Talking to a mentally ill relative – lack of back-up plans

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I’m up to 18,000 words on my book (about 60 Word pages).  It’s been rainy these past few days and perfect writing weather.  I remembered the following conversation I had with Brandon the day after he was found, weeks after disappearing the first time.  A well-meaning local church called after he slept on their pew for a few nights.  Even with my psychology training, I was still at a loss for words…


The next day, Brandon called me from his cell phone.  Cell phone?  Brandon explained that he had gone to the local social security office and picked up his checks.

“Heather, I’m so happy!  I bought a camper shell for my car, a cell phone and new sneakers.  They had a place for me to shower!  I am feeling much better!” he said.

“Um, that’s great, but don’t you need the money for your rent back home?” I asked.

“Well, about that.  I think I’m going to stay here.  They haven’t followed me here yet.  I have a buddy that’s going to let me live with him.  It’s going to be great!,”

“Oh,” I said.  “How much is the rent?”

“Well, it’s $1200 per month.  I gave him half now and I have to give him the other half at the end of the month.”

“But you only get $900 something, right?  What are you going to do at the end of the month?

“I don’t know.  I’ll work something out with him.  Don’t worry.”

He further talked about his new life:  he was going to get a job (after 20 years of unemployment), “get off SSI,” and “be done” with Section 8.

“Wow! Um, that sounds great Brandon,” I said.  “but maybe you want to have a back-up plan?”

After that, his cell phone went straight to voicemail…

About a month and a half later, his old apartment complex called.  Brandon had returned….