The little house is quiet now. Young people are fast asleep on couches and in bedrooms. The dog, enraptured by their presence, refuses to sleep upstairs on her everyday dog bed, cuddling as close them as she can get.
Yesterday, after my parents and my sister's family departed, all the young people decided to go for a long drive to the coast. For a few hours Tom and I puttered quietly among the holiday shreds. Then, as we were eating our dinner, headlights swept up the driveway. "They're back!" wailed Tom in mock-despair. The young people bounced into the house: they'd looked at the sea! they'd gone bowling! they'd forgotten to put gas in the tank! was there any lasagna they could eat? They flopped on chairs and tickled the cat and one-upped each other with "filming-disasters-I-have-had" and complained about Wordsworth and unearthed half a leftover pie. Carrying marshmallows and smartphone flashlights, they trooped into the darkness to build a bonfire. "Tomorrow," cried James, "tomorrow I will take your author photo!"