You walk into the giant corporation of a store, having waited in that line for about twenty minutes. It’s just another Tuesday.
The vested woman at the door points, and you reach over and take one, it disappears into the can near the door.
You straighten up a bit, even though this woman is probably older than your mother and looks like she would not hurt a fly.
Inside, the white linoleum and faint flicker of the fluorescent lights remind you this is not home. This is not safety.
You notice there is nearly a coffin’s distance between the couple of people up ahead of you. They see each other and it sends them scurrying further ahead, their shopping carts forking away as the food aisles approach.
A middle-aged woman is reaching for the toiletries, yelling at the employee who is passing them out. There are cops watching from the side of the aisle, and even though you did not do anything wrong, you cannot help but feel them watching you too. You accept your ration and it disappears into the mound of supplies building in your cart. You whiz away into the next aisle.
Your hands are getting a bit clammy inside your gloves clutching onto the cart, and your mind is a pinball machine of anxiety.
The twenty-something running the self-checkouts is hustling around with a can of disinfectant wipes, hurrying to swipe the screens and price guns as the others trickle out the door. His face is red under the mask, he looks like he’s barely slept. But then he notices you, even after gesturing to one of the freshly sanitized units.
You complete your turn, itching to adjust your mask but feeling their eyes eating at you, tearing through your skin and prickling into your bones. You fight the urge and swallow softly, but to them it’s probably like a
You’re back in your car, speeding away towards home, towards peace of mind. Thankfully, there isn’t a ton of traffic.
Six feet apart, or six feet under.