Web Serial: Kneaded (Episode 2)
I scrub from my fingertips up to my elbows. Once my forearms are clean, I lace my fingers together to scrub between and the webbing between my fingers. For the first appointment of the day, I scrub my fingernails with a nail brush to make sure no dirt or funk is hanging out underneath. Once everything is soapy, I rinse from elbows to fingertips. I completely dry my limbs. Stretch the hands, wrists and neck.
Same routine before every massage.
I listen at the door for the rustle of clothes or blankets. Hearing nothing, I knock.
A muffled ‘ready’ comes from inside and I push through the door. Bare toes wiggle at me from the corner of the table. I hide behind the door.
“Mark, are you between the sheets?”
“Oh, am I supposed to?”
I’m a dumbass. I forgot to tell him. I was too focused on his phone. If we don’t tell people how to be on the table, if we miss even one time, they’ll be buck ass naked on top of the blanket when we walk in.
“Yeah, if you could just slide between the sheets there. I’ll wait until you’re settled.”
He shifts in the sheets. His toes disappear under the fleece blanket. I step in and shut the door tight behind me. I grab a bottle of oil from the shelf and tuck it in the holster on my hip. I take a pump of oil and warm it between my hands as I settle onto my stool.
He has the goddamned bolster under his neck. I can’t help myself. I roll my eyes. He wasn’t listening. At least he doesn’t have his phone in his hands.
“Okay, I’m gonna have you lift your head for me so I can get into your shoulders.” With oil on my hands, I grab the leather covered foam bolster and slide it from under his head. I lift the sheet and blanket at the foot of the table and shove the end under. “And now lift your knees for me.”
Now that I have the bolster back where it belongs, I settle back on the stool and work the oil onto his shoulders. I use the bare amount of oil; just enough for my hands to slide but not enough that I can’t get purchase on the muscle. I prefer the oil to be almost absorbed into the skin once I have the warmup done so I can get a good deep strip through the muscle tissue. When you first pick it up, the tissue is like unworked clay. In order to get the tissue pliable, you knead. Start with a little lighter pressure and work your way in. Let the tissue melt, then increase your pressure once it softens. Work the tissue until it becomes like warm clay. Begin at the humeral head just behind the tuberosity, between the clavicle and the acromion process and strip the trapezius from origin to insertion.*
This is my Zen.
*Repeat that in layman speak: start from the point of the shoulder, work between the collarbone and the shoulder blade and use slow, deep pressure from where it starts to where it attaches at the back of the head.