The grown kids have come home. The towels have all gone missing; ice cream and beers repeatedly disappear from the freezer and fridge, as predictably as spangled ladies vanished in end-of-the-pier magic acts. They are maybe more at home than you can ever remember, unless you cast far back to pre-school. These days we are all as rooted as babies are; we are like babies before crawling. Our familiar home routines are peppered with these surreal moments.

And all those years when you had answers for them have disappeared; just like the beers. You could tell them how life changed after Aids. You could talk about the world post 9/11. You can remind them of the friends who lost their home in the 2008 crash. But having had more life doesn’t mean you have any more answers. They know you cannot tell them what changes are coming next.

One of them starts learning the chords to Beatles songs. Their friend has a boyfriend who likes old music, and he has a birthday, and she can’t get him anything, and so she wants to record herself singing him a song, and wants your kid to record the guitar part. It is a quick project, but in the weeks that follow, at odd moments, when you hear them strumming “when I’m sixty-four“, you feel glad they didn’t pick “Tomorrow Never Knows”.

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