Apprehension is quite candidly the most persistent of all that has spiked the day. You’ve been expecting bad news that is due any moment now, and you’re not very wrong. It’s the problem of anxiety, which has a thousand arms and is agitated by keywords, temperatures and colors. You have legitimate reasons to skip a heartbeat whenever the phone rings and it’s home, because it’s almost always “[Variable] has passed away,” or “We need to talk,” or worse. Can someone blame you, really, when the blood rushes to your ears and your intestines fall to the ground? There is an inconceivable number of things that can go wrong in this cold wind, and an imagination that renders reality a hallucination doesn’t spare an effort rationalizing every single catastrophe into a possibility.

How can someone feel otherwise? On certain nights, ships do sink, car wheels do explode, and some parents don’t wake up. This is a dark world where there are no coincidences, and there is a conspiracy involving everyone. If it rains, it’ll probably be sulfur. You’ll test positive and the cheque will bounce. You will wait for a long time. It will go on your record. You will leave town, but you’ll fail to get away.