ramble 10:
Monday, March 1, 1999


Our poetry group meets in the kohlberg coffee lounge to talk about Wednesday's presentation for The Lyric Poem in English. We don't really know each other. But the rhythm feels smooth between us. Four women. I notice I'm the only white. (I see Gabe in the background out of the corner of my eye; he's sitting in a chair reading. Has he noticed me? I wonder.) We read Li-Young Lee's "Persimmons" aloud, going around the table stanza by stanza. We all like it. It's definitely going to be part of our Class of Mourning on Wednesday.
"Are you an April baby?" Kia asks me out of the blue. When I tell her no, Kelly looks at me with a fixed look in her eye, as if someone just told her a surprising secret.
"What month were you born?" she asks me.
"June," I say, automatically making her nod.
"June what?"
"June 8th."
"ME TOO!" she shrieks.
We look at each other and then start laughing. Kelly tells me that she KNEW it before she even asked. She had never met anyone with the same birthday, but somehow she just sensed that I had it. Intuition is funny stuff.

Talking to Carrie on the phone, I ask her if she knows what a persimmon looks like. No. Roger and Noam are in her room. They look it up in a dictionary, distinguishing the difference between it and a pomegranate.
I want to try eating one, but I can't find any sold around here.
The persimmon appears in a dream with Mom.

Last week I was hitting sludge. Needed release and escape. Jilled off to erotica. Left me feeling dirty. I sat curled up in the corner of my room crying. A painful little pocket of sexual shame had unexpectedly popped up after being deeply imbedded for a long long time. Felt confused because there was little difference between horniness and hunger. Secrets. Confession. Don't tell anyone. Banana bread in the Crum, chocolate espresso bar from John, chocolate chip cookies from Tarble, Oreos from the bookstore, biscotti from Kohlberg, cake from the Methodists, brownie from display in Parrish, M&Ms from the Sharples sundae bar, cookies at Maureen's birthday party, chocolate chips from a cup sitting on the trash can in Beardsley. All were in violation of my promise to God and to myself to make the sacrifice for Lent to end the cycle of addiction. Release of seratonin. Gripping onto my sugar so I won't plunge down into reality.

Purge. Pain. Need it out of my body. Slip downstairs to hideaway bathroom. Silently sob in basement. Then again later, release the food in McCabe, fourth floor; stand quietly in the stall when others come in. Remember the girl in our group with anorexia, which makes fire flicker across my forehead. (Compassion, compassion, I tell myself.)

Kia calls persimmons "chinese apples."

Curled up in Sarah's bed, I grip her teddy bear, listening to their voices from the hallway. I feel like I'm about to implode. All the confusing pain is swirling around so quickly that the friction may cause a spark that'll start the flames burning. The need for alcohol surfaces for the first time in months. I want to lose control. I want to see that this is really all just an illusion. I'm tired of holding up the pretend mask that I've got my shit together, that I'm a powerful young woman who knows how to live under pressure. Really I'm scared and insecure. Maybe it's momentary, but it's real.

How could I have forgotten all the truths I learned in Ashland?
Love is the answer.
God is always with me.
The universe protects me.
All is perfect.
I can trust the Force.
I am worthy of the love.
Food is not the answer (and orgasms do not solve problems).
Light surrounds me.
My body is a temple.
I can be strong, I can be weak. All is okay.
Christ is in everyone.
My star guides me.

My fruit isn't ripe yet. I'm still learning. This is part of the journey. The persimmon is beautiful at every stage, right?

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