I don't know how this happened. The crunch was a tiny piece of bone in an IKEA meatball on Wednesday evening when we went to look at sinks and sofabeds. IKEA is exhausting, just as all large stores are exhausting, something to do with the lighting and formaldehyde, or chemicals in the furnishings, I have stopped trying to work it out, and mostly try not to go to these places. The meatballs and lingonberry sauce, have always been our consolation prize. Bleached out on a lime-green sofa, staring into a rectangular oblong of porcelain (but how does the water run out?), it was ok because in a minute we would go and have meatballs with lingonberry and chips. The bone fragment shouldn't have been there, it was a one-off, but fate arranged it so that we would come up against each other when I was wavering and vulnerable - about the whole business of eating meat, I mean. I have found myself wanting it less and less, choosing the vegetarian option when we went out, sensing an unfamiliar squeamishness in myself when looking at a tray of skinned chicken thighs and latterly (before Jonathan Safran Foer exploded into the scene) questioning whether I felt ok about eating animals at all. I used to. I began not to. I don't know why. It's not as though anything much has changed, and for many years (apart from IKEA meatballs and the occasional hamburger) I've bought responsibly-sourced, organic meat.
It was the piece of bone. It made me think of death, I felt like death. I remembered being five years old and how meatballs used to smell of snot and smoke. I thought about the mangledness of the once-living animal, the fact of it. A shudder was engendered, it is still there and I am not eating meat or wanting to.
I wonder if this will last. I hope so.