Sometime Soon - By Debra Doxer


In the darkness a flashlight clicked on beneath the heavy winter quilt of thirteen-year-old Andrea Whitman. She just couldn’t fall sleep until she finished her reading assignment. The assignment wasn’t due for another week, but she had to know how To Kill A Mockingbird ended. She thought Atticus Finch was the most interesting character she’d ever come across in a story. She would never admit this to anyone, but maybe she had a little bit of a crush on him--even though his hair was turning grey and he wore glasses. Her friends were all in love with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Rochester. But she thought they were both so unlikeable at the beginning of their stories that they couldn’t redeem themselves to her in the end. Her friend Bethany even thought Heathcliff was sexy. But in her opinion, Heathcliff was the worst of all.

From the very first, Atticus was brave, honest, and forthright. He was just the way she thought a good man should be. She admired that he always did the right thing, even if it wasn’t the easy thing. That was what her parents had taught her and her sister Laura to do. But she was only thirteen, so she hadn’t really had a chance to put that into practice yet.

As Andrea continued to read, she thought of her own father and of the boys she went to school with. Perhaps her father had the qualities she admired in Atticus. He was honest, and she knew that he loved her. But the boys in school were another story. They teased her--a lot. They made fun of her dark curly hair and the fact that she always did her homework. She saw them lying to the teachers and making up stories so they wouldn’t get into trouble when they were caught doing something they shouldn’t. They were loud and disrespectful to their elders. No, none of the boys she knew were anything like Atticus. She decided that when she grew up, she was going to find a man who possessed the admirable qualities of Atticus Finch. She would settle for nothing less.


“I compost,” he tells me, even though it’s a total non-sequitur. We’d been talking about work. “I give it away for fertilizer,” he continues as his bushy, dark eyebrows move up and down with each change in his expression.

This is our third date. It’s a warm summer afternoon, and we’re eating ice cream cones on a park bench about a block away from Derek’s apartment. Derek and I worked together before he left to take a job elsewhere. All the women at my office used to lust after Derek but he never seemed to notice. When we ran into each other about a month ago and he asked me out, I could hardly believe it. But then we went out on a date, and I realized very quickly that we have nothing in common. I’m not sure why I’m even here today. That’s not true. I know why I’m here. He’s hot and he asked.

“Do you recycle?” He waits for my reply as he pops the last bite of ice cream cone into his mouth.

“Sure. I mean, I have to. My trash collection service requires it.”

He nods at me. “But you would anyway, right?” His eyes are intent on mine.

“Yeah.” I shrug before finishing off my own ice cream. This isn’t the first time his views on the environment and recycling have come up. By now, I understand very clearly how strongly he feels about these issues.

“Come on,” he says. “I’ll show you.” He stands and slips his sunglasses over his eyes.

I’m just coming to terms with the fact that I don’t care to see his compost, or him, anymore. But I need to get through this Sunday afternoon date. Just making an excuse and leaving would be too rude.

We quickly cover the block to his apartment. Derek’s long legs eat up the sidewalk, and I have to practically speed walk to keep up with him. He doesn’t seem to notice. In fact, he reaches down and folds my hand in his.

He lives in one of many brick brownstones that line the street. I follow him up the short stairway to the main entrance. I’ve never been here before, and I can feel that he has expectations of me today. I really hope this doesn’t get awkward.

After climbing three sets of stairs inside the sweltering building, which obviously has no air-conditioning, Derek pulls out his keys and opens the