"Don't touch me!" I retract away from her, lashing her hand from mine. I am out the door in strides fueled by fear and I'm scared I might scream again.
My routine would never have allowed me to exit the doors of the grocery store before I was scheduled to clock out, however, today, in my scrambling system, is an exception.
Mr. Anthony, obviously in a disarray from manning the cash register, shouts, "Ollie, cashier three needs someone. Hey, where are you running off to? Are you okay? Where's Lo-"
I pass Mr. Anthony in my haste to the exit and don't wait to hear the rest of his sentence. I don't want to think about his questions. So instead, I curl my shoulder inwards so I can barrel through the door without stopping.
I run the four blocks to my apartment, weaving through confused bystanders and traffic. My familiar path home must be ingrained into my body because I follow the same streets and crosswalks home. However, despite the same surroundings, my vision, though blurred by my speed, doesn't stop to criticize and analyse the hazardous germs and microscopic invaders hidden in the shrubbery and strange spots on the sidewalk.
For the first time, I notice the tall oak tree covered in carved names and symbols of affection two blocks from my apartment and a playground laden with children sliding down the expanse of a bright red, curved slide.
I don't stop to marvel at my discovery and finally slow down to the entrance of the apartment complex I have lived in for the past seven years. I enter the lobby and head straight up the stairs, taking them two at a time, another first, so I can get home faster. I'm instantly washed in relief when I reach for my key in my pocket and am welcomed home by the scent of lily detergent and lemon fresh cleaner.
When I lock the door behind me, the run home finally takes a toll on me.