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|Soon (standard:Editorials, 840 words)|
|Author: J. Nicklaus||Added: Oct 15 2003||Views/Reads: 2059/1221||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|For better and worse--I've developed something of a terse respect/disdain for this two-faced monstrosity.|
Four-year-old Daniel stood swaddled from head to toe against December's chill, his small face all but obscured by a smothering scarf. Indirect light from the display window white-washed his exposed face, eyes twinkling in syncopation with the lights on the Christmas tree inside; his mother stared at him for a full minute, almost convinced he'd stopped breathing. "Daniel?" No response. "Daniel, you okay sweetie?" She was struck by how much he looked like an owl when he swiveled his head to nod, then turned back to the window. "Let's go inside, okay?" Another tiny nod. "Mommy." "Yes?" "How much longer 'til Christmas?" "Soon, Danny. Very soon." So begins a child's journey into the dichotomy that is "soon." Perhaps he'd heard the word many times prior, but only now will he begin to fathom its artful tease. He will learn that Soon is either sadness or euphoria; certainly both a great deceiver, yet ever hopeful. Around the 12th century, some joker discovered, perhaps even delighted in, the Old English derivative of "sona," morphing later into the Middle English "soone." Etymology aside, any way you slice or spell it, Soon has assuredly led a successful double-life and become fat upon ages of expectations. "Be careful what you ask for, for you may get it" goes the cliché, but let Soon slip into the equation and most bets are off. Jesus was thirteen years old when his Father told him he would one day become the saviour of mankind. As a boy Jesus likely asked "When?" Care to guess at the possible answer? How many passengers aboard the Mayflower asked for an ETA to the New World, and subsequently told "Soone." Not soon enough for the seven who died prior to dropping anchor at Plymouth. Daniel doesn't know about the Pilgrims, and is probably barely familiar with Jesus. But you can bet he knows all about Santa Claus. The hard chill of December and greedy retailers are cues children of any age recognize. Inside the store he'd stand, transfixed by the glitter and overtly commercial glamour that is a capitalist Christmas. His every impish hope rests in his ironclad belief in a jolly old soul who would assuredly bring him new toys. "Mommy?" "What, sweetie?" "Is soon tomorrow?" The thirty-year-old woman smiles warmly at him through her fur-collared coat. "You mean for Christmas?" His small head forcefully nods to be sure she sees. "No, hun. Tomorrow is the fifteenth of December. So only 10 more days until Santa visits." Tiny lips form a partial frown. "But ten days is forever!" he stiffly proclaims. That's right, Daniel. Take a good long whiff of it. Stinks pretty bad, doesn't it. Just when you think you have it nailed wily ol' Soon darts just out of reach. And that squishing sound you hear, that's your Hope getting stepped on. Not to worry. In general the damage is negligible, just a little bruising to your heart; nothing that won't heal, until a bigger Soon turns into a Never. Happens to everyone, Daniel, so try not to take it personally. For the sake of all our inner children, let's step back and look at sona again. During its lifetime it implied "at once, immediately." Some time Click here to read the rest of this story (34 more lines)
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