Malcom’s eyes flutter open as light peeks through the blinds. A build up of frost decorates the edges of the window. It had been a warmer winter than usual, but the cold had slowly been creeping up over the past month. Malcom lets out a sigh and turns over on his side to face away from the light. The warmth of the duvet is welcoming the idea of staying in bed all day instead of facing reality. His hand wanders to the space where she used to lie. In an attempt to fight back tears, he turns on his back and stares at the ceiling. Silence. Malcom’s worst enemy. He is slow to sit up. He glances at the unfamiliar, doleful reflection in front of him. Unsurprisingly, the mirror above his dresser reveals a disheveled mop on his head and heavy, dark bags under his eyes. He thought sleeping and getting out of bed would be easier as time went on, but it only got harder. It felt like no matter what, he just couldn’t shake the constant darkness lingering overhead.
After what felt like an eternity, Malcom makes his way to the kitchen and brews a cup of coffee. An unopened envelope labeled “CLASSIFIED” sits on the counter. That word had been haunting him the past few weeks. He couldn’t find the strength to open that envelope; the contents would just bring all of his past failures and regrets to light. Mug in hand, he walks over to the living room to see a half-decorated Christmas tree; yet another reminder of her. They made it a tradition to decorate the tree and curl up on the couch the day after Thanksgiving as Christmas was their favorite holiday; just one of their many commonalities. Malcom would decorate the top half, but her half had not been decorated this year. What should be a time of happiness for him, is now a time filled with despair and sorrow, knowing deep down that she would never come back.