A Quiet Sunday

It is Sunday, and I’m waiting for the disinfectant to dry in the rabbit hutch. There’s a chicken in the oven. I can smell the breath of thyme and chicken juices spilling out from the kitchen, but there’s an hour to go before it will be ready. Before then I will peel some potatoes, wash them, chop them, boil them in a little water and vinegar for 5 spare minutes, toss them in hot fat and roast them. Homemade oven chips. A sprinkling of salt and some bread and salad and dinner is done. But this is all to come; I’m getting ahead of myself.

There is something comforting in the simple repetition of Sunday, a simple day doing simple things. I rise early, between 7am and 8am most weeks though this week I was later – almost 9am – dreaming of swimming pools and inappropriate talk. I read awhile; wait for everyone else in the house to rise as they will, some time after I do. My husband is first, my daughter – our youngest – second. Later in the day, perhaps afternoon, my son will appear usually driven by a need for cola in the same way that I am driven by a need for coffee. Always coffee in the morning. I don’t know why. Habit I guess. Now it is afternoon and I’m drinking tea, green and without milk. My preference.

Sometimes we go out on a Sunday, but this week we’ve spent the day at home. My husband has mowed the lawn, though he was supposed to be asking our son to do it. I have cleaned the rabbit hutch, though really it is my daughter’s job. Why do we take these jobs from our children if not that they give us pleasure? It is a truth infrequently admitted that domestic tasks are quietly rewarding, that there is something pleasurable in changing something tawdry and dirtied and making it clean. I wipe down the kitchen surfaces and admire the shine of the hob. I strip the kitchen table and wash the tablecloth, wipe down the leather mats and coasters. I move the kettle and the coffee and tea containers and wipe away the dust that has gathered beneath. More will be there tomorrow, but for now the surface is neat and with the sun shining through the kitchen window the cleanliness seems all the brighter.

I iron my clothes standing in the utility room with the door open.

My husband fixes the little bunny hideout, hammering nails into the corners. He takes his time. When he’s finished it’s sturdy again. No nails poke out, the edges are square.

I scrape bits of woodshavings and hay from the grass.

One of the bunnies licks my ankle.

From inside the house, the sound of a vacuum cleaner.

My daughter sits at the writing desk doing her homework. She borrows my tablet, though she has a computer of her own in her room. I lower the blind to keep the sun out of her eyes.

We walk to the supermarket to buy bread and walnuts. It is warm even though it’s mid-September.

Sundays are made from these moments. They are quiet, repetitive. There is no need to go anywhere. Everything I want is here. I have books to read, movies to watch if I want to. My husband sits on the other edge of the sofa, staring at his tablet. I don’t know what he’s reading and I don’t need to. We sit quietly, the sound of the clock ticking and my fingers rattling the keyboard. I think the hutch must be dry by now.

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