Letter to the Milkman – A Student Leaves for College

Dear Mr. Milkman,

My entire life, the milkman has been my hero. Now, you obviously haven’t been my milkman for all 18 of those years but I’m just going to assume it’s been you the past four, since I’ve lived at this address. And it’s been these past four years that I’ve wanted to write you, and to thank you, as the entity you represent. And so here I am.

You know how some people unwind with an alcoholic drink at the end of a long day? My key to unwinding has been 2% milk as long as I can remember. That sounds exaggerated and childish, I know, but it’s really true. Nothing relaxed me like milk did throughout high school: through insane rehearsal schedules for theater, through making friends, through anxiety attacks during finals week. During the school year, it was the drinking of empty milk bottles on the porch that told me to get some sleep, and during the summers, seeing you pull up out my window reminded me what day of the week it was. My friends on the East coast never believed you existed, and my ex-girlfriend laughed when I told her I wanted to be a milkman myself at some point (that’s not why she’s my ex but it probably should have been). You are underappreciated, and taken for granted, and that’s unfair, because you have always been there to provide me with a predictable and reliable source of happiness in a very unpredictable life that has frankly had its pits.

I write you this letter now of all times because I realize how little time I have left to do so, and I guess, because I need to get some things off my chest. I only have days left before I leave to school in California. I leave my home, I leave my family, I leave my cats, I leave my friends, I leave the only lifestyle I have ever known. And I’m not ready for it. I’m not ready for this reality I know to be locked on the other side of nostalgia. I don’t want to remember it and risk forgetting it. I want to live it. But I can’t, ever again, and I’m trying to cope with that.

I won’t have a milkman in Los Angeles and I think realizing that made this all seem real. I also won’t have my parents paying for milk, which is an odd reality. It won’t be free anymore, it won’t be regular anymore, and, well, it won’t be Longmont Dairy anymore.

But thank you, my friend, for being there for me through everything. I wish, even one of those many times you arrived on my doorstep while I was still awake, that I had given you the lighthearted hello I always considered, to somehow lessen the heavy-hearted goodbye I have to give you now. I wish you all the happiness your deliveries have given me over the years.

Farewell, my Dairy Deliverer, my Lactose Locomotive. Farewell, my Milkman.

Your best friend,