Anxiety, the girl
“Who in their right mind names their daughter ‘Anxiety’?” they asked.
“At first we thought it was going to be a boy,” said the man who named his daughter Anxiety.
“I’m just kidding,” he said, “we knew she was a girl.”
He watched the girl play with the other children on the playground. She was normal, and her name was Anxiety.
“I don’t get it,” one of them said.
“What is there to ‘get’? You don’t ‘get’ when someone names their son Will. It’s a name.”
“But why would you call her that?” Another one of them asked, “do you resent her? Hate her? Want her to have a miserable life of tearing herself apart for something out of her control?”
“Oh, none of those--I love her, very much. I love her just like any parent loves their child. Her name is Anxiety, and I love her.”
Some of them scrunched their faces in disgust or disbelief, others nodded as if they understood, but they were nodding too fast so it was clear that they were nodding as if they understood, not because they understood. They closed and tightened their shoulders as Anxiety’s hoarse call passed through the playground. The man smiled as he heard her voice. He watched as his daughter banged her head twice against a pole and ran over to give one of their kids a big hug.
“I’m keeping my kid away from Anxiety,” the child’s parent said.
“Ok,” replied the man.