“Once Married”

I was once married to a man who had to have three different foods for dinner. There had to be the main food – the meat or fish or pasta. There should be a vegetable, although if the main food was a pasta, there did not have to be a vegetable, because the tomato sauce could be considered the vegetable. If the main food was pasta, even though the tomato sauce was considered a vegetable, there still had to be a second and third food, and the second food was preferably a salad of some type, and the third food could be garlic bread. If the main food was meat or fish then it was easy – a vegetable or rice could be the second food, and a salad the third. Or it could be a vegetable and rice and no salad. This was the most common meal I served because it was open to the least interpretation. Meat, green beans, salad – couldn’t be easier. I could sense my husband’s discomfort when I made something like tacos, which we both loved, but made him feel off balance. Because tacos have many parts, yet are a meal in and of themselves. The way I do them is I warm up the hard shells, then, on the kitchen counter, I put bowls filled with chopped lettuce, sautéed hamburger meat (seasoned with cumin and garlic powder), sour cream, thinly sliced green onions, grated cheddar cheese, mashed avocado, and salsa. Theoretically this could be considered to be eight items. And it ends up all thrown together, not separate, so this is confusing. My husband usually, when I served the normal three items, would eat one thing at a time – finish his salad, then eat the steak, then the green beans. There seemed to be an order but I tried not to follow it, because it made my head hurt. There was also a thing about silverware that I could never keep straight. He liked a small spoon for oatmeal but a big spoon for dry cereal, or was it the other way around? A sharp knife for certain foods (of course, a roast or meat chop), but he didn’t like to use that same knife to butter a roll or an ear of corn, so I had to make sure there was a butter knife if there was something that might require buttering. I never figured out the correct procedure when I made spaghetti with sausages, but if I recall correctly, he would need a sharp knife to slice the sausage, but a non-serrated knife to butter the bread. But we didn’t both need a non-serrated knife, because we could share the one used to butter the bread. That one could be placed between our two place settings, resting lightly on the rim of the butter plate. I can’t remember which size spoon he used for ice cream, but now when I have a bowl of ice cream, I sometimes find myself wondering if his new wife has encountered the same challenges that I found so insurmountable.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Featured Fiction Story of the Month Most Popular New Fiction The Story Behind the Story
Sort by

“Zp, Signed with Love”

I was hurt even though he said I didn’t have to be. He told me I knew. I knew all along. That she was even sleeping
2020-05-06 14:32:49



We slept in the same bed just that once, memorably, as it was so unexpected: I knew Gus loved my best friend more.
2020-02-05 16:59:05


“Aimee’s Alibi”

Aimee Semple McPherson was kidnapped from Ocean Park Beach near Santa Monica on May 18, 1926 by two men and a woman,
2019-10-11 23:51:11


“The Colors of Pain”

“Gut pain’s always the worst,” says the medic. I could tell him he’s right, but I want to keep my pain p
2019-09-02 10:58:28


The Nature of Trees

Acorns. Smallness. Roundness. Small brown oval things. Spherical objects. Anything small, anything round.
2019-08-25 13:08:21


“Fly Season”

In a room without furniture, the flies have nowhere to land. They flit from wall to wall, winged dirt, smearing the
2019-08-16 23:38:07



Alan asked me to meet him halfway between Brussels and Paris, at a restaurant around the
2019-08-09 23:36:34



So how did I get here…well, okay, where do I start? The strippers. I’m going to start with the strippers. The
2019-05-31 07:55:44


“A Hand for Scale”

I know from experience that there are beetles the size of my palm. The experience: a failed honeymoon in Brazil. Joe
2019-05-24 10:01:07


The Story Behind the Story: “Pictures At An Exhibition”

I think by the time you’ve reached middle age—unless you married your sweetheart in high school, and stayed mar
2019-05-17 08:23:26


About Kathy Stevenson

Kathy Stevenson’s short stories and essays have appeared in an eclectic array of magazines, newspapers, and literary journals including The New York Times, Red Rock Review, Philadelphia Inquirer, Clapboard House, Chicago Tribune, Tishman Review, The Writer, and many other publications. She lives in San Diego and has an MFA from Bennington College.