*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
My favorite mozzarella cheese doesn't come from a deli or a supermarket. It comes from the local bakery down the street. The owner of the bakery packages soft shredded mozzarella cheese into plastic bags fastened with a twist-tie and sells them out of the same cooler where he displays fresh balls of uncooked pizza dough for customers who want to bake their own pizza at home.
Although I rarely bake my own pizza, I occasionally buy a plastic bag full of delicious shredded mozzarella. I like to melt it on meatballs or crusty homemade garlic bread.
I was dating my boyfriend for a couple of years, and we had an arrangement. When we spent the day together, he provided his own food, and I provided my own food. That usually meant packing my own lunch and carrying it to his house as if I was packing a brown-bag lunch for work.
One day, I packed up a plastic container of pasta and meatballs to bring to my boyfriend's house and stopped for a baggie of shredded cheese on my way to his house. I knew I was in trouble the moment he saw my cheese.
His eyes lit up. "Is that cheese?" he asked.
"Yes," I replied. "I bought myself cheese to have with my pasta and meatballs." I had no intention of sharing my cheese, primarily because I wasn't allowed to touch any of his food in the house. We had established boundaries around food, and he was about to cross them.
My boyfriend ate my entire bag of shredded cheese with his fingers. I was saving that cheese to eat with my pasta, and he ate it all before I had the chance. It started with "just a taste," and it ended with him shoveling cheese shreds into his face like he was feeding coal into a furnace.
He ignored my pleas to slow down with my cheese, which was a bummer since I really don't enjoy pasta and meatballs without it.
When I asked him why he did it, he said: "Because I love cheese." Sorry, but I don't care if you love cheese or not. If you want to keep eating shredded cheese with your fingers, then do it on your own dime... not mine. Clearly, cheese was not the only problem in our relationship.
We broke up shortly after that.
It's been years since I've seen that boyfriend, but I still think about him every time I eat mozzarella cheese. I always make sure to buy an extra baggie of cheese shreds, just in case. Just in case what? In case he shows up and wants to share my meal? Trust me. That's never happening again.
I learned my lesson about cheese and men after that experience. I now know that it's best to keep them separate, especially if the man in question loves cheese as much as my ex-boyfriend did. Otherwise, you run the risk of him eating all of your cheese without asking. And that's just not cool.
What would you have done? Comments are welcome.