I try to live up to my status as ‘the’ Christian in our family. The husband tries to share. And we muddle along quite well together. I go for the novenas, Good Friday service, sometimes even one on Christmas Eve. He gets first dibs at the stollen and his choice of Easter eggs. Even the Easter bunny. No, not real ones, stoopid, the Lindt dark chocolate ones. The ones that let out a satisfying ‘thwack!’ when you dash their brains out on the kitchen counter.
But there is a ritual to all this shared religiosity. We begin with much demurral when Easter Bunny first comes to visit. Sometime shortly after Valentine’s Day.
‘No more chocolate, we’re eating far too much,’ the husband pronounces firmly. I might protest here that he’s the one doing all the eating. But one doesn’t want start a domestic before Easter Bunny.
The pronouncement is followed by a gentle pat on his well-rounded belly. This makes me feel like my belly is implicated too. I can see Easter Bunny retreat two steps. Then turn around and whisper, ‘I’ll pop around next week, shall I, love?’ Easter Bunny is Welsh. And kind. Very kind.
There was a time when Easter eggs were legit loot. That was when the son was still growing vertically and they were bought for him. That the rest of us polished off almost as many as him, especially the peanut butter ones, was considered par for the course. Rabbits were still kept in their proper place in Delhi at the time. In hutches. In London, we found they lived on supermarket shelves. And we developed our ritual, the husband and I.
Week 3 of Lent brought Easter Bunny back. ‘A cuppa tea, love?’ she asked. ‘What’s the order then?’
The husband snorted in disdain. I stared at him in amazement. Just two days back he’d been moaning about Ikea being locked down. Thereby depriving him of his favourite Choklad Mörk. And here he was turning down Easter Bunny’s very reasonable offer.
Good Friday came around. ‘I’ll meet you at the supermarket and we can go and get Easter eggs,’ I said as I prepared to go to the afternoon service. Bracing myself against the wave of protests sure to ensue.
‘Yes, by now they should be marked down,’ said the husband without turning a hair. Here was a surprise. Easter Bunny looked over his shoulder, a malicious grin on her face.
We reached the supermarket. To find no eggs. They were all gone. Blame it on Brexit. Or on COVID-19. But there was nary one Lindt dark chocolate bunny in sight.
I could hear Easter Bunny snort. ‘Put the kettle on then, love. There’s always next year,’ she chortled.