The Milkman’s Eyes begins with a short post tonight! Expect a much longer update on Friday/Saturday!
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a son. A child I could raise as my father raised me, one I could instruct in the beauty and the meanness of the world. One who could go forth and live a better life than I, whom I would look at and know that the world is a better place for my contribution to it.
Do you understand me? I wanted a son. I wanted one! I am not some rake who cares only for his own pleasure, who learns that he is to be father and begins feverishly looking for an escape from his responsibilities! I have never been that man! Even now, even at this late and final hour, I am not that man!
You cannot imagine the joy we felt when Jocelyne and I learned that she was pregnant. We had been trying for so long, and as she approached the middle of her twenties, I began to worry for the future of my line, for my dreams of fatherhood. And I could tell that Jocelyne was struggling with this unhappy fact as well. As the years went by, more of our peers were having children and those who had had children early found themselves with families of growing boys and girls. Invariably conversation would drift towards topics of schooling and play and what the future held, and Jocelyne and I could only sit there in silence, alienated by our failures. When she came to me that first morning, her blonde hair illuminated by the sun filtering through our parlor window, her green eyes wet with tears, and a trembling smile on her lips, I knew that our prayers had been answered.
Do you hear me? I truly believed that our prayers had been answered. Prayers! My God, what a fool I was!
I held my sweet Jocelyne in my arms and we laughed and wept. She told me that she had missed her time of the month by over a week, that she had not even realized it until that very morning. It was not unheard of, we knew, for a woman’s cycle to be late for whatever reason, but still I hoped against hope that we would finally be granted our wish. A short while later she began experience morning sickness, and we rejoiced.
We tried to keep an air of decorum, to keep our expectations reasonable. We knew, after all, that heartbreak could come at any time, but we were so happy that the next few months seemed to pass in a blur and in no time at all, the hour of the delivery was upon us. Jocelyne wanted to deliver the child in our own home, and so I had my friend Richard Carlyle, a respected local doctor, oversee things. Richard is possessed of something of a ribald sense of humor, and much to Jocelyne’s chagrin (and my mild embarrassment,) he was making jokes for much of the proceedings. In a most unladylike moment, my sweet Jocelyne announced that if Richard didn’t stop making jokes about how she was glowing and the beauty of nature, she would deliver the baby her damn self and choke him with the afterbirth. Richard laughed, but he did stop his incessant jokes.
At Richard’s insistence, I left the room. It was not fitting for a man to see all of the miracle of childbirth, he said. It could ruin marriages, he said (a comment which Jocelyne saw fit to punch him for.) And so I waited outside, pacing nervously. A dark cloud settled over my heart and in my mind’s eye, I could see Richard coming out of the room, a devastated look on his face. I could hear the wail of my beautiful wife. It will be a stillbirth, I thought. The child will be deformed. A thousand nightmares flooded my mind, and then I heard a baby’s cry rend the air, and I rushed into the room.
The look of love and adoration on Jocelyne’s face as she looked at the child bundled in her arms warmed my heart. I made to move to her side, but then I saw the expression on Richard’s face. I had expected smug satisfaction, perhaps a bit of pride, or maybe even a bit of happiness for me and for Jocelyne. I had no word for the expression I saw there. He seemed to be confused, or perhaps a bit worried, but struggling to bury it beneath his usual irreverent demeanor. He turned to me and said, “It’s a boy.” He frowned, added softly, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a milkman with eyes like that.”
I stared at him in silence for a moment before pushing him out of the way and rushing to my wife’s side. She looked up at me, her tired face beaming with pride. My son was wrapped in a blanket, his eyes shut, his breathing regular. A shock of dark hair rested atop his head, and for all the world, he seemed to be healthy and normal. I wept softly and kissed my wife.
“Open your eyes and say hi to daddy, Robin,” she said, and my son did so. I blinked, uncomprehending, then angry, then anxious, and finally simply bewildered. Nestled in my wife’s arms, my son looked up at me with eyes as iridescent and multicolored as an insect’s.