I watch them as they emerge from the lift into the foyer.
They stand awkwardly shuffling feet, one coughs, another dabs a tissue to red rimmed eyes.
Watches are scrutinised, another cough, a hint for departing, waiting for the first to make their excuses and leave.
One in black, a shirt collar tight against his neck breaks the silence.
'Well...that's it I guess... all over...'
I overhear him say.
'Yes, I suppose, I shall be in the chapel if you...' the reply.
Silent nods acknowledge approval.
'Any one coming back to our place ?'
'Sorry, but we have to get back...thanks'
'Are you sure ? It's been such a long time since we all ...?
I'm sure , thanks...really, we must...!'
'There was nothing else they could do you know?' the voice tense and brittle.
'We all know that...it had to happen and we all agreed ...a joint decision to switch off'
'Doesn't make it any easier though, does it...?'
I really didn't expect it to be like that...standing there, a consensus nod to the staff, switch off, click, everything shuts down and it's over, finished!'
'What did you expect...? A resurrection or something ...? There was absolutely nothing more they could do...!'
'You knew that, I knew that, the others involved did...!'
The heated search for answers begins.
Regrets, guilt, bitterness, blame, if only we had, echo in the marble foyer.
'You know...it took this to bring us all together, the first time in years...' snaps one.
'We know, we know, should have kept in touch...'
'There never seemed to be enough time...'
'Always busy, you know... with this and that...'
'And when did you last visit...?'
'Working 24/7 and...' answered in defence.
A smile eases the tension when one asks.
'Do you remember the first time when all the family went on holiday...that old leaky caravan, near the beach...?'
'Oh then, gosh, that was what... a hundred years ago?'
'How old were you then...?'
'Remember getting chatted up...!'
'Oooh him...the lifeguard... I remember him alright'
And her...the mermaid...?'
'She couldn't even swim, bless her...'
'And that time when we all went to the theatre... '
'Dad had awful wind remember ... opps, mushy peas' he said, passing the blame to Alex.
'Cleared the two rows in front...!
'And three at the back...!
Switching off is momentarily put aside as they huddle close laughing at the memories.
'Looks like rain...!'
'I had better get a move on...'
'Yes sure, it's getting late...'
'What will you do now ?'
'I don't know yet...I just need to ...!'
'Are you sure you don't want to come back, stay the night...?
'No really, we need to...'
'Keep in touch then won't you ? Don't leave it for too long? '
Linking arms they exit the silent foyer and disappear into the remains of a sad dark day.