It's quiet in my house. There is an occasional hiss from the roast in the oven, the washing machine clicks periodically, and the downstairs neighbours laughter drifts upstairs from time to time. But mostly, it is quiet.
It is a temporary quiet, though, a brief respite from the hustle and bustle. Jamie has gone out, driving to the airport where he will pick up his dad and his dad's wife, here to visit for a few days. They will stay with us tonight, our first official houseguests since we got married. The house is unrecognizable from two weeks ago. Everything is packed away, tidy and orderly. No boxes linger from our summer time move, things having finally been sorted after months of patience from Jamie, who hates unfinished jobs. After putting it off for so long, it only took me about an hour, which is kind of disgraceful when you think about it. The floors are sparkling, the kitchen is gleaming, the bathroom is spotless. We are ready for guests. Dinner is in the oven, wine is in the fridge, dessert is waiting to be finished. But for now, I enjoy the brief moment of peace before the noise descends again.
I like Christmas, I do. I had a great time yesterday, talking and visiting and eating and opening presents. But I am not, by nature, a terribly social person. I like socializing a lot in limited quantities. I will have a great time at the party but will almost enjoy coming home even more, to a place where I can be quiet and just sit, nobody to disturb me but my own self. And in a week where the parties and the events are thick and furiously flinging themselves at me, the moments of quiet are all the more welcome. I will have to get back to it in a moment - the towels need to be put in the drier, the roast checked, the potatoes mashed. But for now, I sit in the quiet house and I watch my brightly lit tree and I close my eyes and soak up the silence, filling myself with it to balance the oncoming rush of sound and excitement.