Of milk and men.

August 3, 2006

I have a fondness for breakfast that borders on fetishistic.Since childhood it’s the one meal I’ve always eaten alone, walled in by cereal boxes, my mind still tangled in whatever dream I last had. Somehow it has become this physical intermediary between my waking self and inner world. When I go an extended period of time without it, by schedule or circumstance, this existential dissonance creeps in and bleeds away my very A.J.ness. It was this veneration that led to one of the few pure, true moments of my life. It all went down some weeks ago, no more than a handful of months, when I still resided in a run down bachelor pad. I was working odd hours and running with a bad crowd so I hadn’t been around for more than couple hours in days. Bone weary and wanting the comforts of home I figured I would grab a bowl of cereal then crash. I poured the cereal in a bowl but when I grabbed the milk… a magnificent one gallon jug, it slopped and thumped around as a semi congealed mass. The dairy fundament to my breakfast was lying stillborn in it’s container; I felt like a crack manwhore who’d left my baby in a dumpster to go get high. It hurt so bad it felt like I was dying inside.

I stared at the jug for twenty minutes, just trying to make sense of it all, when the sludge swirled and clotted into a shape eerily resembling a face. “I deserved better than this A.J”, the milk said without anger, “I lived my life in darkness and lost who I was”. It was bizarre, how could the milk possibly know my name? Still, bizarre or not the milk was painfully correct, my indifference had both curdled it’s form and robbed it of it’s sole purpose. I had allowed it to descend from the most primal subsistence, to a vessel of sickness and corruption. I was frozen in shame for longest time when the Milk, with a gruff gentleness, broke my reverie “It’s time to throw me out son, I am not fit for consumption ”.

It wasn’t so much the words that moved me as the solemn dignity the appeal was rooted in. The milk had accepted that it’s time was past and no reprieve was at hand, what it needed was for me to see through the putrid chunks and recognize the value it once had, the breakfasts it could have made if just given the chance. Time and insufficient pasteurization had stolen it’s best days, but it had not gone bad…not ever.

I drank the first drop, stomach heaving from the stench. I don’t think I managed more that a mouthful, and most of that spilled down my shirt, but it was enough that it was food again, and not some lactalbatrose hanging about my neck. The milk had already said it’s peace so I will never know if it felt a measure of redemption in those final moments. I would like to think I gave back the smallest part of what I had taken from it, but I’m not sure it was ever mine to give.

A.J. Valliant

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One Response to “Of milk and men.”


  1. […] Taken by Conspiracy Hamster. This is how milk is made. […]


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