Hey Mr. Tandem Bike Man - Play a Song for Me
Just yesterday, I hear my husband on the back porch, his boots stomping up the steps at the end of his day in the real world.
This summer day has been bejeweled and bedecked with wayward neighbor boys who keep finding themselves in my home office, asking me to make mac & cheese or to bandage their booboos.
But now – finally – it is early in the evening – and my man is home, and all I want to do is pour him a glass of wine, and one for myself, and sit on the cushiony wicker chairs on the front porch and kick my feet up onto the front rail and ask him to please tell me about a day that was entirely unlike mine. With no neighbor boys and no petty arguments and no dirty socks and no cereal bowls but real problems – the kind you can chew on a while. The kind you have to think about and solve using your adult capabilities.
But he wants to go on a bike ride instead. This should come as no surprise. Physical exertion is how he unwinds. And because I suck at riding bikes, he recently sold a little of his dignity (and mine) to buy a tandem bike, so he can drag me along behind him AND be assured that I can keep up.
He loves this tandem. So do my kids. The boys in the neighborhood will actually wrestle over who gets to go on the next ride with my husband. Still, even if I am being dragged on the tail end of the same bicycle, I am still not sure that bikes are my friends. I don’t love the tandem, and my kids know this.
They start to shove one another out of my husband’s line of sight: “I’ll go with you, dad.” “NO! I’ll go!”
But the man looks me deep in the eyes, a look that still makes me all jiggly on the inside and he says, “No I would like to take your mother.”
His tone is so formal and his glance so intoxicating that I start to reconsider my “no,” and then he starts pouring wine into a purple Sippee cup that he found God Knows Where. And he loads the Sippee cup into the water bottle cage on the front of the tandem and tells me his idea: we’ll ride up the valley for 4 or so miles and then we’ll sit by it and swing our feet from a log and we will discuss things. And so, just like that, I slip on my sandals and hop on the back of my man’s funny bicycle and we make our way up the mountain valley, picking our way through the rocks and ruts of the old dirt mining road.
My head is just inches from his back, and I can tell he’s been out working in the hot sun this day. In addition to a certain muskiness, he smells of wood freshly-sawn and of our detergent and of the wind and the trees and everything that makes him the man he is. His back muscles are strong and sort of ripply and I can’t help but reach out and touch them from time to time as we pedal. When we get going fast, I giggle. I can’t help it. They just rip out of me, and I think about how much I truly dig this man who is pulling my butt up the hill.
It makes me think of this TV show we’re sort of hooked on. We have this new habit, see. We missed a lot of really great TV when the kids were younger and we were starting our own businesses because neither of us could ever manage to stay up later than the kids did. So now, even though a particular series has long been canceled, we like to start it from the beginning on Netflix through our Wii, and we watch from the pilot to the series finale. That way, we can curl up and watch these 20 minute, no-commercial episodes whenever we can steal away for a snuggle and we find ourselves completely engrossed in a series that the rest of the world enjoyed years ago.
These days, it’s The Office. You’re probably familiar with this wistful and simple love story that plays out between one of the paper supply salesmen and the receptionist. These two fall in love with one another as the show goes along and you know that if they are just able to get it together and relish this simple sweet love their whole lives, they would be so blessed.
Watching their fictional story play out makes me feel astonishingly fortunate that I have this kind of simple, sweet love in my very own life. I am married to this man whom I adore in ways infinitely deeper than the day I married him 15 years ago. It makes me aware, suddenly, that a good marriage is one of life’s greatest gifts that I will never let go. Ever. It makes me want to stop everything and squish the man.
But we’re on a bike, and, if I do that, we might fall down or I might fall off and down that hillside.
So I’ll just say this:
If you’re married to a guy who still buries his face in your hair and breathes deep and looks at you with that glossy-eyed stare every now and then – well then, stop right now and thank the lord. Then call him up (your husband, not the lord) and tell him you’ll meet him by the river this evening with a Sippee cup full of wine. I swear to you that it will be worth it. It’s lovely there.
This post originally appeared on SusannaGrace.com