A Life of Sundays

It’s Sunday, she thought as she opened her eyes.

Sundays, as a child, had always been mind blowingly boring.  Apart from helping to cook Sunday lunch and the long winded trip to church, the day seemed to drag on forever.  There was too much time spent in the company of irritated parents who couldn’t wait to get the kids back to school the following day.  A childhood full of disappointing Sundays.

Sundays as an older teenager and young twenties, was spent sleeping and recouperating from the crazy partying that seem to accompany that age.   If enough time was passed in sleep, the monotony of the day never broke through the drink addled haze.  If there was a boyfriend on the scene, the afternoons would find her lips glued to his or slouched on the sofa, watching a movie. Sunday was a wasted day.

When the children came along, Sundays were a crazy day.  There was little chance of a lie in as there was always someone ready to bounce on the bed, shout “Mummy, I’m hungry.” Or  “Mummy, look what she’s done!” Or a high pitched wail as someone got their fingers caught in the door again. The only chance of the day not being spent in a state of mayhem, was to take the cherubs out and let them run off some of their pent up energy.  Sundays were exhausting.

Sundays with teenagers was different again.  Time was spent standing at the bottom of the stairs, either yelling for them to get out of their lazy beds or trying to be heard above the sound of the latest music craze.  There was the inevitable “Is your homework done?” followed by the excuses as to why it wasn’t, the ensuing argument and the “I hate you.” stomp up the stairs and slam of the bedroom door, shaking the whole house off it’s foundations.  Sundays were spent praying for Monday morning to arrive early.

Then came the Sunday when the front door closed for the final time. The car packed with boxes, pulled off the drive as the last child disappeared to their own home.  After years of looking after so many people, nothing could prepare her for the devastation of no longer having anyone to care for.  Sundays were silent, eerie and sad.

It’s Sunday, she thought as she opened her eyes.  Today is a day full of possibilities.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the garden is full of flowers. There is music to play and art to behold, dogs to walk, books to read. What shall I do today? She smiled. I think I shall do everything I want to.  Sunday is my day.

A little night reading

She sat behind the heavy brown curtain.  It was a big risk to sit there and she was nervous, but the book pulled her in.

It was way past bedtime, a balmy summers evening and far too bright to sleep.  The light crept through the sides, top and bottom of the curtains, beckoning.  The words of the book under her bed whispered so loudly that she almost couldn’t help but slip from her covers and crouch down in the window bay.

She had no idea how long she had been there but the pins and needles in her knees told her it had been some time.  Mr Galiano’s Circus took her to places she could only dream of.  How lucky was the little boy to have become a part of this circus, to live in a caravan and move from place to place.  To see clowns and trapeze artists, to work with elephants and eat as much candy floss as he could ever want.

Her escape into the book was almost total until she heard a door open and then close.  She held her breath as someone climbed the stairs.  She knew if she ran back to bed, they would hear and the game would be up.  She held her breath.  Would the footsteps stop at another bedroom door or would they continue on to the bathroom next door.  Would they come into her room and discover an empty bed.

“Please go past, please don’t come in.” She whispered as a mantra over and over.

She could feel the panic rising from the pit of her stomach.  If it was Dad, it would be ok.  He would quietly but firmly tell her to get back into bed and go to sleep.  She would too, but knew he would be so disappointed in her, that the guilt would be unbearable.  Really though, it was unlikely that Dad would even bother to come into her room.  She didn’t really exist for him anyway.

Oh, but if it was Mum! Any minute all hell could break lose.  There would be screaming and shouting. The whole house would be woken and everyone would know that she had been caught doing something else wrong.  She knew the beating that would follow. The punishment always far outstripped the crime.

Time stood still for an eternity.  There was no air entering or leaving her lungs as she repeated her mantra.  “Please, please, please.”

The footsteps carried their owner nearer and nearer.  Why hadn’t she stayed in bed? Why did she always think she was going to get away with it?  Closer and closer. Then… The bathroom door opened and closed again and she heard the toilet seat go down.  She allowed herself a silent drag of air to fill her lungs and as quietly as she could extracted herself  from the window bay.  She tiptoed raggedly, on pained legs, across the room, book in hand and slipped once more between the sheets.  She stuffed the book underneath the pillow and prayed that she hadn’t been heard.  She lay in the silence listening to her heart pumping.

The fear only subsided when the footsteps descended the stairs.  She was safe for now.  Till the next time.

She lay in her bed on a balmy summers evening.  Fingers of light crept through the curtain and Mr Galiano’s circus called from under her pillow.  She crept from her bed to the bay of the window and pleaded with the darkness to stay away until she read at least one more chapter.