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A Gouda Day for Jolene

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

 

 

At The Country Kitchen in Sheridan, Wyoming, Dolly sits in a booth, dressed in a pink pant suit, her blonde, frizzy hair sparkling in the sunlight. She barely touches her Gouda cheese omelet. Jolene sits across from her, wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt with “Wyoming Cowboys” emblazoned in bold black letters on the front. Her dark hair is cut short. She wolfs down her barbecued chicken sandwich, also with Gouda cheese.

“I’m surprised to see you,” she tells Dolly. “When I called and asked if we could meet, I didn’t think you’d come all the way out here from New York just to see me.”

“I don’t know what he sees in you, honey. You’re so plain.”

“Maybe it’s the fact that I’m always there for him. I don’t travel around the country, giving concerts, signing autographs, smiling at other men.”

“But that’s my work. He knew that when he married me. Why on Earth would he want to live in Wyoming of all places? None of these towns are like L.A. or New York.”

“He likes my ranch. In the evening, we sit on the front porch, drink coffee, play chess, watch the sun go down. It’s more romantic than some old penthouse in New York.”

“How long has this been going on?”

“We met at your concert in Denver last year. When he complained of a headache and told you he was going back to the Brown Palace, he was going there to be with me.”

“So, he’s been cheating for the past year?”

“I guess you could say that. While you were on the road, whenever he could take time away from the office, he’d fly up here. I’d meet him at the airport and drive him to the ranch. We’d have a high old time together.”

“All those times he called me from his cell phone, he was with you?” The corners of Dolly’s mouth tremble, and tears trickle down her cheeks.

“I guess so.”

“Those times I called him at home and there was no answer, I assumed he was working late,” says Dolly, taking a Kleenex from her purse and blowing her nose.

Jolene picks up a French fry, pops it into her mouth, chews and swallows. “Let’s face it, Dolly. He doesn’t love you anymore. Who can blame him? No man wants a wife who’s never at home.” She reaches across the table and takes Dolly’s hand.

“You slut!” says Dolly, jerking her hand away. She stands, picks up her omelet, flings it at the other woman, and hurries out the door, leaving Jolene, her face swathed in egg, smoked bacon, tomato slices, and Gouda cheese.

The above story was published several years ago in Magnets and Ladders and appears in the February edition of The Writer’s Grapevine. Click here to read past issues. To subscribe, send a blank email to: writersgv+subscribe@groups.io

I once heard a radio ad for a local restaurant, promoting their menu items containing Gouda (pronounced goo da) cheese. At the end of the promo, the announcer said, “Have a Gouda day.” That, along with the above song, inspired my story.

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