Sunday, January 15, 2017

Milk - A Short Story

"She sent me out for cliche." -Walter

        I was driving down the utility road that rolls adjacent to the interstate. The nearest market was about 10 miles from my house, so sending me for milk meant that she either wanted a break from me, she was pregnant, or that she carried a lover. I went either way really. It didn't much matter, I have always accepted fate as it comes.


        We met at a bandshell dance, which was held by the local charity to raise money. The Bandshell was this pompous outdoor stage with a shell-shaped cover. I'd go every Friday night looking for a girlfriend. I was a lonely 15 year old that had never attracted the attention of girls. All of my friends had girlfriends and I didn' was embarrassing. I wore the right clothes that night. I wore my ripped up jeans I modeled after a Def Leppard video. I wore a sweatshirt that only the rich kids in my neighborhood could afford...I had stolen mine. I saw her at the ticket counter. She was with two girls that had previously rejected my advances. 
        I remember the first time I saw her. I was trying to impress her friend, who didn't care whether I came to school or not. She kissed me once at a party during a game of "Spin the Bottle," but didn't acknowledge me after that. The lunch lady came by and asked if I was finished with my tray. I hadn't touched my food really; maybe a couple bites. I always got nervous around her. I told the lunch lady I was finished, but it would be a shame to throw the food away with so many hungry in the world. I said this because I wanted to show my "bleeding heart" to the girl. In reality, I considered myself one of those starving kids in the world.

        Her friend looked at me right in my eyes. It was a piercing and unlookawayable look that paralyzed me. She said, "That's very nice of you." It was then that I looked at the object of my affection and thought, "I want to be everything to you, but I also hate your guts." I turned my attention to Sarah; her wife. She was to be my new obsession. I wanted her to love me like she did the time that she told me I had done a nice thing. So I followed her. I learned what she likes and doesn't like. I learned what she did after dinner. I learned what time she got up in the morning.

        I wasn't a pervert. I didn't try to see her showering or anything...I just wanted to know her like a husband knows his wife; except before we are married. At the bandshell, I walked up to her at the concession stand and asked her to dance. Her friends...the awful assholes I told you about earlier who didn't care about my existence, encouraged her to walk away from me. I must have said a lucky thing, because I am not charming, and she agreed to dance with me. 10 years later, this girl married me.

       On the day of my wedding, I sat in the limo, thinking about the events of our relationship. I got mad for a moment about all of the rejection. Everyone was celebrating with champaign and vodka, splashing about in front of and all over me. Watching them celebrate me was a reminder that I had gotten the greatest girl of all, and she had married me that very day. She didn't marry Todd, the football guy, or Steve, the guy that she dated before me, who got a scholarship for soccer. She married me because I paid attention to who she really was.


        This night was dedicated to milk. She never asked for much. I gave her anything she desired, mostly before she asked for it. I have always thought of ways to keep her with rules my mind really. We have three daughters just like her. They pay attention to details. They correct me all the time. They are beautiful. They are pictures of their mother at different ages. They are the very reason I write this you...whom I will never know...Who may never read this.

        In all honesty, she sent me out for milk because she was having an affair. I've known about it for weeks. He left a message on our answering machine thinking it was her voice mail. I deleted it and have spent weeks trying to put it out of my mind. I can't live without her...and especially can't live without my little girls. I do everything so that they will love me. I wouldn't be able to live without them, so I try to forget.

        As I drove to the market, these things lurk behind my thoughts about today at work in the train yard. A few guys asked me to go for some beers, but I said always because of the thought of her. I pulled into the parking lot and sat for a bit before getting out of the car and moving through the parking lot. There was a song on the nostalgia station that reminded me of when I was a lonely little kid lying on the dryer, praying for something better, absorbing it's heat.

        I got out of the car and walked to the doors of the market and looked up to the sky just before I heard the alarms. It looked like a bullet followed by flames above my head by about 300 feet. I watched it trail across the sky and seem to dissipate into the darkness above. I was waiting for the boom. I was waiting for the end of all things. It didn't happen then. It happened in small increments over the next few months.

        The television told me that the bomb had landed 350 miles from the supermarket; spreading it's venom to all inside of a 1200 mile radius. I didn't come home that night...or the next. I sat in this motel room writing this to you...because me and everyone else I care about will be dead in a week.

        The problem is that I don't know what to say to her. It doesn't make much sense to tell her I know now. That doesn't serve much of a purpose. So I tell her I love her and that I have always loved her. I told her that from the moment that she told me that I was nice, I believed that she was mine. I told my girls that they were my entire heart. I told them I would walk to the edge of the world just to die for them.

I coughed.
Then they coughed.
We bled together.
Then we died together.

At least that's what I hope happened.


Thanks for reading...Z