Roman Grimiko awakes incredulous that he has lived to see another day. An offending bit of sunlight falls across his face:
Christ. You've got to be fucking kidding me..
Roman's wife, a petite woman of about sixty, who is usually up well before the sun, has left a small breakfast for him on his night table. The plate is covered with several cloth napkins in a purely symbolic gesture meant to retain the heat.
There on the plate is his usual plain omelet, pickled beets and a slice of toast cut diagonally twice (into four pieces), already buttered, with a dab of grape jelly on each portion.
It's an old joke between the Grimikos, the toast. The fight they had when they first married regarding the proper way to slice toast. How Roman has regretted this joke ever since.
And, there's a cup of black coffee (now ice cold) and a juice glass filled half way with dark wine.
His wife, of course, is at church and will be for the rest of the day.
This breakfast was a loving and mostly useless gesture on the part of Mrs. Grimiko, who knew Roman would not wake up in time for it to be still edible.
Roman, appreciating his wife's thoughtfulness, takes the juice glass of wine and downs it. Then makes his way downstairs to refill it.
Later, he gets dressed and walks through the wet, leaf strewn neighborhood with his malfunctioning umbrella for his bath.This is possibly the happiest part of Roman's day. There his oldest friends will either be bathing or taking saunas. And, afterward, there is always chess and discourse.
Roman remembers that his eldest daughter will be at the house around three. The thought makes him more nervous than happy. His daughter always has something to say about the business that never quite fits in with his perception of things. At some point, however, they will cook together, and that will change the dynamic a bit in his favor.
He laughs darkly at this. It's a good laugh. Yes, of course. He will ply his daughter with food:
dumplings for the dumpling..
Roman likes to prepare everything for coming the week on Sunday. It's his way of getting out of church. And it works. It turns out that Roman is the superior cook in the family. And this arrangement, which has been in place for over forty years, seems to make everyone happy.
So far he has two small chickens stuffed with sweet onions and paprika roasting in the oven, a pot of goulash slowly simmering on the front burrner, while beef stock brews on the back.
He has half a dozen peppers stuffed with sausage and rice baking in a shallow dish, while a bread pudding with raisins and apples bakes along side it.
His wife will then heat things as the week unfolds, mostly taking credit for all of the cooking.
Yes. It's on Sunday, there in the kitchen, that Roman is at his best. As he explains opera to his daughter, occasionally throwing scraps of sausage to whatever injured kitten he is currently tending to, Roman cooks and dreams of one less day.
It's Sunday. And this is Roman Grimiko at his best..