That Christmas

Christmas 2016, and the night was a twisted mockery of what the holiday should have been. I was stumbling, the toxic mix of alcohol and bitter emotions swirling around inside me like a storm. The company holiday party had left me bruised, not physically, but mentally. My heart felt like it was being squeezed in a vice as I stumbled out of the cab in front of the building in Queens. The city was a blur, a whirlwind of lights and sounds that I could barely comprehend. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of chaos, and my only anchor to reality was the cold concrete beneath my feet. As I made my way toward the entryway, I could hear the quiet laughter of my neighbors, their voices cutting through the haze of my drunken stupor like a knife. In that moment, I was a powder keg, ready to explode at the slightest provocation. It was as if every frustration, every disappointment, every failure in my life had come crashing down on me all at once, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I approached the group, my loud greeting would startle them, leaving them confused. “Keep it down.” I would hear these words come from someone I cared for, and without thinking, I squared up to fight, the alcohol giving me a false sense of invincibility. But in truth, I was no fighter. I had never been one, and this display of aggression was as out of character for me as it was for the peaceful holiday season. Thankfully, my neighbors recognized this and intervened, their voices a chorus of reason that managed to break through the fog of anger and drunkenness that had consumed me. I retreated, the last remnants of my pride shattered as I made my way downstairs to the basement room that now housed all of my belongings. The dimly lit space seemed like a fitting reflection of the darkness that had taken hold of my soul. As I sat there, surrounded by the remnants of a life that had once held so much promise, I struggled to make sense of it all. Why had things gone so wrong? How had I allowed myself to become this angry, bitter, broken man?

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