Friday, April 1, 2011

Someday Sunday

Its Sunday as I write this and it is striking me again how much Sundays have always been hard work to me.

Maybe its because I grew up in the Suburbs during the Apartheid years. On a Sunday everything was closed. Everything. Even the Portuguese shop down the road only opened long enough to dispense the Sunday Papers and other essentials before closing down. And the afternoon would descend like a heavy blanket. Of silence.

Those days are over, but like a hangover lingers, that dread of Sunday afternoons lingers. I like to try and con myself that it is in fact not Sunday - to trick myself into weekday activity. But that defeats the purpose. The day of rest will not be fooled, or take it, as it were, lying down.

That is, after all, what Sunday afternoons are for. As a little girl I knew that, with heavy lidded parents dozing over the piles of crumpled newspapers scattered on carpet and couch, we were not going to be doing anything exciting in the near future. A quiet game of Barbies on the floor in our room with my sister was about as interesting as it was going to get !The entire suburb dozed...

I lived in England for years and felt it still, and although not as many shops closed, and hardly any one went to church, Sunday still refused, on the whole, to do very much at all.
The thing is, Sundays, to me, are relentlessly and achingly lonely. And silent.
Where is everyone?
Resting, I guess, on this special day, especially put aside for it.

I can't help thinking that Sundays are incorrectly named, not being very 'sunny' in my opinion. They should be called Saturday, seeing that a lot of 'sitting' is done.

Which brings me to the Sabbath question. For a while we considered swapping the days - in terms of rest anyway. In those days we were still pinning 'rest' in the Biblical sense to a particular day. All that has changed now, and anyway, Saturday refuses to rest, just as Sunday, well, refuses to do anything else.

Even beaches seem to be melancholy on Sundays, with beach umbrellas, even, bowed in sombreness. My favourite records pulse out through the tepid Sunday air, with hushed tones.

It is a dilemma I really have tried to beat back in a variety of ways.
There was the busyness of church for a time. The morning rush, the hour or so filled with singing preaching fellowship, filled up an hour or two.
Driving back to a lonely lunch was even harder then, for me. And the thing is, even being with loads of people does not dispel the gloom. Sunday invites her dreary self to come on in and sits herself down amidst the happy throng.

Even the solution of water does not work. I am like a kind of pill that dissolves in water, it being medicine of a sort for me, but somehow, the water beneath the surface of the pool, when I dive in on a Sunday, is more silent, even still, than on other days.
Ho hum. Glum.

I need to shrug it off.
I have a memory of my father mowing the lawn on a Sunday morning in a string vest. Or him and my mother pushing the long blue pole of the pool vacuum, which I could see over the wall surrounding it when I skipped home from Sunday School.
He would sit in the cool shade later, and drink a cold beer (letting me sip the foam) and tell my mother, again, of the little suited man, Bible under arm, who would pause on the pavement to shake his head at my perspiring father, hard at work.

We work often on a Sunday, behind our computers, with music playing and maybe a braai fire beginning to smoke. No matter what we do, the Sunday afternoon settles down eventually.
Its with a sigh of relief that I notice the sun going down, marking the end of another Sunday.
It feels disloyal to dislike Sundays though.

It also feels unfair to think that Sundays are forever old, when the obvious desire is to be forever young. But thats just how it is to me. And old, even as I am closer to it myself now, than to youth anymore, has never been the most desired thing.

I have worked many a Sunday during my motley career, and even a working Sunday felt different from every other day, its true.

Rest, of cause, is important. Maybe I could take my day off on a Monday instead.
But I've got a feeling that days of the week are like children in a family, where birth order somehow defines something of who you are.
And so the world turns round, to a count of seven, and Sunday has no intention of changing who she is, for me, any time soon.

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