Man Speak

My son has always had his heart set on having his dad’s truck. When Peter used the truck Duke always dreamt of it becoming his one day then once it wasn’t in use anymore, Duke craved it even more. I tried to sell it, several times. I tried to sell it to one of my friends, I tried to sell it on multiply websites. Not one bite. I thought I was selling the damn thing at a very competitive price, several thousand less than the other ads I had compared it to. But nothing, my friends even bailed on the screaming deal.

It is a very manly truck; I am told that by every man that sees this Dodge V8. When Peter purchased it, he was incredibly proud of his acquisition, he was even prouder to talk to the other men that lusted after his truck. His face would gleam with pride when another manly man would comment. The conversation usually stared with, “Nice rig, is that a Hemi?” “No” Peter would always reply and follow up with “But it’s a V8 and a beaut.”

I never understood these words nor did I care to learn. I assumed a Hemi was a type of engine and I suspected that “Beaut” was short for beautiful. However, Peter never used that word in casual conversation or with me. The only time he used it was when he was talking to other people with penises about his Dodge.

When I decided to let Duke have his “dream” a few things had to be done to the truck, well more than a few but I came across some stumbling blocks.  One was I wasn’t a dude and I didn’t know man speak.

Every guy that I dated instantly became more interested in dating me, once they saw the truck parked in my gravel driveway. Each boyfriend casual or serious would stroll around the truck, take a long look, look it up and down as a teenage girl looks at her nemesis/girl that she envies, the men would then kick the tires and ask if they could pop the hood. In my desperation to either have a boyfriend or get Duke’s truck repaired I would let them. Each boy came back with their very own diagnosis, each different than the other, each dismissing the previous diagnosis. So I decided when the time was right I would just get the fucking thing to a mechanic. It wouldn’t have been my choice to keep the truck but part of being a parent is understanding that your journey is not their journey and for his journey Duke wanted his father’s truck. The mechanic was fine; he was a little confused when I asked him for the repair.
“You want everything repaired? EVERYTHING?” “Yes, everything. So after he did what every other man does, walked around the truck, kicked its tires and sighed, he agreed to repair everything.

The truck repair became a long and windy road of headaches. It took about 6 weeks and millions of dollars but it was finally complete and Duke now has THE truck, and he had the keys to a “Beaut” as proof. The only remaining problem was the ladder rack that was still attached to the truck bed. I finally convinced Duke to sell it, partially because I knew it still retained value but mostly because I could no longer bear to stare at the thing that reminded me most of Peter. The upside of him selling it, I tell him is that the proceeds can finance prom. He agrees.

After what seems like countless hours but was really mere minutes I proudly post the aluminum ladder rack on Craigslist, with accompanying stats and pictures. Within a day I receive an eager buyer. A man calls and immediately asks to speak to the man who is selling. Ugh, I think to myself. I quickly try and remember Peter’s man speak but my brain becomes a flurry of nonsense words and phrases. I mutter that I am firm on the price and we agree that he can come pick it up as fast as the wind will take him. “As fast as the wind will take him?” Fuck! Not only am I a girl, I’ve turned into the Disney version of Pocahontas. The wind must have been something that day because he arrived faster than I could prepare myself or Duke. Duke and I walk outside and as we do I can feel the prospective buyer eyeing Duke. Usually when men have this look in their eye, they are trying to surmise if Duke is my young lover or my overgrown son.

We meet exactly halfway in my driveway and I suddenly feel as if I am in a shootout about to draw. I try and make small talk with the cowboy boot, Wrangler wearing buyer but he avoids my eyes and speaks directly to Duke. “Is that your truck?” “Yeah” Duke says, “97?”

“98” Duke answers. “Hemi?” “Nah, a V8 though” “It’s a beaut”. And with that stimulating verbal exchange complete, the man hands me a wad of cash then proceeds to put the rack on his trailer and strap it down. He nods in Duke’s direction a few times when he needs assistance but for the most part there is only the clicking of the metal tie downs and the heavy breathing of two people lifting a heavy object.

As Duke and I walk back into the house I have so many questions for him, like, how do you know man-speak? Did daddy ever teach you or did you learn on your own? How do you say everything and nothing with a four-word conversation? But instead I keep my mouth shut, slide my arm around his, look up at him and say “Hi”. Before we even reach the front door, he has pulled his arm away and told me to stop being weird. I realized at that moment I no longer have a little boy; I am a parent of a man and his truck.


2 thoughts on “Man Speak

  1. Great details, tight action vs reaction. You are every bit as good as I believed you could be and will continue to get better. I am proud to have been witness to part of your journey as a writer.


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