Milkman

I saw his truck the other morning, early. It’s an open truck that tinkles with bottles when it turns a corner. He drives it fast. A small man, a younger version of Bruce Springsteen. We see him sometimes at Morrison’s. A trolley full, he must have lots of kids. I remember my Nanny’s milkman. He had a horse and cart. Dobbin, I think the horse was called. When we stayed with her, I’d hear it in the early morning, the clip clop of hooves and that jingle jangle of bottles in crates. A comforting sound. Familiar, regular. Always on time. One pint. A silver top. The cream risen to the top. Can I have it? On my cereal. Thick and sweet. I loved her. I loved her cool hands. Her moustache. Her big bloomers. The photographs under glass on her dressing table. Her souvenir of a miniature Swiss Chalet that carried matches. She was safe. Until she went dolally. Rest in peace my love.

Another passing. What can I say of him? We became close. Not a father but known and loved. A difficult man, but near the end gentler. Full of fun. A child man. I loved him in his vulnerability. Yet, such a big man. Pompous at times. Needy at the end. Our last meeting was sadness itself. Him singing, strident, staring, not knowing. And me, sitting, touching, holding his hand, his knee not knowing what to do. He clutched a piece of toast and a knife, both wrapped up in napkin. Why? I asked. He did not know but kept singing. Will you marry me? he asked. Larger than life. I miss them both and yet am glad that they are at rest. Let it be so. Amen.