Sneaky Feels #13

By John Proctor

When you find a used copy of The Bell Jar while working at the campus bookstore, and you read it between flash card sessions for Organic Chemistry and feel yourself in Plath—or Esther Greenwood, or Victoria Lucas—so completely that you have to tell someone, so you go to the office of your writing professor after class and work against your natural tendency toward introversion to tell him how you know from your knowledge of organic chemistry that Esther could not have actually gotten food poisoning from ptomaine as the novel suggests—you’re surprised when he responds that Plath has always been one of his favorite poets, that he had a friend in college, a cheerleader majoring in English Education who transcribed his words verbatim on tests for Twentieth Century Lit classes until she died in a horrific van accident on the way back from cheerleading nationals, and you wonder why you ever told him about your own excitement about Plath—the enthusiasm you had for reading her feels somehow tainted by the knowledge that her words remind this middle-aged man of a dead cheerleader.

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