It is well past midnight-and-a-half

and I can't sleep. I don't want to.

Charlie is asleep. Dowlan is asleep. Melody and Dixie are asleep and are even asleep somewhere else.

The cat has finished his pouncing, the washer and dishwasher's gentle sloshes have ceased. The movie I was watching ended and the blue screen stares back at me.

It is so quiet that I can hear the hum of the refrigerator. The aquarium gurgles nearby. The smoke alarm just chirped . . . yeah, it isn't supposed to do that . . . and an airplane flew nearby yet far away.

It is interesting to be in a house quiet enough that I can hear the difference in key clicks between the fingers with long nails and the fingers with stubby, broken-off ones. A few blocks away, I hear the train's movements before I hear it's whistle.

The grandmother clock begins it's sequence, reminding me that this happy solitude is not without cost. Tomorrow there are dental appointments to be kept, floors to be swept and mopped, cornbread to be baked, laundry to be put away and children to . . . I have no idea what I'm actually supposed to be doing with the children, I admit.

When there was just a Melody girl, there were still silences and stillness throughout the day, but that is far behind us. Sometimes I miss how simple life was when we still not outnumbered the kids.

We're a good ways away from any road that might have traffic this time of night, but still I heard a motorcycle off in the distance just now.

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