vendredi 26 septembre 2008

In the yellow kitchen of my mother’s home, something that would change my view on the animal-involved world sat lifelessly on my kitchen table. I've never heard the term vegetarian then, nor had I a meal that didn't consist of some sort of meat product. My kitchen was always filled with such products: bologna packages in the refrigerator, frozen bags of steak and seafood in the freezer. We even had a plastic figurine man sit on the window sill, holding sausages with a jolly smile on his chubby face. The pastel wallpaper behind this sickly man had a delicate floral pattern that became worn and started to peel. A past time of mine used to encourage its peeling with my index finger, pulling small strips down the wall until it reached the floor. The sky outside was a deep dense gray, and water began to trickle on the window overlooking the sink. My mom was in front of me talking on the phone to an old friend, while chopping off heads of dark green frozen vegetables. I was present in the background, sitting on a pale beige stool, all 4’8 of me. Dangling my legs, I looked downwards, counting the number of tiles on the kitchen floor.

“Asia, go and wash the chicken in the sink for me. It should be ready now.” Eerie at the thought of touching the cold, flesh colored ‘thing’, I walked over giving her a distinct winced look. I wasn’t much of a
picky eater, I even liked the taste then, but handling meat was never a chore I liked. Peering over the counter, while placing my hands on the counter top for stability, I took the leg bone with the tips of my fingers and dragged the corpse into the sink, producing a dull thud on the metallic material. I turned the faucet on, and let the chilled water cleanse the skin, giving it a glossy appearance. My cat Astra jumped on the table then, smelling potential food. She purred as she stalked around the sink, leg crossing over the other, as to carefully make sure not to make the slightest sound to scare the lifeless prey. Her whiskers twitched, and her pupils widened, engulfing the yellow sclera as she drew closer. "Off! Get outta here before I give you one to remember!” my mom spat, scooting Astra off the edge as she growled with flat ears, and a diabolical face.

With the phone against her cheek, using her shoulder as a third hand, she opened the drawer and brought out the Cleaver knife. I stepped backwards as she maneuvered to the spot where I previously stood, making sure I could still get a glimpse of the bizarre action. Turning the faucet off, she picked up the chicken and placed it on top of a navy blue hand towel. It seemed slightly humorous to me now, how she talked about the Minnesota homicides as she drew the knife up to her chin and slashed down sharply to split the thigh bone from its torso. My widened eyes were quickly drawn back when I heard the crisp cracks of bone and tendon as she pulled the remaining muscle and tissue away. She looked like a dominant lioness as she did this; an expression almost neutral towards the morgue-like procedure. She continued to move to her right, carefully slicing each following section, until she hit something that seemed unfamiliarly tough. My mom was a good cook, and she knew all the body parts of the chicken; but she just couldn't put her finger on this peculiar 'organ'. She decided it would be best to cut it away from what she knew was safe. Lining the knife carefully, she made sure she could get all of the foreign meat, and produced a clean cut. Blood then streamed out in an unnatural gush, soaking the towel underneath. "God damn it.", she cursed, moving the chicken back into the sink.

Never had I ever seen anything more stomach turning and disturbing. My insides were queasy, and my face became pale as I motioned the facial gestures of throwing up, though I didn't. Instead, I began to cry and realize how wrong consuming meat was. I have always held an indefinite compassion for animals, and I never knew how hypocritical I truly was. It made no difference if I had eaten that chicken tonight, or if I eaten Astra. It was a personal awakening for me, and within the same week, I declared my decision to my less than surprised parents. A few weeks following such decision, it was visually clear to see my health, as well as my internal being change dramatically. I have since then vowed this decision for the rest of my life, for I was full of positive energy and internally felt as if I were a
quintessence of purity.