The First Time I Saw A Man Cry...

Was the day I was introduced to suicide.

Let me explain, back in the fifties we had a milk man that delivered milk, exchanging our empty glass quarts, right from our front door. You left a note in the empty bottle telling what and how much you wanted with the cash, and in the morning you'd wake up and there would be a fresh bottle of milk and your new order, eggs, butter, something that can't be done now-a-days. If it were winter, the cream at the top and the milk would have frozen, pushing the paper lid up off the top. 

When I was very young this milkman first delivered by horse and wagon, but as time progressed the horse went by the wayside and a delivery van of sorts was introduced. Us kids preferred the horse.

Over the years, into the 60's this milkman and his family became close friends with my parents and we kids played with his children, vice-versa. He had four kids, if I remember right, by sisters might remember more, two of them twin boys, one good-looking, healthy, athletic, well liked, promising to be the most likely to succeed.  The other sickly, with polio, a wall flower, deformed, lame and walked with a limp, pale, shy, ashamed, a grim future.

While one got all the girls, invited places, high grades, the other watched TV or spent more time by himself and struggled with his grades.

We all grew-up together, or knew about them. They were known as the milkman's kids, a few years older than me, more my sisters ages. 

I remember the day.

The milkman, came to our house in his own car. I remember him parking out front. He was crying. The first time I saw a man cry. 

He came to borrow my fathers black suit and tie. His son, the one with polio had just committed suicide. He had stepped in front of a slow moving train, and was pulled under, and dragged for miles. Just steps from our house. Witnesses say he was reading the bible at the time.

That day was the first time I saw a man cry and the first day I was introduced to suicide. 

The milkman, was sure his son had a terrible accident, that he didn't see the train. We all agreed with him, but we all new different. 

I felt so sorry for the milkman, the anguish he must have felt that day. It showed on his face.

I felt sorry for his son. A life of torment always being compared to his better looking, smarter, stronger, sexier and healthier brother. I can hear him now, crossing the tracks moments before being struck.

"Why me Lord, Why hath thou forsaken me?"

The officials cleaned up the mess, saying he was dragged far down the line. I went to investigate the scene, after the experts left and took my dog Rex with me, for the walk on the track. 

It wasn't a good idea. I had to leash him, and drag him home. He was finding bits and pieces of skin, licking hair congealed with blood to the side of the rail track, chewing on little weeny bone fragments that the police didn't find.

I kept quiet about that and never told anyone until today. I didn't want to lose my dog. 

Dog Brindle

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