I can suck it up
Throw it all at me
I can shrug it off
There's one thing, baby
That I don't understand
You keep on telling me
I ain't your kind of man.
--Rolling Stones, Beast of Burden
I hear this song in my ear buds almost daily clearly, I need to shake-up my Pandora playlist and all I can think of is the Caveman and when we started dating. See, the Caveman proposed to me on our very first date.
I just wanted a meal and a drink and a night away from my two-year-old, and this knucklehead proposed marriage. Oh, it was not a get-down-on-one-knee-kinda proposal, but a proposal nonetheless. On our drive home from the restaurant, when I was fully lubed from his attention and touch and equally loaded from a couple of carafes of Avila's house margaritas, and while he drove up Pacific Coast Highway in a hot summer month, he said in an extraordinarily matter-of-fact manner, "I can see myself being married to you, and taking care of you and your son for the rest of my life." The fact that he did NOT look hard into my eyes or lean into me so I could feel his breath in my ear deeply underscored the gravitas of his words. He did not rely on gimmick; he let his words alone speak his heart's truth. How simple. How effective. How scary.
I just stared out the window and pulled a long drag on my Marlboro Light 100 thinking how much I wished he would slow the car down enough so I could just jump the hell outta there I had a mental picture of a perfectly executed tuck-and-roll thereby protecting my precious and expensive teeth, as well as my ubiquitous Marlboros but, sadly, I was glued to the seat. I did not turn my head. I did not answer him. Boom.
I just let it lay there.
Later on in our relationship when I was fussing with staying or going or this-ing or that-ing because of my age or his earning potential or whatever I thought was so important that it should keep us apart because I have that wholly unique ability to confuse the problem with the issue when it is so perfectly clear to him. He simply told me, "You know what, Darya, do what you gotta do. I will always love and take care of you and your son. I will always be there for you--you are gonna have to chase me away with a stick." And he did not say it in a way that gave me that shotgun-in-the-back-of-my-head dread shiver as I went to the door nor were any Star 80-esque alarms going off and if you don't understand that reference, Google it, girl because it holds the key to what I came from and where my head was at. Because it was not a threat.
It was a vow.
Go ahead, Darya, throw it all at me, girl. I can take it. And he still can. I can shrug it off. And he still does. And I will still be standing right there by your side holding your hand. And he still is. It gives me chill bumps to even write all this out loud because as I grow older I realize how precious and gracious and tenacious the Caveman is naturally. His actions and his words still say these things to me--just like the other day when I was once again this-ing and that-ing over some stupid-ass nonsense that had me all worked up and ready to tell the whole wide world to shove it.
He is my beast of burden.
And I am glad his back is broad 'cause the weight of my worry would prolly crush an average man to smithereens.