Some people call me the milkman because I always deliver pain.
Others think it’s because I’m a renegade milkman.
But the real reason they call me the milkman is…
I carry a bottle of milk with me.
It was seven-thirty post-meridian and I was just standing outside the Zoroastrian Centre on Edgware Road when I got a text.
It wasn’t full of doom and gloom, but then again, it wasn’t overly exciting, either. Alicia had run out of milk and wanted me to pick some up on the way to her flat. There was an M&S on the road, so it wouldn’t be difficult. Simple task, of course, and nothing unusual. I’m always buying milk. How would I be able to drink my tea otherwise?
But this made me unreasonably excited.
The relationship between Alicia and I was wonderfully uncomplicated. We would meet at her house (often on my way back from work); we would talk and eat; we would flirt and eventually have sex. We would sleep, spoon, maybe have sex again in the morning, and then we would leave for our respective lives. There were, of course, variations on this theme: on our first night together we watched Moulin Rouge! beforehand; on our second, she randomly drummed the main beat from Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo on my stomach. But the general idea was the same.
What made this simple request special was that this was the first time she had ever asked me to do anything domestic. Maybe neither of us had ever considered this. I was her lover, not her maid; I offered to help her wash up after dinner, but she had consistently refused. I occasionally went to the fridge to get chilled water for immediately after sex. Once I put some stuff in the bin. But that was about it.
Here, I had an actual errand. Go to the shop. Buy some milk. Bring it with me to her flat, so I could have tea with her before sex, also with her. I’d never had to buy milk in any sort of relationship before. Rebecca’s mum always had a supply available and Louise preferred lemonade (although she also had some for me when I requested coffee).
Is this what being a husband is like? I wondered, as I stepped into the warm light of M&S (noting the contrast with the Harrow darkness outside). Providing milk to your lady with the promise of hot sex afterwards? Calm down, ILB. You’re overthinking things again. Just turn up with milk and a penis and that’s all she’s really expecting.
I chose semi-skimmed, paid and set off down the hill to Alicia’s flat. As usual, she opened the door wearing a nice dress and a smile. I nervously, but with an air of utter confidence, presented her with a bottle of milk in lieu of a hello. She smiled, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and beckoned me inside.
We had a lot of sex that night.
This was preceded by some apple crumble she had made with custard. I don’t like apple crumble or custard, but I was very good at pretending. Plus, I had tea to drink to get rid of the taste.