A ‘Bright Light,’ Dimmed in the Shadows of Homelessness

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A ‘Bright Light,’ Dimmed in the Shadows of Homelessness
She said that as Nakesha had struggled with her illness, she must have asked herself, “How do I anchor myself, right now, in this storm?”
“Her discipline was writing every day,” Ms. Burton continued.
One day, he recalled, she began screaming uncontrollably, and he asked her, “What’s going on, Ms. Williams?”
“‘This is not me,’” she said.
Ms. Rocklin responded that she cared about Nakesha and was worried “whether you have shelter at night and whether you are getting enough food.”
Nakesha, then 36, replied that she was “not exactly homeless,” but was in “a wandering, unstable state that is sad at best.”
Ms. Rocklin continued to receive Nakesha’s emails, which were sometimes copied to politicians and others.
“She was one of the foundational people,” said Ms. Bevevino, now an assistant professor of French
and Latin at the University of Minnesota, Morris, “that really cared about how we were doing and how we thought about the world.”
In 1996, after three years, Nakesha abruptly left Sewickley.
Mr. Elhiri said he joked with her, “I’m your bodyguard.”
But he regretted that one day he failed to stop a security officer from confiscating
Nakesha’s belongings after she had asked Mr. Elhiri to watch them.
“What could we do?” Ms. Burton said.


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