All the beasties got on the bus for the first day of school and I watched it pull away, waving to the little faces pressed up against the windows. I listened to it turn onto the next street and strained to hear it laboring up the hill. And then there was silence.
I walked back up the empty street, through the empty yard and into the empty house. Everything was still and silent. I closed the door and stood for a long time in the front hall. Not a sound.
All the rooms are clean. The closets organized. The kitchen cabinets cleared out. The laundry room spotless. All the clothes are washed and all the art is hung on the walls. Soccer gear is in the bags awaiting practice tonight. The fridge is clean and fully stocked. The patio has been scoured and the yard is freshly clipped.
There is nothing that needs doing, no obscure task I can set myself to that will distract from the sudden departure of the three babbling voices and happy cacophony that follows the pounding of little feet rushing around the house.