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'Twas The Night Before Christmas
The winter is what inspired me to write this novel. To me, the winter is a depressing time of year, iroically, the same time of year Christmas is occuring. The winter, in my eyes, is a dark, depressing, and cold time of year. There is more night than day in the winter and it is a depressing scenery for me.
Today is December 24th, also known as Christmas Eve, and the day my daughter is planned to be brought into this world. It is a beautiful morning, and the sun is shining brightly through the bright red, sunlit curtains. As I open the curtains, I notice the white, fluffy snow that reaches about four inches high, and how the light from the sun majestically glistens on the snow. Although the sun is bright and the snow is fluffy, the wind is harsh and extremely cold, according to the six a.m. forecast. I might as well shovel now rather than later. Rebecca, my beautiful wife, is still sleeping upstairs, so I have to be careful not to wake her from her sleep. Quietly and cautiously, I put on my thick, orange work gloves, along with my heavy, thick, cowhide coat I bought from Cabela’s last week, and my thick winter boots that go halfway up my leg.
As soon as I opened the door, the wind attacked me with a piercing cold blow to the face. The forecast was right, the wind really is extremely cold, but I have to continue on and shovel, because the snow isn’t going to shovel itself. It takes me twenty minutes to finish shoveling, and just as I finish shoveling and go inside, my wife begins to scream my name from upstairs. I run into the room, and surprisingly calm, she tells me,”my water broke.” I immediately run back downstairs to go start the car and turn on the heat, and then once again run upstairs to help Rebecca get her shoes and coat on. I escort her down the stairs and out to the car calmly at her pace, and begin to drive to the hospital.
This is it, the arrival of my daughter, Caroline Ann Sullivan. As I drive us to the hospital, I hold Rebecca’s hand and help her keep calm. Traffic is cruel, because everyone is doing their last minute Christmas shopping. Finally, after twenty five very long minutes, we arrive at the hospital and I continue to walk her calmly at her pace to the doors, and doctors promptly help us and take us to room 106. This room has teddy bear wallpaper and it smells of latex and soap. As I watch the nurses help my wife onto the pink hospital bed, I can only think of the future and watching my daughter grow up, and being with her for her first steps, and her first softball game, and first time riding a bike. Rebecca is looking at me and smiling the biggest smile and she says, “this is it. Caroline will be here soon.” I respond, but not with words. I respond with tears, because I am overjoyed, and Rebecca runs her fingers across my cheek, still smiling, and I kiss her.
After another thirty minutes has passed, Rebecca is ready to give birth to our daughter Caroline. As I hold her hand, her grip tightens, and her grip is actually quite painful. As she’s pushing, her face turns as red as a tomato, and the doctor is telling her to take deep breaths in, and deep breaths out. She begins screaming, because the pain must be immense to her, due to her doing this birth naturally, rather than with anesthetics. I respect her decision on doing the birth naturally, and I’m very proud of her. After ten minutes of screaming and heavy breathing passes, Caroline is here! But the ECG monitor begins to beep faster. The nurses and the head doctor, Doctor Po, all look at each other. Something is wrong. One of the nurses evacuates me from the room. “What’s wrong? What’s going on?” I worryingly ask. The nurse didn’t answer me.
I find a chair in the cold hallway, with sky blue walls, and I stare at my feet and wonder what is going on, or what went wrong. I look up from my feet and I look down the hallway, and it seems as if the hallways have stretched and darkened. One of the nurses has come out of the room, and I jump to my feet, for I have a thousand questions to ask. Before I get the chance to ask anything, the nurse explains, “Rebecca has lost a significant amount of blood giving birth, and we’re doing everything we can to help her.” “How’s my baby?” I ask. She looks away from my eyes and with a depressing look on her face and sad tone she says, “Your baby is a stillborn. I’m so sorry Mr. Sullivan.”
