Milk

Milk Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Milk Read Free Book Online
really. Nothing more than usual.
    The doctor leans back in his chair.
    â€”Something else bothering you?
    â€”Not really. I can’t think of anything.
    â€”Marital problems. Financial troubles? An illness in the family?
    â€”No, nothing like that.
    Carl thinks a moment.
    â€”Well, he says. I keep dreaming of water.
    â€”Of water?
    â€”I dream of huge bodies of water. Almost every night.
    â€”Any idea why?
    â€”No, actually I don’t.
    Carl looks down, and neither of them speak for a moment. Then the doctor smiles and shrugs.
    â€”Every once in a while we have to accept some things we don’t understand.
    â€”I guess so, Carl says.
    The doctor leans forward clutching the form.
    Carl reaches for one of the X-rays and holds it up to the light. His stomach and intestines are marked with a thin white line, the rest lies in darkness. He sees the children outside. Their snowsuits appear gold and crimson through the cloudy film.
    â€”I just need you to sign here.
    The doctor pushes the form and insurance card toward Carl.
    Carl is still holding the X-ray up to the light.
    â€”Are those your children? he asks.
    The doctor looks at him, puzzled.
    Carl puts the X-ray down. After he has signed, he picks it up again.
    â€”May I keep this?
    â€”Sure, the doctor says, looking up. But believe me, there’s nothing to see.
    Â 

 
    Phosphorescence
    Â 
    T hey sat on the keel of a dinghy that was lying on the beach. Thomas was leaning back, supporting himself with his hands, head tilted, gazing up. Jon looked straight off into the night. He could see the foam of the low surf, could hear the pebbles murmuring as the water moved back out to sea.
    â€”I can’t find it, Thomas said.
    â€”What? Jon said.
    â€”The Big Dipper.
    â€”Does it matter?
    â€”Yes.
    Thomas leaned forward and took the wine bottle from Jon’s hand.
    â€”Have a little wine, Jon said.
    Jon looked at the surf and Thomas leaned his head back.
    They sat like that for a while.
    â€”All the big things, Thomas said suddenly. For some reason, we can only approach them in images.
    â€”What?
    â€”Take the stars, for example. We can’t see them the way they are, we arrange them into constellations. It’s the same with death, or having a child. What can you say about it? But if you can find the right imagery.
    â€”Yeah.
    â€”Life is great, Thomas said.
    â€”Maybe I’m not drunk enough.
    â€”C’mon, stop whining.
    Thomas handed him the bottle. Jon leaned his head back and looked for the Big Dipper as he drank.
    â€”I can see two, he said. He pointed with the bottle. A small one up here and a bigger one there.
    â€”No way, Thomas said.
    Jon pointed again.
    â€”God damn, you’re right.
    Thomas glanced from one to the other.
    â€”Maybe we should go inside and wake up the others. Tell them we’ve made an astronomical discovery.
    â€”I think Charlotte wants to sleep, Jon said.
    â€”Isn’t Vivian just fucking beautiful.
    â€”Yeah, Jon said. She’s pretty amazing. You’re really lucky.
    â€”Everything’s just a matter of luck. It’s all chance.
    â€”Yes, Jon said.
    â€”Charlotte is beautiful too. She’s a really nice girl.
    Thomas stood and pulled his T-shirt over his head.
    â€”C’mon, he said. Let’s go swimming.
    He unzipped his pants and pulled them down all the way to his shoes. Then he sat down on the boat and untied his laces. A moment later he stood naked before Jon.
    â€”Don’t you think it’s too cold?
    â€”Not at all. It’s never been warmer.
    â€”And don’t you think you’re too drunk?
    â€”Hell no.
    Thomas turned and ran toward the sea. Jon could see Thomas’ body standing out white against the dark water. Thomas ran until the darkness reached his knees. A ways out, the water was shallow. A splash. After that Jon saw Thomas in glimpses, a foot, a white arm, the upper part of his back. Then there

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