The quiet settled in, really set in, to the point where you could hear it for the first time since they left.

Devlin eased himself back into his chair and closed his eyes. The visits were growing fewer and farther between. He noticed it mostly after his Marie passed. It was partly the time and the sense of sadness he was sure, but also because everyone was getting older and working to control the things in their own lives that often steer people far away to places unknown.

Wrapped in the quiet, he played his favorite moments of the long weekend over in his head, creating memories like photographs he hoped he could recall later, their faces, their smiles, their laughter.  Not just the images, but the warmth as well. He drew a deep breath and smiled.

The laughter was good, so were the hugs, but the laughter was like medicine, especially from the small ones.

He didn’t want a pall of sadness to settle over their visits, so he tried his best to compensate for Marie’s absence, though he was admittedly lost in the kitchen.

He looked over at that last family portrait, the one where Dex insisted in using his “TV smile,” and Alex, who at the time insisted on being called, “Jayne” because it was more grown up.  They never had another one done. They talked about it, but it never happened. He studied the faces, the eyes. He missed them already.

Where does the time go?

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