Monday 30 May 2022

The Toilet Renovations by Hannah Retallick, a chilly glass of whatever she was served

Violet rushed to the toilet after dropping the children at school; there was no time beforehand. Her trousers pooled on the floor. She leant back against the condensation-dripping cistern, its cold body joining hers, and examined the tatty walls and ceiling. Something had to be done.

The ensuing renovations took months. She stripped the green mould-speckled wallpaper in December, peeling it from the corners. Then Michael broke his wrist on New Year’s Eve and froze her progress.

When he returned to his work in March, she gouged off the remaining paper with an old palette knife, careful not to damage the drywall beneath. Then Kevin had a stomach bug; the toilet became depressingly functional.

She managed to paint the ceiling with Chantilly Lace before a late Wintery spell clutched them. Then she lost heart.

Spring reminded Violet of her mission. She prepared the walls and covered them with Lulworth Blue – watery, subtle, and appropriate. The two boys formed a coalition to obstruct her with calls of boredom and attention starvation. Gently pushing little Kai out of paint’s way, she studied the bright whiteness above, deciding that there was something missing; she knew what it was and would not rest until she had it.

Violet added the final touch, with no one else’s approval. The chandelier was entirely impractical. Its mass of twinkling icicles hung so low that you had to duck as you entered, then shuffle towards the toilet, twist, and place yourself on the seat. It couldn’t go unnoticed.

About the author


Hannah Retallick is a twenty-eight-year-old from Anglesey, North Wales. She was home educated and then studied with the Open University, passing her Creative Writing MA with a Distinction. She has been shortlisted/highly commended in many international competitions and won Second Place with Cranked Anvil Press in January 2022.

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