Ever since having Audrey, you became much more of a worrier. I was always amazed at how quickly your mind traveled to every possible thing or situation that could harm her.
If we had a helium balloon from Trader Joe’s or a party and it started to lose helium, you imagined her strangling herself with the long curling ribbons and the next time I saw her, she was batting at them, trying to reach them, the ribbons completely chopped off.
If I had my laptop plugged in, but then went to the other room with it for one second leaving the plugged in cord, you would yell at me, telling me that she could come in and find it and suck on the end that plugs into the computer and you shuddered to think of what could happen.
You placed your piano keyboard up on your desk in front of your computer so that you could do some recording before you left, and the next time I saw it, you had clear packing tape wrapped all around the piano attaching it to the desk, even though I certainly couldn’t imagine Audrey reaching that high and lifting or even moving such a heavy piano keyboard.
And yet one day after we bought groceries when she was about 12 or 13 months old, you came upstairs with Audrey and were unpacking the bags while I parked the car. Thinking I’d be right up, you left our front door open a crack. I ran into a neighbor downstairs and was chatting for a bit, and when I came up you told me that Audrey had gone out the door. You searched frantically around the apartment looking for her small figure, but you couldn’t find her until you remembered the open door. There she was toddling around the hall. You were obviously shaken. You hated to tell me because you thought I’d be mad and you were embarrassed, but you made it a point to tell me because you didn’t want me to do the same thing. “I’m only telling you because I want us both to be careful.” You said something like that. I know it took a lot for you to tell me, but you did because clearly her safety even came before any pride you had.
It’s funny because like you worrying about her, I seemed to worry about silly, random things concerning you. I worried you’d start a fight with our cigar-smoking noisy neighbor upstairs if you went to confront him like you wanted to, and he’d turn out to be a psychopath who would stab you. I worried that you’d get hit by a car while crossing our busy street. I worried that with your snoring and possible sleep apnea, you might stop breathing one night while I slept beside you.
But never…never…did I worry that you would drown in a lake in Switzerland.
And now, for you, I find myself cutting off the ribbon from Audrey’s balloons, making sure to unplug my power cord, and have set your piano down on the rug. Because you were firm on those things, and I am the only one left to do them.