It’s been a long time since insomnia had me by the throat. I’ve tried all the usual tricks to escape and nothing works. The worry courses through me with such power I consider calling my children, needing to know they’re okay, wanting to hear those voices once part of me. Something must be wrong somewhere for this fear to exist.

What if my son’s blood sugar has dropped in the night? We’ve been through that before, the line between alive and not alive perilously close to being crossed. I have friends who’ve lost sons – this is a thing that happens, losing sons, like the page of a book you can’t unturn. I want to pause our lives, rewind, correct errors, find the route in which everything works out.

But metaphors and similes solve nothing.

I’m sad.

I’m terrified.

I’m in tears, in fact.

And my daughters – my mind spins with scenarios, not far-fetched. Car crashes. Missteps. Bad choices. Rotten luck. Life’s fragility is never more evident than at 3 a.m.

Even if I yank my mind away from the worst thoughts to the unquestionable (admittedly banal) reality of The Bills and the To-Do List, the litany of Mistakes I Have Made, keep it spinning.

If I were home, I’d reach for the comfort of my husband’s body. I’m not, so I reached for the computer instead.

“Obama Reckons with a Trump Presidency”

“Offshore Drilling Rigs Could Become New Normal For Northern California Under Trump”

I wish I could march in D.C.

And so I find distraction, but not solace.

Earlier this evening, I wanted a glass of wine. I didn’t have one. A clear head seems imperative in these times (admittedly the space I cleared out has been filled by this parade of anxiety marching through, so…).

What I did instead was to pop over to the corner grocery store 12 minutes before they closed, mostly to buy milk for the morning coffee, but also to stand in front of the ice cream case weighing my options, especially the one that consists of not actually buying ice cream.

Three minutes in and one of the sweet dudes who works there dashed over, startling me out of my preoccupation. “Need help making a decision?”

“Uh…” I said.

“These are both very popular,” he said, gesturing to one shelf and then another.

“Those are too expensive,” I said, pointing to the $9.99 per pint option he’d have me consider.

“Well, people really like this brand, they’re really good, relatively local, out of Marin,” he suggested.

I really don’t need ice cream. I need a walk, a book, to write, to work, to get up in the morning and find a wave somewhere that will bring me back to myself. But it’s dark and I’m tired and the store’s about to close, so what I say is, “Would you choose the bittersweet chocolate or the caramel truffle swirl?”

“Live a little,” the guy says, pulling out the caramel.

I’m trying, guy. I’m trying.