I dated a hammer-thrower once. He amazed me. I’d never met someone who could do that Highland Games thing. He came to pick me up, his hair shorn so short I had to run my hand over it. It felt like a seal pelt. In his trunk he had a full set of throwing hammers. The car sagged backwards with their weight.

He enchanted me. I had never met anyone so strong. When I rested my hands on his shoulders, they felt like steel. I knew he could lift even well-cushioned me without an intake of breath. It paralyzed me with astonishment and a weird kind of lust. We had nothing else in common, and our relationship was remarkably short-lived, but I’ll always remember the feel of his shoulders, that weird girly attraction to someone who could actually rescue me, if I were under a bus or rock or fridge. The type of guy who could carry me, Officer and a Gentleman like, out of my unsatisfying existence. And then catch me a wandering steer and make me some steak, while talking to me about world events or a new book or something he’d learned in the past day. But I digress….

See, I’ve always been the strong one. Knowing someone stronger than I was in one dimension at least was different for me.

I’ve met other strong people. They were mighty in other areas: one girlfriend who endures a horrific family situation with a calmness I could never master; another who copes with health challenges with a cheery “I guess I’ll just deal with whatever comes.” A friend who copes with the constant fatigue of MS and caregiving and still has more to give. A man who was so smart in so many areas I could barely keep up with the conversation.

But I’m strong like them, generally, though my challenges are generally different. Strong and always kind, I’m working on. But that physical strength… That’s something else again.

It’s weird. I am, when all things settle, more of an intellectual sort. But I’ve had to lift a fridge or two in my time, have done strenuous home renovations, dug long gardens, shovelled hundreds of meters of snow. In all that time, I’ve longed for a strong partner to help, never had one. Some part of me calls backward (or forward) to the person who can look after themselves after the Armageddon, maybe pitch in with the water-carrying, dig a secure cave, build a posthistoric fire.

Nah. I’ll just get busy with the weights. After all, it’s always so hard to find someone to lift a fridge off you when you need them. The phone is always across the room.