“Both of these entries acknowledge cousins that have grown several years past the toddlers I last knew into children unfamiliar. It is summer and I see both of them—one in July, one August—for the first time in years. I find myself returned to past summers, of my own childhood, of only a few years ago yet.”
July 31, 2016
“Cousin in July talks about his brothers almost as if I do not know them, and I deny his asking if I want to see their Snapchat stories. How do you explain to a ten year old that some things are better left in memory?”
August 28, 2016
“Cousin in August does not want to leave. I want to tell her that she doesn’t have to, but the car is nearing home, our windows down to the last of summer, and in the quiet we both know Ohio is too long away from here.”
Diary 6 / 18-years-old / Reading, Ohio
It’s a month before I begin my freshman year at Duke, and along with all the fear and uncertainty of starting a new life, there is the fear that my home seems to be falling apart. My parents have been in a really nasty place. I take refuge outside in our backyard, until I feel brave enough to talk to my dad and ask the tough questions: if he (and their marriage) will be okay…
Diary 20 / 34-years-old / Reading, Ohio
I go home to clean out my childhood bedroom before my parents move. I come face-to-face with all the lives and expectations I’d had for myself through various ages, and toss most of it away. But I bring back a sticky note with a Billy Joel lyric that had been on my dresser since my early teens (as well as a prom dress….)
I also brought back all of my childhood diaries to New York–making it the first time they’d ever all lived in one location, and birthing the idea that I should do something with them…
Diary 12 / 24-years-old / Reading, Ohio
While visiting my family, I experience my grandmother’s strength and grief as one of her sisters dies, and go to my mother’s therapy appointment. I learn about hurts, and family secrets, and admire the women in my life.
Also, my grandmother being the Sexiest Woman Alive circa… no idea.
Diary 16/ 27-years-old / New York City
I learn about Giovanni’s ongoing affair by breaking into his email. There’s not really a good-person vs bad-person element… breaking into his email was pretty awful of me; but this definitely set off a whole chain of events that would stay with us for years. And come back hard in 2010 with the cervical pre-cancer. It was also an event that made me realize we’re not predisposed to certain reactions. I kept waiting for the urge to throw his clothes out of the apartment (TV makes it seem fun), but my real experience was one I never could have guessed at. If ever there’s been a time to say “There’s More to the Story…”