Wednesday 17 August 2022

A Kitchen Full of Strangers by Kate Twitchin, milky tea with a slice of cake


‘Are you going to eat that?’


‘Five minutes, then it’s going in the bin.’


‘I want this kitchen spotless.’


‘Max! Put your phone down and eat your lunch. Now!’



I fight back tears as I make up the guest bed. What happened to that lovely little boy who chattered all day long and ate mashed potato by the forkful? In the blink of an eye, he’s become a monosyllabic teenager and, if he doesn’t switch his phone off and pick up his fork soon, I’ll be having to explain to my mother why her grandson is still eating his lunch at two-thirty in the afternoon on such a gloriously sunny day. Max should be outside playing with his friends, climbing trees, having adventures. Blah, blah.


‘Oh Max, you haven’t touched it.’ I tip the food into the bin, cringing at the waste. ‘Your Nan will be here soon.’


‘Turn your phone off and be polite or go to your room.’


‘Are you listening?’


‘Yoo-hoo, anybody home?’

Hell, she’s early, I haven’t even started on the bathroom yet.

‘In the kitchen, Mum.’

‘Hello love, hello Max.’

‘Max! Phone. Down.’ I hiss.

‘Hi Nan, sorry, just had to get to the end of the chapter.’ Max turns off his phone.


‘What’re you reading?’ she asks.


‘Animal Farm, it’s awesome.’

Animal Farm?

‘Absolutely, a classic, but not on your titchy phone surely? You need a Kindle.’

A Kindle? Mum?

‘Now, how about a cuppa, I’m parched,’ she says.

‘I’ll make it,’ Max leaps up.


‘With your mum it was Narnia, Narnia, Narnia. Barely stopped reading even to eat.’

‘Seriously?’ Max looks across at me and I look back at him.

I hardly recognise him and I certainly no longer recognise myself.


About the author 

Retired Administrator Kate is enjoying sitting around and making things up. She’s trying a bit of everything and is delighted with her success so far: poems published by The People’s Friend; Flash Fiction in Secret Attic, Early Works Press and Briefly Write; and short stories shortlisted in various competitions. 


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