A Broken Christmas

A Broken Christmas

A Story by R.Guy Behringer

Three lives ended when one dies. A Holiday changed forever.


The bedroom door closed. It wasn’t the only barrier between them. Tom stared at the door for a long moment. He placed his right hand on it for a second and then let it drop to his side. He walked down the hall past his son’s room and into a cold livingroom. A dark Christmas tree stood in a corner, unlit for twelve days. Twelve long days of hell. The house was completely decorated with all the Christmas trimmings. Decorated with love and laughter, spilled eggnog, hot apple cider and little boy giggles. The house was cold now. He stared at his bottled son sitting on the fireplace mantle above his empty red felt stocking. Tom clenched his teeth and held back the storm of emotions raging behind his brittle mask of self control. Tom heard a lamp shatter on his bedroom wall and felt her silent screams. He looked up at the ceiling trying to hold back his own tears and knew he was getting a motel room for the night.

Mary couldn’t deal with him right now. She closed their bedroom door effectively ending the subject. She placed her right hand on the door for a second and then let it drop to her side. She was barely holding on to her very sanity. Exhausted and angry, Mary stormed across their bedroom. She lifted the big crystal lamp and threw it with all her strength. The lamp shattered as it hit the wall. A thousand shiny pieces rained down on the carpet. Her face covered with both hands. She collapsed to the floor, body wracked with silent sobs. She felt like the lamp.

    Tom sat the duffle bag down on the motel room table. A giant fully lit Santa blinked gayly in the parking lot. It’s blue, red and yellow lights reflected off the cold room’s wall. He pulled the drapes closed and unzipped the bag, gently pulling his son out. After holding the cold blue urn for an hour, Tom placed it on his nightstand and laid across the bed. He whispered “Merry Christmas, Son.” and silently, he cried himself to sleep.

    On an unremarkable day, a year later, in an unremarkable office across a thick glass table, they exchanged cold signatures and luke warm pleasantries. The two had nothing else to give each other. Vessels, each of them, empty of the stuff that makes life enjoyable. No more laughter or anger or even tears. Their son had been their life and when their son was gone, there was only darkness and pain. Tom hailed a cab and helped her in. Mary managed a smile before he closed the door. The cab drove off into the gray December afternoon. “Happy Holidays” in big friendly script on it’s back window. Tom numbly watched as it disappeared into the Christmas traffic.

© 2018 R.Guy Behringer

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Added on August 31, 2016
Last Updated on September 16, 2018
Tags: Separation, Heartbreak, Christmas, Death


R.Guy Behringer
R.Guy Behringer

Lincoln, CA

I'm a retired truck driver, married and a father of three grown sons, two pit bulls and one red heeler. I like to play guitar, build and rebuild rifles, hunt wild boar, Fishing, camping, gardening and.. more..