Bye now. Safe trip home.
Did you give Granny a hug?
Yes, I did.
Last touch, Gran.
She did. Last touch. Got got enough room back there?
Mmm.I sat in the front seat driving up.
My turn now.
It was a lovely weekend. Remember to SMS when you arrive.
Will do. Oh and I think we'll come up again that weekend in July, no matter when the date is set for Cath's baby shower.
I agree. The last good byes are lip read through the car windows. Ruth reverses the family car out of the drive and I watch it disappear into Charles St. The garage door rattles behind me. The dogs follow me from the bricked yard into the messy kitchen. I switch on the radio, then turn it off. I load the dishwasher before collecting a pile of damp towels from the guest bathroom. I pick up a picture book lying on my bedside table to return to its place on the blue, painted shelves in the grandkids’ room. I hunt for the keys to the veranda door and adjust my desk chair back to its normal height. I feel dull, dead, desolate. Later the empty silence becomes more familiar. Solitude not loneliness falls over the house. The dogs settle in the sun in the courtyard. The kitchen regains its order. When I sit at my desk, I make a note of the dates of three friends’ departures and returns – all flying off to visit adult children scattered across the continents. At least you don’t have to say that kind of goodbye, I remind myself gratefully.