The Tube


Chris did not like underground trains. He would plan his day meticulously to avoid using them. His whole life was taken up planning his journeys using buses, trains, taxis, foot, or even a combination of all four.

He would be stood on an overcrowded bus, the sweat running down his back; the steamed windows making it impossible to see out. He would hear someone talking about travelling on the tube. He hated the word tube; his mind conjured up a giant Smartie tube underground that was sealed both ends that no one could get out of. He could feel the heavy beat from his heart in his chest. He would try and swallow his saliva as though it were a gobstopper.

The conversation continued between the two people about their journey home last night and being stuck on the tube for an hour with little air and no space. He could take it no longer; he got off the bus next stop and walked the remaining mile to his office. He sucked in the air like he was just about to submerge in water.

He had had a fear of the Underground ever since he had a panic attack on the tube one day twenty odd years ago and had since made it his mission to avoid the tube at all costs. However, he was now trying to conquer his fear since getting a job in London which meant he had to travel around the city to attend important meetings. His attempts at travelling on the tube only ever resulted in one or two stops then his panic would take over. An average attempt at the tube would present him with the usual challenges. Everything seemed bright; the carriage appeared to be getting smaller. He wanted to lie down on the floor. He tried to regain his composure. He got out his newspaper and began to read. His thoughts were racing: what about if the tube got stuck in the tunnel, what about if the tunnel collapsed and the carriage became a tomb that he would never be able to get out of. He would be left to die a miserable death choking for air. He could take it no longer he jumped out at the next stop and quickly made for the solace of street level.

One day He was on the same bus that he took every day to his office. He had managed to get a seat and he was flipping through the free newspaper. All of a sudden, a shrill of someone’s voice made his heart thump in his chest.

“We need to get the tube!”





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