‘Twas the Night Before: Chapters 19-20: Reunion of the Lovers
When Tom gets to O’Hare, he has to give remarks to reporters.
I’m serious. Many reporters.
Noella couldn’t park near [the airport] for all the remote-broadcast trucks and reporters in the car.
Since I’m spending Wintermas with my brother, Angus, who works in news himself, I laid out the scenario for him:
Ruby: So, this guy is a columnist for the Tribune. He went to Germany and he writes two AMAZINGLY POPULAR stories about meeting Santa. Kinda written in a ‘Yes, Virginia’ style. And now a bunch of reporters have been waiting for him at the airport.
Angus: No. *long pause* Just…no.
Ruby: He was the only survivor of a small plane crash. Does this change things?
Angus: No. These TV reporters would not accost the guy at the airport. First of all, that’s unprofessional. Second of all, any Chicago station has plenty to go live with on any day without covering the return of some columnist. If you did anything at all (which you wouldn’t necessarily, because they’re, yanno, a competitor), you would maybe do an in-studio interview with the guy on the morning show after asking him.
Expert opinion is expert!
Since it would be so much WORK for Noella to walk or take the shuttle to the airport to meet Tom, Rufus picks him up so he can deliver him to Noella at Round-the-Clock.
“I’d hug you, Tommy, but I need to drive.”
“That’s all right,” Tom said. “I don’t want to hug a big ugly man right now anyway.”
That’s a reminder, just in case you forgot, that Rufus is FAT and UGLY.
And it’s every bit as funny as it was the first five times.
To top off the sadness, Tom and Noella start kissy-facing the moment they see each other, completely ignoring Rufus. Nice.
Tom and Noella talk at cross-purposes, as Noella tries to convince Tom that she has given up her belief, and Tom tries to convince Noella that he really does believe, and his columns were the total TRUTH.
“I even found out how you qualified for your pendant. … He knows you. Knows you’re a true believer.”
“I’m so relieved you’re alive,” [Noella said] “I know you’ve been through a horrible ordeal, but you sound the way I did when you concluded I was in denial.”
“But I was in denial, Noella! I was wrong. You were right!”
“So how did Santa blow my birth date?”
“That’s not the kind of mistake they make there.”
Parable of Faith Alert!
It couldn’t be that Tom was objectively evaluating the evidence and concluding the conclusion that BILLIONS of others have concluded.
Nope, he was in denial, just like EVERYONE who doesn’t accept the existence of
But they leave the discussion at that, and decide to split up for Christmas. That is, Noella will spend Christmas Eve (and spend the night) with her awesome mom and Old Biddy Who Tells It Like It Is grandmother, and Tom will have Christmas Eve dinner with his emotionally abusive parents.
As Noella says, “Family is forever.”
But before going to her family’s house, Noella goes to Northwestern to talk with a friend of her father’s who JUST SO HAPPENS to be a geologist. She wants him to evaluate her necklace, and he is only too happy to do this on Christmas Eve.
Of course he is.
While Noella is occupied, Tom calls Noella’s mom and asks her about Noella’s real birthdate.
THIS IS THE BIG REVEAL
NOELLA’S BIRTHDAY MYSTERY: SOLVED
PLEASE DO NOT REVEAL THE INCREDIBLE SECRET OF TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE
Noella’s mother’s brother committed suicide on Christmas Eve of 1963. This is Noella’s uncle, the father of the cousin on whose behalf Noella wrote the Santa letter.
Noella’s mother was so sad, and so did not want to be reminded of the tragedy, that when Noella was born exactly two years later, on Christmas Eve of 1965, they decided to tell everyone that Noella was born on Boxing Day instead.
That’s the big secret.
Tom, newly-sensitive RTC Santa-believer that he is, insists that Noella’s mom tell her daughter the truth. He does this for two reasons:
1. “It would right a wrong.”
No argument there.
2. “…it seems you were protecting your own family’s reputation.”
Um, what??? Tom, you jerk. Miriam just told you about the pain of her horrible loss, and how she “would not have been able to abide being reminded of the suicide every year on [Noella’s] birthday.” And you, who have also known family pain, have the gall, the absolute nerve, to accuse her of “protecting reputation.”
TOM. YOU. ARE. AN. ASS.
Tom, you are a butt.
And to everyone out there who is not a butt, Merry Wintermas.