When he is at work, I picture the Caveman sweating and cursing at 10-inch cast-iron pipe as he fits it into a 9-inch attic hole from atop a 12-foot ladder in the mid-day heat and the midnight cold on the rooftops of hospitals and universities and shiny glass buildings where bow-tied hipsters and prissy too-thin and inappropriately dressed women bitch about the thermostat controls being set too high and the noise of the pipe welding is too loud. All this goes on while the Caveman makes sure they have potable water to make their precious cappuccinos and autoclaves sterilize uber-precise aerospace equipment. When he comes home after work, I can smell the pipe and the hard work of his day on his long-sleeved shirts and Carhartt pants and I can see the sweat on the inside band of the welding caps I make for him.
While I have certainly cried my fair share of tears--that fact has been pretty well documented in my prior articles so there is no need to double-dip that chip here--but the Caveman is one of those rare male creatures who can unabashedly and unashamedly shed a tear. He cries them silently and handsomely--no big swollen red eyes or snot filled sinuses. The tears come equally in joy and in sorrow. They slide out the corners of his eyes when he watches the Iron Man Triathlon or he thinks of his sweet Roxy Girl or the father he lost to cancer or the son he raised to adulthood. They roll down his cheeks while he is driving and he hears a song on the radio that reminds him of something sweet or sad or maybe even something that I have absolutely no clue about--I don't pry--I simply wipe the tear away without a word. We don't need words between us--I may not speak Spanish, but I do speak Caveman.
Surfing--the sea; the water--that's the real deal. Most weekend mornings the Caveman goes out and meets up with his buddies either at Magnolia or Bolsa Chica. They always stand on the edges of the fire pit rings and there is talk of the work week and the general quality of the surf and they sip their coffee and laugh and make boy talk; however, there is not always surfing. Fact: I have always loved surfer boys. So, you would think that after all these years I would be better at spotting whether or not there was actual surfing going on after these fire pit meetings. It's true, I simply cannot tell by the way he parks the car in the driveway or whether the board is in the front passenger side of the H3--where I usually sit, so that I have to adjust my seat from the most reclined position and then stare at the little mark that Sticky Bumps wax leaves on the dashboard--instead of on the actual mounted surf racks. I definitely cannot tell by the way he gets out of the car or how he unloads his board or even the fact that there are little clumps of sand on the stairs because his feet are always covered in sand. Believe it or not, it's not even when I lean in to him and hug him and feel the coolness of his skin--coolness from the cold sea water or the cold beach air or the cold water shower he took at the beach. But, I can always tell when I kiss him. Whether I kiss him on his lips or on his cheek, that is when I know for sure, because I can taste it--I can taste the saltwater on his skin. I can taste the cure.
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