Fifteen minutes passed. Alex slowly stood up. What was he doing out here in the cold? It was Christmas Eve. He had friends that were worried. He had friends that cared. He had a warm, caring place that he had left. He began walking quickly back the way he came, a gentle crunching noise as his boots crushed the already packed snow on the walk. He began to wonder. Had his choice been the right one? Alex had left because he thought his friends would be better off without him. Was he letting fear consume him...? Alex began to walk faster. He then realized it. Fear was holding him back. Alex began to jog, the snow stinging his numb face as he impeded its gentle earth-bound path. He was going to enjoy Christmas this year. Enjoy it how it should be enjoyed -- with friends.