To Alaska

The light flickered off Frank’s alarm clock. He had been awake for an hour watching the minutes slowly pass. He smiled as his alarm finally went off. While he turned it off he gently pushed aside his blankets. His wife was still asleep and he didn’t want to wake h hr.

He put his feet on the ground and both hands on his knees. As he took a deep breath, his body instinctively started stretching. His mind was racing, and he couldn’t stop a fist pump as he pulled his arms down.

He stood up and walked to the calendar. There were a hundred red X’s counting up to today. Today was the last day he would be working in that damn mine. He started watching shows about chasing gold in Alaska, and thought he would try it out for a year. His kids were finally old enough to leave the house, and he had been saving for years. He couldn’t believe it was finally here.

He turned around and stared at his wife. She was everything to him, and he couldn’t believe she was going with him. She had never left this city, and it was hard to convince her but she wanted to be there with him. Experience something new and different. He walked over to her and kissed her forehead. He softly whispered, “I love you honey. I’ll see you when I get home”

“I love you too, Frank. I have something special planned for when you come home tonight. I hope your last day is wonderful.” She was falling back asleep as she finished last word. Mary was never a morning person, so Frank didn’t say anything else.

He hurried downstairs to grab a bite to eat. He normally had an apple, but today he thought he would go with a banana. He peeled it as he walked outside to pull off his overalls from the line. He loved to leave his clothes out overnight, the cold shock to his body woke him up better than coffee. It was warming up also, so it helped him stay cool until it dried. He slid the pant legs up and pulled the straps around his shoulder. This was going to be a great day.

Frank walked back inside and threw the banana peel in the compost bin. His socks and boots were laying by the couch so he walked over to put them on. These boots had taken him through a lot of years, and they are probably happy to finally get some rest. Standing up from the couch his eyes caught a couple pictures of his family. He walked over and grabbed one of the 5 of them camping. It was cold and rained all but one hour of the trip. You would have never guessed it, because the sun was shining and they were smiling in the picture. It was a great trip.

He walked over to the counter and grabbed his car keys phone. This was it. His last drive to work. His car fired up and roared as he put it in drive. In a few short hours he would be done with work. In a few short weeks, he would be up in Alaska.

When he arrived at the mine everyone was out waiting for him. He had made a lot of friends in the 30 years he worked there. Even his retired friends came to celebrate the occasion. Jeff, the foreman, walked over to Frank holding a long wrapped box. During the walk he extended his hand to shake Frank’s. As Frank started to shake, Jeff bear hugged him saying, “Damnit Frankie. We sure as hell are going to miss you. All the guys got together and we got you a present. We hoped you could use it then display it on your fireplace. Here…”

He handed Frank the box. “You didn’t have to get me anything. The only thing you’ll be missing is my terrible work ethic. Once I’m gone, you might actually get something done around here.” Frank unwrapped the box, and then pulled off the lid. It was a brand new pick axe. The handle had been made out of solid oak and the head was the prettiest titanium he’d ever seen. There was an inscription, “You may leave the coal, but your soul is mine”

Frank was beside himself. This was a perfect present. “Thanks everyone, this is perfect.” He walked around and gave a couple people hugs thanking them until the whistle blew.

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