How to Sell a Broken Home


  1. When he said he was leaving, you threw a coffee mug at him. Hang a mirror over the dent it made in the wall when he ducked. Don’t look in the mirror. You won’t know the woman with unkempt hair and yesterday’s mascara running down her cheeks.
  2. When the estate agent asks why you’re selling, say, ‘The D word.’ Then force a laugh and claim you’re downsizing. No one likes a loser.
  3. Find a framed photo of the two of you. There must be one left somewhere that you haven’t smashed. Plant it in the middle of the table with the children’s photos, a weed amongst the flowers. Remember, happy homes sell best.
  4. Coordinate bread baking with the estate agent’s open house to emphasise the cosy and welcoming nature of your home. When the vultures leave, throw out the bread. You lost your appetite weeks ago.
  5. When the same couple comes back a third time, escape to the bottom of the garden where you used to park your crying infants. The buyers won’t hear your sobs, just as you never heard the babies’.
  6. After the sale goes through, don’t drive past the old house at night. Give the new family the space and privacy to make their own mistakes in that broken home.


About the author:

Damhnait Monaghan is a Canadian now living in the UK. Her short stories, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction are most recently published in Brilliant Flash Fiction, Still Point Arts Quarterly, The Incubator and Understorey Magazine. She’s on Twitter @Downith.