Page 50 - WTP Vol. XI #5
P. 50

 1/31/20 10:26 am
Wendy, I’m not sure if you know.
1/31/20 10:28 am
I thought you should know even
tho its not my call. I’m so sorry I didn’t tell u earlier. They kept me in the dark for a year. I wouldn’t know it was worse now if Mike hadn’t let it slip.
Though my head was spinning, I eked out the calen- dar math. Over two years. That’s how long it had been since we last talked. He called when my father died. It was a condolence call. It was quick.
age box overstuffed with embossed folders and notebooks. It had been salvaged during an attic purge and contained every piece of personal writing I had done in college.
Pete Vaccaro has cancer. Did you know?
Teetering on top was a light blue folder. So familiar it was as though I was about to jam it into my Eastman backpack as I darted to Freshman English in Drexel Hall. After four months of hiding from it, I dared
No hello. No how are you. No warning. A text message from my old friend Paul Girard.
to peek inside. Resting in the center was my final writing portfolio looking every bit of 1989 from the Helvetica font and the dot matrix print job. These were the essays I bled my heart into. The one about the train, a story about leaving and grieving home. The one about the bridge, a story about missing and needing my best friend. The one about the woods, a story about loving and longing for a boy.
Pete’s been fighting brain cancer for over 2 yrs.
This was the year I was going to be a writer. ~
1/31/20 10:31 am
Ugly battle. Was looking good but
came back with a vengeance. Nothing they can do. Stopping all treatments. Making him comfortable. I’ve tried to see him
but they’re only letting family.
It was during a tortured transition to college that I tapped into a newfound portal of creativity. And things poured out. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. It was
art, it was a balm, it was medicine. I ached, I distilled, I painted the pain in words, and made sense of things.
I put my phone down. And wailed. ~
ing a smaller and more studious environment while avoiding laying down roots, still in the midst of the disease I transferred from the University of New Hampshire to Mount Holyoke College after my first year. And when the distorted scaffolding that exists in the anorexic and bulimic psyche collapsed in the early weeks at Mount Holyoke, I wanted to die. As swiftly as I found myself in this dungeon, I hollered out for dear life.
Wendy, I’m sorry. I’ll keep you posted.
A week earlier, I sat crossed-legged on the living room couch as the winter sun set, staring at a stor-
When I came to, I sealed the portal shut. To get “bet- ter,” I opted to no longer hang out with my sorrow or in the depths of my soul. I starved myself to feel numb, and now to recover, I sought out another kind of numbness. I stopped writing personal stories.
At Mount Holyoke, I wanted to be a lot of things. A journalist. A political analyst. Cokie Roberts. Or may- be in the legislature. Sometimes I wanted to be a his- torian. A black and white composition book I used as a journal filled not with feelings but instead quotes,
As healing and sustaining as writing had been during that tumultuous time, it didn’t prevent me from meandering into dangerous territory as I sought out numbness in the form of an eating disorder. Crav-
WenDY GooDMan

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