I’m not even close to feeling relaxed. That’s why I’m here. But I take a deep breath in through my nose and try to let go of the tension.
‘I’m going place these hot stones on your spine. They will release toxins that you hold in your back. While the stones do their work, I’ll massage your legs and feet, if that’s OK.’
Well, I signed up for a whole body massage, so yeah, that’s fine.
I feel warmth oozing across my back. It’s as if warm honey is trickling from the centre to the sides of my torso. God it feels good.
‘Not too hot?’
‘No, it’s fine thanks,’ I respond. I forget her name, something like Saskia or Saffron or maybe Indigo. She presses her fingers hard, moving from my right upper leg, to my calf, and then my foot.
‘I can tell you’re holding stress. Life has overwhelmed you lately. Amiright?’
Christ, she’s run the last phrase to make it into one word, complete with a squeaky upward inflection. If she doesn’t shut up, I’ll likely come out of this experience more overwhelmed than when I arrived.
She moves to my left leg, and presses deeply into my muscles again. ‘Is the pressure OK?’
‘Thank you, yes it’s fine. Can probably go a little harder even.’ My tone sounds indignant, even to my ears. ‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound haughty.’
‘Oh, no problem,’ she giggles softly. ‘I don’t even know what that means.’
She continues to press into the sole of my left foot. It’s amazing. Somehow, her voice and ditzy manner is less annoying to me.
‘I’m going to remove the stones now. Then I’ll massage your back and shoulders, OK?’
I lose myself in her touch. My eyelids feel heavy. I shut them, blocking everything away.
I sense closeness. A face nearby. I hear her, whispering in my ear. ‘Wake up.’ She giggles again. ‘A lot of people fall asleep. I take it as a good sign. That I am doing a good job.’ She pats my shoulder, and continues, ‘You can turn onto your back now.’
The towel covering the hole for my face is damp. How embarrassing. I wipe my mouth discreetly before I turn over. She slips the towel away and slides a pillow under my head.
‘Just rest there for a moment,’ she says. ‘I’ll lower the bed, and when you’re ready, you can get dressed. I’ll meet you downstairs at the counter.’
She leaves. I lie on the bed for another minute or two. I stand and float towards the chair in the corner of the room where my clothes are folded.
I am lighter, looser.