*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
A man who lived in my old hometown had a reputation as the local ladies’ man, strongman, and one-man furniture-moving company. He was very popular.
The neighborhood husbands were all jealous of him, and the domestic housewives were nearly all infatuated with him. His feats of strength made all the women swoon.
I just knew him as my classmate’s father.
My classmate was a nice girl who spoke softly and wore thick eyeglasses. Taller and more broad-shouldered than most of the boys and all the other girls in our fifth-grade classroom, she’d inherited some of her father’s best characteristics from her. She was strong as an ox, especially for an elementary school student, and all the other kids always wanted her on their team during gym class.
Whenever a family moved from one house to another, they would call my classmate’s father for help. Then all the neighbors would line the streets and watch as the man trudged blocks with a refrigerator or other appliance strapped to his back from him, delivering it safely to its new location.
Stairs were not a problem for him. Whether he was carrying an appliance to the second or third floor made no difference. He would take each step slowly and methodically, neither rushing nor slowing down, until his load was in its place.
Although he was married, he was a big flirt who was more than happy to exchange small talk with the women who came out of their houses to watch him pass. He could entertain anyone with ease, never stopping to put down his heavy load or to rest.
Appliances were his specialty, but he wasn’t above helping with televisions or heavy boxes of dishes.
It was moving those refrigerators and stoves that really made him shine. Without his services from him, it would take two to three men more than double the time to wrangle the appliance through doors and upstairs and downstairs.
While he charged more for his services, the locals were more than happy to pay him. Many moving companies cost more money for less personalized service, and the neighbors loved supporting a family man who lived in the neighborhood. He was one of our own.
There was one neighbor lady in particular who seemed to be a huge fan of the burly moving man. She often cheered him on as he approached the invisible finish line that marked the end of his trip.
According to the neighborhood gossips, including my grandmother, the Uber-strong move and the woman who vocally cheered for him from the sidewalk, were having an affair.
Although I was very young when the neighborhood strongman was impressing the local ladies with his strength and prowess, I remember hearing the gossip even if I didn’t understand it. There were whispers that my classmate’s parents were getting divorced.
Divorce was a rarity in our social circle back then. It wasn’t unheard of; my father had divorced his first wife before marrying my mother, but it was uncommon enough to be a novelty in our neighborhood.
I felt sorry for my classmate. We did n’t talk about her parents’ situation, but she looked sad. She looked sadder still when her father de ella left her mother for one of the neighborhood housewives during the summer before sixth grade.
We went to different junior high schools, and then my family moved out of the neighborhood. So I wasn’t able to witness what happened next, but the last I heard, the local strongman and his affair partner had divorced their first spouses, gotten married, and enjoyed a strong second marriage, according to my grandmother, who continued living in the old neighborhood until she passed away.