Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

I mind when I heard someone shout

I was on edge. You could even say that I was tense. There was this need to crawl out of my skin that I just couldn’t shake. I had gone on a run with nothing more to show for it than a ten second decrease in time. I was beyond frustrated. I could beat my time. I just knew it. The run was to raise money for a local charity. Logically, I understood that my time didn’t matter. My time wasn’t what was important in the grand scheme of things. But I believe that there is a unique type of frustration that arises when you try your hardest but are met with minimal changes.This frustration built up until I was a bundle of frayed nerves. Every sound and smell grated on my nerves. Being touched felt like sandpaper grating against my skin. Every bright light seemed to pierce directly into my frontal lobe. It was like sensory overload. I desperately tried to stop this from affecting my interactions with others, but I found this was an onerous task. When I was frustrated, I had a tendency to lash out.I drove over to the track with my roommates; we all were training for an upcoming marathon. No one else had made any major progress with their times either. They shared my frustration but were quite vocal about it. They complained about it in what seemed to be screeching intervals.The second we pulled into the driveway, I jumped out the car, cringing slightly at the sound of the door slamming behind me. I was stalking to the front door, burrowing under my blanket the only clear thought in my mind when I heard someone shout my name. I came to a screeching halt with my hands fisted at my sides. I slowly turned around to see that it was Randy, our neighbor, who called my name. I forced a smile to my lips and replied with a thin, “Yes?” Randy was great, but I just really needed to be alone right now.Randy studied me, walking closer to me across the lawn. “How’d your run go?””Great. My time dropped ten whole seconds,” my voice dripped with exasperation. I knew I sounded rude, but I just couldn’t help it.Maybe sensing my frustration, he attempted to comfort me. “It’s okay. You still have some time. Plus it isn’t really a race. Just a run for charity.”I took a deep breath then quickly nodded my head. “Yes. You’re right. Totally fine.”I was turning to leave when I felt Randy’s hand wrap around my forearm. “Wait, just–,”I jerked out of his grasp with probably more force than necessary. This proved to be true when I saw the look on his face. He looked hurt and offended. How could I explain that his touch left me feeling like a colony of ants had taken root under my skin? So instead, too frazzled to organize my thoughts, I chose to flee.”I’m sorry. I just need to go,” my voice cracked slightly, but I doubt he noticed or cared at this point. I turned on my heel and walked away. Thankfully, he did not stop me. The next day I was too exhausted to go on a run. The whole night I kept thinking of what Randy said and how I treated him. The run was for charity. Without even consciously realizing it, I had been using the marathon as a deadline to improve my time. When it appeared I wouldn’t be able to meet that time, I had a visceral reaction.Even so, no matter how frustrated I am that doesn’t give me the right to be spiteful to people. Randy was only trying to help. With remorse in the forefront of my mind, I went to go apologize to Randy. But when I opened my front door, Randy was on the other side with his fist up. He was poised to knock. My eyes drifted over his frame which was clad in running gear.”I thought I’d help you beat your time.”I looked up at him and smiled, knowing I had already been forgiven.


I'm Simon!

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