I'm working upstairs when Stephen calls up from the foot of the steps. "Hey. I'm going to take a walk."
I get up to hear him better. Look down the stairwell. He's smiling but his eyebrows are tweaked at the center. "I'm just feeling," he says, but I already know. "Anxious," he says.
"Because of something specific?" I ask, but I already know. "Or just things in general?"
He says things in general, he says the world, but then he says Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
"I thought she got out yesterday," I say. Of the hospital. An infection.
"She's got cancer again," he says.
That same old sinking feeling. It hits me in my center. Just another sinking feeling among many these days. Anxiety upon anxiety. Until you never know what to be worried about, when.
Stephen goes to take his walk and I go back to my desk to get back to work, but as I sit down, there's a sound like a gun shot.
Eleven o'clock in the morning nearly two weeks after the Fourth of July, and someone's setting off firecrackers. God bless freaking America.
Curled up on the little bed across the room, Nicholas jumps up, his eyes on me, frozen for a moment, then leaps down onto the floor and runs for the bathroom. I follow and turn on the ceiling fan, his safety sound. He pants and shakes. I sit down next to him on his pillow and pet him, trying to give him a little comfort.
Anxiety upon anxiety and even a dog, who knows nothing about any of it, can't catch a break.