“Leftovers” by Nickolas Butler

In “Leftovers” by Nickolas Butler, Mason and Renee are at Masons mothers house for cleaning it up after her death.

Mason recalls how his wife and his mother disliked each other, so politely and quietly. He thinks back on how much he loved his mother’s cooking.

On Sunday nights he would even go to his mother’s place to eat without Renee, who disliked his mother’s cooking.

Mason thinks of his fading relationship with Renee and reflects about how they have become strangers. He cannot remember the last time they had a sparkle and behaved like husband and wife.

By the time they had stopped talking substantively to each other, they had developed different hobbies, and rarely did it happen they went to the movies.

Mason also remembers how he had a heart attack at the movies and how Renee handled the situation, she followed the ambulance rather than ride with him.

In the end of the story Renee wants to leave and suggests returning to his mother’s house the next day. Mason disagrees and wants to stay and heat some food from his mother’s fridge.

Renee refuse to eat the food, but Mason ignores her and starts eating while thinking of his mother. He keeps saying “I’m sorry” to Renee and thinks he wants a divorce.

Mason is grieving, which is illustrated by the following quote: “Cold winter nights he thinks about her lasagna. Her cassoulet.

Her chili. Her pâté. Her Bolognese. Her fresh bread.” This tells us that after his mother’s death he finds comfort in memories of her making food.

Having said this it is in contrast with the missing love Mason feels from his wife, which is illustrated by the following quote: “He can’t remember the last time they made love.

It has become a memory game, recalling that occasion.” This tells us that their relationship has become cold which makes him sad and unhappy.

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