We walked together under the night sky. Not hand in hand of course, she did not like overt displays of intimacy, or covert acts of intimacy, but the next best thing. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and she commented on the handful of stars that twinkled above our head.
“There’s a lot more than a handful” I pointed out.
“Depends on the size of the hand” came her reply.
And so we walked on, not hand in hand.
Finally she spoke again; “I noticed that you’re not eating the non-white eggs.” So there it was. The point of the walk.
She had a friend who owned chickens and recently began buying our eggs from that friend. The first time I opened the carton I almost fell over. There were eggs of every shade. Brown and blue and cream. My head swam. There were a few white ones that were white scattered amongst the others and I immediately grabbed those for my omelet.
She was waiting for an answer. I gathered my thoughts before offering my defense. I decided on an argument centered around childhood memories. “Non-white eggs creep me out. I remember my mom making me eggs every weekend and I never saw any egg being cracked open that wasn’t white. In a world of constant change I find them comforting.”
I felt pretty confident I’d given an unassailable and, if I say so myself, incisive retort.
“You’re being stupid” she said.
I suddenly found myself feeling exceptionally assailable.
She continued. “You realize the color of the egg is based entirely on the color of the hen right? White eggs come from white hens, specifically the Leghorn chicken breed. Other colors of hens lay other colors of eggs. The innards themselves are completely and entirely the same.”
I absorbed the new information. “Hmmm, I thought stores just whitewashed them somehow.”
“Nope. A common misconception.” If this conversation was a wrestling match, what she said next was the equivalent of climbing up to the top rope and the launching herself on top of my prone body. In my head I saw her in flight.
“Different breeds of hen are genetically coded to release different colored pigments as the egg passes through their oviduct.”
As I laid there hearing the crowd cheering her on I couldn’t help hearing the last word as ‘oviduck.’ I laughed before I could stop myself and the ring and the crowd and her brightly colored spandex disappeared and we were back to walking together under the handful of stars. I played off the laugh as a byproduct of having an egg epiphany (an eggpiphany?) and I felt confident she bought it.
Not wanting to lose the momentum I mentioned that the strength of an egg’s shell comes from the mix of both inorganic and organic matter that it’s made of. When I threw in that a nanostructured mineral associated with osteopontin is responsible for its tremendous resiliency I saw her give me a sideways look and smile.
It was my turn to ascend to the top rope. “Had Humpty Dumpty hit the ground at the correct angle, he would have walked away just fine and saved the king and his soldiers a lot of trouble.”
She smiled again.
“Herman Hesse once observed that the bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Whoever will be born must destroy a world.”
The referee began to count her out.
The next best thing to holding hands.