We salute all those who ran the race so well (or fast) that they came upon the edge of the veil and passed over to the other side. The rest of us get to hang out with Janus where we can freely play Lot’s wife. No penalty. It’s another level on the gameboard and we can be anxious that we are being fattened for the kill, or be filled gratitude that we have been given time to continue with our purpose, or find it. I’m thankful for all who participated in my life in the past year with whom I will continue to journey, and for those with whom I just had a one-time thing. Like the driver who charged me $20 for an off-route drop then presented me with a DVD that had a barrage of near-death experiences all ending with the common theme of salvation through Jesus. I could do without the passive-aggressive scare-tactic evangelism that proceeds overcharging. Nah, I don’t need more time with him.
Except for Christmas and Boxing Day I serviced my clients as usual. The plan was to laze around on those days. I told the boys breakfast would be at 8am on Christmas Day. I went out and did my Tai Chi thing about 6am and returned to find them bathing. Nice! I rehydrated and reclined on the back porch. At 7:30am my son came to tell me the time. He thought I needed to start preparing if we were to eat at 8am. I had done that before I left the house. So I continued chilling. With ten minutes to spare I darted in and out of the bath and was in the kitchen on time. Breakfast was so heavy that at 1pm none of us were ready for lunch. I decided 2pm was late enough, so we ate again and had some movie time. I told them I was not cooking the next day as they had enough to go around.
Around dusk I pulled my towel off the line to go bathe and get into my sleeping clothes. My son knocked on my bedroom door. I invited him in. He remarked that Christmas is a time for being with loved-ones and I should be having a date for the night. Can you believe my children? So they aren’t my loved-ones? My family has a lot of females, and failing observe this, my mother did not assume the requisite posture to have boys, so three more females were added. I have done my part to bring balance by assuming the posture for boys and got two. My sisters only managed one each, but at least they tried. One would think that for my accomplishment of two there would be an eternal applause, but no, it is being hinted in too many ways from too many directions that I should bring yet another male into the family, and they don’t want him to be an offspring. I told him the night is not over, we’ll see… Applications invited.
I sent him to go Skype his grandmother. By the time I joined them she had the laptop moving about yard showing them the Christmas tree outside and the decorations on the house. The camera had difficulty keeping up so some images were a blur, and according to my sons, it was like a view through the eyes of someone high on cocaine. Is that so? When Mom returned inside she took us to the kitchen. Eight pans of black cake – just for the eating pleasure of the family and visitors (more had to be baked for New Year’s, that was just for Christmas), a long pan of baked custard with cherries on top, a pan with macaroni & cheese, another with baked fish in cheese sauce (it was yellow with cheese), etc. etc. Gluttony is the easiest way to sin in my parents’ house. There were more eatables on the table, and in the fridge. She eventually sat down and our vertigo ceased. I could see my niece’s boyfriend in the background. I said Hi to him. She was not home and he was waiting to deliver her gift. Well dat boy survive long. He ain’t play he want to get into this family. Remember I mentioned him a few years ago? Yea, the ambitious dude who was in flight school. He recently graduated so I congratulated him.
Mom was telling me about making sweet potato and ‘turn’ plantain salad when the posse arrived – my sister and her family, and my niece…she stopped short to get her gift then came closer to display it to me. A Guess watch and Beats by Dre headphones. I told her those things were masculine. Whatever happened to ladylike gifts? No auntie! Everyone has these. Everyone? I told her that Dad used to wear headphones like that when he was flying helicopter and I fear when she put those on she won’t hear the world around her and that is a safety hazard. Noooo! This is different. Okay, if you say so. My other niece came forward to present her huge doll. I told her that was a mannequin for children’s clothing. I’ve never seen a doll so tall. It’s unnatural. A doll is supposed to be your baby, not your twin. My sister stepped in an told me to behave. Behave? Alright. I behaved.
My older nephew was missing from the picture. Thought he might be over at his girlfriend. I inquired and learnt that he was at work. Work on Christmas night? Yes. He recently became a self-proclaimed independent man (after Mom made a decision that he will no longer drive the car) who will work for what he wants – a car. Hmmm. I could only hope his sense of responsibility lasts more than a moment. This generation is too pampered. Meanwhile my younger nephew came to display his rather noisy toy. I asked him what it was and he kept turning it in all directions. When the noise ended I told him I could see it, but I wanted him to tell me what it was. He looked at his Dad who gave him the answer and he repeated it to me. It was a war-tank. I’m misbehaving again. Shouldn’t Christian parents be a little more sensitive about giving toys that imitate weapons of mass destruction? Oh, there was one such. He showed me a ball. I asked him to tell me what it was. He got the answer from his Dad and told me it was a soccer ball. I asked if this meant he would no longer play basketball because I would like him to stretch and grow tall. He said he will be playing both. Excellent.
