Your interests at 11 stay with you. I had a cheap plastic microscope. I had a notebook. Both are still true.
We grow intellectually into but not out of our tween interests, is my argument. The ages from 11-13 are formative whether you like me had a bowl-cut mullet or not. I look at my son, 11, flying his helicopter remotely. What tangled web will he weave?
Husb. grew a beard early. He's of the hairy phenotype. My son will have fuzzy forearms. I choose to see it as an asset. He has that going for him.
Husb. when he was 11 wanted a bike. In rural Costa Rica where he grew up with an outhouse it was not like it was in the '70s in Pittsburgh where I grew up. My grandfather asked me when I was 11, "Bike or a dinghy?" We were a water people.
"Dingy," I said. I rowed its creaky oarlocks around the cove at my grandparents farm on the Eastern Shore. I can still hear the sound.
Husb. would have said, "Bike!" and bounced around my grandfather in circles like a Jack Russell terrier. "Bike! Bike!" I like to think of my husband in happy dog form. I nip. I herd. I am a working dog. Husb. has those spring-loaded calf muscles. He is joyful.
A bike for Husb. is what I've been wanting to give him for awhile. When I met him he was Mr. Mountain Bike. He wore a singlet and carried his bike over his head up muddy hills like an ape. I watched. He had an earring that was made from a spoke.
I understood the type. In my family the men are like this, but about boats: old, classic, wooden, half underwater. The more woebegone the better. "The Emily's sunk," was not an uncommon report.
This is their sport: struggle and triumph. They pit themselves against the odds through the application of objects: pulleys and sailcloth patches and wing nuts and wire which are kept like reliquaries in The Tool Box.
Husb.'s has stickers on it, of another life, another time: lubes with double entendres, bike shops long out of business. Still the 11 year old remains. He's wide-eyed. "I'm going to buy you a new mountain bike for for your 50th birthday," I said. He said, "You are! Wait. You are? Are you? A new bike? OMG. Really?" Bounce bounce bounce.
It's so fun to be married to Tigger, I think to myself. Tigger on wheels. Life is short. How rare it is to make someone happy and not grind their gears. There is so much crap in the toolbox.
When I think of Husb. at 11 I think of the open road, immense richness, tire-rutted and lined with banana trees on the cafetal he was warned not to go into because of La Llorna, the central prohibitive female ghost of Latin America. She doesn't live around here.