“It’s the milk, that’s the reason.”

“I’m sorry?”

“The milk. The rest of it I don’t mind.”

“The rest of what?”

“Of everything. It’s the milk. They only sell it in quarts, you know. Which doesn’t seem like that much, I realize, but I really don’t drink milk as often as I used to. Do you find that’s the case? As you get older? You drink less milk than you used to, I mean.”

“I suppose so. I never really thought about it.”

“I put it in my tea most mornings, and sometimes I put it on cereal – not that I like having cereal that often, I’d rather make a proper breakfast to begin with, I don’t want you to picture me with a sad daily bowl of cereal, that’s no image to have in your head right off, so promise me that you won’t -”

“I won’t.”

“Good. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Anyhow, I never seem to be able to go through a full quart in a week. So at the end of the week, there’s always quite a lot of extra milk left over, and it either goes bad or I have to throw it out, and that seems like a shame. Doesn’t it?”

“Yes, I guess it does.”

“Anyhow, the rest of it really is fine, and I really don’t mind, and I really do quite enjoy the life that I’ve arranged for myself, but the wasted milk at the end of every week seems to me to be achingly sad. Don’t you find it achingly sad? Of course not, you never think about this kind of thing. If you had extra milk in the fridge you’d just find a use for it, or drink it down, or something. You’re very resourceful and not at all sentimental. I’ve always loved that about you.”

“I – thanks.”

“Anyhow, I thought that if you couldn’t finish your milk by yourself, and I couldn’t finish mine by myself, we might as well get on just as easily – finishing it together. You with me and me with you, I mean. With the understanding that I’d never try to change you and you’d never need to fix me and we wouldn’t be completing each other or anything silly like that. We’re neither of us young enough to go in for that sort of thing, anyhow. I just thought it might be nice that if we could just – buy it together, and keep it in the same place, and share it, you know. That’s all.”

“I’m – ”

“Oh, I’m sorry, how rude of me; my name’s Emily.”

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]