Lillian looked up from her crochet. Four minutes hung between this year and the next, and there was no punch in the punch bowl. Scanning the room, she saw pillows in their rightful places, and the coffee table adorned with fresh camellias, snowdrops, and holly. The creaky floors above were silent. No child’s footfall or laughter filled the stairwell, and no intentional sound emanated but her fingers pulling against the worsted yarn for the next chain.
No company this year, nor the next. Lillian returned to her stitches, hearing, now, tears pattering softly on pinewood.