I want anxiety the way a five-year-old wants rainbow sprinkles. Bright, obscenely sweet. Unnecessary. Luxurious. An extra 50 cents, but they’re worth it. Catching in your teeth, but only for a moment. Wanted, swallowed, forgotten.
About a year ago, my younger sister embarked on a mission to misuse the phrase “per se” at every possible opportunity. “I’m probably going to go to bed a little early tonight, per se.” “Do you think it’s, per se, going to rain tomorrow?” “I’m getting strong whiffs of”–long pause–“turmeric, per se?” After a few months of this, I couldn’t for the life of me remember how to use “per se” properly. Even now, I leave it out of my writing because my memory of the term is so muddled.