Milk and Honey


Honey places a glass of milk in front of me, then resumes cleaning up after dinner. I smooth the table over with my fingers until I reach the glass. Its coldness is familiar. I’m parched. I bring it to my lips and gulp, only to spray it across the room. Honey turns stiff. She fetches a damp cloth and cleans the raw wood before my mess ruins it.

‘It’s sour,’ I accuse.  

‘Can’t be, the milk man delivered it fresh this morning. He’s only come down from Rowe.’

‘We need a new milk man.’

After dinner, Honey retreats to the bedroom to read one of her favorite crime novels. I sit in our garage, fiddling with the sound system. After a while, the music comes through. A current shakes me, but I realise my hips do lie[1]. I tire quickly. I think of the soured milk.  


Honey is already gone when I wake. She works a lot. She says I should look for work too, but she doesn’t know what it’s like to find new work at our age – she’s been a care giver for thirty years. But no one wants to hire a fifty-year-old anymore. Still, I look for ads in the paper. This morning I find it soaked in milk. The newspaper boy must have knocked the bottle over, and smashed it. I don’t look for ads today, the smell grosses me out. When Honey returns I give her a peck on the cheek. She asks where the milk is.


On Thursday, I find an ad about some work going in Truro. They’re asking everyone interested to come for a brief interview. I tell Honey about it. She seems excited. She offers me milk and rich teas biscuits after dinner. My stomach turns.

‘What is it?’ she asks.

‘It’s gone off. The milk man always leaves it on the sunny part of the porch.’

‘Tastes fine to me.’


I drive around for ten minutes, but I can’t find the place where the interviews are. I think I took the wrong turn off the A390. I turn around. When I get home, the milk is on the windowsill, shaded by the roof. I decide I should give it another try. The sourness lingers. Maybe it’s the cow. I wonder why Honey hasn’t brought it inside yet – today is her day off.  I go inside to pour it down the drain. I hear commotion coming from the back of the hall. I open the bedroom door.

There’s my wife, with the milk man.


[1] reference to the single Hips Don’t Lie by Shakira, featuring Wyclef Jean, 2005.

by Adriana Ciontea