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Soon (standard:Editorials, 840 words)
Author: J. NicklausAdded: Oct 15 2003Views/Reads: 2059/1221Story 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 


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