When my daughter and I came to visit you, the razor in the bathroom was just a razor to you. A reminder of last weekend when your son came home from college. Maybe you wished he’d put it away because it cluttered the sink. Maybe you were glad he’d left it out, like an echo of his presence still there.
The same razor made my stomach churn, my pulse gallop, made my head thrum with panic. Why did you leave that laying out? My first thought.
Then I realized you don’t see razors and knives and bottles of Tylenol like I do. You don’t have a child who looks for objects, any object that could end her life.
That’s all I ever see. The grocery bag that could suffocate, the drinking glass that could be shattered, the hose in the garage that could be fastened like a noose or shoved into a tailpipe.
I don’t blame you, even though you know about my daughter. Normal people don’t panic when they see box cutters or a belt or scissors. Or the razor their son used when he came home from college for the weekend.
Beth Burgmeyer lives near Des Moines, Iowa with her family and a menagerie of rescue animals. Beth recently won first place in the Somerset Awards for Contemporary Fiction. She was also a finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Contest and Sequestrum’s New Writer Award.