It was 7 am on Sunday and I opened my eyes slowly, then remembered what day it was and bolted upright in bed.
I flung the covers off of me and tripped trying to get out of bed. Got up quietly, and walked stealthily down the hall so as to not disturb my competitor. I needed a little quiet time alone before the game started, but then the game had already begun, hadn’t it? Tiptoeing down the stairs, my mission started immediately. I was hyper aware of my surroundings, my eyes darting from side to side trying to spot anything that was out of place. After I’d thoroughly surveyed the area, I went into the kitchen and started making breakfast.
My mother tries to pretend that she’s neutral as Switzerland, but since I make sure she gets a cut of my winnings, she clearly has a side. We negotiated strategy quietly, listening for my competition to wake up. Finally, a whole hour after I’d already had time to get my bearings, my sister woke up.
It was go time.
Re-enacting the same pre-game show that we have every year, my sister whined that she had just gotten up and I’d been walking around for an hour. Tough shit, my mom said, you snooze, you lose. Game on.
Running through the house, I realized that this was what I’d been training for for so long. I threw a few elbows to get to the fake flowers first. Then I darted into the living room, slamming a glass door behind me to slow her down. I knew all the spots to look for as she flailed around still looking in the kitchen when I knew nothing was left.
It felt like the game went on for hours but was really a mere 5 minutes, if even that. The screams, the yelling. Unlike in previous years, there was no bloodshed on this day. After my father declared the game over, we assembled at the kitchen counter for a final tally. Me: 5 eggs. My sister: 1 egg I’d decided to throw her as a bone. We cracked open each egg to reveal $10 bills and my sister screamed about the unfairness of the whole game. That my mother had unfairly helped me (of course she had) and that I had assaulted her by elbowing her in the face (it’s tradition). My mother couldn’t take the screams, the tears, and my smugness and once again in the Easter tradition vowed that never again would we do the Easter Egg hunt, this terrible battle between siblings that always ends in hurt feelings and anger.
Deep down, I know that my dad insists on doing it every year, and also on putting money in the eggs because he enjoys seeing us fight each other to the death. After the final egg had been cracked open and I relished my bounty, my father told me to take the eggs and go put them in the garage. Ready and waiting for next year, when they would claim their next victim.