Everyone has a least favourite day of the entire year. For some it’s Halloween. For some it’s Easter (although I never got that one. You get free candy after a scavenger hunt. What the heck, Easter Haters?). But for me? It’s April Fools Day. Yep, you heard me right. You get mouldy cheese in your sandwich, over-ripe bananas smushed into your locker by annoying boys and the worst of all? Everyone enjoys it. Everyone enjoys pretending that April Fools deserves a real celebration. I prefer spending April 1st doing good deeds.
“Hey, Justin! Nice shirt!” I said as he dropped a container of slime into Alice’s boot. “And Ruby! Love the hair! Reflects your personality.” Both those are lies. Justin’s shirt is obnoxious and covered in purple, green, orange, and yellow Hawaiian flowers, and Ruby’s hair is full of split ends and was pulled into a fraying bun on the top of her pointy head. Not the cute, trendy kind. But the incredibly ugly and messy kind. But lying about people's hair and shirts is better than throwing tomatoes at random people passing by on the street. You see, Greenview Middle takes April Fools very seriously. The teachers hand out rotten fruit and water balloons to students to throw at people. My older brother Oscar was driving by once last year and had to pay for approximately seven-teen carwashes to get the neon yellow and orange paint off his windshield. Crazy. But on March 31st, I prepare my deeds for the day ahead. First, I pull an orange poster-board out from under my bed. I stencilled in the words ‘YOU ARE AMAZING! HAVE A GREAT DAY! *This is not a prank*’, then went over them in black marker. One poster down, nine to go. I finished the other ones, then went downstairs to prepare brownies for the entire class. Eventually, I decided to triple the recipe to accommodate all of the seventh-grade classes. But after I was done, it had been two hours of just baking. Exhausted, I fell asleep in my jeans as soon as my head hit the pillow.
The next morning, my mom had slid a note under my bedroom door. Happy April Fools! Oops, pardon me. Horrible April Fools! Enjoy making people happy. I groaned and threw the note into the line of binders neatly placed in rainbow order on my shelf. Mom had always teased me about my hatred of this holiday. If you could even call it that. I loaded my triple chocolate brownies with caramel mixed into them into a baking carrier, changed into clean clothes, then decided I had to leave soon. I never ate breakfast on April Fools. I had ten posters to put by doors and cars and I didn’t have any time to spare. After slinging my backpack over my shoulder, I grabbed the brownies and left, posters under my arm.
I left all the posters on car windshields, cringing as I thought about Oscar’s windshield fiasco only 365 days ago exactly. After I’d left them all, I made my way to school, stomach rumbling as it did annually. I stepped in the doors and waited for the rush of slime, snails, and fruit to come rushing at me. Nothing came. Not even Alyssa, who found great joy in annoying people, was in the hallway.
“Justin? Alice? Oliver? Alyssa? Where are you guys!?” I cried. But my comments hit empty air. Nothing happened. I’m probably just late, I thought. I made my way to the classroom. The desks were aligned in two straight lines on either side of the classroom. Black tablecloths hung over them in sheets. I was about to turn around and search the other classrooms when the tablecloth moved. The disruption rippled through the entire thing before finally slowing. I heard giggling, so I stepped inside.
“Miss Rinatta? Is anyone here?” I called. I heard a sigh before Miss Rinatta emerged from behind the line of tables.
“Hello, Calli,” Miss Rinatta said quietly. I almost couldn’t hear her voice it was so quiet. “Um, the class is here. We decided to throw an April Fools Day party…” She trailed off. She stuck her hands behind her, and I heard a snapping of fingers.
“Why’d you sna-”
“WELCOME TO ANTI-APRIL FOOLS!”
“Oh my gosh, you guys! Why’d you do that?” I screamed. “You scared me!” Everyone had jumped out from under the tablecloth and flailed their arms around their heads.
“Calli, we wanted to thank you for trying to stop us from doing the horrible April Fools things. We took it way too far,” Miss Rinatta said.
“You know we got sued? The school, I mean?” Justin cried from behind the crowds of my class.
“Yes, Calli we got sued. Turns out the principal threw a rotten tomato at some toddler, who fell over and got a concussion, and a couple of broken bones… the mother sued us. She was mad as heck,” Miss Rinatta explained. “So we decided to celebrate you, who tried to tell us otherwise. That we took April Fools way too far.” I thought back to the first grade when I’d transferred here from another school in Kamloops. I was appalled that the people at Greenview took the awful holiday so seriously. So I’d tried to tell them to cut it out.
“Um, Mrs. Green?” She’d been my first-grade teacher. “I don’t think it’s very good to throw water balloons full of paint at people’s dogs. And it’s probably not ideal to throw pink-painted bricks with the words ‘April Fools! HAHA!!!’ at people’s windows and windshields. Even if you tie fifty-dollar bills to them… it’s probably not good.” I had said.
“HA! Wrong, kid. April Fools is the best thing you can possibly do. Throwing rotten tomatoes. It’s the best day of the entire world,” Mrs. Green had told me. She waved her hand and went back to teaching the class subtraction.
“Um, thanks Miss Rinatta!” I said. The class rounded back to behind the desks and came back with trays of snacks. Alice had Cheetos, Justin had a platter of vegetables with Ranch dressing, Bella had chips, and Oliver had cookies.
“Oh my gosh, you guys!” I squealed. I lifted my brownies. “Look what I made!”
“OMG Calli brought brownies!” Oliver cried.
“Enough for all of the classes in our grade, but… you know. Maybe we can each have three? I don’t know. Would no one like to have any? I dunno…” I giggled. Oliver clomped over to me and grabbed the tray. He opened it and shoved three brownies down his throat.
“Oh my gosh,” He said through his food. Although it sounded more like ‘Ow mwy goh’. I giggled. “These are soooo good!” Eventually, the brownies were gone, even before I put them down.
“These are amazing! Gimme the recipe!” I heard constantly.
“I will if you give me some chips!” I joked, sticking my hand in the bowl. Everyone laughed and moved on. They put all the food on the tables and began talking. I felt tears welling in my eyes.
“Calli! What’s wrong, dear?” Miss Rinatta cried, putting a strong, steady hand on my shoulder.
“Nothing... just that I’m so thankful that you guys took my advice,” I said. A tear slide down my cheek. Miss Rinatta pulled me into a hug. I cried into her shirt. Her fluffy white sweater did not slide off, the absorbed, probably making her entire neck soaked to the bone. But eventually, everyone saw my tears. Usually, I would be devastated. Everyone saw me crying my eyes out. But that’s not what happened. Silently, every single person in my class joined in on the hug. I was crying. Miss Rinatta was whispering kind comments into my hair. The rest of my class just silently made the embrace tighter. Slowly, I stopped crying. Eventually, we all stepped away. And even to this day, twenty years later, I hate April Fools and so does everyone in the school (after the school went out of business in the lawsuit). Twenty years later I still remember that hug. The tightness. The pounding of everyone’s heartbeat. The sound of everyone’s breath. But mostly the feel of everyone’s love. And that, I’ll never forget.