This morning making coffee I am beset with anxiety.
Will there be enough milk?
Last night I give Allegra half a gallon.
If there is enough left for my coffee.
Oh, there’s lots, she says, going out the door with it.
I shake the remaining carton, barely enough to make the latte.
Now I will have to go back to Costco for milk
Well, not now, later. Why think about later? Anxiety.
We went two days ago.
Do you need milk? Harvey says.
Only if the kids come over. We haven’t heard from them lately.
I am calculating the space in the refrigerator that would take five half gallons.
On the way to Costco two days ago
We come from the north, an unfamiliar direction.
Where do I turn? Asks Harvey.
Turn right on Delano I say.
Now where? he says.
Funny how we use now to mean next,
Now being ungraspable and quite the opposite of next.
You’ve been this way before, I snarl impatiently.
No, he says. Yes, I say. From the other direction.
Anxiety. Before me stretches a possibility of a long, dependent old age
Which has not yet occurred.
My limited observation of the elderly is that spatial cognition seems to go first.
But that is not really fair, since he has always been this way. I say nothing.
He figures it out. I bask in the small triumph of keeping my mouth shut.
Vickie is a particular bundle of likes and dislikes.
The cat comes in and claws the couch.
I throw the pen at her from across the room, missing on purpose, but she stops.
She sniffs at the crack under the front door, meows to get out.
My inclination is to let her go out, but the rest of them will never forgive me if a coyote gobbles her up.
I get up from the armchair and open the blinds for her. Small consolation.
But the finches rustling in the rosebush compel her to watch.
She is her own set of likes and dislikes.
I finish drinking the coffee.
The coffee making is terrifying this morning,
A complex process, vulnerable to accident at several points.
There’s only milk enough for one attempt.
I keep everything out until it is finished, since putting things away as I go seems to be a jinx.
I take it as a spiritual practice, not to anticipate.
And yet, this morning I am acutely aware of the anxiety of everyday life.
The Teacher repeatedly says to pay attention. It took me a long time to figure out what that means.
It is excruciating watching the likes and dislikes,
A tangle of memory and anticipation.