"You'll be glad when we've all gone so that the two of you can have the house to yourselves"
My uncle addressed my mum as she was preparing Sunday lunch. It was around about noon, and C. and I were just getting ready to head back up to Nottingham; my elder brother and his pregnant wife had already gone back to Cambridge; my younger brother and his wife were in their little house up the road and my aunt and uncle would be heading back to Herefordshire straight after lunch. The family had gathered to take my dad out for a meal on Saturday to mark his sixtieth birthday. The food had perhaps been a bit iffy, but it had been great fun and the company had been excellent - I hadn't really appreciated when I was fourteen what a nice, interesting man my uncle is.
My mum laughed.
"Actually, John's going out to a rehearsal after lunch, so I'll have the whole house to myself." She stretched out at the thought. "Bliss!"
My uncle smiled.
"Yes, sometimes it's nice to just be alone with your thoughts, isn't it?"
"Yes, I do like company, but it is nice to be all on your own from time to time. I wouldn't want to be on my own all the time, mind you." She paused for a heartbeat before continuing - only a heartbeat - but the silence reverberated around the room as the three of us let that thought and its possible implications to sink in. My mum looked up and smiled gently at us. "Of course, you should be careful what you wish for."
The moment passed and the conversation continued.
14 hours ago