It is a long endless string, perhaps lit with small yellow Christmas bulbs, or maybe not maybe it is really a fuse and if you hold fire to it, it will eventually explode but it is there, always there, running under and behind and through everything you do You really shouldn't buy that You shouldn't eat that You should talk to her You owe someone a phone call You're not writing prolifically You're giving too much time to writing and not enough to your children You should definitely earn more money You need to read that book Your house is a mess mocking you every time you turn a corner You should be spending the holidays with your parents You have too many pairs of boots You aren't doing that the way your husband would like you to and the string runs on, tangling, hanging then holding taut never turning to dust until you do.
And you breathe in. You breathe out. You breathe in. You breathe out.
You're about to turn 41. 41 and counting. And you never thought you'd still notice the string. Much less that the string would be thicker and heavier and wound around you more tightly than it used to be.