There are two reasons why I cut milk out of my diet. The first one is that on the monthly magazine I subscribed to for free there was an article claiming that milk is an excellent meal for toddlers, but when coming to grownups things are not the same. 'Adults are lactose intolerant,' the first line of the second paragraph read. Finally something I agreed on, considering that I could finally stop inventing a second reason why I did not like milk, because the second reason was never the same and never true. The thing is that when you dislike something you end up seeing it everywhere and the fact that milk is not a rare product makes things worse. So said there is always one of those large jars from where white soft foam oozes from the rim, (this happens quite often during lunch breaks at the library’s cafeteria where I work). Same for those hot milky cups and cappuccinos and latte macchiatos and whatever milky drink I would rather stay away from… if I only could. Keeping away from truth has never been so hard. Every time a cup of milk accidentally fells under my sight the true reason why I hate it pops up in my mind.

One year ago a new free copy of the monthly magazine arrived in my mailbox and -believe me- this is the only reason why I am going to tell you why I dislike milk. I could go on saying that it makes me fat and older but once again the first line of the second paragraph came to the aid. 'Writing is therapeutic,' it read. ‘Do you want to get read of bad habits? Just write about them!' the paragraph went on. It did not say that you should have people reading about your bad habits, however I am pretty sure nobody will ever read what I am going to tell. So said nobody will know that the day when I turned thirty I was invited to a dinner which I declined without notifying the stranger who invited me. The white invitation card without envelope was in the mailbox. The black capital letters printed on it read that a Mr. C. invited me Tonight at 8.30 at The 4 Cats.

Right, let’s start the therapy session. Writing to myself about what happened or did not happen. (Did it really happen?) What for sure did happen is that I was used to celebrate my birthdays alone, despite I had lots of friends and coworkers from the library. A weird tradition made up by myself without any reason, at least at my knowledge. (A therapy session about this as well, maybe?)

When I said that I declined the invitation I meant that I ripped the invitation card off and I slammed the door shut behind me. I was ready to enjoy my sofa watching my preferred series on TV when Molly, the main character, entered Molly’s Family lunchroom holding a birthday cake in her hands and singing Happy Birthday Mr. Stingy, Happy Birthday to you!

Mr. Stingy? I had watched that episode hundreds of times to know that the cake carried by Molly was supposed to be a turkey to celebrate Thanksgiving at Molly’s Family. When I turned my head to look at the door my eyes rolled looking for the source of the noise coming from that direction, a sort of a meow I thought; nothing or nobody was there. Of course nothing /nobody was there because something slash somebody was sitting on the chair at the launch table. The only chair; yes I had only one.

On the flatscreen Molly was still singing Happy Birthday Mr. Stingy, Happy Birthday to you! with the cake still in her hands, but this time a bunch of birthday’s candles shone on it and a big 30 stood on Molly’s head.

When I turned my head again to watch the thing which was sat or not sat on my chair, (did something really sat on my chair?) I passed out or I fell half asleep, I still do not know (I believe I was in a live dream). What I do know is that when I came around the morning after I decided I hated milk. In fact what woke me up was the aroma spread by my favorite cup of milk and cereals, however this time it reminded me of something I wanted to forget. The more I wished forgetting the more I remembered and this made what had happened the evening before coming up to my mind as soon as the smoke from the cup raised to my nostrils.

When I decided to write about the dinner (eventually a dinner took place after I fainted/dreamt) it was six months ago, when the January number of the free magazine arrived in my mailbox. The June 2020’s number helped me a lot as I said, but I still was reluctant to go on with writing therapy in regard to the birthday dinner. 

What happened or what did not happen (did it really happen?) was that on TV Molly went on calling me Mr. Stingy for all the evening. It was not the first time I heard that word around me but I had no doubt it was not addressed to me. Me stingy? Not at all, I thought. To be honest I must say that once somebody told me I got the reputation as a stingy man, but it was Mrs. Sally who told me this, the oldest librarian who suffered from a mild dementia, so I did not pay too much attention to her remark. Another thing to mention is that the dinner I was about to have was not prepared by me. Right, if not me then somebody else had made it. This sounded quite logic indeed, but it was not too much right I should say. Actually, from the table where I sat I could see the kitchen and as a certainty I can say that the shadow moving behind the cooker did not belong to a man nor to a woman. As a matter of fact it was not human at all. The body it belonged to was as white as milk and it stood on four paws. Wrapped in a red apron the cook looked very professional despite the fact its body shape drew the silhouette of a cat. And ( at this point of the story I should feel released but I start to have doubt about the benefits of writing) it -the white cat I mean- moved its paws from pots to cooking pans mixing ingredients and adding red wine and olive oil to tomato sauce, until a scent of lasagna spread all over the flat.

 The meal was served and the cat-cook cut lasagna in five portions. The thing is that I was not the only one sitting at the table; there were guests (I did not know I had so many chairs). They were three, the guests I mean (the chairs were five; one was left for the cat-cook which eventually sat at the table as well) and they were not human neither; they were white cats.

The meal was on the table but not for long, despite the fact that the evening I ended up eating with four strangers seemed to be the longest of my life. You understand, those strangers were strange. The cats seemed enjoying the meal. I saw them licking their chops and this made the cat-cook satisfied, judging from its meow. Leading the conversation the cat-cook focused on the quality of the ingredients pointing on the diary part, “only an excellent mozzarella melts without moistening,” it meowed. “When it comes to béchamel sauce milk and butter are the kings of the kitchen,” it added with a longer meow. The guests meowed back moving the conversation to the cost of the ‘kings of the kitchen,’ and agreeing on the fact that for good ingredients it is worth to spend a few coins more. “It pays off in health and taste,” the cat-cook meowed. That was the best meal I ever had, I thought, and for the first time in my life I realized that despite my Italian roots I had never cooked so much and so well and… I had never invited anyone at home for a dinner even on my birthday because I was stin— What? Me a stingy man?

Do you wonder if writing therapy works? Oh, if it does! Yet I keep on cutting out milk at any cost and the true reason is that I find it too expensive😊

June 28, 2021 09:49

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