Of all the things I miss, it gets me the most.
When I realised my ex-husband had cheated me out of our house, I was shell-shocked. He had managed to pretend I was on the deeds of our home for ten years. He later admitted that it was his security. If I ever found out what he was up to in secret, he knew he could lose the house in divorce. The day my divorce lawyer called to say, “Do you know your name is not on the house deeds?” was a day I will never forget. As it all settled in, I realised, I would lose my kitchen.
Five years previously we had taken on the mammoth task of re-doing the kitchen. It took months. I cooked for our four children on a tiny two gas burner camping stove for weeks in the spare room. It was all worth it. The kitchen of my dreams was a reality. Walls had to come down, reinforced steel beams went in, the whole thing stripped back and made to my exacting plan. I loved that kitchen with a passion. Everyone admired it. Folks’ eyes widened as they entered, and their mouths gaped open. It was a thing of beauty.
The day I had to leave the house and move to my new tiny home ten minutes along the road, I stood in the kitchen and breathed it in one last time. I had raised my kids there. Worked late in to the night, and early mornings. Fed hordes of teenagers and family members. My table and chairs that I had lovingly found, were being left behind. I had no room for them. He got the house. He won. The law in Scotland does not judge the sin by financial means. No matter what he had done. The pain he had caused. The fact we were married. He got the house. He wouldn’t leave. He wouldn’t sell. He won. His tricks had paid off. I closed the door and left.
As I adjusted to my new minute kitchen, I would sometimes sit on the floor and cry. There is no space for anything. I would bash my arm on the wall, or my head on the stupid cupboards. It felt like a kitchen for dolls. Yet I still had to cook for the kids, the dog sitting right at my feet so I would trip over him. Barely room for both of us in the galley. I know I was spoiled. I know my kitchen was only a kitchen. But how I miss it.
Recently, my ex-husband has been bringing his shiny new girlfriend to stay at the house when the kids are with me. The one thing that drives me to the edge of reason, is the thought of her in my kitchen. The kitchen I poured my heart and soul in to. Not just in the design, but for the years after. The decor, the handles, the sink, the taps, the lights. I ooze out of every detail. My style, my personality, my love.
I have come to realise the only thing I can do is say goodbye to my kitchen and let it go. It’s the only thing that will allow me closure and to help ease the pain that grips me and holds me in such a rage I end up smashing something to try and release myself. So here it is….
To My Beautiful Kitchen,
I miss you. I long to cook in you one last time. Those last few months with you were a daze of heartache and I feel I missed the joy you and I always shared. I’m sorry for that.
To the cool smooth brass handles I had sent from Sweden, I thank you for your service. You were the perfect finish and wore so elegantly to show the hundreds of times you were touched, pulled and pushed.
To my double range cooker, how you and I made people smile. The magic we created. I miss you most.
To the Belfast double sink. You are the hardest working sink I know. From dishes, to flowers, to stinky football boots, you were the best. And I miss you.
To my big American fridge freezer. I don’t miss the sounds you made as you filled and made ice. I do miss the hollering of kids laughing as they taught their friends to catch the ice as it was spat out. An art indeed.
To the rustic wooden table, I chose with so much care. How he hated you and your slanted edges. Filled to the brim with kids, food, conversation and love for so many years. You must look so empty now. So many empty chairs around you.
To my perfectly knotted wooden floor. I have swept you, mopped you, cried on you, chased a puppy around you. Your warmth and beauty are missed in my heart.
To my cool stone worktops. How I lovingly cared and cleaned you until you were gleaming. My pride and joy. Even if it was 2am and I needed to be up in three hours. I would clean you until you dazzled. I miss your space. I miss the kids leaning on you talking to me as I cooked. I miss teaching them how to chop and whisk while making a mess all over you.
I miss you. I hate the thought of someone else being your master. I chose your paint. I chose the vintage skis on your walls. My kitchenaid toaster that ‘pings’. You were mine. We were a good team. Do you ever miss me?
No more Thanksgivings. No more dancing with my girls around the island. No more late nights making toast for hordes of teenagers. No more birthday cakes baked.
My 1960’s Bush radio now sits on my new windowsill, still tuned to Radio 4 as it’s always been. As I cook away in my apron, the radio babbling on in the background, I wonder how you sound now? Are you filled with new music or radio stations? Do you miss hearing the shipping forecast?
I have to let you go. The pain of missing is too much sometimes. The unfairness. The injustice. The missing of all that we were. I will never have another like you, but I am grateful for what we had. I am learning to move and dance in my new world now. I have to let you go so you can continue to serve to the home the way you do best.
Thank you for all the wonderful memories you helped me give the girls, family, friends. Thank you for the most wonderful partnership. I will never forget you, but I am setting you free now. For my own heart, and mind.
Love me xx