It was only the second Residents' Association meeting, the first having dealt solely with the question of the apostophe. Twelve members took their seats along one side of the long table so that all were looking out through the french windows. The lawn out front sloped gently down towards a tall, dense hedge inhabited by blackberries, foxes and footballs. Only the chairperson would give the meeting their full attention, each of the others kept half an eye on a child or two scrambling around on the grass.
"Order." The chairperson said counterproductively, the quiet broken by whispers and sniggers at one end. When the sniggers subsided the chairperson continued:
"We have a matter of utmost importance to come to a decision on today, one which I feel we have neglected too long. Who would like to begin?"
The only reaction was further sniggering.
"Then I shall make some a few remarks before opening up for discussion. Ever since the events of last sumer I have felt that we are ready to move to the next stage. We have a unity of purpose and being that other communities can only dream of and which I feel we should celebrate in the appropriate manner. As such I propose that we formally declare our community happy."
No sniggering this time.
"I've investigated the requisite formalities and the mechanisms and found that we can achieve this with minimal cost. It will take commitment, yes, but the rewards will far outweigh the investment. I'm sure I need say no more at this stage but perhaps there are some questions?"
The chairperson rested back in the seat, hands together as if to pray.
"But....I...er...we" The voice came from the sniggerless end of the table "Last summer...last summer we..."
"Last summer was a blip" The chairperson interjected "A blemish yes but a blemish on an otherwise untarnished record."
"A blip? It's more than that! We can't take it back." From the other end of the table "How can we declare happiness when we did...that."
"They need not know."
"I know! You know. We all know. Every day we wake up knowing and go to bed knowing so hard that sleep is just a distant dream."
"If we declare..."
"Then what? It will patch everything up? Will the paperwork make it real?"
Outside there was a scream and a child on the grass crying and fifteen or so other faces throwing guilty glances inside. The scrape of chairs and the committee entered recess.