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I've been thinking a lot lately about the strongest person I know. A lot of people would say the strongest person they know is either their mother or their father. Maybe because of how hard they worked in their lives or because of how much they’ve sacrificed for their children or certain hardships they had to endure when they were younger. I was thinking of strength in terms of physical strength. Who was the strongest person I knew? I’d have to say it was my friend Jeff. We’d been friends since elementary school. We played sports together, hung out after school together, we even fought over the same girl once. Her name was Candace and we played soccer together. She chose Jeff of course. Even when we were ten years old he had muscles and a little bit of hair on his chest. Jeff always beat me at everything. Jeff is the strongest person I know.

I’m pretty sure whoever came up with the term ‘mouth breather’ was talking about Jeff. Sometimes, if we were watching a movie or something on TV, I would look over at him and he’d be drooling on himself. I don’t know if he ever closed his mouth. Maybe his nose didn’t work properly. As we grew up Jeff just kept getting bigger and stronger and he started hanging out with me less and with other kids who were strong like him. Once him and his new group of friends all dyed their hair blond for some reason. I barely saw Jeff after high school. I think he became a police officer or one of those guys who jumps out of airplanes to fight forest fires up north or something like that. Something that only strong guys would do.

Jeff’s favourite song was Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. I think I’m the only person who knows that. The last time I saw Jeff we were out somewhere for a drink and reminiscing about the past. Making up for lost time. He drove me home and that song came on the radio as we pulled into my driveway. He locked the doors and wouldn’t let me leave until the song was over. We sat in silence for four minutes and fifty-nine seconds and then the locks clicked open and I got out of the car and said goodbye to Jeff through the open passenger window. He nodded and backed the car out of the driveway. Tears streaming down his face.

Contributor: Jason Lee Norman
Twitter: @bellyofawhale

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