She was pleasantly surprised by the savory aroma that seeped from the oven. I hope he likes it, she thought to herself, but not too much. She continued to hum while she dressed the table in her country style home as romantically as possible. Candles can romanticize any room, she smiled.
She made her way to the door, swinging like a pendulum between her crutches, and opened it to see a bouquet of flowers. Her heart pushed a smile onto her face. “Thank you, Ricky!” She gave him a hug and a kiss on his cheek.
“Dinner smells amazing, Amy,” he said as he sat at the table gazing over all the dishes she had placed out: mashed potatoes, corn, peas, breaded okra, green beans, and bread rolls. “What’s the main course?”
Her heart sank a little. This was her third try at dating since she chose a vegan lifestyle five years ago. They always asked for a main course; they asked for meat. This time will be different. It has to be.
“It will be done in a moment,” she said as she poured wine in his glass.
“How’s your leg doing? It’s been, what, a week since they removed it?”
She smiled, “Yes, it’s doing okay.”
She watched, and was pleased as he filled his plate with all the sides, but then she saddened as he reached for the meat. She knew he would, that is why she made it after all…for him. All the others left when she wouldn’t cook meat. Desperate today, she provided it. She looked down at her own plate. The sides were her main course. She didn’t need meat, why did he?
“Are you okay?” he asked.
She forced a smile. “Oh, yeah, sorry. I just drifted for a minute.” She held her smile as she watched him put the meat into his mouth. Rubbing her knee-nub, she asked “So, have you thought about going vegan?”
“Amy, you’re so sweet. But, I just can’t give up meat. It’s too good. And THIS…” he took a large bite of meat and continued to speak with a full mouth, “…is amazing! What is it?”
She ignored the question. “I understand it tastes good, but you realize, we don’t need animal flesh to survive.”
“Flesh,” he said in disbelief. “You call it…flesh.”
“That is what it is, isn’t it?”
He laughed, “You are crazy, you know that?” He made his way to Amy and gave her a passionate kiss. It was, in fact, their first passionate kiss. “Look, Babe, I like you…a lot. But I’m not going to go vegan. Can you just be okay with that?”
With her heart beating and her mind on his lips that felt so good on hers, she responded with “Yes.”
Months had passed. She tried to persuade him with education on climate change, world hunger, health, and the torture that the animals endure before and during slaughter, but nothing worked. What did work was the meal that she made him the night of their first kiss. It worked in the opposite direction. Rick asked often if she would make him another meal like that, but she refused to cook him meat again. Until the night he told her he wanted to marry her, but could not because he could only imagine his life with a wife who served what he liked for dinner. And so, she gave in.
Hunger encouraged Rick to jog from his car to Amy’s door. He saw a sticky note on the door that read:
Ricky, I had to step out for a little bit. Please come in and help yourself. Save the note on the table for last 😉
She is amazing, he thought as he made his way to the table that was set up just like the first meal she served him. The wine was already poured. There was another sticky note on the table directing him to grab the roast from the oven. It was probably too hard for her to carry it to the table with one leg.
An envelope marked “read after you’ve eaten” sat off to his right. Normally, he would be intrigued enough to read it early, but today he was famished and had waited much too long for her delicious cooking.
With the last bite of his meal traveling down to his stomach, he stretched back in his chair before reaching for the letter. He wondered what sweet words Amy would have for him.
I hope tonight’s dinner was as good as the last. I put all I had into making it…just for you.
Sorry I wasn’t there to enjoy it with you, but I did have something I felt was more important: A way to show you why I am vegan and therefore, why I cannot marry you.
Please, hear me out.
I am vegan because I feel there is no difference between animals and humans. To me, the life of an animal is just as important as the life of a human…actually more important, as they are innocent life forms, and we are not. I know you don’t understand it; you think there is a clear difference between humans and animals. But, for one moment realize that flesh is flesh. One animal is covered in fur, one is not. But underneath…they are like us; we are like them. I know…you still think we are different; humans are superior. This is where I am going to help you.
I left my body on my bed for you. I am quite sure that by now I have bled out and am no longer alive. This is because both nights that I fed you, I refused to take the life of a sweet, innocent animal. Instead, both meals that you found delicious were made of flesh…my calves to be exact. And you, Ricky, Never. Noticed. The. Difference.
A life must be given each time you eat meat. Tonight you took mine.
PS: I froze my thighs for you for later 😉 ENJOY!
Written by Sheryl Marasi (pen name)
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photo by langll