Did you hear about Jane? Not Mike’s Jane. Al’s Jane. You know. The one that used to live in that new house on Calder Avenue, the one with the stone front that makes it look old and authentic when it’s clearly not.

You didn’t? Really? I thought everyone knew. I heard it from Melanie. Don’t know who told her, but anyway. It’s awful. Absolutely awful. I feel so sorry for her.

You know she moved, right? About six months ago. Well, Melanie told me that her husband, Al, came home one day – this was at the start of the financial crisis – and told her he was going to build her a new kitchen. He’d seen Geoff and Lucy’s. You know, the one with the Aga, and thought, you know what, I think we should get one of them and redo the whole thing. The crisis hadn’t really hit the business – so he said – it would be fine, and anyway she’d been wanting one for ages so let’s do it.

He got the builders in, the refitters and plumbers and whatnot, and got the whole thing done just as she wanted it done. Anything she wanted she got: the Aga, the Smeg fridge and freezer, the Dualit toaster. The whole shebang. He even replaced their dishwasher even though they’d only had it a few years simply because it had started making the plates squeaky when you took them out and Jane hated the squeaky feel of them on her hands.

It was perfect. She put pictures of the finished product on Facebook and everything for everyone to see. She was so happy, so in love with her husband for doing it.

Then about a week or so later he came home and told her the news. He was bankrupt. The crisis had wiped him out. It had nothing to do with the kitchen. He’d already been in trouble before that. They were going to have to leave. To sell the house.

And, by the way, he said, I want a divorce. I’m seeing someone else. Hope you liked the kitchen.

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11 thoughts on “The Kitchen That Al Built

  1. Talk about irony. Not getting to enjoy the brand new kitchen. The kitchen the husband built probably because he was having an affair and felt guilty at the time. Trying to keep up with the joneses only to end up without the home and fodder for gossip. MOV you packed a powerful punch in such a short story. Made me laugh at the end.

  2. What a b*****d. So he was only doing up the kitchen to maximise the value of the house when he sold it to go off with his floozy. Honestly, some people have not shame. Great writing.

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