I do this thing, I assume it’s an anxiety thing, where whatever topic that comes up in conversation, all I can think about is the absolute worst angle you could take on that subject.

Like yesterday, I was talking with my mom about my cousin’s baby shower, but before I knew it I was actually talking about a friend of mine who rolled over on his baby and killed it.

And that’s the second time I brought that up recently.

It makes me hard to talk to at parties. Depending on the party, I guess.

I was working a trade show one time and did it. I was talking to someone about how exciting it is to work at an auction company–“Oh yeah, you see all sorts of stuff, it’s very neat”–when somehow I had changed the subject to familial grief. I didn’t even see it when it happened, but all of a sudden I was talking unprompted about the intricacies of disposing of someone’s loved ones’ tupperware.

It’s just that this dark undercurrent is running so constantly through my head that I don’t realize other people aren’t on the same wavelength. It doesn’t occur to me until I see the discomfort in their face that most people aren’t discussing suicide over canapes.

So all of this is to say that it’s hard for me to turn that off. And that when I went to a sweet family outing to watch fireworks on the fourth of July, my mind was on burning ashes and terrorist bombings and drunk drivers.

But that was shut up for a second when I looked at the face of the seven year old boy next to me. He was curled up against his dad, and stiller than he ever is when awake. He would giggle and remark on fireworks he particularly enjoyed, and was so impressed by the grand finale that he talked about it the whole way home. I didn’t have a dark side of that, there was no fear. It was just what it was.