Passing Strangers



Tell me something…you believe in New Year’s resolutions? I do. True? I don’t think a person like you believe in those things. A person like me? Now what would he know about a person like me? I was on my way to get a taxi when he called to me. Yet another driver going in my direction who refused my fare and opted for picking my brain instead. I thanked him and sat quietly. Then he started talking about the frustrations of not being able to keep his resolutions. Hmmm. I said I think we try to do too much in a short period. Every day is a new day that gives us opportunities to resolve to do this and resolve to do that, so by the time the New Year comes around we are already in the habit of fulfilling our resolve. Thus making whatever the new resolve is, easier to accomplish.


He laughed, saying it is harder than that. Fine. Something has to be easy before it can get easier. Maybe we shouldn’t think of it as easy or hard. Think of it like a sunny day. When we least expect, a cloud appears and drops some rain. But it moves right along and we are back to our sunny day. So too, while we are doing that uphill climb with our resolution, we might stumble. The thing is to get past the stumble spot, not sit on it for the rest of the year and explain to passersby how we knew this would have happened that’s why we did not want to start out in this direction in the first place. Eventually they will stop listening and we will have to decide on continuing up, or returning down the hill. And since the folks in our lives help us up or help us down, there will always be help to go in whichever direction we choose. Why not up?


On another day, on the same route, a lady stopped for me. Said she saw me looking back and felt I wanted a lift. Muchas gracias. Nothing more to say. Then she told me how she forgot her phone at home. She picked up the case and did not realise it was only the case until she began clearing her things off the seat in anticipation of me sitting there. I smiled and told her these things happen, and I hoped that she did not miss any important calls. She smiled back and hoped the same. Then she said it did not matter because she was going to a funeral. I did some more smiling as she went through her reflections. One of the reasons she stopped for me was because she is aware now more than ever that life is short and we have to do whatever good we intend, now. Well I was so grateful that person died so that she could do me some good.


It has been a while since I visited the area because I no longer had clients there, but now that I am back the new, yet similar experiences are refreshing. On yet another day a driver threw his two cents into the hat. I saw him coming and wave. He stopped, I said where I was going, he happened to be going beyond that and invited me in. It was a decently maintained wagon and his presence boosted the experience. For no logical reason I wanted to hug the guy. I asked if it was okay for me to continue eating my pack of plantain chips. He did not understand what I was saying and thought I was sharing it with him. Naaah! If I had two packs, but not out of my little pack. I repeated the request and he was fine with me eating. Good. Silence again. He asked if I believed in fate. I do. He said it was fate that caused us to meet. Uh-huh? I waited to hear why he thought so. Said he lived in a building with forty apartments and did not knowingly meet any of his neighbours, so for us to just meet like that had to be fate. Okay.

Garter Leg

I told him just for daring to voice his thoughts on the matter I feel like pinching him, in a fond way. Go right ahead! Seriously? Yes! And I reached over and squeezed his arm. And we both laughed. He said: life is short and you have to strike the iron while it is hot. Are you suggesting that you have a hot iron somewhere that I’m supposed to strike? And we laughed louder. When we were done he asked my name. Rinalda. He did not get it. Do I speak funny? I said it again and he got it this time and told him his name was Garth. Really? That’s like that thing that brides have up their legs. A garter? Yes! Do you, Garth, go up women’s legs? He laughed his belly full then said: I’m single. Okay Garth, I can’t believe you have me flirting and it’s not even lunchtime yet. He was happy about that. I told him he was likeable and whenever he reflects on this moment he must remember that Rinalda said that he is also very huggable and that she spent the whole time restraining herself. Why would she do that? He asked with a perplexed look on his face. I got out the car then hung my head in the window to tell him I have no idea why, but when I see Rinalda I will find out.


All the while I am on this path (that is least traveled by pedestrians and guarantees my Vitamin D uptake for the day), that begets ease of meetings with random folks, there are those who would like to meet me, but… One such is a past client who has been trying to stay current. I have not seen him in over two years. Every time we plan a session, something happens that changes the plan. Then he would give it a few months and try again. He tried recently. Sent a cautious text. I responded. He followed with a more friendly one. I responded. He suggested a meeting. As expected, there was something going on each time he picked a date or a time. That went on for about three weeks. We finally got it right and all was set. He called the day before to confirm and within seconds of talking to him someone I was expecting called. I told him to hang up and I will call him back. He did. I answered the other call, the person came, and we bonded for hours. It was the next morning when I remembered that I had to call him back. I did. No response. I sent a text apologizing for neglecting to call and advised that I would be home all day so he could visit at his convenience. He responded: Hey. I thought you left me hanging there. Lol. I’m okay for today. I feel there are imps keeping me from you. Hmmm. I did not respond.


