In the fading light, Alexandria stood on the porch with her dog, Jasper, and waved to her son and daughter-in-law, who were the last to leave after the holiday weekend.  The grandchildren in the backseat missed the wave as they were already lost in games on their phones.  They remained on the porch until the distant sound of gravel crunching disappeared as the car rounded the bend in the road just beyond the lake.  Finally, as the dust from the road was beginning to settle, the pair slowly turned toward the door and entered the quiet house.  The quietness was in stark contrast to a weekend of children running through the house and the constant hum of conversation and laughter.  After years of living alone and the children and grandchildren only coming home for the holidays, Alexandria was still surprised in those first hours after everyone left how different the house felt.  Pausing in the doorway of the living room, Alexandria noticed the evening light casting shadows across the room onto the family photos lining the fireplace.  A sliver of light was shining on Gabrielle’s photograph and for the hundredth time this weekend, Alexandria wondered why her daughter chose again to not attend the family weekend and puzzled at the gulf that was widening between Gabrielle and the rest of the family.  She certainly hoped it was really her job and friends keeping her in the city and not her intense need to distance herself from the painful events of the last few years.  Not wanting to focus next on Sophie’s photo and trying to shake the sudden pensive mood, Alexandria led Jasper to the kitchen for a treat and upon entering noticed the kitchen curtains softly blowing in the breeze and the last shred of light glistening on the wine glasses left in the rack to dry.  As the final light of the day faded, Alexandria mounted the stairs with a biscuit and glass of wine in hand and Jasper trailing, with a hope that memories of the laughter over the weekend would quickly diminish the shadows and ghosts lurking in the quiet of darkness.

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