She's always thought of the worst case scenario. She pictured her car as a tire pops and it's sent flying over the divider to the other side of the highway crashing into 3 oncoming cars, all with children in them, and then flipping and landing in an embankment. It's always been this way. She picks up a rock and handles in in her pocket, picturing how she could use it to defend herself against the rapist she's seen in the parking lot with his white van. She sees herself falling in the bathroom and cracking her head on the toilet and laying in a pool of blood calling for help for hours, cold.
She's always lived this way. Planning escape routes, picturing attacks. She knows it's not normal, but it's normal for her.
When she does her prep-cooking for a dinner, she pictures the knife missing and slicing off a finger- her thumb usually. Sometimes it's less extreme. A beer sitting too close to the edge of the table always spills on the floor of her mind.
She didn't realize how much worse it would get when she had a child. She still pictures the situations that could arise, but they're worse. Now they connect her to another place. An alternate reality that also happens. A narrow grasp of quantum physics slips through her fingers when she checks to be sure her baby is still breathing before she goes to bed. She's terrified now.
She's terrified of brushing too close to the other reality. The one where her sweet baby girl falls off the bed and instead of being stunned but fine, is flight-for-lifed to Children's Hospital for life-saving procedures. The one where this beautiful face she stares at until she gets a crick in her neck while nursing turns blue chocking on parmesan cheese and just like that her life is over.
She doesn't want to find the space between these two worlds of probability. It's improbable that she'll get in a car accident but it's possible. Spliced somewhere between here and infinity is a place where her child will never learn to feed herself, a place where her daughter gets snatched at the park.
She loses weight. Stops eating, thinking of choking or food allergies. She picks at a hypoallergenic diet her husband encourages her to take on. She has trouble sleeping.
Her husband begins to worry. He knows she's always been a worrier, but the lines on her face are writing a concerning tale lately. He sends her to the doctor for a solution. It comes in a pill to calm her down.
And now, she stares at the pill. If she takes it, there will be a reality where her perfect baby is poisoned by her breastmilk. There will be a world where she has a reaction to the medication and doesn't wake up. If she doesn't take the pill, her husband may not tolerate this much longer. She'll be alone with a 10 month old. Or worse, there will be a reality where he takes their daughter with him.
The possibilities, probabilities stretch before her. She stares at the tiny white pill in her palm, undecided, immobilized by the vast infinity of here to nowhere and all the in betweens.