My new kitchen is perfect. Clean cream cupboards and silky black granite tops. The aga altar and the dropped in round and white ceramic bowls. The pantry to hide in when family matters matter too much. The oaked wood floors good enough to dance upon. A polka, I think, would be the best and liveliest of kitchen dances; though the choice is wide and a foxtrot too, is tempting. My kitchen is perfect. That first day, I put away, wiped away, tidied away to make it so. This, I thought, this is how I will live. Stylish and clean, glossy even. Easy. Cream painted walls smooth as a woman's thigh. A matching cream, intimate and leathered sofa; here, I will lie about in many "me" moments, hold magazines between crimson manicured fingers and read of political skulduggery. At the very least, I will do that. This window sill; here, I can mourn lost cities and swallow down the comfort of bitter, milky coffee. A fellow London exile stopped by. He left me two Starbucks china mugs - complete with medium strength Columbian dregs. He said: "I heard you might need these." My kitchen is perfect. New but with a history. "Did you hear the one about the architect? He finally came round to the pantry." My kitchen is perfect: it's official.
Life happened. Already. That did not take long. Now, a padded snail on rockers rides my wooden floor. My kitchen is perfect. Strawberry jam and dirty boy feet mark my sofa. "This is our sofa Mummy," and my kitchen is perfect. They eat their snacks on Starbucks stools. "We don't like the table. We like it here." A green cardboard frog with concertina legs and a red and lolling tongue sits on my shelf. Though desperate looking, he carries around a scrawled and thought filled bubble: "This is fun." An old decoupaged fire screen stands on my hearth, snipped and pasted before blindness ripped away my mother's sight. Washing waits patient on the side (good job my mother cannot see it) and a small boy's muddy coat hangs by one arm from the aga. Tears cool and slide across china plates onto my water smashed and disappointed granite; the china from the children's roasted chicken tea. My kitchen, my beautiful kitchen, is perfect.