– Effie Doesn’t Like Sundays –

“I don’t like Sundays,” I said to my mother, who was busy working at her computer.

She never used to work on Sundays because she worked during the week in her office. Since we’ve been stuck indoors for a month, my mother has set up her office on our dining room table. Sundays used to be when we would play in the park or go to the cinema or meet our friends. Now we mostly stay indoors.

I was bored. I was bored of being home and not seeing my friends. Bored of finding things to do at home, which was boring because I was running out of things to do at home. I was bored of my brother playing tricks on me and I was bored of my mother working when we should be outside having fun!

“You said the same thing last Sunday, Effie,” my mother replied, still tapping away on her keyboard and staring at her computer. “Why not go play with your brother…surely you two can find something fun to do together.”

I looked at my half-eaten ham sandwich, spun my plate around in circles and watched how my lunch bobbled around until cucumbers and raisins no longer clumped in their own small piles. 

“Effie!” My mother snapped. “Stop spinning your plate!”

“It’s more fun than playing with James,” I said, because anything is more fun than playing with my brother at the moment. Since he turned ten, he thinks he’s way bigger than me. Sometimes he calls me a ‘baby’ but he never calls me that in front of our mother. She’d be very cross with him. And I am most definitely, absolutely NOT a baby!

“Eat your lunch, sweetheart.”

“I can’t. It’s all mixed up now and won’t taste right.” I thought that sounded like a good reason not to finish my boring lunch. Boring sandwich, boring cucumber. And raisins are the most boring of all! Okay, I actually like the taste of raisins but when my brother told me that they are actually dried up grapes, I decided to let my mother know that I don’t want to eat old fruit. She then explained raisins are not old grapes, they are just grapes dried in the sun to make them taste yummier so I still eat them. They just don’t taste as nice as chocolate.

“Eat your lunch. Then go find James. It’s meant to rain today so maybe you could play a board game together.”

“Rain! It’s going to RAIN! But it’s been sunshine forever. It’s only rained one day and that’s when I got to make rainbows and see Zara standing across the road. It’s bad enough I can’t go to school but now it’s going to rain?”

“We can’t control the weather, lovely. Besides, our garden needs rain after these weeks of spring sunshine.”

“See—another reason to not to like Sundays.”

“Finish your lunch.”

I looked down again at my jumbled up lunch and listened to my mother tap on her keyboard across the table—CLICKITY-CLICKITY-CLICK!

I could hear James in the garden, kicking his football against the fence—POW-POW-POW!

The clock on the wall kept making a ticking sound as seconds passed—TICK-TICK-TICK!

That’s what being bored does—makes you hear things you’ve never heard before. I could even hear my brain telling me loudly that I WAS BORED!

Not eating my lunch would be a battle I would lose. I gobbled my sandwich, nibbled all my cucumber circles except for one and swept the raisins into my hand, stuffing them in my pocket for later.

“Done!” I announced to my mother, as I walked to the kitchen with my plate and empty glass. She didn’t look up from the screen but said ‘Well done’ when I nudged by her.

“I’m going to find James.”

“Have fun, lovely.” My mother calls me and my brother lovely a lot. A lot, a lot. She also calls us sweetheart and honey and chicken. She never calls me baby, like James does. Because I’m not a baby! I am also not a chicken but it doesn’t bother me so much that she calls us that. She gives us nicknames because she loves us. My brother calls me baby and I don’t think that’s because he loves me. Even though my mother says that he does.

I opened the back door to the garden. Still no rain.

“It’s not raining yet!” I shouted back into the house to my mother.

I stuck my last cucumber circle into my mouth and walked out to find James.

“What do you want?” He asked, always happy to see me…not!

I walked to him and smiled a big smile–a very, very, VERY green smile!

James wasn’t expecting a green grin of cucumber instead of teeth and he jumped.

“Hahahahaha!” I grabbed my tummy and bent over with laughter.

“That’s not funny!” James’ face looked really cross—eyes narrowed, voice angry and I think I saw steam come out of his ears. James loves to prank me but I don’t think he liked being the one who gets tricked.

I removed the cucumber from my mouth. “Now you know how I feel when you prank me! Hahaha!”

“You didn’t prank me. I was just surprised how horrible you look today!”

“I did scare you, James. Or maybe you were just surprised. I dunno which but it was funny!”

James still didn’t look like he saw the funny part of it. He used to laugh a lot more when we played together but now he’s all serious a lot of the time because he’s bigger than me. And he tells me a lot that he is ten now, which I haven’t forgotten. I think James would have thought the cucumber smile was funny when he was nine but it seems like he lost some of his funniness when he turned ten. Maybe things change when your age is two numbers instead of one. I like being eight.

“I’m bored. Wanna play a game?”

“No,” James answered quickly, then began kicking his football again against the fence.

“I heard it’s going to rain today.”

James looked at the blue sky. “It’s not.”

“Mum said. She said it’s going to rain any minute.”

“It won’t rain. Go inside, Effie. I wanna play football.”

“Can I play football with you?”

“No.”

“I’m bored, James.”

“I’m practicing my football skills. Go be bored inside.”

“It’s going to rain soon, James. Then you’ll be bored, too!”

I turned and walked back inside. 

“It’s not raining yet,” I informed my mother.

“Okay. Thanks for the update, lovely.”

“I don’t like Sundays.”

My mother stopped tapping on her keyboard and looked at me. “Effie, why do you not like Sundays? You say that every week.”

“Not every week. But most Sundays. It’s just that Sundays is when the weekend is over and we have to go back to school.”

“That doesn’t make sense. You have two whole days off at the weekend: Saturday and Sunday. You have all of Sunday to relax and have fun. You don’t have to think about school until Mondays.”

