Good Friday? Nothing much good about it. Saturday is slightly more normal but then Sunday is all Easter Eggs and chocolate and family dinners. Little yellow chicks and bunnies, parades with donkeys, spring lambs, all commercialism, second only to Christmas. The only thing to be thankful for is that there are no Easter carols, but the forced Bonhomie is the same.
I’m only in my forties but people call me a grumpy old man. I’m not. It’s just that as I’ve got older I’ve seen through the false veneer, and can’t see the point in being polite to fools and idiots. Take the postwoman for instance; she’s always so damn cheerful. Even lugging a great heavy sack through pouring rain in the dark of winter she’s always smiling. ‘Lovely day for ducks’ she would call if she happened to catch me peeking through the curtains or putting out the bins.
It wasn’t right. She should have been at home cooking a welcoming meal for her husband, not chatting to strange men. At odd times I found myself wondering about her; she was an attractive woman. Perhaps she was just earning pin money to be able to spoil her children. I imagined her husband in some kind of office job, dull and only giving her enough for the housekeeping. Maybe with the kids growing up they had nothing in common as a couple, and she needed to meet people for some conversation.
It was pure coincidence that I happened to be out in the front garden doing some weeding on the last delivery date before the Easter break. The sun was shining for once, and it wasn’t as if I was waiting to see her or anything daft like that.
‘Morning Mr Peters. What a beautiful day. Your garden’s looking lovely. The pansies seem to be smiling with their sweet little faces. Lifts your heart, doesn’t it?’
‘Good Morning Mrs …er. How do you know my name?’
‘From your letters, of course. I’m Becky by the way. Got anything nice planned for the long weekend? The forecast is looking good.’
‘No. What about you? Taking the kids out somewhere?’
I could feel myself blushing as the question came out of my mouth, especially when her face fell and for the first time I saw her look unhappy.
‘Never been blessed with children,’ she replied quietly. ‘A friend was going to take me to the garden centre for the day but unfortunately she’s not feeling too good. Still, there might be something worth watching on TV.’
‘Why don’t you go anyway?’ I asked, and then cursed myself for prying.
‘My car’s out of action and the buses don’t go anywhere near. Shame as I wanted to get some seeds for my vegetable garden. I always think home-grown tastes better than the supermarket, don’t you?’
‘I could take you.’ Yet again, the words came out before I could engage my brain.
‘Do you mean it? Obviously I’d pay you for the petrol but it would be nice to have some company, and I did want to get them planted this week.’
‘Certainly, but there’s no way I’m taking any money off you. Call it an Easter present. What day did you want to go?’
‘Saturday would be good if you’re sure. I’ll give you my address; it’s only round the corner. Thank you so much. I’m really looking forward to it now.’
‘No problem. Would about ten suit you?’
‘That’s perfect, except for one thing. Lunch is on me, no arguments. There’s a lovely little pub next to the centre where they do a wonderful chicken pie.’
She was a feisty little thing so I thought it better to give in gracefully for now, although no way was she paying for lunch.
It was a wonderful day, the first of many. We talked as if we’d known each other all our lives and I found myself smiling at her delight in the simplest of things. As I wouldn’t let her pay for our meal in the pub she insisted on cooking me an Easter Sunday lunch.
I nearly didn’t give her the rag doll thing I bought at the garden centre when she was busy selecting her seeds. I’d noticed her admiring it but had felt stupid getting her such a silly gift on our first outing together. Years later she admitted it was how she had pictured us, growing old happily together, sitting on a bench enjoying the garden. I tease her I’m not old until she reminds me we will have been married twenty-five years this Easter.
Although it’s falling to pieces she’s still got the daft thing. Nobody calls me grumpy anymore; in fact I’m known to be always smiling, like the male bunny sitting next to his ladylove. Maybe there’s a little bit of magic in it, or maybe it’s because my own little ray of Easter sunshine makes me happy, whatever the season.
© Voinks April 2017