Mirth's waters recede.
I stand in the doorway, a Noah newly sobered, surveying the damage - the scene at once alien and familiar, a landscape of disarray.
Or perhaps I am Aeneas, rereading the history of my day in the echo of these objects. Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt. The melancholy of things abandoned in mid-use.
The seep of the winestain is a bloody vernicle. Infantries of crumbs march among deserted plates. In the corner a napkin comes slowly uncrushed.
And high above me the chandelier floats in reverie, a festival of tinklings, a fading hubbub of light. Its bulbs vacant but brilliant, bon mots that flood the room with laughter, bubbles of he said and she said that evaporate into silence, leaving the air flat.
You come up behind me. "We'd better clear up", you say, "I'll go change."
While you're away I circle the room, collect the empty glasses, hold them by their long, cool stems. Like a man plucking the last flowers from a garden he cannot save.