Breathe Alexandria

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: True Confessions  |  House: Booksie Classic
Day after day Alexandria feels the same. But she's not the only one.

Submitted: October 21, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 21, 2011



It was barely 6 am when the sound of the rain pounding on the thin roof of her building The Ram’s View woke Alexandria up. She needed to wake up soon anyways, but it was always those few extra minutes that made her mornings so much easier. Alexandria made her way over to the bay window that encompassed the back wall of her small studio apartment. As she looked out she could barely see the building across the street because of how heavy the rain was falling down. It was the 7th straight day of rain that Philadelphia had seen and Alexandria couldn’t help but find it ironic how much the weather seemed to match her mood.

Each day it seemed harder to get out of bed for Alexandria. Her life had seemed to reach rock bottom, and there just wasn’t anything left to look forward too. She had lived in this city too long, and it was killing her. Maybe not in a literal sense, but metaphorically speaking, Alexandria felt dead inside.

Everyday was the same routine. She would wake up at 6 am, get ready, and then proceed to spend her mornings listening to lectures by men and women whose intelligence was questionable. Then her afternoons were filled with serving rude Philadelphians coffee and sandwich’s at a café located a few blocks from her apartment building. Today was no exception to this routine.

Turning away from the window, Alexandria walked to the sad excuse for a kitchen that her studio had to offer. Every time she would look at the small stove and limited counter space, she would think about the kitchen in her mother’s house in New Jersey. It wasn’t huge, but there certainly was more to work with there. More importantly it was her mother’s cooking that made that kitchen so much better than Alexandria’s. Her mother was a wonderful cook, always experimenting with new recipes and ingredients, while for Alexandria spaghetti and meatballs was a challenge.

Coming back to reality, Alexandria turned on the coffee and then opened the refrigerator door. Breakfast, she thought. What do I want for breakfast? Before she could decide though the coffee was ready and after pouring a cup and glancing out the window at the rain again, she quickly lost her apatite. At least the rain is helping my grocery bills; she thought and then laughed to herself.

Alexandria took her coffee with her and walked over to the area of her apartment that was considered the bedroom. When she had moved in she had hung a beaded curtain around the small section containing her bed and her closet in order to make it feel like an actual room; and that was as private as it was going to get. After looking through her closet multiple times Alexandria couldn’t find anything that inspired her to get dressed. She even couldn’t remember the last time she had updated her wardrobe.

After throwing on some tights and a casual skirt and shirt, Alexandria grabbed her scarf and her books and was out the door. It was only October but the rain made it feel so much colder. Once exiting the building she stopped for a moment and turned around to look at The Ram’s View. It was a pitiful excuse for a building; a few years away from being condemned she guessed. Not only did the key to the front door only seem to work a few days out of the week, but once you were inside there was nothing but old brick walls and dirty cement floors. It was cheap though, and as much as Alexandria hated it, it was what she could afford.

In any other city Alexandria would have enjoyed walking the streets to class. She loved cities; everything from the people, to the museums, to the traffic. Philadelphia was the exception to this however. Alexandria always told herself that she would get out the first chance she got. She believed her happiness depended on that.

Alexandria only had one more year left of graduate school and then she could go to any city that she wanted to. The thought of going to Europe even crossed her mind. The goal was just to get as far away as possible. But a year was a long time to wait, especially when one day was starting to feel like a century.

Upon arriving at her class, Alexandria took a seat in the back. She always sat in the back of her lecture halls. Not because she wasn’t smart enough to interact with the professor, but because she liked observing all the other people in class. She liked being the one doing the observing and not being the one being observed; especially in her Psychology lectures. Alexandria wasn’t sure what the reason was, but the most interesting people to watch were the ones who decided to devote their lives to the field of psychology. Her only guess was that they were all just as screwed up as the future patients they would help.

For instance there was Andy who sat two rows in front of her. Andy was an extremely intelligent boy with green hair and an eyebrow piercing. He came from a troubled hard and worked hard to put himself through school. Sometimes after class he and Alexandria would go get coffee and talk about all the ridiculous comments people in the class would make. People like Kelly Mallon for example. Kelly was one of those pseudo-intellectuals who thought that the more words you use in a sentence the smarter you were. While this was annoying in class, it was always a good laugh for Alexandra and Andy afterword. But it had been awhile since they had had their after class coffee date. Andy had recently started dating Molly, a pale pinup girl lookalike, and she absorbed most of his time now. She thought it was a shame because Andy was one of the few people in this city that she actually enjoyed being around.

So today once the lecture was over, Alexandra grabbed her bag and went to get coffee alone. As much as she missed Andy’s company she didn’t really mind sitting in the coffee shop by herself. It was a good opportunity to get some work done and it was really the only time she could do it. At home Alexandria would find herself too distracted to concentrate on her work. She would find herself flicking through the channels on the TV or staring blankly out of the window.

Alexandria glanced at the clock on her phone and realized that it was approaching 1 o’clock and that meant she needed to leave for work. She gathered her things together and put them back into her black leather shoulder bag. Taking one last swig of her hazelnut latte she stood up, threw out her trash, and exited through the side door of the coffee shop.

By the time Alexandria got to work the rain had went from a constant drizzle to a full downpour. She had been meaning to buy a new umbrella because the black striped one that was currently in her possession just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Alexandria was soaked from head to toe when she walked through door to the West Street Café, and to make matters worse when she looked around she noticed that there were more people there than usual. The rain always brings in more customers. Well here we go, she thought.  

After about 2 hours of serving people, the café started to clear out, which made Alexandria extremely happy. She could finally take a break. Much to her mother’s dismay Alexandria had recently taken up smoking, so on her breaks she usually went out front of the café and lit one up. When she was younger she always heard adults say that smoking helped them reduce the stress in their lives. Alexandria never really believed it until she tried and realized that it did in fact work; even if only for a few minutes. The only downside however was that every time she smoked she could hear her mothers’ voice inside her head. There are many other ways to cope with stress than killing your lungs, Alexandria. Thinking of this Alexandria laughed a little bit, put out what was left of her cigarette, and walked back inside.

Soon after Alexandria started the second half of her shift a young couple walked in. They were just your average couple, nothing extraordinary about them. Shortly after they sat down however, the couple started arguing about something. It wasn’t like Alexandria to listen in on other people’s conversations, but it was hard to help when the couple’s voices kept progressively getting louder.  

“I can’t do it. I can’t be here any longer,” the woman yelled. “I need a change and if one doesn’t come soon I’m going to go crazy in this place. I’ve lived here my whole life and I won’t stay longer than I have to. If you won’t come with me than I’m leaving without you.”

“You’re being selfish. This is the only home I’ve ever known too, and I’m in no hurry to leave. You have everything you need here. Now keep your voice down”, was the man’s reply.

“Well I’m sorry to embarrass you, but you’re missing the point. It’s not what I don’t have here that makes me want to go, it’s the possibility of what I could have somewhere else.”

At this point the man stood up and turned towards the door. His face was expressionless, as if what he was about to say meant nothing to him at all. “Fine, go ahead and leave then”, he said. The man then took one last look at the woman and walked out the door.

Feeling empathetic for the woman, Alexandria walked over to her table and poured her a cup of coffee. “On the house”, she said quietly.

The woman looked up from the coffee and said to Alexandria as she was walking away, “Do you ever get that feeling that you’ve lost your breath? You haven’t really lost it but you just feel like you can’t breathe anymore and if your life doesn’t change soon it seems like you might never get it back.”

Alexandria turned around and smiled at the woman. “Every minute of every day,” she told her.




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