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Now. Define now. Webster defines it as "the present time." But then he defines "the present" as "existing or happening now. I guess "now" is just one of those words that we will never understand--a culmination of all elements into one point in time--that point being the present--now. Yes, we never used to even think of "now"--and we probably never would have--if it hadn't have been for Julie Roberts.

Julie Roberts was a pretty young female student going to Samson High School in San Diego, California. Now she was relatively normal--in fact her whole life was normal--all except for the night in question.

Julie was up late in her room studying for a big Physics test the next day, and her parents were out shopping. These were normal things to do on a Thursday night. In fact, these were extremely normal--especially for now. But it was now that Julie became frustrated with her studying. She threw her Physics book against the wall, and thought very hard on how she wished that that test would never come.. Suddenly a tremor began to shake the house. Oh great! Another earthquake. True--earthquakes were normal, for she lived in western California--but they were normal memely for before and for after—not for now. For now was Thursday, October 19th, 1987. And now would never be now again.

Suddenly the earthquake became very serious. It shook Julie's house like a giant shaking a Crackerjack box, with Julie just happening to be that secret toy surprise in the back. Suddenly a huge crack appeared under her house and it swallowed the house up. Julie became very scared. She saw the earth open up. She saw it swallow her. She saw the huge curves of the earth float up as she, and her beloved home went down, down, down. Finally it stopped. In fact, the earthquake stopped. Yes, everything stopped. For this time now stopped--it was now that now was now, now was last minute, now is tomorrow, and now is forever. Now is eternity. Julie slowly got up and peeked out the window, and saw that she had come to what looked like a land beneath the ground. There were rivers, mountains, lakes, and all of the other upper earth scenery. She opened the window. There was even fresh air. Everything was so beautiful! It was just like her home back home. In fact, she couldn't even see the roof of this inner earth, there were so many clouds. Wait! The clouds! They weren't moving! Oh--of course. There wasn't any wind. She could understand that. Where would the wind come from, beneath the world? Then she saw a gopher, peeking his head out of his hole. She rushed out the door and ran over to him, so happy to see some other life. But he didn't move. In fact, he didn't breathe. He just stood there. Then she looked up again. She saw a flock of birds as they hovered up ahead. But they didn't fly. They couldn't, for they were motionless. It was now that she figured out where she was--she was in now. She now knew the meaning of now, for now she was stuck in now forever--which, of course, was now.

No, Julie hadn't really fallen through the earth. What she had done was merely frozen now, in her mind, to last eternity. It was all a dream, of course. I mean, to freeze now, to live in now--. Now that couldn't really happen.

Some people say that they wish that something would last forever. Some people hope that tomorrow will never come. Some people live for memories--they hope to relive experiences that have gone by. Some people are pretty dumb. But if you ever do want now to be tomorrow, or yesterday, or last week, think about what happened to Julie. Yes, now she's all right, for now she's married and has three kids. Yes, she's okay now. But you will never, ever hear her admit it.

 © 1983, 

T. G. Taft

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