My hand moved back and forth. It had been hard at first, but now the motion was almost automatic. I was used to the blood that came as my knife cut through flesh. I no longer found it gruesome to reach in and snap the bones. It was no longer atrocious to pull out the fragments.
I thought about my family, especially my sister who had spent most of her life protesting against what I did now. My mother was never fond of it and even my father, always the traditional man, grimaced when I first told him about my odd profession. He stood by me though, even when the rest of my family labelled me a killer and scum.
I was not always like this. Once upon a time I had a promising future. After graduating at the top of my class from high school, I went on to Harvard. Later I grew bored of law and decided to try my hand at medical school. It is the greatest of ironies that I had to leave because I couldn't stomach it. No one wants to give a two time college drop-out any sort of scholarship and I had no money so I took to wandering. I worked a number of odd jobs and eventually found myself in New York. That's where I met Charlie. Charlie was the one who introduced me to my profession. A kind man, and good with a knife, he took me in. My medical skills paid off, and I soon took over Charlie's job. He was only 35; people don't stay overly long in this profession.
I finished the gory work just as the sun came up. With all the ligaments properly packaged and the good meat separated from the bad, I was ready to go home. As I took my once-white apron off and locked up, I couldn't help but wonder how long I'd stay a butcher. I was ready for my sister to talk to me again. The fact that she was a die-hard vegan should never have gotten in the way of us being friends. 1
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.