Last Christmas

Imagine: Christmas in Surrey. The house is worth at least a million, although the son’s girlfriend, stepping through the front door for the first time, gets the overwhelming sensation that this is not a home. She is kissed on both cheeks by the mother, a plain woman with frown lines tipping her eyebrows together and thin, dry lips, and by the father, who has the same pale, freckled cheeks as the son. She follows the three of them through a painfully neat living room – polished surfaces, carefully placed magazines, gilt-framed family poses – into a kitchen that smells of lemon scented surface cleaner.

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Sarah Butler writes novels and short fiction. She has an MA in Creative Writing from UEA and has been published by Route, and Pen and Ink Press. She runs a literature and regeneration consultancy, UrbanWords.