is what happened next.

Before July 21, the day when the guy called Jim said the names Luigi and Vittorio Greif in my hearing, there was a little more excitement in store for me, and I say that both sardonically and with bitterness.

The man with the white hair disappeared from Greenfield very early on Friday 11 July in 2008. A mere one week later, on Friday 18 July, there came the man with the white bandana.

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Early on that morning, I’m having my breakfast at the health food store, sitting right beside the very large window. I can see everything on sidewalks and a good chunk of Main Street. And what I see, before I’m even finished eating, is a man riding toward the store on a bike. What takes me aback for a moment is that the man’s head is white. As he gets closer, I see that the white isn’t hair, but a bandana tied over the top of his head. When he’s even closer, I see that the bandana has a small black print on it. But I’ve been noticing other things too. His skin tone is very familiar. His body type is too. The shape of his muscles and bones, the way he holds himself on his bike, are all very like white-hair’s. This man’s facial expression is serious and grim. When he gets level with me, he turns his head and looks right at me, and it isn’t a happy look. I can see that his eyes are blue. There are a few others sitting beside the window, but he doesn’t look at them. He turns his head to the right only long enough to fix me with that not-happy look. I get up and go onto the sidewalk to keep watching him, his movements, the size and shape of his limbs, etc. When I can’t see him anymore, I finish eating and go back to my room.

I’ve been keeping spoken journals on audiotape since 2000. Back in my room, I talk into the microphone about this latest man. I say that there’s a physicality and a skin-tone that are very like the man from last week. I wonder aloud if this is a younger brother, or a cousin. There are these similarities. I also say in my journal that I’m going to the library about noon to reserve time on a computer.

This I do. All the computers are taken, and I make a reservation for one hour later. Going back out, standing at the top of the library steps, I see Matthew down on the sidewalk. Just standing there watching me. When I go down to him, he asks me to come over. I tell him I’ve just made a reservation and he asks me if I can go in and cancel it. No idiot shtik today. He’s acting like his genuine self. I get short periods of this, usually at least once while we’re together, sometimes for as long as an hour. This is the Matthew, the one not acting, that I want to be with, to talk to. The man behind the performance.

I cancel my reservation and go with him. In those days, I would go anywhere with the real Matthew. As soon as we’re in his hovel, I start grilling him about this new man. He wants to know why I think this man is related to the other one, and I list my reasons. I’ve never, thus far, seen him look depressed, until I finish my list. He does indeed look depressed. And then I do something that I didn’t do with Matthew nearly often enough: I take a stand.

I tell him I’m not going back to my room, that I’m staying with him tonight. I tell him that just in case that man is going to come riding up my street tonight with a helicopter flying over him, I don’t want to see it. And just in case there might be more people outside my windows at 2 a.m., I don’t want to be there. Once was more than enough. At first he says okay, and we talk of other things. He goes out to Dunkin Donuts for coffee, and when he comes back, he starts nagging me to sleep in my room tonight, and I refuse. He tries to cajole me: Come on, it’s okay. You won’t get hurt, I promise. I tell him I know bloody well I won’t get hurt, but that if any weird things are going to happen on my street and outside my room again, I do NOT want to deal with it. This is your world, I tell him, not mine.

He’s not pleased, but he finally stops nagging and says okay. We’re both hungry, so we head up to the health food store to get supper. One or two houses up from Matthew’s there’s a very small plaza on Main Street with a laundromat and a couple of other stores. This plaza has a short driveway that goes to the street. When we reach this driveway, there’s a cop parked in it, blocking anyone else from using it. Engine shut off. The cop watches Matthew very intently as we walk by, and I watch the cop. Matthew stares straight ahead, but he’s very grim.

The health food store is a bit of a trek from that driveway, at least for my short legs, and I’d say it takes about ten minutes. We go into the store, spend some time picking out what we want, spend some more time paying and bagging, and then head back to eat in the hovel. By the time we reach that driveway again, we’ve been gone at least twenty-five minutes. And that stinking cop is still sitting there in that driveway, and still he watches Matthew intently. This time Matthew doesn’t ignore him. When we reach the passenger side window, the young cop’s face eagerly gazing at Matthew, Matthew shakes his head no. This isn’t meant for me, because we are not speaking at the moment. He just shakes his head no. The cop sees this and suddenly springs into life. Starts the cruiser and revs it loudly. Backs out of the short driveway like a bat out of hell and heads up main street at a speed that I’m sure was over the limit.

During the rest of the evening Matthew tries a couple more times to get me back to my room, without success. I stay in my stand.

Early in the morning we go out for coffee and Matthew acts bitchy and I go back to my room. I never see the man with the white bandana again. When I later grill Matthew about this, I get nothing. A few weeks later, an identical bandana will appear on the head of yet another new man in Greenfield, but that’s another post. The July 18th man is never seen again by me, to this day.

And on July 21st, Jim — another of those who is always in my face wherever I go — asks someone to “pray for the repose of the souls of Vittorio and Luigi Greif.” After he says this, he turns around and gives me a nasty look.

I have a great deal of wondering….  were they brothers, these two men, or at least cousins? why did they disappear? were they called Vittorio and Luigi? were they dead? how many of these things and people connected to each other, and how many didn’t? why did that cop sit there and apparently wait for me and Matthew to come back? why did Matthew shake his head at the cop? and so on, ad nauseam. And it all remains wondering, three years later, because Matthew would answer not one of these questions when I asked them.

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Greif, Gambino, what the hell difference does it make. The people from whom I’ve presumably been protected can be called Wienerschnitzel or Nakis or Jones, because gangsters are gangsters are gangsters, no matter what their names. The only reason I’d like to know the names is because this has happened to me. All of this sordid cloak-and-dagger, this cruel bait-on-hook, has damaged me, has hurt me. Not you. Not Matthew Lacoy. Not any of the people who have chosen not to believe me. Not Judith the crime-chick. Me. Anne Nakis. Who had a right to be treated like a human being by the psychotic landlady. Who had a right to be treated like a human being by the Department of Mental Health. Who had a right to be treated like a human being by the frigging feds. Me.

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read…    Mental hell…   Kaikenlainen

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