Because I’m usually the only person at the dog park at 6:00 am, I am very aware of my surroundings, and of other people, especially people walking without a dog.
This morning, a woman walked near me along the trail. Not only did she have no dog, but she also had no purse, keys or anything. (Later, the police would ask me if she had a weapon. Yikes! I hadn’t even thought of that.)
The trail is very wooded, in places rough and forested, but at the end of the trail is a small rock garden with seats maintained by Glendon College. When I reached there, she was sitting on a rock crying. I dropped the handful of litter I’d collected into the trash bin and went over to ask if she was okay.
She was, in no way, okay. She told me nobody could help her, that she was being held down and tortured by the government each night and hadn’t slept in years. That people followed her and just stared. That the police were in on it. That the government had killed her dog.
Her litany devolved into criminals chasing her and robots torturing her. I kept saying she might want to see her doctor. But apparently the medical profession just want to drug her.
I checked her out. She said several times she was 67, but no way was she more than mid-fifties. She had on a grey blouse printed with a black speckled pattern so I couldn’t tell if it was dirty, but she had a nice haircut, was probably 15 lbs. overweight (so not starving), and clean, stretch jeans and sandals. I’d followed her down the path so because of the form-fitting (but tasteful) jeans, I could see no keys, no weapon, nothing.
She cried and cried.
Why did I call the cops? For two reasons: 1) Sunnybrook Park is located right behind Sunnybrook Hospital, which, I’m told, includes a mental health facility, and 2) because she talked about suicide. She never said the words, “I’m going to kill myself,” but she did say she thought about suicide, wished she would die, and “Maybe I should just kill myself.” That sounded like a cry for help.
At first I didn’t know what to do and I excused myself and headed back toward my car. Then suddenly, I realized she had a fairly recent pedicure. It was like one of those TV shows where they say “Here’s my card. Call me if you remember anything else.” And it was the pedicure that convinced me I should call someone.
I first tried to google “suicide prevention,” but that got me nowhere, so I googled “Toronto Police Non-Emergency” and found a number. I was all the a way back to the car by then. It took a bit, but when the call connected, I had a little speech prepared. “I’m at the park behind Sunnybrook Hospital and I’ve just met woman who’s talking suicide. Should I make a report?”
“Let’s make a report,” the nice Officer said. He took all the pertinent details. That’s when he asked about weapons. I didn’t mean to be snarky, but I was nervous. I said, “If she’d had a weapon, I would have led with that.” Oops. While I was on the phone, she passed me again, heading through the parking lot back the way she’d come. I didn’t think till later I should have snapped a picture from inside my car.
The Officer asked me to wait there so I rolled down windows and waited. Forty minutes later, not one but two police cars pulled up. They asked me again about weapons and where she’d gone. They said I could go and so I headed out.
I hope they find her and get her some help. The really creepy thing was, among her description of her assailants, she said, “People follow me on planes.” What’s creepy about that? It’s the same thing said by another paranoid delusional woman I met in Mexico a couple of years ago.
What if there really are people following them on planes?
In other news, Book 2 of the Reaper series debuted today, but I think I’ll put that in another post.