We agreed that it made sense for the main house to be located where we spend the most time, and we spend the majority of our time in the city.
In the mornings, you make sure the kids and I have breakfast and that my tie is straight, or at least that the chest hair isn’t exposed too much by my polo, before I leave for the office and they go off to school – on top of tending to your own matters. I know you feel like there’s never enough time to do things the way you’d really like to do them, but, baby, really… the idea of any of us trying to get along without you is laughable.
During the day, I check my tie when I go to the restroom. I’m not as athletic looking as I was in college since these days I use my brain more than my brawn. I even keep my beard trimmed short so I don’t look like I don’t belong in the office. Damn - when I was a boy, I never dreamed I would grow up to be someone who had to pay so much attention to his appearance.
Some evenings we attend client dinners or benefit events, but we try to spend most evenings with the children, nourishing ourselves at the table you prepare, trying to stay engaged with one another even though the kids take up so much of our time and energy. (They’re worth it ;)
How many hours have I spent following you around the stores, watching you browse and try on “outfits”? How many chick flicks have I sat through just because I wanted to make you happy?
This is our civilized life – civilized for you and me, by you and me. We’ve made our choices and we’re happy. But we both know there’s another side to me. A side much less civil.
It’s nice to get away to the country house, but now and then I need a few days to indulge my wilder side. I pack up the truck with a few blankets, some small supplies, my axe, and my shotguns, and head out alone. I make sure I end up near a water source and the back of the truck and the blankets will be partial shelter from the elements. Everything else is up to me.
Out here is one place that a man like me gets back in touch with his more primal core. First task is always chopping wood to make camp – I’m hungry, but that can’t matter right now. In this cold, even with the truck and blankets, a man will freeze to death before he starves. (Using the heater in the truck would defeat the whole purpose of being here.) Collecting dry kindling is hard in this snow, but I manage to find dry leaves, pine needles, and twigs protected from the moisture by an evergreen canopy and I stuff them inside my hunting jacket to keep them dry, knowing you’d be mad at me if you saw what I was doing to my clothes. I’ll need some softer wood like pine to get a big fire going, but hickory or oak will keep it burning long and hot. And with this much snow coming down, I’ll need to use some twine to tie together a rack to semi-dry my wet clothes by the fire.
The water source is frozen nearly solid but my axe gets me through to some liquid. I pull out a jug’s worth, stick a branch in the snow to mark this spot for later, and head back to camp. Sorry, baby – not gonna be able to bathe out here.
With camp set up, the hunt begins. This first day turns out to be a tough one. By dusk, I’ve only got a few birds in my bag. I head back to camp while I can still see the way, light the fire, clean, cook, and eat my kill, and bed down in the truck for a cold, still-hungry night.
Success comes the next morning. It takes a while and I have to pass up a few doe, but I finally get a 7-point buck. I know you don’t understand the gratification of hunting, of subduing and conquering an animal. I also know I can’t explain it to you. The challenge… the conquest… this is what it’s all about.
The next day is spent enjoying the quiet, watching nature, tending the fire, eating cuts from the deer, and making sure the other cuts don’t get eaten by the other animals before I can bring them home to your freezer. I was thinking I would be here another day, but the truth is I miss you.
I know you’re strong in your way and I respect that more than you might know. But I also know you don’t want to do the survival camping thing with me – and that kind of contrast between us turns me on like you wouldn’t believe. I’m so glad I got back out here and did this again, but I also know that what I want more than anything right now is to get home to you, to feel your tender caress as you dress my cuts and scrapes, to take you in my arms and kiss your sweet lips.
I pack up the truck and head home. Somehow you don’t seem surprised to see me a day early. “How was it?” you ask. “AWESOME!” I wrap my arm around your waist, take your chin in my hand, and kiss you. “But I missed you too much to stay gone.” You melt for a second, and put your head on my chest and I kiss the top of your head and your cheek.
Then you pull away and tell me I stink – hahaha. As you walk back into the house, you tell me to make sure I strip in the mud room so I don’t track mud all over your clean floors. I start unpacking the truck and I smile and chuckle to myself at how cute you are, how lucky I am, and how much I love the life we’ve built together.
I’m the man in the middle – finding my way as dual selves caught between two worlds. Not a mincing fancy man by any means, but not fully a wild man anymore, either. But that’s ok – I’m just honored to be your man. And I still get to be an animal when I have you on your back with your legs spread – subdued and conquered.
Disclaimer: No, neither of these men are me. I do not have professional photographers following me around.