The Other Night

The other night, I found myself running around this enormous parking structure. And as I was running, I had the strange sense that as hard as I was trying to reach my car, I just wasn’t getting there fast enough. For some reason, I thought it would be faster to skip the elevator and take the way I came in the first place. After a while of searching, I finally gave up and started towards the stairs. I must have parked on a different level.

As I climbed the stairs, I saw a shortcut through the building. It was darker and I couldn’t see the end of the tunnel but I just knew it would lead me right to where I needed to be. So I pushed through the doors into a dank hallway filled with pools of water and flickering lights. I knew I shouldn’t have been there and I immediately regretted taking this route but I continued on anyway.

A while had passed and I noticed the lights were getting dimmer and it felt as if I was going downward, not up. I began to panic. I pressed myself to the cold concrete wall and began to feel for a door or window or anything to just make my way out of this crazy tunnel.

Then in the distance, I saw a faintly lit exit sign and began to make my way toward it. My shoes were already soaked from all the puddles and my footsteps made a slopping noise that echoed all around me like endless taunts that I’d never find my way out.

I reached the exit and with a sigh of relief, I pushed on the door practically pressing my chest against the cool metal panel. It didn’t budge. With disbelief, I tried again this time, slamming my hands against the aluminum bar. Same thing. Why won’t this work? My mind began racing. This can’t be happening. I looked around for some last ditch sign that might help me leave this miserable place but I couldn’t see anything. It was too dark by then. Only the dim orange glow from the exit sign gave any light to the hall.

I slowly backed away from the door and shut my eyes. In moments, I was lunging both arms in front of me at the handle, determined to force my way through that door, no matter what. I tripped on the threshold as the door pushed opened effortlessly, as if a small breeze would have suspended it.

When I finally gathered myself, I turned around and looked back at that hallway. From the outside, it didn’t look like much. Just an empty, uneventful hallway. Weird, I thought.

My feet were still dripping wet and made the walk up that much more miserable. It took another 20 minutes but I made it back to the car, the hard way. I leaned up against the hood and I noticed I wasn’t as far off as I thought. In fact, I was much closer than I initially thought.

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