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By the Time You Read This, I May Be Dead (Caitlin’s Journal, 1)

CD Knowles 4 years ago

“By the time you read this, I may be dead.”

Editor’s Note: Hi all, Randi here. If you’ve been watching our videos, you’ll know that we were asked by our disappeared advice columnist, Caitlin Wang, to find her journal in the house that she escaped from earlier this week. She’s asked us to publish it (she feels the world needs to know the truth of what she’s been through). Heads up, though: her handwriting is terrible so it’s taken us a couple days to decipher and slowly transcribe her story. Below is her very first entry, dated March 2, 2020. I’d like to point out that Nicole and I have made the decision to hide the journal – it is NOT in either of our homes. So, if whoever is after Caitlin is reading this, please don’t bother trying to find the journal at our individual residences. It is hidden someplace safe – you’ll never find it. And you’ll never find Caitlin again either, we’ve made sure of that.


March 2, 2020

My name is Caitlin Davis Wang and by the time you read this I may be dead. In normal times, when I’m not too busy writing other stuff, I keep a journal detailing events in my life, but these aren’t normal times, so my notes may be sketchy. I will do my best.

First, who am I?

I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on July 28, 1966, father a geologist, mother a high school guidance counselor. I have one sibling whom I dislike and whom I’ve lost touch with, so I won’t even bother to say his name. Most of my professional life has been spent working as a psychotherapist in Austin, Texas, but in 2012, when I had a solo practice near the university, I was attacked by a client wielding a knife, and that incident fucked me up so badly that I was unable to continue in my profession. The attack truly scarred me, not only because I was slashed in the face and shoulder, but because, in many ways, it diminished my ability to cope with the outside world. For example, as a result of the trauma I contracted lupus, a crappy condition that can make you feel tired, irritable, constantly out of sorts. You can’t go out in the sun much with lupus and that’s okay with me: since the knife attack I’ve become leery of the outdoors and don’t often leave the house.

This has been difficult for my husband, Li, who runs the virology lab at UT. We used to go to all sorts of functions together — fundraising galas for the university, dinner parties with colleagues, the opera and symphony. But after the knife attack, all of that stopped. My husband, born in Xiaogan, China, is a very cultured man. He may be a serious scientist, but listening to music is his lifeblood, and not being able to attend functions or concerts with his wife was a real blow. In the beginning I thought it might even end the marriage. By then Li and I had been married eighteen years and were a solid couple, but you never know, and for sure Li (who’s thirteen years older than I am) sulked those first few months.

But he adapted. Since the very thought of being in public made me want to puke, he’d put on a tux and go to events with one of his buddies from the lab. That worked well for official functions. In the meanwhile, I had become a stellar cook, so no problem eating at home every night. And because my loving husband Li preferred being in my company than anyone else’s, he had a brilliant idea: he bought a piano, a beautiful black Steinway, which meant he could endlessly practice in the evenings and on weekends. He wasn’t accomplished, it was just a hobby, but it kept him happy along with his other hobby: conducting symphonies that he hooked up to the stereo from his iPhone. Beethoven’s Fifth would boom out all over the house, while Li stood in front of a mirror installed in the living room waving his arms energetically, pretending to be Leonard Bernstein.

I’m writing all this to illustrate how much our lives have changed since having to flee Austin.


We’ll post another journal entry really soon. To start at the beginning of this story, when we first announced that our advice columnist, C.D. Knowles (now confirmed to be Caitlin Wang), had gone missing, please click here. This will be an ongoing publication as we continue to sift through her journal and post the entries that explain everything.

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