Anxiety (Buying Things for the Bed)


What happens is that one small thing becomes very big

For instance, I bought a bed protector blanket

So that my cat wouldn’t throw up on the sheets

I spend several days [[researching]] which one to buy

And the whole time I did, I felt the pressure of time

Like that [[Emily Dickinson]] [[poem]] about [[death]] at her back

Each day I didn’t decide was one more day my cat could throw up on the bed

Though he’d been doing it for years

Finally I ordered one online

It was blue with a paw print design

But it was crinkly and my cat didn’t like lying on it

So I stopped putting it on the bed

Then I had to figure out some place to put it

And there’s not much room in the closet

So I gave it away to someone on Facebook

And I knew I was a fool for buying it in the first place

As soon as I gave it away I thought

The cat will throw up on the sheets again

And it will seep through the sheets

Into the mattress

The mattress is so hard to clean

And I knew I was a fool to give it away

I lay awake at night thinking about it

I said to my [[husband]]

What was I thinking?

Why did I give that blanket away?

They said, If you feel strongly about it, you can always buy another blanket

We can afford it

[[It will be ok]]

But they don’t understand the significance it has taken on

It’s not just a blanket

It represents my poor decision-making

An irrevocable [[failure]] that can never be fixed

No matter how many blankets are purchased or given away

Karen Elterman (she/her) is a graduate of the MFA program in fiction at Cornell University. Her essay “your friend, the fitness app” was published in Issue 31 of Nonbinary Review, which has the theme “food”. She is currently working on a science fiction novel.