Editor’s Note: This is a developing story. Below you’ll find the second journal entry that Caitlin Wang, our advice columnist, wrote after she and her husband, Dr. Li Wang (from UT’s virology lab) went missing. Caitlin is currently in hiding, on the run from those whom she suspects kidnapped her husband.
March 5, 2020
I guess, for now at least, this journal will be fuller and more detailed than I had imagined, more like a novel than a bunch of scattered notes. That’s not surprising since my post-knife-attack career has been as a writer of mystery novels, advice columns, lonely hearts columns, and the occasional (slim) cookbook. Stuck at home, it’s important to keep busy. But I have a true fear of attention, so I’ve always written under a pseudonym and it amuses me to keep a thick curtain of anonymity between me and my publishers and fans. No one knows who I actually am, and of course, with the exception of this journal that will probably never be read, I plan to keep it that way.
My husband Li and I live in a large house in the Hyde Park section of Austin. Some might say we’re a bit peculiar as we have neither pets nor children — Li and I both suffer from allergies that preclude the former and, as for children, we tried to get pregnant for a number of years without success and that became so depressing that we had to quit. At the age I am now (fifty-four) I can look back and honestly say all for the best, since I’m sure I would have made a lousy mother. Our house has a heated indoor lap pool that Li built for me after I became a shut-in and in that way I’ve been able to get regular exercise. If you looked at me, you’d see a pale middle-aged lady with a toned, slender body and a cloud of dark unmanageable curly hair that a friend of mine who’s a stylist comes to the house every six weeks to cut.
If you looked at Li, you’d see a small, sixty-seven-year-old Asian man with a handsome but somewhat wizened face (he smokes, so lots of fine little lines in his skin), a thick head of greying hair, and a trim athletic body from years of squash and Tai Chi. Li, who moved to the States to go Stanford, has been in this country for forty-nine years (!), but he still has family, a sister and a number of cousins in China. He communicates regularly with his sister, Mei Wu, also a virologist, and that is where this story really begins.
I’ve never met Li’s sister, though I’ve seen photos, and sometimes, when Li’s had too much whiskey, he talks about their childhood in Hubei province, land of many lakes and mountain ranges, and the games they played when they were kids. Mei is four years younger than Li, and works at the virology lab in Wuhan. I don’t think I’ve ever once heard Li talk about her work, but he does talk about her personal life, a husband who died ten years ago, and a daughter, Fenfang, now married with two children of her own. Over the years, Li has frequently traveled to China on family business or for conferences with other virologists, but obviously I’ve never accompanied him, not even in earlier times when I was more open to travel.
And then, in the second week of February, this year, 2020, Li had word from his niece, Fenfang Zu, that Mei had disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Li never mentioned that she was researching the new Covid virus, but that was what I suspected when he came to me with an ashen face and said things had gone wrong and for safety reasons we had to flee our house and move to a cabin in the woods.
“Why?” I asked him.
“I’ll tell you when we get there,” he said.
“But where are we going?” I asked him. “What cabin in the woods?”
He wouldn’t tell me that either.
We’ll post another journal entry on Wednesday. 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.