The ticking clock on the wall reminds me that it is past midnight. I had better hurry up and finish cleaning up the kitchen if I want to get up early tomorrow. Not that I have much cleaning to do, since mum has already taken care of most of it as soon as the party was over. She has this way of doing things quicker than I can process them, even after an entire evening spent managing guests and layering dish after dish on the table. I shake my head as if to get rid of the bits of sleep making their way to my brain and eyes. Must keep active, and give a little help for once.
The cat waits behind me as I wipe the counter, purring gently to herself. She wants some cuddles. The house is dark and quiet now – a stark contrast with the bubbling atmosphere of a few minutes ago. At times there was laughter, and later what sounded like grave conversations in the living room. I didn’t take part in it – apart from a polite appearance to say hello and entertain for a short while. But it is not my place.
All that remains of the party is a lingering smile on mum’s face as she kisses me goodnight, and the leftover pistachios to throw away. The evening feels strangely suspended in time, like one big timeless moment that has simply moved on from us.
Finally, after a last squeeze, I put the sponge down and turn around. The cat is gone.