‘Twas the Night Before: Chapters 19-20: Present Time!
Were you all on the edge of your seats waiting to find out what those mysterious three presents were?
Well, we’re about to find out!
Turns out that the three Very Special Presents from London were for Noella, Noella’s mom, and Noella’s grandma.
I guess you can go ahead and read whatever you want into the fact that Tom got Extra-Special Snowflake gifts for his fiancee and son-to-be in-laws, but not for his own parents.
Now, remember, Tom got these all at the same “exclusive shop“:
1. A “leather-bound collection of poetry” for Old Biddy Who Tells It Like It Is (Tom wants to read some to her)
2. A handmade metronome for Mom, who apparently is completely incapable of playing the piano without it. (Speaking as a former amateur musician myself, this is bullshit. I think Miriam just doesn’t want to practice.)
3. For Noella, “an exquisitely tooled jewelry box with ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’ carved delicately in the top.” It’s for her Forever and a Tree necklace for January to November, which admittedly is pretty sweet.
Sadly, Noella is still not happy. (And I’m sure you’re all shocked by that fact.)
Noella missed Santa. While she had come to her senses about him, at times like [opening presents on Christmas Eve] she wished she hadn’t. Changing her mind hadn’t changed her heart. The little girl in her wanted Santa as part of this Christmas.
Yanno, if this is a parable of faith, this attitude must be the Santa-equivalent of the RTC notion that religious faith is the only thing that allows people to have love and joy and peace in their lives. RTCs are fond of the conceit that nonbelievers live lives of quiet desperation, devoid of real love and happiness.
Guess this idiotic notion is the reason Noella is incapable of being truly happy without Santa, even though she has her awesome mom and grandma and a fiance who just managed to survive a plane crash and who, incidentally, does her every bidding.
Poor Santa-missing Noella also gets a letter from her mom, explaining the whole uncle-dying-birthday-changing scheme.
(Sometimes, I feel like Jerry Jenkins wants to be Tom Clancy. Right now, I feel like he wants to be a writer for Leverage.
Nate Ford: Okay. Let’s go steal a fake birthday.)
As she is reading the letter, Tom is getting home from what was no doubt an excruciating evening with his abusive, negligent father and his enabler mother. He buys a last-minute tree and apparently there are no 24-hour drugstores in all of Chicago, as Tom cannot track down so much as a candy cane to decorate the tree, and he “wasn’t going to pop corn [for stringing] or cut paper dolls [for ornaments].” Oh, are we too good for that kind of holiday activity, Mr. Big-Time Santa-Believing Reporter Man???
So Tom puts the naked Chriatmas tree in his living room, and meditates on ghosts of Christmas Past, particularly one Christmas when his father was on a bender and there was no money for presents, and his enabler mother told him Santa wasn’t real.
Tom pretended he had known, but the truth was he was shattered. He traced much of his cynicism to that day.
OH COME ON
Who do you know, EVER, who became cynical because he learned Santa wasn’t real?
I just…this is just so DUMB.
Not to mention insulting.
Once upon a time, a poor little boy named Tommy was born on the South Side. His daddy was a drunk and constantly said that he hated Tommy and wished Tommy was dead. Tommy’s mom didn’t care about Tommy as much as she cared about her drunk husband, and didn’t help Tommy when he needed it.
But Tommy was JUST FINE.
Then, one day, Tommy found out that Santa Claus wasn’t real.
This shattered his sunny outlook, and Tommy stayed a cynic for the next quarter-century.
Newly-not-cynical Tom writes a letter to Santa (on Christmas Eve!) asking Santa to renew Noella’s faith in him (Santa, not Tom).
And at THAT moment, Noella finishes the letter. She puts two and two together for the first time in her life:
1. the results of the professor’s tests on her necklace are that it is really real platinum and engraved by a master artisan, and
2, nobody in her family would have given her such an expensive with her REAL SECRET BIRTHDATE.
Tom and Noella hit the hay.
Seperately, because sleeping in the same house as your fiance is just plain wrong.