I could feel my heart drop and beat louder than a drum in my ears. Every second feels like an hour, and every hour feels like an eternity. This can’t be happening, because Doctor Po assured Rebecca and I that our baby was going to be healthy and well. All I can do is sit in this hallway of darkness, as my heart beats through my chest and pounds like gun shots in my ears. My vision goes dark, and my legs are weakening. I drop to my knees and collapse on the floor.
I wake up, and wonder where I am, until I realize I’m in a different hospital room. I must have fainted. I check the time and notice I’ve been out cold for forty five minutes. Rebecca, Caroline, I have to go see them. As I’m getting up, Doctor Po walks in, with an unhappy look on his face, and he sits me back down. I immediately ask, not giving him a chance to speak, “How are my girls?’ How could Caroline have been a stillborn. You told me my daughter would be a healthy baby.” Dr. Po responded, “I’m very sorry Mr. Sullivan, but we did the best we could to save Rebecca and Caroline, but we failed to save either. Rebecca was having extreme blood loss due to the birthing process, and Caroline was born with underdeveloped lungs. We did all we could Mr. Sullivan, I’m sorry.” “No. No. No!” I drop to my knees.
All I can do right now is cry. How could this be happening to me? Everything was supposed to go perfect and smooth, but everything has gone to Hell. Nothing is how it’s supposed to be. I repeatedly slam my fists on the blue and white checker tiled floor, and I remain that way for twenty five minutes. When I get up from the floor, Doctor Po is surprisingly still there and I ask him with tears still rolling down my face, “Can I go see them?” Doctor Po nods his head silently and escorts me to Rebecca.
Walking to the room, the number 106 runs through my head. Oh how I hate that number. When we walk into the room, all I can think of is Rebecca. My beautiful Rebecca, healthier than any human an hour ago, now dead on the hospital bed of room 106.
When I see her, she is covered by the blanket, and as I walk over to her, I unravel the blue hospital sheet from her beautiful face, and I cry more. I run my fingers through her black, silky hair. While crying, I lean over and kiss her forehead and whisper, “I love you. Forever and always, through the good, the bad, and the ugly. I love you in mortality, and in the afterlife, forever and always.” I kiss her one more time on the cheek, and put the sheet back over her head. After saying my last words, I ask Doctor Po if I can see my baby, and he escorts me to room 317. I see my baby, and she’s wrapped up in a yellow blanket with pink polka dots, and she’s wearing a hat to match, as if she actually did live after the birth. Doctor Po allows me to hold her, and like her mother, I kiss her head, and I whisper, “I love you, Caroline, with all my heart. Daddy will forever and always love you.” I kiss her head once more and put her down.
It’s time for me to go, and leaving the hospital is very complicated for me to do, because as I’m walking, I move as slow as a turtle, with tears rolling down my face. Right when I get to the doors, I turn around, and look at Doctor Po, and I hug him, and quietly say, “I know you and your crew of nurses and surgeons did all you could. Thank you.” Walking out of the hospital felt like I’m walking away from a wake. I don’t notice the piercing cold wind, or the snow pile I walked into, or the cold snow that melted down my legs and is soaking my socks. When I get into my car, I sit in silence, and my mind is blank. I’m out of tears, and there is a gaping hole in my soul now, as well as in my broken and blue heart. I start the car.
As I drive, I drive slow, and the cars behind me impatiently and aggravatingly honk their horns at me, because I must be ten miles per hour under the speed limit. I still sit in silence, in my cold car, with no radio, and I decide to stop at a liquor store. I haven’t had a sip of alcohol in three years, because one of my vows was to give up alcohol. I buy the biggest bottle of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey I see. The cash register clerk wishes me a good, safe day, and I with a blank face, walk away silently. I get back in my freezing cold car and drive home, a place I don’t absolutely know if I want to be. I pull up to the driveway and park my car, and stare at my white, Christmas decorated house, and it looks to be a place of darkness.
