Christmas Contemporary Drama

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

It was a bitter cold winter’s night when Michael found himself trapped in the haunting loop of his very worst nightmare of Christmas. The air was heavy with regret as he stepped into a familiar scene which replayed endlessly and relentlessly, like a broken record stuck on a painful melody he would rather forget. 

The small living room was dimly lit and the room flickered with the glow of a plain not decorated Christmas tree in the corner of the room. The scent of cinnamon and pine filled the air, but it didn’t offer any comfort to Michael. He stood there frozen, unable to escape the torment of reliving that fateful night. 

The year was 2016. Michael had been happily married to Rhoda and they were expecting their first baby. Their excitement was palpable, and Michael couldn’t wait to share the news with their families. Little did he know that celebration would turn into his worst nightmare. As the loop began again Michael saw himself handing Rhoda a gift box wrapped in gold wrapping paper with a big red ribbon on top. The ribbon was almost bigger than the box itself. Rhoda’s eyes widened with anticipation as she tore open the wrapping paper and opened the box. Inside of the box was a tiny pair of white baby shoes and a small baby rattle. Tears welled up in Rhoda’s eyes. The loop played on and Michael was forced to witness the unraveling of his happiness. 

Rhoda’s face suddenly contorted in pain as the loop progressed. Michael remembered  the antagonizing and painful complications which stole their joy. Each time the loop reset, the pain of losing their unborn child tore his heart apart. The pain was unbearable. The dimly lit hospital room, the sterile smell of the room, the tearful conversations and the empty nursery at home all played out like a horrible drama with no escape. 

Desperation set in as Michael grappled with the cruel and cold reality of his never-ending Christmas nightmare. Every day, each time he woke up, he woke up to the same day, he tried to change the course of events but the outcome remained the same. The loop felt like he was a prisoner in his own horrible memories. 

Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, months turned into years and Michael’s mental state deteriorated. In his eyes was the weight of sorrow and the lines on his face told a story of a man who had endured more than anyone should. But, the loop persisted and dragged him back to that ill-fated Christmas. 

In his quest for answers  Michael tried to seek solace in the memories that once brought him joy and happiness. He looked at old photos, read old letters and looked at old mementos. He hoped to break the cycle but the more he dived into the past the more elusive the solution became. 

On Christmas Eve Michael wandered through the rain soaked streets of his city and he found himself in front of an old antique store which he and Rhoda had intended to visit many times but never did. The last time they had planned to visit was the day before they lost the baby. They didn’t go because Rhoda had to work late. Now, years later he was. The bells above the door chimed loudly signaling his arrival to the owner of the store, an older man with a short white beard. The man greeted him with a welcoming smile and a glint in his eye. The older man asked if he could be of any help and kindly asked if Michael was looking for anything special. Michael shook his head no and said that he just wanted to look around the shop. The owner introduced himself as Max and turned to walk back to the counter in the front of the store. There he waited as Michael walked around the store. After a few minutes of browsing, Michael returned to the counter where Max was standing and dusting off the counter. Michael was holding an old artifact in his right hand. Max looked up as Michael placed it on the counter. Max told him that the artifact, an old pocket watch, was said to have special powers. He told him that the pocket watch was supposed to have the ability to unlock the chains which bound the soul to a specific moment in time which caused pain or heartbreak. Michael, without hesitation, handed Max the $60 and purchased the pocket watch. He hoped this pocket watch could help him as it was rumored to help others in their time of sorrow and heartbreak. He needed this pocket watch to unlock the chains that had taken hold of his soul and the endless loop of the horrible memories. He was desperate to revisit the tragic history which haunted him for years. 

Michael held the watch in his trembling hands and felt a surge of hope. With determination in his heart, he turned the dial and watched the hands of the pocket watch spin backwards. The room blurred and hle found himself back in time, in the same living room back in 2016 facing Rhoda with the same gift box in his hand wrapped in the gold wrapping paper and the big red bow. But, this time it felt different, it took a different turn. Michael's actions were different. He shared his feelings and his fears with Rhoda and she shared hers. Together they got medical advice and medical intervention.  Michael noticed that the loop began to shift, and the events which once led to heartbreak and tragedy now unfolded in a different and new way. The loop now offered something different, a glimmer of hope.

The loop continued but this time with each interaction, Michael and Rhoda made different choices and that steered the course of the events in a different way, away from the heartbreak they both had known and had lived with in all these years. Suddenly and slowly the weight was lifted from his shoulders and was replaced by Rhoda’s warm hand. The loop had begun to fade. The haunting memories were lessened. The loop had been broken. 

December 20, 2023 19:27

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