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 Short Story

A Dateless Christmas

By Donald J. Berry

Gerard Livingston was an unusual young boy; he didn’t get along with the nerds, the jocks, or the druggies. He had no place in a high school and had no friends. He hid in classrooms faking rewrites at lunch and spent rest of the time hiding in the back of the classroom avoiding flying paper airplanes and harassment. Even a troubled childhood would have not led anyone to believe what would happen to Gerard—not even his parents would’ve guessed.

Even though Gerard loved his parents, they were always too caught up in their own work and their hefty payments; whilst, leaving Gerard alone in his room and incomplete—all he had was his own thoughts and his own world. The only time when Gerard could be loved and feel happiness was when the joyful Christmas season came around. He waited all year for the holidays, for it would remind him that he was loved—he’d enjoy the snow, the music, the themed movies, and the cold nights spent hidden under four or five blankets just waiting for Santa to come and deliver love. Rest of the year he remained an insatiable and distant kid.

Now Gerard is 34-years-old, and spends every day celebrating Christmas. Throughout the 34 years of his life he has had not one friend. When he turned 19 his parents died in an airplane accident, which left him all alone. He had a house that was paid for, a car that was paid for, and yet he still worked. He’d go to work, every day, at a local factory assembling toys. It wasn’t long after his parents’ death that he found out what it was like to be forlorn come holiday season. He had no presents to receive, and just found himself setting up a tree and crying throughout Christmas songs—all of which used to send him the only joy in the world. So, when Gerard turned 21, he came up with a brilliant plan; he’d celebrate Christmas, his own way, every day.

At the age of 21 Gerard was working full time and was having a hard time waking in the morning. As each day passed Gerard came to believe that the uniformity of quotidian docket could do evil in ways that a loved one’s passing could not—it could turn him insane. So, each day before work, he’d sit by his Christmas tree, with his dog, and wrap the smallest present for himself. All through work he’d look forward to coming home and unwrapping the neatly wrapped gift; rest of the day he spent watching his favourite holiday movies and listening to his collection of Christmas albums. He’d give himself a new toothbrush, a movie, an old album, a pair of socks, a new hat; anything that he needed or wanted. This way he could wake as happy as he did when he was 12 or 13--when the troubles of death and work did not result in a mental malady.

Still, at the age of 34, Gerard celebrates his favourite holiday, each and every day. He still sleeps in the smallest bedroom in his parents’ house, as he did when he was a child, and still refuses to sell any of his parents’ belongings. The Christmas lights that highlighted the house from the last Christmas he spent with his family are still up, as is the Christmas tree. When Christmas actually does come around he celebrates in cooking his own turkey—which he does poorly—and invites his co-workers over for dinner even though they never show. Although very little has changed since his years struggling to find a companion, he has, most importantly, found happiness in his own fantasy world and still manages to struggle through the real world as best he can.

Donald J. Berry
Copyright 2005
Listed 07/11/2005

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