The problem was that I was caught up in the business of moving furniture and all sorts of luggage with my Luton, and the image of Luisa begam to captivate me . I stood at the table of a bar in a neighborhood of cheap flats . I was waiting to shift the conversation to my obsession : did she or did she not have two bags full of books ? And if so , what sort of books were those …
In the end Luisa killed me with her ability to change the subject . I, who had not been an ace in school, and the years after graduation, trying all sorts of jobs, began to realize that the books I read would have been useful . I understood what Luisa wanted to do: I was going to talk about this and I was actually treating myself like a naive who reached my age decided to start a “man with a van” business! And actually not telling me anything about her. That’s what I thought.
A life full of people carrying luggage
Surprise, Luisa came from a family of porters ! That’s what she told me: “You know Peter, all of my family had one way or another to deal with people’s luggage. They took luggage, made luggage, lived in luggage! They moved from one place to another, they moved from one apartment to another, but they always went back to the same place. I told you this to somehow explain my attraction to you and generally to those in your guild of a man with a van … ”
She probably saw me blushing or I did not know, she saw me ready to object that I was in the stage where I want to have a small moving business . That I did not even ask myself to be in any particular guild, it was too early for me, I was just beginning. As I said, I wanted to have a job, to have some living, if it was from moving furniture or freight services in London , it was totally the same thing . Just let it be with trucks. That is why I was flattering that Luisa was framing me in a guild that I was just hoping to get.
“Well, Peter, forget this, you’re gonna be! Listen to me well, whoever wants something really can not get if he does not insist if he does not work … Yeah, you need luck too! True that as well… ”
My obsession fell as Luisa told me about her family. It turned into a pleasure to listen. I was sorry that until then I had thought Luisa as a light woman. But I was hoping that he had chosen me for my “man with a van” service that seemed to her to be fair and I was expecting to pay me for this. I was a fool. Now I remember, that I went very close to the mistake of falling in love with her.
“You know Peter ( she was killing me with her sight when said that , I could not look into her black eyes and I could hardly keep my head down) I’ll pay you not to worry! I know that’s what you’re worried about, you’ve been walking all day with me, and you think I want to fool you, maybe you think I’m a crazy woman who gets confused and goes into the lives of the people who came to move her luggage … But let me get back to my father … ”
Luis, the man who carries furniture on his back
That’s what her dad was called, Luis. And she told me he had become famous when, after a night of chefing in a brewery in Lisbon, he had bet he could carry a closet fill with clothes, just like that , alone, with his bare hands and no strollers, upstairs and put it in its place.
“Peter, my father was a little stupid! He had a great soul, but little mind . Instead he had muscles at his discretion. He did not realize that his drunken partner had actually tricked him , that he just had him move a cabinet. For free, I mean, with the money he gave for a beer, two … Peter, you know what the Alfama neighborhood is !?
There, whoever has a muscle can do anything, take luggage, carry goods, the streets are narrow and twisted. With muscles you can beat yourself, but let’s not talk about it. Maybe we’ll go once and see you will see for yourself . There is where I was born and there I lived until I decided to come here to London … ”
Luisa was story telling me , I was starting to forget about my obsession (if she even had two bags with books ! And if so, what kind of books are in her luggage?) and she continued to tell me about her father. However, after that event in Cervejaria O Manolo, Luis began to be called by people to move all sorts of things for them , to do all sorts of hard work.
Luis started to move furniture on his back , started looking for lone women to move their wardrobe or bed or fridge. To help at moving . The cavalry story brought him a reputation, which, instead of repeling him, gave Luis money. He had all the time to work, all the time he had to move furniture , carry luggage. His nickname was “the man with a closet in his back”. Not long after this event he also bought a truck. It was a Luton Van!
“You know Peter, my father was also doing a man with a van like you. Only that he carried more on his back ! You do not know what the Alfama neighborhood is … It does not look like anything here in London. Maybe I’ll take you with me … ”
Now Luisa was even deeper in the world of people taking luggage. She had won a friend, that is, me. And thank God for not falling in love with her.