Web Serial: Kneaded (Episode 1)
He glances up from his cell phone to acknowledge me, but he continues to be enveloped by the plush sofa cushion and punch buttons on his iPhone. I wait for a few seconds as he furiously types his text or email or whatever the hell he’s doing. The clock reads straight up ten thirty. His ass should be naked on my table by now. Every second wasted I can’t get back.
“Mark? Are you ready to come on back?” I repeat in case he only looked up because I was standing in front of him and hadn’t heard me call his name. I’m soft spoken. Sometimes people don’t hear me.
He holds up a finger at me like I’m an undisciplined dog pawing at his crisp ironed suit. As much as I try to be understanding and compassionate with my work, but sometimes clients make me grit my teeth until they squeak. I love my job, I really do, but occasionally I wish I could grab a client by the shirt and shake them.
Mark finally puts his cell in his jacket pocket and rises from the sofa. I notice he doesn’t turn his phone off. I hope he’s already silenced the device as he follows me.
We pass through the maroon halls, my bare feet padding the soft, short nap gold carpets. Mark’s slick soled shoes tread behind me. I stop before the door to my office and gesture him inside. The electronic screen once again illuminates his face as he steps into the low lit room.
“I’m Eva. I’ll be your therapist today. What can I work on for ya?” The door goes partially closed behind me so everyone in the clinic can’t understand what’s being said. Client confidentiality.
He looks up from his phone and regards me for a moment. His gaze travels from head to feet and back again. I’m used to this, not because he’s checking me out, but he’s sizing me up. I’ve found a lot of clients will base their pressure requests on my body type.
“I’m always sore in my back and shoulders.”
“More upper back or lower?”
“Okay. Do you want me to do a full body or just upper body?”
“Upper. You won’t have time to get through everything.”
I note he doesn’t check the clock. He’s still staring into the glow of his cell phone.
“Upper body, focus on neck, shoulders and back. Usually with low back pain, the gluts can be involved. Do you want me to work on that, too?”
“If you have time.”
“Okay. So I’m going to start you face up. You’ll be between the sheets with your head at the top of the table and this guy under your knees, staring up at the ceiling.” I always pat the tall lump toward the foot for emphasis. I can’t count how many times I’ve walked in and people have been upside down thinking the bolster is for their heads.
“Okay, thank you.”
He still isn’t looking up at me when I shut the door firmly behind me and give a second tug to make sure it’s closed. Once the rustle of clothes comes through the oak, I turn for the sink to wash up.