She came to see me the first time and looked so sheepish I wasn’t sure what I had to offer would sit so well with her.
I explained remedial massage as best I could to her saying it was deep muscle massage and often could feel painful. She said her neck to her waist hurt and she’d heard I was good at what I did.
So agreeing to the massage I left her to ready herself, laying out towels to use as cover once she had undressed.
And so the ritual began. Every three weeks we went through the same routine. I explained everything I was going to do, what I discovered as I worked my way around her neck and shoulders and finally the small of her back.
She had the smoothest of skin and for me it was a delight to touch and feel my hands gliding over its silky texture.
Her neck and back were a series of knots, muscles contracting and needing to be released. Each time I would unclip her bra, and work my way down her back manipulating her muscles as I went all the while marvelling at the softness of her skin.
She said very little other than to gasp from time to time as I pushed hard against her tightened muscles trying as best I could to release the pent up tension.
Conversation wasn’t something she was interested in, that became clear, so my hands had to do all the communicating with her. There were moments when I needed to go deep into her muscle and I’d urge her to breathe deeply against the discomfort I knew she would be feeling. I would hear her dragging in deep breaths as my fingers found the trigger points I would linger on as they slowly let go their grip on her.
It was common with massage for the skin to be bruised for a day or so after but she never complained about any of that. At the end of each session, I would gently rub her skin in a flowing action to try and relax her and take away the tension I knew she was feeling.
I’d wipe the massage oil from her skin, re-clip her bra and leave her to dress. She always paid in cash and made another appointment three weeks away.
On the last day, she announced she would not be returning and thanked me for all I had done for her.
As she was about to leave she turned and said: “I did all this to try and appeal to his sense of me being ok. That I wasn’t a dead fish as he called me. In the end, it didn’t matter. I wasn’t good enough. Try as I did he found a younger woman and now I feel useless. All this, all the hard work you put in has come to nothing. Do you know what it’s like to wake up knowing you just aren’t good enough? There’s nothing more to live for is there?
He hadn’t touched me in years. Do you know what that means? What it says about you?
You made me feel again. The pain of it all made me feel alive. I’m grateful for all that.”
With that, she left and I never saw her again.