When I go inside, the first thing I see is the Christmas tree, tall and glowing bright with red and white Christmas lights, and stringed popcorn swirling around the tree, and the the bright red, silver, and blue ornaments that reflect the Christmas lights. What catches my eyes the most is the bright star that sits atop the tree. Staring at the beautiful and bright Christmas tree, with presents surrounding it, I know that it is clear this holiday was going to be different than the last. I need to sit down, so I decide to sit down on my comfortable looking, black, leather, recliner chair, and I open up the bottle of Jack Daniel’s and begin to wash my sorrows away, with the blood thinning power of alcohol.
I sit in darkness, with only the Christmas tree lighting a faint light across the living room, guzzling down my bottle of Jack Daniel’s. While I slowly lose my soberness, I think of all the memories I’ve had with Rebecca over the years. One of my favorite memories is our first date, I took her ice skating in Chicago, and she didn’t know how to ice skate, and she constantly fell on her butt, and was embarrassed because there were about thirty five other people ice skating around us, and I had to help her and teach her how to ice skate. I laugh to myself at the memories I’ve made with her, and then I cry at the memories I’ve made with her.
Darkness builds up around me as I empty the bottle of Jack Daniel’s, and my vision begins to fade. I’ve now finished the bottle of alcohol, and I stare at the tree, the tree seems to have gotten brighter. I stand up, and almost fall back down, and I look down at the empty, cold bottle in my hand, and then I look up at the bright, white and shining star, and I throw the bottle at the star. Direct hit, but the bottle shatters against the wall behind the star, and I wobble over to the tree, and I knock it down with an enormous amount of rage. I smash every ornament that was on the tree, along with ripping the lights off of it. I light the fire place with the presents I bought for Rebecca, along the stringed popcorn.
With more heavy tears flowing like rivers down my face, I slowly, and unsteadily walk up the stairs to my bedroom, and I don’t turn on any lights until I get to the room. When I turn on the light, I grab the picture of my wedding day. The picture is of me in my very expensive silk tuxedo kissing Rebecca, in her pure white, fluffy and flowered wedding dress, to seal our forever lasting marriage. I reach under the bed with my picture in my left hand, and I grab a black box, a box I thought I’d never have to open. After grabbing the box, I walk to the next room over, which is Caroline’s room, with the black box and wedding photo in my hands. I stumble over my own feet and fall to the floor. Feeling very dizzy, I get up and turn the light on, and the room lights up like the sun is shining in my eyes.
Rebecca and I put weeks of hard work and dedication to this room, painting it, building the crib, the dresser, the ceiling fan, and installing the ceiling fan. The walls were yellow, and had butterflies and teddy bears painted in a randomized order all over on each wall. I even had to install the carpet myself, which is a bright pink color that. As I look around the room, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that all of the hard work paid off in the end. The tears that stroll down my face increase, as I think of Caroline, and why her fate was so cruel and unexpected. She never got a chance to breath, to experience life on earth, Inside Caroline’s crib is a teddy bear, and I grab it and I hold onto it, as if the teddy bear is Caroline herself.
I put the teddy bear in my lap, and also the wedding picture, and I lift up the black box and open it. Inside the black box is a .357 Magnum, a model 586 with a six inch barrel. Below the gun is ammunition, and with the ammunition, I load the gun, and put it back in the box. I go down to the computer room, and I grab a pencil and paper, and I write a note to my best friend Elijah, and a note to my mother. I explain to them my sadness and experience of today, December 24th. When I finish writing the notes, I put them in an envelope inside the crib.
Now, I pick up the gun once more with my left hand, and with my right hand I hold the teddy bear and my wedding photo, and I stare at the photo and the teddy bear, not looking at the gun. I say my final prayer, and with tears rolling down my face and with a heavy heart, I lift the gun to my head, but I continue to stare at the photo and the teddy bear, and I say out loud, “Rebecca, I will be joining now. Caroline, daddy will be there soon to hold you and love you.” With these as my final words, I push the gun against my head, and I pull the trigger.