“But we’re not even at school now!” I said.

“Yes, at the moment you are staying home. All the kids are staying home. But you still have schoolwork to do—it’s just you learn at home. Miss Wolf wants you to do your homework and learn new things.”

“It’s not the same,” I said. “I don’t get to see Ruby and Zara. I miss my best-friends.”

“I know, sweetheart. But you’ll see them soon. And you can ring them. Do you want to use my phone?”

“Maybe later,” I said. “I’m going to get my paints out and paint some pictures.”

“Sounds good, lovely. I’ll just finish this project then you and James and I will go for a walk. We’ve not been out for—”

“I know—we’ve not been out for our daily walk. That’s another reason not to like Sundays. We now don’t go to the park on Sundays or meet our friends. We go out for a walk once a day. That’s not fun.”

“It’s just for a little while, Effie. We’re all just staying home for a while then we’ll go back to school and work when everyone else does. You know all this. Remember last week when we made rainbows for the essential workers who look after us?”

“I remember. I loved making the rainbows.”

“Great! So you go paint more rainbows, then we’ll go for a walk.”

“You said it was going to rain.”

“We’ll go out before the rain starts.”

I ran to the front window. “No rain yet! I’ll be in my room.” Then I ran upstairs.

I pulled on my purple apron, put some paper on my desk and got out my paints. Then I sat down and looked out my window for something to paint.

The sky was blue and I could see a bird in the tree outside our house. So I used a big brush to paint the blue sky. Dipping the brush in brown, I painted the tree trunk and branches. Then I got my thin brush to paint the bird…but the bird flew away!

I looked at my half-finished painting of the tree and sky but no bird. It was boring without the bird.

I looked out the window again. A big white cloud was floating in the sky. It looked like a huge scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Yummy! So I dipped my brush in white paint and splodged dollops of white in the blue sky. There was no bird but the fluffy cloud made my picture much prettier.

I wanted the bird to fly back. It was a bright blue and black and white bird with a yellow beak. I could try to paint it from memory but I couldn’t remember if it had a blue head, white wings and a black tail…or if it had a black head, blue wings and a white tail. I gave up on the bird.

Then I saw a plane flying in the sky very far away. I used a very thin brush to paint a grey plane in the sky. My painting looked better with more things in it but I wanted the bird to fly back so I could add all those colours.

At least it wasn’t raining!

I grabbed my picture of the outside world by the edges because it was still drying, then I went downstairs to show my mother.

“It’s beautiful, Effie!” 

“Thanks. There was a bird but it flew away. It’s just a bit boring without the bird colours. I only used blue and brown and white and grey.”

“You could add green to it. Paint some leaves on the tree.”

“I guess.”

“Why don’t we go for that walk now. Before the rain starts. The clouds are coming and the sky will get darker.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Please go get James. He’s still in the garden. I’ll close up my computer.”

I went out the back door again. But James wasn’t there. There was no POW-POW-POW. His football was on the grass but James was not there to kick it.

I went back inside and shouted upstairs, “James! We’re going for a walk now!”

He didn’t answer. Then I guessed what James was doing. He must have been hiding in the garden, probably behind the tree or in our mother’s flower bed. I bet he was planning to jump out and surprise me. Revenge for the cucumber!

I went back into the garden. “James, I know you’re out here. You can’t scare me!”

I slowly walked towards the tree then popped my head behind it. No James!

I peeped behind the bushes. No James.

I looked inside our Wendy House, but James wasn’t inside.

Where was he?

I stood by the back door and scanned the garden one last time. Then I felt the rain start. Trickles of water tapped off my head, then it grew harder, then a massive whoooosh landed all over me! Oh, no!

“Looks like it’s raining now!” Completely wet, I looked up to see James leaning out of his bedroom window, holding the watering can from our garden. “Yep! Lots of rain today Effie!”

“James! I’m soaked!”

I saw my brother smiling down at me. “Hahahahahaha!” Then he closed his bedroom window.

“Mum is going to be sooooooo cross, James!”

In fact, my mother was more than cross when I walked back inside, leaving puddles across the kitchen floor and dripping on the dining room table.

“Be careful of my laptop! Oh, goodness—my papers! Stand back in the kitchen, Effie. You’re drenched!”

A while later, I was dried and in warm clothes. My brother, on the other hand, was getting wet in the garden, as he weeded the flowerbeds and it had started to rain. It actually had started to rain—it wasn’t just me standing over him with a watering can! Weeding was his punishment for drenching me with water. James wasn’t laughing now.

“James, that’s enough dandelions. We’re going out for a family walk. And no more pranking! Grab your coats,” said my mother.

It felt good to get out and walk. It wasn’t as fun as playing in the park or seeing my friends, but we enjoyed the fresh air and not just sitting inside. I don’t think James wanted to do anymore weeding because he was actually nice to me on the walk. He brought the football and we kicked it between us as we walked along the footpath. I shared my raisins with James and he ate them, evening though they were warm from my pocket and he thought they were just old fruit.

The rain had slowed to a light drizzle now and I could see patches of blue bursting through the grey clouds in the sky.

When we got home, I took my painting upstairs, sat at my desk and looked out the window again for the bird.

The bird did not come back.

But a rainbow did. A big, bright, beautiful rainbow in the sky. I took out all my rainbow colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. I took out my thickest brush and swept arcs of colour in the sky, behind the tree my painting. Then I painted green leaves on the tree.

It was a happy picture now. Not a boring Sunday painting. It was colourful and told a story about my day: there had been sunshine, there had been rain and now there were rainbows!

I actually enjoyed this Sunday and I was glad it rained so there was a rainbow in the sky.

I coloured my world in rainbow colours today.

What colour did you colour your world?

Effie x

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