The last of the guests had been seen off, and the madness that spilled over to the living room is now a manageable mess. The street is back to being quietly normal, the dogs are no longer jumpy and the fridge is groaning with calories and cholesterol. I will deal with the leftovers tomorrow. Tonight I will allow myself to wallow in post-holiday blues.
I guess this is the downside to being--and staying--home: people are always saying goodbye. There are early-morning goodbyes, when cars that used to crowd the curb disappear into the mist after one last blowing of the horn. They won't return until the next long holiday; sometimes not even then.
There are hasty goodbyes said at terminals, amid last calls for boarding and the excitement of arriving passengers. Whatever catching up is crammed in the hour-long drive to the airport. For my daughter and her cousins, the catching up will have to be done much later, when they are old enough not to squabble over toys, over the attention of the grandparents, over invasion of private spaces. When they are old enough to understand the concept of family.
The house is all quiet now. It will be so until somebody comes home again. I longed for this kind of quiet when the next-door neighbor belted out "Tragedy" from the videoke machine at 2 a.m. a lifetime ago. I wished for quiet when there was a houseful of whining and wailing toddlers. When firecrackers set off the baying of four dogs and the annoying whimper of six puppies.
It will be another long stretch before family and friends visit what they used to call home. It won't be long before I settle into the new year. Life will be back to normal tomorrow, and I won't have time for the blues.
Tonight, though, I wish it isn't this quiet. Oh well...