It was Sunday morning after a night out on the razzle. The sun streamed through the bedroom window. Matt shielded his eyes and rubbed his forehead. He had an almighty hangover. He peered at the alarm clock, it was nearly eleven. Alice must be downstairs already.
He stood for a long time under the shower, to see if he could wash it all away. He put on a clean tee-shirt and a pair of knee-length shorts. He smothered himself in aftershave, which was startlingly invigorating on his freshly shaved skin, and wandered downstairs.
‘Morning,’ she said breezily, looking up from her bowl of muesli scattered with slices of fresh fruit.
‘Morning,’ he said back.
‘Coffee’s made, ‘she said.
‘Great,’ he replied, pouring himself a cup. Black and strong, just how he liked it.
Meanwhile, he really fancied a proper, no holds barred fry-up. Hit the hangover where it hurts.
This was no longer possible. She had decided to turn vegan three months ago. Consequently there were moments, like now, when he felt really hard done by. He had never been any good at making changes. It was too much effort, something in him simply revolted. But, in the name of love, for her that is, he had agreed to give up just about everything, except fish and eggs.
She had promised him he was under no pressure. He could go on eating whatever he liked. She said. Secretly he was quite enjoying it. Greasy foods had started making him feel a bit sick occasionally. And cheese. That’s the sign of an overloaded liver, she had said. How did she know all this stuff? he wondered.
‘Think I’ll have a boiled egg this morning,’ he said.
‘Yeah, sure,’ she said, speaking, for some unknown reason in a mock American accent, whilst continuing to pore over the newspaper laid out on the table before her, ‘just bear in mind they grind up male chicks live in great big grinders in the egg factories.’
His heart sank. He made a snap decision to say nothing for the moment. This was unusually easy, maybe his aching head was distracting him. He stood at the fridge with the door open, enjoying the cool air wafting from it. He was feeling disturbed. He took out the incriminating egg box. Maybe he would have two.
He pondered the fate of male chicks.
‘Why do they do that?’ he said, dejectedly.
‘They don’t lay eggs so they’re useless,’ she replied.
‘But couldn’t they kill them later and make them chicken?’