She began developing panic attacks
a few years before
the official line was that they came after she was fired from a job she held for five years
but truly she didn’t know what brought them on
she only knew that her body began fighting an invisible enemy
and she felt helpless
like a military spouse
receiving dispatches from the front lines every so often
in the form of symptoms
she walked around
worried that something she did
something she’d see
would cause him harm
thousands of miles away
that an old man’s hopeless, lined face
might explode a land mine in her head.
She talked to noone.
She stepped lightly.