Veronique Darwin

The Still-Living Moment

In Thoughts on Writing on August 12, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I was a vegetarian until a few weeks ago when I ate a sausage. I have since eaten a lot of sausages. My sister thinks it’s funny if I say that I’m a vegetarian who eats meat. It actually makes sense: I didn’t change opinions on eating, I just eat more.

So tonight, for the first time, I cooked meat for myself. I walked to the grocery store thinking about meatballs. They didn’t have any! So I walked to another grocery store thinking about meatballs. And then I walked home thinking about meatballs.

I had to Google “turkey meatballs.” I put them in the oven for the suggested amount of time and even longer because they were still a bit pink. But they continued to be a bit pink! Ten minutes later they were still the same pink, but definitely browning around the edges as though they were burning. I shouldn’t let them burn. So I ate them. They were delicious. I ate them over a nice vegan dish of spaghetti squash and green beans from my parents’ garden.

As I ate my last meatball I thought wow, this meatball is really pink. And my stomach began to turn. Was I going to be sick? Did I poison myself with my first attempt at cooking meat? And the paranoia set in. I became very hot. I lay down with a cat on my stomach and thought about tonight and tomorrow. In essence, I planned my death.

Everyone has a moment every so often where they almost get hit by a car. Or they aren’t sure about a strange pain in their heart. Or they feel something tingle at the back of their throat. And if that moment passes, and you are still alive, you become thankful. You begin to live a second life.

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(photo from telegraph.co.uk)

Tonight I lived a second life. I had a bath. I enjoyed a television show. I got so much planning done, like I was going on a sick leave. I smiled often to myself and told the cat my secrets. But the stomach pain never came. In fact, I have just eaten more.

In the still-living moment I always think about what it is I really want to accomplish. And after things like a bath and a TV show, it is always to do with writing. I picture myself finishing a novel on my death bed, because that’s what probably what I’ll do no matter when I die. How sad, for those visiting me! I will be in such a terrible mood.

What is it that you do in your still-living moment? Call someone you love? Petty! Eat something delicous? Pig! Write something long and tedious ostensibly about yourself? Egomaniac!

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