Cheesy Matters of Divorcees

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Lucinda Palme

Cheesy Matters of Divorcees

Ove Vinson sat at the dining table dangling his legs. He thought the former man of the house was a taller man, and pondered what Linda Lundberg would put on the table. He could have taken the initiative to lay out the table for breakfast but he is a guest at her house. He waited for her while she was in the washroom to complete her morning ablutions.

Ove Vinson is a man without a wife.

Linda Lundberg is a woman without a husband.

The divorcees met online. The online encounter brought them to the offline world: the real world. They are neither young nor old nor middle-aged but past the middle age. Linda has invited him to her flat for over a full week, and she has agreed to visit him some time during Christmas, and they lived in different areas of Gothenburg.

Linda came to the kitchen, glanced at Ove and greeted him. She started to prepare for breakfast. She opened the refrigerator. Something she really cherished was over: consumed. She asked, “What happened to the cheese?”

There was a stab of accusation in her tone, Ove felt.

“You nibbled away,” he said. He should have reminded, or together, they should have stocked up for breakfast but they forgot last night.

The reason for their forgetfulness was boundless eating and drinking complemented with copulation like they never ate and drank in their lives and copulated.

On the first day of their cohabitation, they shopped, and they shared their costs down to cents though the retailers rounded up the cents to the nearest number. Swedish coinage moved away from minting öre the Swedish cent. In their shopped list was a cylinder of cheese apart from drinks they bought from System Bolaget the government-owned liquor store(s).

‘Nibbled away’ stabbed Linda. She opened the freezer and took out a loaf of bread she had frozen during previous Christmas. An expensive loaf, a dear one. She reluctantly and grudgingly took it out for there was no bread for breakfast. Ideally, she could have used it when her children were around. She de-froze the bread in the microwave, and picked up butter and jams from the fridge and laid them out on the table. ‘Nibbled away’ haunted her, and felt she was termed as a rat. Deep down in her heart she knew she eats lot of cheese, and indeed nibbled a bit whenever she opened the fridge.

“If you eat like a pig, there would be nothing,” she said.

Indeed, Ove knew he eats like a pig, and he eats lot of cheese. Not only Linda, his previous wife also remarked many a times that he ate like a pig, and should live in a pigsty.

“We ate,” Ove said. Anger surfaced on his face. He struggles to eat moderately though he exercised moderation in every other aspect of life. He recollected Aristotle’s rules for a man: courage, wisdom, justice and moderation. And he added, “like pigs and rats.”

Both Ove and Linda has a discriminating palate for cheeses. Their parents had introduced them to rich and varied cheeses ranging from cheddar to Gouda and mozzarella to Roquefort. A wheel of cheese, or at least a pyramid of cheese, never missed from their shopping lists.

Cheese is a quintessential item in their essential food items.

Who ate how much cheese and when, occurred to both of them, and both underestimated that the other will not eat as much cheese as he or she eats but the cylinder of cheese has gone down to their gullets, and down.

They ate the cylinder of cheese: he ate, otherwise she will eat; she ate, otherwise he will eat.

Linda the rat sat at the table. She started to make coffee for both of them by pouring in two cups.

Ove the pig helped her in making a toast for her. He started to spread the butter on a slice of bread.

They glanced at each other. The third day over breakfast has become frosty.

Linda observed, “No wonder, your wife left you,” and stood up and handed him his cup of coffee looking into his eyes.

Ove wanted to say something, tit-for-tat: no wonder, your husband left you. He collected the cup of coffee from her, placed it on the table, and walked over to her side, gently touched her shoulders, and remarked, “This pig begs for your pardon.”

“The same from the rat,” Linda said touching his hand on her shoulder. “Not only cheese, we have other things in common.”

The third day in their lives unfolded, in wintry November, promisingly and unpromisingly as they tried to overcome the cheesy matters.

—Lucinda Palme