He walked up to me, whistling a tune.
With a quizzical, yet friendly face, he stops to remark to himself, “Now where did that tune come from?” He steps further into the kitchen looking for a second cup of coffee when his eureka moment kicks in. “Oh my God, our milkman used to whistle that when he delivered milk to our house. We HAD a milkman. Lyle the Milkman.”
Much to my chagrin, he is abjectly amused at his recollection.
“He used to whistle a tune to let us know he was coming into the house. He used to just set the milk on the back porch, but eventually, he’d just come in the kitchen and leave it in our fridge.”
A moment of silence. The understanding of how times have changed creeps in on our morning. We used to allow service personnel into our homes. Every day. No locks, no digital cameras letting us know who was on the porch via your phone, or intercom system. “Just leave the package on the porch” we can tell the UPS delivery person. From Guadalajara.
“The milkman used to give kids rides. He had a big delivery truck. Did it all the time.” Making imaginary routes in the air, on an invisible map only in his mind, he starts tracing the route around his childhood neighborhood. “I guess he just went around and around. It was pretty normal.”
Giving little ten-year-old kids a ride on a truck. Picking them up in your neighborhood, and just ‘driving them around in your delivery truck’. Normal. Nowadays, there would be an Amber Alert, a call to arms, a dragnet and blockade in that neighborhood. There would be kidnapping charges, and probably child molestation implications that would ruin lives. Hell, the parents might have their kids taken away by Child Protective Services. Or jail time. Parent Neglect. Abuse. How dare you allow your children to trust people. Shame on you.
Now, he is in full memory mode. “You remember the girl I grew up with? You met her a few years ago. Amy. Amy Something.”
“I don’t know her.”
“You met her.”
“Doesn’t mean I remember her.” I respond.
“She used to live near me. On that street near the other street.”
At this point, I’m just trying to maneuver my way around him. If I didn’t need that second cup of coffee before, now I do. “Which street?”
He shrugs. No doubt he’s still reliving the last time he rode around in a white milk delivery truck with the doors wide open and not a seatbelt in sight, wind in his hair, head stuck out like a happy Golden Retriever. He continues, “Amy. She reminded me of the milkman rides the last time we talked.”
This was what, three years ago? How am I supposed to remember her name when he can’t? I’m about to start blocking this conversation out of my head. I know where this is going.
“Amy. Amy…. Hayden? She lived near where Kelly rides horses, which is owned by..” He chuckles to himself. “A different Amy.”
Here we go.
“Yeah, another Amy.”
“She lives on the street?” I offer. Damnit, you just walked into this one, I think to myself. I have to remember to just STFU. Keep your head down, let it pass, but noooooo. Walked right in to it. Again. This one’s gonna hurt.
“Not on the same street, the one near the other street.” He sighs, like it was sooooo apparent. Duh.
“Uh, where does Kelly ride horses?” Thinking that was somehow important to his story.
“It doesn’t matter, it’s just owned by Amy.”
“Which Amy?” sneaks out of my mouth before I can cut it off and strangle it with my own two hands, and beat it with a hammer until it whimpers an apology and dies.
This continues for a few more minutes. Which Amy? Which street? Which kid on the truck? I have no idea what he’s talking about, and for the love of kittens, I hope he doesn’t either. He’s lost in a childhood memory, sprinkled with reminders of kids on his block who don’t live there anymore, but if there’s one thing I do know it’s that my husband knows too many Amys. There is a goddamed plethora of Amys in his past. And it is apparent to me clearly now that they are all in this story. I remind myself not to get involved in the conversation, but of course it’s too late for that.
He’s still going on about these Amys and I’m off thinking about how many lives would be ruined if a man delivering, well, anything… let a kid on his truck to ‘go for a ride’. Lawsuits would be born on that day. Ugly, mean lawsuits. Child therapy would be needed to get over the trauma. God forbid if there as candy involved. This is why I don’t have children. I don’t think I could handle delicate little damaged humans. I’d be chucking them out in the dirt. Making them eat dandelions and worms just to try new things. I would be labelled a bad mother.
I’d be a great mom. But one thing I could never do, not after today, not after this rambling conversation. Ever in a million years would I ever name my daughter, “Amy.” I hate Amy, all of them. Even though I have no idea who she is, what street they all lived on or what horse ranch ‘All Amy’ owns.
At this point, I’m out of the kitchen, walking away with my cup of boiling hot coffee. I’m walking away from the conversation… see? Walking. Away.
He’s not getting the point. He’s just found some new way of associating the first Amy with the third, or the second. I just don’t care anymore. I’m done. I’m out. Tap. See me tapping out? Done.
I sit down, and turn the TV on. I increase the volume.
He doesn’t notice, but he is moving on… up the stairs to his lair.
And I step in it again. Can’t let it go. “You know, I have no idea what you have been talking about. Who you are talking about, where they live. I know more about you than I do any of the people you have been talking about for the past fifteen minutes.” Not done, yet. Breathe. “You do this to me all the time. It drives me crazy. You need to stop this.”
He takes a few more steps up the stairs and chuckles. Sips his coffee. He wins again.
And now I want to take him for a ride in a truck.