I hate vegetables. Always have. As a child I would hide my peas and carrots in my napkin when my mother's back was turned and then throw them in the trash with my chicken bones and scraps of rice. If there was no way to accomplish this duplicity and I was forced to ingest the string beans or corn that I pushed far away from all the other food on my plate, then I made sure to never taste them. Instead of chewing and taking the risk of exposing my poor defenseless tastebuds to the rancid flavor, I would pop the veggies like pills, chasing them down with a swig of red Kool-Aid.
It was no secret that I hated vegetables. My parents still tell the story about the time I asked my granny when her bus back to the city was leaving because she insisted I eat my ruffage. So it came as a quite a shock to my family when I came home in August 1997 after spending the summer away at an Ivy League Summer College and announced that I was now a vegetarian. My dislike of vegetables was only part of what baffled them about my decision. The only thing that rivaled my intense hatred for leafy greens was an all consuming love for bacon double cheeseburgers. Greasy, flame-broiled, fat dripping meat had been my dietary staple for seventeen years. Could I seriously be trading in that which I love for that which I loathe? Not exactly.
The decision to cut out animals (fish included) was made during a philosophy class one pivotal afternoon. Called out by one of my classmates for being a hypocrite after expounding on the intrinsic value of the lives of all animals not just the ones we see as pets, I decided that none of God's creatures should give their lives just to satisfy my hunger. So that very day I committd to a meatless existence. No beef, no chicken, no fish, no turkey, nada. However, stopping meat did not mean starting vegetables. Yep, I was a vegetarian who did not eat vegetables. At the time, I thought it was perfectly reasonable to subsist on bread, cheese, and fruit. I could still eat pizza (sans pepperoni), so I really didn't see the problem. Eight months later, after too many dirty looks from McDonald's employees for ordering two cheeseburgers, no pickles, no onion, no meat, extra ketchup, I gave up and decided that the chickens could be sacrificed to my hunger pains.
Forsaking meat waasn't the smartest decision I've made. Neither was falling into bed with the Idiot Who Made Me Cry back in 2004, two years after we'd split. Just like becoming a vegetarian, it made sense at the time. It made sense to go back to his apartment as the first rays of daylight pierced that Saturday morning. It made sense to take off my dress, put on his shorts and T-shirt, and crash in his bed. And for a moment, it made sense when he gathered me in his arms and pressed his lips to mine for the first time since the last time.
But it stopped making sense when I realized there was no prelude to our kiss. Before that day we had not seen or spoken to one another in six months. It made even less sense when I remembered exactly how he made me cry. How he had been the one to decide that we were over and not bother to fill me in as to why until 10 months later. Why was I still holding him and tracing his jaw with soft kisses, knowing how much bullshit was in that bed with us. In that moment, that was the one thing that made perfect sense. I had wanted to be back in his bed for the past two years and never imagined it could ever be, so when it happened nothing else mattered except for the fact that I was there with him in that moment. Hovering above him, my legs straddling his torso, I didn't care enough about all the damage he had done to stop myself from tracing the hollow of his throat with my index finger and burying my head in his neck. My heart was in it, and when he held me close I wanted so badly for his to be as well. But the difference between us was that my heart had never really left, while his had been gone for a long time. He'd had a choice once, and he didn't choose me. So why was he choosing me now? I knew that he wasn't, but the way our limbs fit together so perfectly, like two pieces of a puzzle, made me hope that he would. That hope was keeping me there with him all morning. I thought that if I just stayed with him long enough, he'd realize just how right we were and fix everything that he had broken.
But he didn't. He could've fixed it when I asked what we were doing there. He could've fixed it when I told him it was wrong for me to be with him after how badly he hurt me. He could've fixed it so many times during those few hours, but he didn't. Instead he told me to choose whether or not he was good or bad for me. I told him I hated him, then followed it with another kiss. But I meant what I said. I hated him for so many things, but mostly because he didn't want me the way I wanted him. I hated him because what was going on in his bed didn't mean to him, what it meant to me. And even with all that hate, kissing him still made sense.
When he left the room to shower, Flatty Girl called. So did Chesty LaRue. That's when it stopped making sense. The horror in their voices when I told them where I was let me know for certain that nothing I had done in the last 4 hours was sane. And later that evening, hours after we had parted ways in the courtyard of his apartment complex, when the memories of the morning haunted me, I knew it was a mistake. I had taken him back when he had never asked me to and would have to start getting over him all over again. Spending that morning with him made everything fresh. And when I thought about it four months later, the fact that it made sense at the time was no comfort when the tears fell from my eyes.