birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

An Uninvited Housemate

My literal housemate is my husband. Because he is working out of town in another state now, my figurative housemate is anxiety. Anxiety has always been close by, an unwanted guest ready to swoop in on a moment’s notice. Living alone has encouraged anxiety to move in and become a permanent fixture. I hate it. It takes up too much space, steals the oxygen from the air, and sucks the joy out of life.

There are reasons for some anxiety: Will the house sell? Will I move away from my home of 40+ years? How can I leave my grandson behind? How will I adapt to a place where I know no one? Those are just some of the immediate worries. There are more lined up, begging for attention. Their numbers seem legend.

Sometimes my attempts to shove anxiety away are momentarily successful: Deep breathing, taking a walk, reality testing the situation. Then in the middle of the night, the house makes one of its strange, popping noises that sounds like someone walking upstairs. Suddenly I’m wide-awake, heart pounding, counting my worries instead of sheep. I’m ready for anxiety to move out.


Faux Pas