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  • A cousin’s musing on how the day might be

    Bustle, bustle, bustle
    Mumble, mumble, mumble
    Splish, splish, splish
    Waaa! Waaa!

    S w a d l e , S w a d l e
    Chitter chatter, chitter chatter
    Splosh, splosh, splosh

    Bustle, bustle, bustle

    Family, friends jostle into the church.
    Women in smart Sunday suits and unfamiliar hats.
    Men in shirts and outdated ties, being smoothed over by wives to make sure they look presentable.
    Bulging bodies hanging off large boned frames squeezed into cold wooden pews.
    A discreet cough from the elderly vicar and everybody sits.
    Thick thighs squashed against their neighbours, like pickled onions pushed into a jar.

    Mumble, mumble, mumble

    The vicar starts to preach.
    His mouth reveals difficult, crooked teeth and spittle as he rattles off
    his familiar words of dedicating a baby to God’s path.
    The glazing eyes show he is going through the motions until
    he takes little Lucy in his warm, cloth covered, arms and finally gives a true smile
    as he looks into the eyes of the chunky child, all dressed up to the nines.

    Splish, splish, splish

    His crinkly hands pour the holy water over Lucy’s head.
    Mum and Dad hold their breath until.....

    Waaa! Waaa!

    Louise and Richard exchange weary worn glances.
    Lucy is screaming, yelping, wailing and all cry out at once
    what is this old, strange, smelly man doing to me?
    why is the wet so cold?
    where are my mum and dad for a cosy cuddle to save me?
    The Vicar chuckles
    as he remembers all the times he has done this before,
    for his own children,
    at other churches,
    and how this will happen so many times again in the future.

    S w a d l e , S w a d l e

    Lucy is returned into Mum’s open arms.
    The screeches quickly turn into a smile and a gurgle that conveys
    'hello mum, thanks for saving me from the scary cold wet and the strange smelling man'.
    The whole church sighs a breath of relief as quiet returns.
    The stained glass windows seem to sag too, as if they can now relax in peaceful stillness.
    Swaddled. Wrapped and enveloped in love.
    God smiles down a rainbow from each end of the earth to welcome Lucy.

    Chitter chatter, chitter chatter

    The crunched crowd rise as one, as buttons popping off a fat man’s shirt.
    They can now all expand back to normal sizes.
    The conversation rises as they all bustle back out of the church.
    The voice of proud Grandma floats high in the rafters
    and you can hear the smile on her face,
    above the clitter clatter of her posh high shoes.

    Uncle Colin sneaks a quiet cigarette in the church grounds,
    happy to breathe again after the squashed church.
    Wanting a little break in the peaceful grounds
    before being bombarded with family in the hall,
    hoping for a hug and chit chat with Lucy
    away from the fussing mothers.

    Splosh, splosh, splosh

    The hot, decrepit, tea urn of the church hall churns out brown gold
    into rose patterned, fancy, chipped cups and saucers.
    Family and friends sit on uncomfortable plastic school chairs.
    Bums that have just recovered from pews
    become numb again on the hard surface.
    The tea is weak and limp.
    The cake is stodgy.
    The crowd is loud and headachy.
    But nobody minds.
    This is Lucy’s day and her big smile and wide open eyes make it all worthwhile.
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