As a boy, I had always been fascinated with Christmas, the joyous holiday. It had intrigued me that a single day could bring such light to others' lives. I had loved Christmas and I had always found the winter snow to be so beautiful. However, as I watch it through the window of my office, there isn't a hint of happiness in my expression. Instead, a single tear slides down my cheek. A moment later, the sound of quick rapping at my office-door brings me back to reality. I clear my throat and hurriedly wipe my face with the back of my hand. "Come in," I call through my office-door.
A moment later, the door is pushed open and a young woman enters. As she approaches my desk, she sets a cup of coffee down on it and turns around, striding silently out of the room. "Thank you, Samantha." I say quietly as the door closes. I reach down and cradle the cup in my hands, taking a drink of the liquid. It scorches my throat as it slides down, provoking a sigh to escape my lips. The feeling is not unpleasant, though. It is familiar and warm.
I sigh yet again as I replace the coffee on my desk and stare at the mountain of papers on my desk. I quickly set off to work. Nearly an hour and a half later, I've completed the majority of the work, despite the fact that there is a large amount left. I chuckle to myself, a chuckle without humor or happiness, and resume my work. Nearly forty-five minutes later, I lean back in my chair, letting out a relieved sigh.
Finally, I'm finished. What a way to spend Christmas-week, huh? Cooped up in an office, working all day. Though I suppose I've nothing better to do. I let out another sigh and stand up, grabbing my briefcase that is sitting beside my desk. I hold it in my hand and then pause as I stand beside it. I slowly lean down and pull out the drawer of my desk, peering silently inside. A moment of silent, hesitant contemplation later, I lean down and set my briefcase back down before reaching into the desk. I grab out a bottle of scotch that I had secreted away some time ago and set it down on my desk.
I return to my seat and glance at the door to my office. I'm well-aware that no one dares to enter without knocking but I am still cautious. I unscrew the lid of the alcohol and take a deep whiff of its putrid scent. My nose wrinkles in disdain at the disgusting stench of it. I've never been one much for alcohol, though I've been drinking often as of late. I had always been told it is quite useful for the act of drowning sorrows and I've confirmed that this is indeed the truth several times lately.
I take a few large drinks of the alcohol and feel it burn my throat as the coffee had done, though in a different way. I sigh and return the liquor to my desk before sliding the drawer closed and grabbing my briefcase yet again. I exit my office and bid farewell to my colleagues as I enter the elevator and descend to the first floor. I exit the building and stride down the sidewalk, snow crunching underfoot. I walk down the sidewalk and watch as the cars speed by.
I take a moment, sitting on a bench and watching silently as more cars drive by. After a few long moments of silence, I rise to my feet and begin walking down the sidewalk once more. Only fifteen minutes later, I arrive at my home. Entering my house, I'm greeted by a cold silence. I lock my front door and walk into the kitchen before stopping at the threshold and staring silently at the framed photograph on the kitchen counter. I feel yet another tear slide down my cheek as a feeling of sadness hangs over me. The photograph is of myself and my late wife, Grace.
One year ago almost, on Christmas, my wife passed away from stage-four breast-cancer. She had found out several months previous and had fought it as hard as she could and as long. Eventually, she couldn't help but succumb to the illness as it ate away at her until she was a mere shell of the stunning woman she had been. I remember her final words to me-- she made me promise to live on, not to take my life, after she was gone. I had truly considered breaking my promise on many occasions.
I sigh deeply as I pull myself out of my melancholic thoughts and brush my tears away. I walk quickly into my kitchen and grab a glass from my cabinet before rifling through the liquor-cabinet. Within it are several bottles of expensive alcohol I had been saving for special occasions, though none of those occasions will ever come about nowadays. I sigh yet again and pour the first glass. After draining it, I pour another glass. I repeat the process until the empty bottle clatters noisily to the floor and rolls on it. I stagger into the living-room and lie on the couch. I fall unconscious quickly.
I wake several hours later, quite late into the night. It's well-past midnight. I stand up unsteadily, teetering on my feet for a moment. I maintain my balance and eventually walk upstairs, rifling through my dresser and closet. After finding my outfit, I exit my room and walk into the bathroom. I turn the water on and quickly undress before stepping into the shower and sitting on the shower-chair. I sit beneath the streaming water as it cascades down my body. I finish quickly and walk back downstairs, lying in my sleeping-clothes and drifting off to sleep. No longer can I bring myself to sleep in my bed.
I return to sleep and wake several hours later to the sound of my cell phone ringing. I sigh and groan and sit up, picking it up and checking the caller ID. I answer the call and greet my brother unhappily. "Mikey! Great to hear from you, man. Listen, um... I was wondering if you wanted to come over for Christmas." my brother says. As young boys, Donnie and I had never gotten along. Our disagreements have lasted long and are still present. "No, Donnie, I don't want to." I say quietly. "Mikey, come on, man." my brother pleads. I let out a deep sigh. "Fine, Donnie." I say. I hang up and set my cell phone down on the table in front of me.
A few days pass and I find myself on the road driving out of the city. As I drive, my radio plays soft Christmas music, and I quickly turn it off, aggravation clear in my expression. It's a few hours but I finally arrive at my brother's rather expansive house in the middle of the snow-covered forest. I exit my car, slamming the door closed, and walk up to the front door of my brother's home. I knock heavily on the door and hear "Hold on!" from inside. After a few moments, the door opens and my brother smiles at me. "Mikey! Great to see you," he says as he pulls me into a hug. I find myself taken aback by the extremely familial relationship displayed at this moment. Even so, I smile as I hug my brother back.
I enter his house and take a seat at the large dining-table with an expansive array of food spread out. I stand up and greet the several people around the room-- my brother's wife, Elena, his son, Grayson, and his daughter, Zoe. I smile as I say hello to them and resume sitting down. Nearly forty-five minutes later, there's another knock at the door and my father enters. I stand up and greet him as well. Soon, we settle down and begin to eat. Throughout the meal, I find myself happy. I can't help but smile. I realize that though we hadn't gotten along in my younger years, I truly appreciate the thought put forth by my family. I smile and continue eating alongside my family. What a wonderful Christmas...