Morose comes close to capturing the tone
I first encountered entering their place.
Initially the mood, in loading zone,
was almost joyful, and the greeting face
wore happy looks from mouth to curving eyes.
But when we left the car to eat our food
I sensed a crack, a slippage, a demise.
I sat among a group in testy mood.

The kids seemed teenage-normal. The adults
were teetering on bickering, I thought,
although there were no arguing results.
Conversing, shoulders eased and overwrought
appeared relieved. I think my presence made
an audience and buffer while I stayed.

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