janice staples

April 2018. I’m walking into Staples to print out some concert tickets in Union Square. I was waiting for my friend to join me, but she’s always running a little late – it’s all good. Staples was mad slow anyway. As I’m printing my shit, a lady of about my height, brown hair, and panicked eyes walks up to me. If you know me, you know I’m a magnet for weird occurrences, and I just roll with it. Why not? Actually, my therapist would probably give me a few reasons as to why not, but that’s for another story.

Back to the lady. She was carrying a duffle bag and maybe a suitcase, I can’t remember. She was definitely camping out at the Staples – she said she was waiting for something. Aight, so was I. Let’s talk. She talked about bits of her life that I had absolutely no interest in, yet I pretended to listen. Strangers love telling me about their life, and quite honestly, I appreciate that. I just might not remember it. That is also why I’m the best secret keeper on Earth.
I love secrets.

Anyway, she asked me about a phone issue she was having. I don’t know shit about phones, especially iPhones with their shitty user interfaces. She told me there was somebody spying on her through it, and she could prove it. For about 5 minutes, she showed me that every time she tried unlocking her phone, it bugged out a little. Honestly, it looked like her phone just had some water damage, which she probably couldn’t fix. She showed me several videos of ‘evidence’ and even a couple of recordings of weird voicemails she received. I thought, fuck, somebody’s after this woman. At this point, I was invested. I tried figuring it out with her; why was somebody spying on her?

Then, it clicked. Nobody’s spying on her. She probably just has schizophrenia or a paranoid personality disorder. This was my first experience with a human experiencing this degree of paranoia. It made sense why she had all her bags on her. She was probably running away. No clue where she was going, but she wanted to make sure I knew she was alright. She gave me her number so she could let me know the next time she got a weird voicemail. As she was typing it into my phone, I finally learned her name – Janice. I still got her contact as ‘Janice Staples.’ The name is very fitting.

I never heard from her again, although I did text her once. She didn’t answer – probably got rid of her phone. My therapist said not to do that again though, oops. Janice, I hope you’re alright and flourishing.

There’s no moral to this story; I just think about her sometimes.

Author: Vero Silvestri

A 22 year old trying to figure shit out.

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