1st December

Not Watering the Plants

They have better views than we do. Of course: they are two storeys higher.

Their bathroom is smaller but the en suite seems bigger. It’s hard to be certain, as the rooms are different shapes. The shower unit is definitely bigger.

Their flat is a corner flat. Ours isn’t.

Their kitchen has an identical layout, but our appliances are more up to date. They have the original floor covering. We replaced ours when we moved in.

In the other rooms the carpets are more stained and worn than ours. But then, they have two children, to our none.

They also have an extra bedroom.

They have hundreds of DVDs and CDs, but no books. They have a music system with speakers in different rooms, a huge flat-screen TV on the living-room wall and a smaller one in the master bedroom. There are boxes of toys, transfers on the walls of the children’s bedroom. A duck, a puppy, a frog, a kitten.

We have books and a small TV we hardly ever watch.

They have gone to Australia for three weeks, to visit her brother and his family.

We know what they paid for their flat, two years after we bought ours. We bought just before the crash, they bought after.

They got the bargain.

They have the view, the extra bedroom, the old carpets and appliances and a mortgage pegged to the base rate.

We have what we have, and a fixed-rate mortgage that at the time we thought was the sensible, safe option.

They won’t have any hotel bills in Australia, she said. Otherwise they couldn’t afford to go.

They have three unopened bottles of malt whisky in a cabinet.

They have a lot of clothes for four people. The kids have more clothes than we do.

He has rows of shirts on hangers. Five suits. Sportswear and casual items with designer labels. How many socks does a man need? It’s hard to get the drawers closed.

She has more clothes than the others put together. It is not possible to count the shoes.

She has silk underwear, mostly white, none grey.

The sex toys have flat batteries.

The plants don’t need watering, again.

Reader: Alana Jackson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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