About lunchtime I received a call advising that the dungs tree over at ‘de barracks’ was laden and if I was still interested I could come over and fill my bag. I said: give me an hour. And so it was. I was in St. James bending and squatting under the tree, filling my bag and eating dungs. When I finally lifted the bag my arm had a moment of shock. I did not expect it to be so heavy. There was some small talk afterwards with the Invitor during which I was offered a drop to Morvant junction. Accepted. On the way over the Lady Young Road I thought to visit my friend in ‘de drive’ who I had not seen for months. Called her. No response. Maybe we were not to meet. Pushed my luck. I asked and the Invitee agreed to drop me there. When we arrived it seemed like no one was home. I asked the Invitor to kindly wait a few seconds in case no one responded when I knocked on the door. Agreed. I knocked. Got a response. I smiled and waved bye to the Invitor.


Well there were all kinds of things to catch up on except the curried goat she was preparing. The hours passed. Phone rang. My client calling to say that he was trying to get a TV from Courts (via some method I cannot recall) and they called so he has to hurry over there. In addition, they were having an office party and he was expected to participate. I listened as he apologized. I would have had to cancel if he was calling to say he was on his way over because I had eaten enough dungs to start frothing and not sure I was about to leave the current place or conversation to rush home to massage. So it worked out…that we once again had valid reasons not to meet. I had no thought of him when I left home to scout about beneath the tree, or on the detour to my friend’s place. It’s like a part of me knew the massage was not going to happen so it did not let me focus on that. Otherwise I would have stayed home, not gotten my fruits, not visited my friend, and not done a massage. Thanks to the imps.


And while there are those whom I’ve met and can’t seem to meet again, there are those I’ve never met but we have satisfied ourselves with an exchange of words. One such person recently took the time to send me a few lines.

Dear Rinalda,

Good morning. How are you? I just subscribed to your blog. I was sitting at my desk in work in Port of Spain and found your blog while I was reading about massages in Trinidad. I had actually emailed you and called you once several years ago but I have never had an opportunity to visit your place. I am still interested in one day accessing your services but I am not sure when that would be. My wife refuses to allow me to get a massage or as she puts it “I eh want no woman touching you”. Needless to say, it would be difficult for me to say when I would be able to visit you.

I am writing this email just to tell you that I have read several of your posts and I found them to be very deep and insightful. You seem to be a very deep, intelligent and spiritual person. It was interesting to read about the life of another person in this country of ours and to an outsider like myself, your life seems exotic and adventurous.

So please know, that even though we have never met, your writings have made another human being on this planet smile (if even for only a moment) and reflect a little on the people and the trials and tribulations that we all face.

Keep on doing what you do. Have a great day.



Thanks for your kind words. You are a sample of my readers who are mostly silent then one day I get a few words.

The proximity (on all levels) that massage facilitates is beautiful, but will never be appreciated by everyone, especially someone as close as a spouse who might have an idea of how allowing such might be a foothold to unnecessary disruption.

If I did not know better I would feel like an upholder for all the clients who need to visit during lunchtime, or who require unscented oil, and the likes because they want to benefit from the session without having friction in their relationship over something that is essentially good for them.

Do have a productive day, and consider that this might be the only way we were intended to touch each other. So thanks again for reaching out. I feel you…


Dear Rinalda,

You choose your words so carefully. I realise that yours is not a writing style that one can simply gloss over or interpret at first blush. So I read your words, paused, read them again, and then gave them an opportunity to sink in.

I think if you ever give up massage, you can always consider writing as another avenue. Perhaps it is because of your insightful writing, that I am even more intrigued by the thought of your massage. Without ever having felt you, the way in which you write, makes me feel as though there could be no better masseuse than someone who values her craft as much as you do. Your writing elevates massage to a spiritual level.

I think that I too may have to steal away one lunch time or enquire further about unscented oils. I truly hope that you enjoy the rest of your day. I think I feel you too…


This has the makings of a cyber romance. Me feeling him and him feeling me right back. Might be okay with his wife since we’re feeling without touching. Anyway, there was a point when I would ignore him, and the client who has Delayed Ejaculation Syndrome (forever coming, but can’t come – must be painful, eh?) and the drivers and other folks who want to talk talk talk and not support my business. But having had satisfying talks, and learnt lessons, and had different degrees of value added to my life as a result of these interactions, I’ve come to appreciate that the economics of my existence requires more than money, and these people have come on board to offer the more. So I go to work and earn my keep, but I also go off on the tangents that facilitate the adventures.


It is written somewhere that whether or not I am their Therapist my presence serves as opportunity for these folks to relive past memories and ponder new challenges. Everything from silence to banter is a form of encouragement that helps minimize the effects of their distress and boosts their self-esteem, thus improving their quality of life in the moment. Intuitively we know that positive emotions are by nature subtle and fleeting, so a lot is revealed and learnt between passing strangers as we grasp the moment. Maybe if we can learn to accept the transience of these moments we can find ways to increase their quantity and experience them more often in our significant relationships.