Name: Holly

Day/Time: Friday, 3:33 AM (three days before Winter Solstice)

Current state of mind: Pleasantly drunk

What are you wearing? Jeans and a cream-colored cashmere sweater

What are you listening to? Raise Your Glass by P!nk

What are you drinking? Mulled wine

Where are you? On the sofa in the living room

Hi, I’m Holly and I’m the Coven’s therapist. Before you say anything, I realize that my name is festive and fitting for the holiday season. I’ve heard it all before. In fact, I hear about it every December, each time I introduce myself to someone new. So, please keep those cheesy comments, puns, and jokes all to yourselves. Thank you.

I’m not going to lie, I’m a little drunk—okay, a lot drunk, and it’s not something I planned on. Just like I hadn’t planned on my bruised tailbone and broken designer heel. But then again, some of the most memorable moments are born from the unplanned chaos in our lives. They can also be some of our finest moments and make for the best memories. While I wouldn’t say tonight was one of my finest, given that I’m sitting on an inflatable butt donut (I don’t need it, but Ryan insisted) in front of the fire, it was definitely memorable. And just to think it all started over a bag of missing white chocolate chips.

I’d just gotten home from the orphanage, and I was starving. I’d barely made it to the kitchen when Rissa greeted me with a muttered, “good luck,” and an opened bottle of wine. That was my first indicator that I was walking into a shit storm. The second was the string of creative, foul-mouthed curses coming from the kitchen. The third was Ash tearing that kitchen apart like the cabinets had done something to offend her. She kind of reminded me of Taz, the Tasmanian Devil from those Looney Tunes cartoons. It was like she was completely and utterly possessed.

I wasn’t sure what was going on, and I didn’t particularly care at that moment. I just wanted to stop her before she leveled the room and accidently hurt someone. So I tossed the wine and tackled her, which was enough to snap her out of her magical meltdown. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to stop the stacks of Tupperware from raining down onto our heads—well, mostly my head.

By that point, most of the Coven had gathered around us to see what all the commotion was about. Nick was a cross of flummoxed and pissed off, while Ryan just looked baffled and a bit amused, and the rest were a combination of curious and confused. Nick and Ryan helped us up and naturally, Nick wanted an explanation for Hurricane What The Fuck. I had none, so it was all Ash. It turned out that her magical meltdown had been over the lack of white chocolate chips.

And the thing was, it really wasn’t about the white chocolate at all. I was positive that it had everything to do with the lack of sleep and all the stress she’d been under lately. It was the culmination of the perfect storm. And I could relate. I’ve been there. We all have. It’s that level of pure exhaustion and stress, where every little thing just irks and irritates us. Where even the slightest of inconveniences and minor annoyances can make us snap and overreact.

She needed a break. We all needed a break. So we did what any illogical person would, we hit up the annual Winter Solstice Pub Crawl. Because there is no better solution to holiday tension and fatigue than being surrounded by inebriated strangers while listening to Christmas carols and drinking booze out of snowman mugs.

After much debate, the eight of us found ourselves walking down snow-covered Main Street, which had been closed off for pedestrian traffic only. Downtown Luna Cove was all lit up with warm white Christmas lights that adorned the windows and barren tree branches—though, they weren’t the only things that were lit up. Marissa, Ash, Karina, and I had imbibed quite a bit of Rissa’s famous spiked cider before heading out. By the time we made it to our first and only stop of the night, we were all pleasantly intoxicated. But our drunkenness didn’t dissuade us from continuing on our merry bender. No. We were determined to carry on and we did to the point where one of us needed carrying. That one would be me.

I’d just downed Fireball shot number who the fuck knows, when I suddenly got inspired to play some music on the jukebox. I probably should’ve stayed put in my seat, that would’ve been the smart thing to do. But smart and drunk don’t usually go together.

I couldn’t tolerate listening to one more version of Last Christmas. It was stuck on a repetitive loop in my head and my mind needed a musical palette cleanser. I’m pretty sure the rest of the group was feeling the same, especially Nick and Daniel. They are not the Christmas carol types. So, I figured I’d do them and myself a favor. I sprang out of my chair and weaved my way through the crowd and over to the jukebox.

I almost made it, but the floor shifted and tilted beneath my feet. I tilted with it as my boot heel cracked and I tumbled down, my ass bouncing off the scuffed hardwood. The good news was, I didn’t feel any pain. The bad news was, the world was spinning. The worst news was, my ex, or as Ryan appropriately calls him McGropey, was the one who helped me up.

Ten years later and McGropey still managed to live up to his nickname. He got me standing and then got busy massaging my hip. So I snapped his wrist and toppled backwards. But hey, at least my efforts paid off and got him to let me go. And at least Ryan was there to break my fall that time. He caught me from behind and spared my tailbone another bruise, although I couldn’t say the same about my ego.

My ex was livid and cursing my name to Hades and Hell. But his tirade didn’t last long courtesy of Daniel clocking him and putting him down for a nap. You know I can handle myself, but there’s a comfort in knowing that these guys have my back, especially when my mental facilities aren’t all intact. Not to mention one of my legs was three inches shorter than the other thanks to a broken heel.

Needless to say our night was over, thanks to me. Not that any of them blamed me, but I couldn’t help but feel like shit over it. After all, had I just stayed parked where I was, we’d still be at the bar having fun. But we called it a night, and after much insistence Ryan gave me a piggyback ride back to the car. Not like I would’ve been able to walk anyway, broken heel or not. I trashed my shoes once we got back home and Ryan found me the butt donut, which is how I ended up here, with a sore ankle, bruised ass and ego. But I can’t complain. I still had a fun night and got to spend it with my favorite people.

That’s what the holidays are about, no matter how you celebrate. It’s the people that matter the most; they uplift us and stand by us through the good, bad, and ugly. They’re the ones that make the holidays special. They’re the ones that make each day special. And now I’m getting sappy, so I’m going to sign off and spend some time with my friends—right after I toss this butt donut into the fire. If you have a comment, drop it down below.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year,

Holly