I played the stereo too loudly and was close to tears as the sun streamed through the windows. Once in a while, I’d wake up with a text message: “How’s everything going, sweet pea?
I put on my new black dress and looked at myself in Cheryl’s mirror, and I thought about my mother and Cheryl’s mother and the daughters that they raised. Can you save the New York Times Book Review for me?
I thought that was great and wonderful, but didn’t know who “Sugar” was.
“Actually,” my mom said, “Her name is really familiar.
I sat down at the dining room table and I cried because I was overstimulated. I stayed at Cheryl’s house again last month while she went to the East Coast for part of her book tour.
On a Sunday afternoon in March, I got dressed for my book release party. She leaves the key in the mailbox; I leave the key in the mailbox. She brought me a turquoise and red heart back from Mexico, and I left home-made granola and a hand-made card from my mother for her on the kitchen counter, a copy of by her bedside.She knew I loved the scene in Portland, and told me that if I wanted to come back I could house-sit for her while she went on her book tour and vacation. The first time I stayed at Cheryl’s was in January. ” (Monster = Cheryl’s cumbersome backpack that she carried on the Pacific Crest Trail.) She laughed and said yes.When we were in the kitchen, she motioned toward a photograph on the fridge and said, “That’s my mom and Lady, the horse I talk about in .” Unlocking the door to the house of an author who you love is incredibly moving and surreal.I think of Cheryl now as the woman who wrote an essay for that my mother and I loved.I think of her as someone who gave me a roof over my head in Portland and a woman who tries to meet me for chocolate cream pie when she damn well knows she can’t meet me for pie.She said she loved that place and their pie and that she would love to join. Mentor: someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague.I was stunned that she would try to meet me for pie on the same day that she had to give a TEDx talk and also go on Live Wire. I’ve spoken to Cheryl about problems with drugs, problems with my mother, with writing, and with finances. But if I had to choose one thing that’s really stood out to me about what I’ve learned from Cheryl, it’s how to treat others.It laid around our house, dog-eared and coffee stained.It’s quite possible it was a touch too adult for me to be reading when I was seventeen, but I relished reading it—had read nothing like it before—and I believe now that created my interest in, and schooled me in, non-fiction.“I’m dying to lounge around and just talk someday, dear one,” she recently said in an email, bringing tears to my eyes.I think of her as the author of Chloe Caldwell is the author of Legs Get Led Astray (Future Tense Books, April, 2012), which Cheryl Strayed called “a scorching hot glitter box of youthful despair and dark delight.