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    Diana Spechler

    27. Proximity

    By Diana Spechler

    Saturday morning, Estelle doesn’t show up for treatment. In lieu of her presence is a note scrawled in magic marker: “It’s sunny out. I’d rather play than work on my ‘problems.’” Funny that she wrote “problems” in quotation marks, as if she doesn’t really have any. Estelle is twenty-one years old, stands at five feet eight inches, and weighs eighty-five pounds. She has a second personality (six-year-old Estelle), skin and hair the color of teeth, and teeth the color of sepia. Last week, she asked me to go into business with her, to collaborate on art projects and sell them at the Denver Farmer’s Market. By art projects, she meant her art therapy paintings—mostly primary-colored stick-figure families—accompanied by entries from my food journal. Eventually, she concluded, we’d have an exhibit at MoMA in New York City.

    “Very manipulative,” Dr. Rose says now, tapping the note with a long hot-pink fingernail. Dr. Rose, the shrink at the North Boulder Center for Eating Disorder Recovery, is what my mother would call “big-boned,” tall with powerful legs and a wide face. She teases her platinum blond bangs. She wears blue eye shadow. She looks like a glamour shot. But I always imagine the friends she must have, four or five other ladies with teased hair, giggling together at the food court in the mall, bright lipstick prints on plastic straws, fingers touching casually, cozily, over a cardboard boat of French fries. . . . Read More.

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