She comes out to greet me in the waiting room. I haven’t been waiting long. It is at day’s end and my work is finished. During the wait, I scratch in my final words to tell her what I need. I will not need to speak anymore.
She leads me into the room. In the dim light I notice only the table and chair. “I’ll be back in a few minutes,” she says. I leave all of my clothes on the chair and wall hook; then I crawl under the covers and wait for the knock.
I lie on my stomach, my face cradled in the open circle at the top of the table. She turns on music, soft flutes and ocean waves.
I yield to her hands, oiled and searching. She finds my pain. Some aches I knew I carried; others lie hidden, deep within me. She seeks them out – knots of worry, muscles clenched, holding their breath. She forces them to breathe.
The pain cannot leave me until I feel it. Worry, long-forgotten deadlines, and anger hide within, cling to my bones. Her hands draw them out.
She murmurs and I turn, eyes closed, heart and mind still. Inside this room, I am outside my life, an in-between place.
I arrived once just as I am now, unclothed, at the mercy of hands. My leaving will be like this. An angel will prepare me for the crossing over. Her hands will find my hurt and pain and carry it away. I have swallowed darkness and sorrow; it clings to my bones. But it will yield to those hands.
We shall not speak; my words, as they are now, will be left there in the waiting room.
Then she will push my barge into the waters and the music will carry me across. And there will be hands, familiar hands, waiting on that other side.
Back massage photo courtesy of Nick Webb