An unwieldy silver cash box is scooped off the ground, carried toward me by its visibly exerted courier.
"Do you need some help with that?" I asked, turning away from her assistant, whom I was hopelessly engaging. "Here, let me help you."
I saw the woman struggling with the heavy metal mass of bills and change and recognized an exit strategy. I used that box as my ticket out of the office, for I knew that if I stuck around, continued on with her assistant, a weight far heavier would descend on my shoulders and on my heart.
She transferred its weight to me. I gripped it by the handles, turned and followed the previous carrier out the door. I glanced back at the assistant still in the office.
I'm sorry, I thought.
The box was my placebo, a sugar pill that masked the pain for a brief instant.