Easter Monday: the day after the Easter Bunny comes. No alarm needed setting. The sun rolls over the tent and the plastic wall lightens, bit by bit.
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Easter Tuesday: the day after Easter Monday. The alarm fires up at 6am, and then subsides into silence after a well aimed poke. Daylight savings may have gone but it is still dark outside. The bed is soft and warm, enticing me to stay, not unlike the call of a narcotic.
The bathroom floor is dry, towels neatly lined up, moistureless, ready for an embrace post my hot shower. First, shaving cream, and the scrape of a razor over a four day growth.
* * *
Easter Monday: The tent wall rises above me on an angle, passing close to my nose, claustrophobic. I’m at the edge of the double bed mattress and my wife is pressed against me: I can’t escape. The air is chill on my face; it’s going to be cold outside. Still, it’s light enough, so I scrabble my way out of the sleeping bag and cast around for clean clothes. No such luck with the towels; they haven’t dried since last night’s shower. I pick the least wet.
The showers are a hundred metres away, between snoring tents and a smouldering campfire surrounded by empty bottles. We heard them being emptied at two in the morning. Caravan park showers are the same everywhere. Slimy tiles, puddles of water, fluctuating water temperature. There’s a razor in my toilet bag – it can stay there.
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Easter Tuesday: The towel rail is above the heater, warm. Socks slide onto dry feet, snug into shoes. Long pants encase legs; a business shirt collar and tie noose my neck.
The kitchen is quiet, last night’s dishes clean and dry inside the dishwasher. The day’s stress is yet to come. The kids are asleep – I’ll cajole them out of bed soon. School beckons for them – they like it – but they’d rather not spend the next hour eating, dressing and packing. It will be the first point of contention.
* * *
Easter Monday: Last night’s dishes are dewy. They’ll need to be dried with the last of our clean tea towels. Empty stubbies are on the table next to our tent – explaining why the party sounded like it was in our tent.
Somebody has stoked the fire. Our girls are already dressed and clustered around it, tossing in small branches, watching them burn. They didn’t need encouragement.
Breakfast comes together quickly - we’ve got an early start. Fried eggs on toast, feet warming by the fire, under a blueing sky. Time is running out.
The tennis courts are reached by a short walk on the river levee. The water is still, occasionally disturbed by some creature rippling the surface. The levee winds around gently and then we are at the courts. Grass stretches out, marked by white lines, divided by nets. People straggle in slowly, quieter than yesterday. It’s finals day.
* * *
Easter Tuesday: The traffic slows up. My appearance at the 9am meeting looks iffy. The more people in a rush to get to work, the slower we go. The light changes from red to green, but no one moves. The traffic is already backed to the next set of lights. It’s an unimportant meeting, but being late will knock the whole day off kilter.
* * *
Is it too late to become a professional tennis player?