Web Serial: Kneaded (Episode 3)
I close my eyes as I work, letting my fingers “see” where the muscle needs work. Corded muscle rolls from between my fingertips at the joinder of neck and shoulder. I repeat the action until the muscle submits and stays in the pinch grip. Making a fist, I press with firm, deep pressure from shoulder point to the back of the ear.
His head doesn’t move. I apply a bit more pressure at the back of his head. He pushes back against me.
“If possible, relax a bit for me, okay? Your head should be loose on your neck.” I release pressure against the occipital ridge and reverse the pass to the acromion. I learned a long time ago when you say the word “relax”, clients always tense, especially those with physical or psychological trauma, type “A” personalities or, well, just about anybody.
The second pass goes a little smoother and his head rolls a bit to the side. His forehead doesn’t have the deep crease between his eyebrows.
I gently lift the mass of his shoulder to slide my hands beneath and use his body weight to get a little more pressure in the trapezius. I don’t need much distance. I cup my fingers to get into the muscle. This loosens the muscle before I get into the back. Makes my job so much easier.
Except when he brings his shoulder off the table to “help” me. And then leaves it there. I rest my palm against his shoulder. When he doesn’t drop to the table, I apply a little pressure to coax him down. His shoulder shakes and then lowers. I work from the origin of the trapezius toward the shoulder with a “come hither” hand motion, then up to the neck. The second pass takes me from the origin along the spine.
From the table in the corner, his cell phone blares out an obnoxiously loud ditty one could hear in the parking lot. Through the noise of traffic and the lawn crews with leaf blowers. I startle, then catch my breath. Definitely too loud for a small room with low lights and soft music. I continue once my heart falls from my throat. No matter how many times it happens in a day, I nearly leap out of my skin every time.
The phone stops. I can finally hear the wood flute in the background. Why people don’t silence their cell phones when they come in is beyond me. One would think having a relaxing session, an hour without interruption, would be top of their priority list. Or that they would at least think of the other clients in other rooms since we’re a multi-therapist business. Or the therapist in their room who chokes on their tongue every time it rings.
Another ring. I bite my tongue and resist the urge to turn his phone off for him.
“Sorry,” he finally murmurs. He doesn’t open his eyes, so I don’t bother with a polite smile.