It is Easter Sunday, sunrise, and Midge and Sam are surprised to be awakened by Sasha’s voice calling, “Midge! Midge!”
“What on earth is it, Sasha? What’s wrong?” Midge immediately sits up to find out what is going on.
“I want to hunt Easter eggs with Lottie,” replies Sasha.
“Sasha, you’re joking? That’s why you woke us up? You know you can’t hunt Easter eggs. I doubt that Lottie and her family are even awake at this hour! We’re Jewish – we don’t celebrate Easter.”
To Midge’s astonishment, Sasha begins to cry. “I want to hunt Easter eggs!”
“Sasha, this is ridiculous. Lottie doesn’t celebrate Passover and you don’t celebrate Easter. Lottie didn’t get to go to a Seder and ask questions and be very important, the way you were.”
“I don’t care!” shouts Sasha.
Sam is awake by now. “Sasha, stop it, this is silly,” he interjects.
“YOU AREN’T MY GUARDIAN! YOU DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” Sasha shouts.
“Okay, Sasha,” says Midge. “That’s enough now. You’re being extremely naughty, as you know, and I don’t know what to say. I want you to come upstairs to the nursery with me right now. We’re going to sort this out.”
Once upstairs, Midge asks Sasha why she is behaving so badly. Sasha is sullen and refuses to answer. But Midge is a clever and insightful woman, and decides that this is not the right approach. So she tells Sasha she is going to tell her a story.
“There was once a little girl whose parents died when she was very young. It made her sad and lonely. But she had an older sister and that sister agreed to be her guardian. Then she wasn’t alone any more and she was happy because she and her sister loved each other very much. Then one day, something went wrong. A man came along who loved her sister too. Her sister began to spend a lot of time with this man. Too much time. The little girl was scared. What if her sister forgot all about her? Would she be all alone again? But she didn’t know that this man loved her too, very much. And he wanted to look after her and keep her safe forever. So these people made a family and the little girl was happy again.”
Sasha burst into tears and threw herself into Midge’s arms.
“Sasha, don’t you know how much I love you?” says Midge. “I’ll never leave you alone – we will always be together as a family. Sam loves you too. And you know that he will be your guardian too when we are married and are a family together. Plus, I have been keeping a special surprise from you, but now it’s time to tell you.”
“What is it?” asks Sasha eagerly.
“You are to be my bridesmaid, my maid of honour at the wedding. I will have no other bridesmaids. You aren’t going to be a flower girl, you’re going to be super special. I have saved a special dress for you. It belonged to our mother and I believe it will fit you perfectly. I’ve saved it just for you.”
Sasha hugs Midge and holds tight. All thoughts of Easter eggs are forgotten.
Later in the morning Easter eggs become the centre of attention again. Lara, Josh and their daughters, Lottie and Alexandra, are ready for an Easter egg hunt in the garden. Uncle Nick has joined them as has Lara’s friend Esmée and her daughter Layla. The Easter bunny has been and brought an Easter basket which Lottie carries. The children are ecstatic at the eggs they have found and there are biscuits and chocolate bunnies to eat, along with plates of fruit; grapes, clementine sections and watermelon slices. Lara will never serve just chocolate without allowing the girls to choose fruit too if they wish. After church, attended by Steffi, her children, and Skipper, the Puppe-Panenka family gathers in the front room. Katie has brought her new boyfriend Olly home to meet her sisters. Ivana and Bonnie are there as well, and the sixth sister, Claire, is due any moment. Kevin is feeling extremely grumpy. He can’t stand Steffi’s sisters; a bunch of cackling hens is how he feels about them. And this boyfriend with his bizarre hair! Where on earth did that useless bimbo Katie dig him up? He wishes he hadn’t taken the day off. Now the supreme bimbo of the universe, that twit Claire, will soon be here too. He wishes he were anywhere else. He is so glad that the sisters are rarely around and is horrified to hear that Ivana, Katie, and Claire are hoping to “stay at home” now. He’s completely outnumbered by stupid females except for the completely useless Olly and little Uwe, sitting on his knee. Ugh.
Downstairs in the kitchen, Marvin is slightly less grumpy, although equally surrounded by women. Corbin is there, but announces that he is off to the Uni to see Luna and the Dolls in concert; his friends are expecting him.
“You aren’t planning on eating Easter dinner with your family?” asks Emma frostily.
“No, sorry, Em, Jazz is waiting for me,” says Corbin and makes his escape. Marvin is on his own.
Marvin’s cousins have all turned up. Monique’s two younger sisters, Roberta and Erika, are there. Monique is the eldest; Erika, Roberta, and Corbin are her half siblings. Her father remarried after her own mother died and she has an uneasy relationship with her half sisters. Corbin is the youngest of the siblings and doesn’t bother her much but Erika and Roberta have a certain sibling rivalry with both her and each other. They have just finished their degree programmes and have new jobs, as does Monique. They all share their news with Emma and Blessing.
“I have a new job,” says Monique. “I’m leaving the Medical Centre and I’m going to train as a palaeontology technician with Bonnie Panenka. I’m really excited. She does palaeohistology and my skills will come in handy, as well as my training in dental restoration. I’ll be working on fossils now! And, best of all, Roberta is taking over my job with Esmée and Lara as nurse-technician!”
“Thank you so much for recommending me,” says Roberta.
Emma is very excited to have all these single women around. She’s just sure they need to find bachelors and she’s the one to do it. She can’t start with her match-making until making a little jibe at Monique, however.
“What a shame you couldn’t join us for church this morning, Monique,” she says. “Blessing, Roberta, and Erika joined me and Viviane. The sermon was inspiring and the music and choir were fabulous.”
” Well, you wouldn’t have this nice Easter dinner waiting for you if I had, would you, Emma?” Monique retorts. Emma is silenced, but only briefly.
“I’ve had a text off my sister Dasia,” says Emma. “She’s about to graduate from Emory University in the USA. I don’t know when she’ll be home, but I must organise a party – maybe the second May bank holiday. I need to invite some eligible bachelors for you young ladies. Let’s see – there’s Sutton Matthews and Steven Obi…”
“The two biggest bar-flies in town,” says Blessing.
“Don’t invite Sutton for me,” says Monique. “I’ve met someone else I want to invite.”
“No, invite him for me,” says Erika, glaring at Monique. “I know you went out with him. He told me. Just because you don’t want him doesn’t mean nobody does.”
“Yes, Erika,” says Blessing, “I saw him chatting you up at the pub last week.”
Emma is gobsmacked. What is going on? Sutton and Erika? Monique with a man she found on her own? Stay tuned!