It was Christmas eve. He sat on the couch reading, feeling the familiar sadness that comes when a good book is nearing its end. He set the book down on the cushion next to him and stared dreamily at the ceiling.

He felt comfortable and warm in his thick black sweater. He allowed himself to believe that it was holding him together, keeping him safe. He had worn it five or six times without washing it. It was as though he were afraid that the washing machine would steal away its magic. He took his hands and stroked the sleeves from shoulder to wrist. It reminded him of the comfort he had derived as a child from his favorite blanket.

He realized that the only way to fight the loneliness was to give in to it. To turn off the lights and watch television by candlelight in his soft black sweater. “Happy holidays” he whispered gently to the universe.

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