Cakewalk: Thank You, and Good Night
But there was more. Over the months and then years, my sister, through her secretary, Juliana, reported complications and subsequent poor recoveries in hospitals where the nephew was alone and too often unattended. Steroid treatments were blowing him up, and he had gone completely blind. This past year, Vincent had grown another tumor, this time on the brain stem, and a local cadre of surgeons had decided not to operate. Keith Black had decided the same thing. Vincent sang to himself to keep up his spirits. He wanted to go to school, but the isolation of the reservation and a lack of money made things difficult. Juliana visited him faithfully, bringing homemade tamales or zucchini bread or other things her sister Hope, the boys mother, might be able to sell on the reservation. She brought extra money if she had it. My sister and I went from feeling deeply, helplessly sorry to being outraged about the whole thing. The wild injustice of the tumor became, by tacit agreement, our story. Our initial mist of mutual concern about a likely newspaper clipping quickly condensed into a name Vincent Hinman and a presence that assumed a regular place in our daily exchanges about the world and the people we knew. We both became soundly vested in the terrifying fortunes of someone we had never met.
Jan 18 2:00 PM ET
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