The Endless Sunday

When I was ten a wet Sunday afternoon lasted for a whole lifetime. The mornings were filled with the rituals of church and Sunday school which at least helped to pass the time. Home to dinner which had been cooking in the oven whilst we were out and then, nothing! The rest of the day stretched, it seemed, endlessly ahead. A barren, boring tediousness which would never be relieved.
There was something horribly special about those wet Sunday afternoons which separated them completely from those other times of the week that were just boring. I couldn’t go outside to explore the woods and fields which is often what I would prefer doing. Perhaps alone or with friends, finding newts and sticklebacks in the ponds and streams and toads under stones. Many a raft was built and capsized, many a mighty oak or beech was climbed and conquered.
All this was in memory but not in sight and as the day was endless it seemed impossible that I would do any of those things in my lifetime ever again. At other times it was easy to amuse myself. There were many books unread and many old treasures that needed rereading, there were board games such as Monopoly to play or things to invent and build with Meccano.
Wet Sunday afternoons had a natural lethargy inherent in them which pervaded ones thoughts and sapped ones will. Even doing nothing seemed to take more energy than you had available. As a ‘day of rest’ it felt more like those nights when you toss and turn, prodded by nightmares in a fearful and half awake state. Only to awake not knowing whether any of it was real and fearing that some of it was.
It seemed that the whole world had closed down, both inside and outside the house. We were marooned on an inhospitable and uninhabited island with no hope or prospect of rescue. There was nothing that I could do about it. There were literally no places to go. No shops were open. No activity centres even existed. Sunday was a completely closed day. A day for family, a day for relaxing, a day for being terribly, terribly, bored.
Each minute was an eternity and every hour had an infinite number of minutes. The hands on the clock moved imperceptibly and often, even when you took ages between glances, they never moved at all. This all bred a restlessness possibly akin to being ‘stir crazy’ and we would irritate one another, snapping for trivial reasons.
When it seemed that it was impossible to go on any longer the monotony was broken by tea but I knew that this was a false dawn in the desert of the afternoon and that soon after the bleakness would reassert itself often doubling in its intensity.
How I survived one of these wet Sunday afternoons is difficult to imagine. What is most terrifying is that there were many of them, sometimes on consecutive Sundays and they were always the same. It was as if those days were an endlessly repeating pattern which, thank goodness, has long since ended.

The Endless Sunday


Burtle, United Kingdom

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  • Tonkin
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