Christmas isn't always a happy time, and, for some people, it can be a period of downright misery. This was the case with one man on Christmas Day, when the pressure of his work, the failure of his relationship, and the alienation and isolation of being left all alone by the death of his mother earlier in the year, conspired against him.
Roy Boggins, 57, a self-employed builder, woke up on Christmas morning to the sound of his neighbors' children playing in the street. Their laughter and happy, jolly faces told a story he didn't want to hear. His ladyfriend of 8 years, Phoebe, who was in her forties, had walked out on him in October, and this after his mother had died in July. This was to be his first Christmas without them - and on his own.
Roy downed a liter bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label before lunch, but felt no better, so he drank another, along with a handful of pills, in an attempt to block out of his mind the end-of-the-world feelings he was experiencing. He went outside into his yard, and spotted his cement-encrusted wheelbarrow, sat in it, and began to sob.
Inside the house, and unheard by Roy, his phone began to ring. It was Phoebe, who was ringing to make sure he was managing on his own. She had a surprise in store for Roy: she was going to invite him round for Christmas dinner at her house, with her parents.
In his wheelbarrow, Roy wept openly. Not for the first time, he considered doing away with himself, but how? He knew, deep down, he wasn't brave enough, and so sat feeling sorry for himself as the tears ran down his cheeks, soaking his shirt. Why did his mom have to die, and leave him all alone? She was only 86.
As the unknown pills began to take effect, and Roy drifted into a deep sleep, a figure appeared at the far end of the yard. In his dreamlike state, he looked up and immediately recognized his mom. She walked towards him, holding out her hands, and smiled. She bent down and kissed Roy on the forehead, and he felt a warm glow right through his entire body.
Looking into his mom's eyes, he gently rose, and she hugged him like she had when he was a little boy, all those minutes ago, or so it seemed.
The two walked off together, forever.
Inside the house, the phone continued to ring.