It was a cold night in Alexandria as Mark got off the Metro to complete his daily journey home. The ride home was always similar; the same people, sitting in the same seats, commuting back home after a day’s work in D.C. He had only lived in Alexandria for a few months after landing a great entry-level job. After several months of searching for a career, he was finally hired somewhere he could put his degree to good use. He decided the commute back and forth from Alexandria was the best option; safety was always a big thing for Mark, even though the living expense took up most of his budget.
Stepping out of the Metro station on King Street, the same noise of the bustling street and the smell of bakery preparing for the next morning had almost become a feeling of “home.” Depending on which route he took, the walk from the station could take nine or twelve minutes, depending on if he turned right or left from the stations exit. The nine-minute walk would take him past the restaurants and bar that made up the nightlife of a mostly quiet Alexandria. Had Mark stepped out more often than his walk to and from the station, which might have been a more appealing walk. Nightlife was not something he was fond of. Work typically drained his energy and the last thing he wanted to do be social. The twelve-minute walk was much quieter; past a few apartment buildings and shops that closed early. He would always pass a few people but never had to acknowledge anyone. He would choose the twelve-minute walk almost always.
As the blur of what had become the everyday commute ran together, a feeling had begun to come over Mark. Wrapped up because of the cold, he felt a sweat coming on. Growing up in the south, cold wasn’t something he was used to, but he did adapt. The odd feeling began spreading around his body. Thoughts of what this feeling was began to rush over him. Maybe there was someone behind and his instincts were kicking in. Maybe he left something at work undone. Maybe he was walking towards something that he couldn’t see yet.
As the feeling persisted, so did his feet. His slow stroll became an eager walk. Hands that were in his pockets were now out awaiting for what was coming. His eyes darted around, trying to figure out what it was his body knew was coming but his mind was missing. The book was playing in his ears had become white noise that was unbearable. Ripping the headphones out of his ears, the feeling had become overwhelming. Less than a few blocks from home, the thought of stopping and catching his breath on one of the benches had crossed his mind. However, he was so close; no reason to stop now. A rush of emotion swept over Mark as he turned the last corner and there he broke in to a sprint. As he punched in the code to get in to his apartment, his hands trembled. He scurried up the stairs, as his breathing became a pant. Fumbling with his keys and finally opening the door, the sweat began to run in his eyes. As he slammed the door and fell to the floor, a rush of relief began to spread.
A deep breath.
He made it.
Brandon Boydstun is a husband, a father of two, and a student. Brandon is pursuing a degree in Christian Ministry, while also working in sales. While writing is not something he has always enjoyed, Brandon has found a love for it and will continue to write more in the future.