Mom called out to someone to pass her some ice cream the same time I was telling her that I bought the enema set for her. She said thanks and held her full glass of ice cream for me to see. It had M&Ms inside. My brother-in-law who had excused himself now returned to sit near her. On his plate was the fish in cheese sauce, macaroni and cheese, and baked custard. It made no sense. On the other side my sister was having black cake and ice cream. Mom got back to telling me about the sweet potato salad. I asked if I should dice them. My sister said it doesn’t matter. Mom called out the recipe. I stopped her when I heard mayonnaise. I don’t usually use that so there is none in the house. She said I should buy a small bottle it won’t make me fat. Who said anything about fat? Fat for me is associated with flour. It confuses my metabolism, yet I love it. Okay, so I have the recipe in my head and she extracted a promise that I will try it by New Year’s Day and let her know who it tasted.
She then recounted her time at the Christmas Breakfast which is the custom at their Church. It’s like Harvest time when everyone brings something special that is eatable and they all break the fast together. She said someone made Pepperpot and like it was cooked on a coal-pot or fire-side. It was really good and she said she ‘go down’ on it. Hold up there. Not so loud. I think the connotation of go down in relation to eating has changed over time. My brother-in-law chimed in on how good it was, and he went down on it too. Careful… Anyway, they both ate, and ate more, and took home a bowl full. If there was that much then I can understand cooking it outside in a huge pot. By the way, do we have Christmas Breakfasts like that here in Trinidad, without me having to join the $500 offering line? Please give me an address for the Church. Thanks.
So what else was done for the day part from dressing up, going to Church, eating, eating, and eating? Oh, Mom rested. Then she had a massage. Massage?! Tell me more. Yes, her granddaughters took to rubbing her the right way. She told my niece to send me the photos. I try every now and then, but it is hard to keep up with this photo-taking generation. Ping! Ping! Ping! Three files arrived on my phone. I looked and saw them in action. Mom said it was very good and she would be having another on Boxing Day. Well, you don’t say! It must be Christmas in that house. If you see my little niece in the video hacking her life away. Mom said she is strong. The hacking on her legs vibrated her whole body. My, my! Careful there, some folks have been hacked to death. Keep the experience pleasant.
After saying Goodbye for the fourth time the conversation ended (about hour and a half after it started) amidst talk that I should have been there, and my children echoed the same. Listen, I am not going to feel guilty. We were all there in November having a kinda Christmas/Family reunion thing. We had a ball. An annual ball is good enough, I don’t need one every month. My sister and her family have the ability to live in the air. She would call (sounding frustrated) to advise: We’re in Aruba and can’t get a flight out. Always some excitement. On her way back home she’d call again (sounding groggy): We just got into Curacao, not home yet. They would bathe and dress for the trip then go to sleep in all their clothes, so when the clock alarms it’s just to pick up luggage and head out the door. There’re other ways for me to source my excitement. The new plan is them paranging my house long before parang season. I could live with that. Before they went offline Mom said she got a Samsung Galaxy for Christmas. Good for you Mom. She said she has to get used to all the buttons. My boys doubled over with laughter. Buttons Granny? They’re icons. Whatever.
I had a restful night and was up with a start next morning. Checked the time. 2:34am. Went back to sleep. Was up again. 6:13am this time. Good. No lunch to cook, but I planned to bake bread for the evening. For the past two months my sons did most of the bread-making and I thought it would be good to feel dough between my fingers one more time before the year closes. Then I thought, since I would be relaxing, why not drink some medicine? I was out of bed, went to the kitchen to get the all-purpose scissors and a plastic bag, put on my slippers and was on the road. I had seen some carrion crow bush hanging over the fence a few yards away. The flowers had visual appeal, but in my mind they were going to end up in a pot. I remembered my great-grandmother would send us to pick, and she would put them in the sun to quail then boil them. Terrible taste and terrible gripes too, but I planned to treat myself mildly.
So I was out there in my silver-blue satin mini robe reaching up to pull down branches and clip the flowers. When I returned home and emptied them into a pot with water, I saw a live bee in the mix. What can I say? It must mean it should be part of the medicine. I covered the pot and set fire below it. Medicine with a sting. In another pot I made very thick porridge for my boys. They like the strawberry soya milk so I put the finished porridge in bowls for them and added the pink milk then went onto the back porch to watch the morning come alive. Actually I was waiting…for them to get up, have breakfast and get on with my massage. But I had to find other things to do. The wait was too long. It was after 9am when they surfaced. Porridge cold. It was about 10am when the older one asked if the massage can be done in the evening when the place is cool. Excuse me? The morning was cool enough. So they showered and set up the massage table and just about 11am your girl was all stretched out receiving a 4-hand massage. Don’t tell them I say so, but I always learn something that I can carry over into my practice.
Speaking of practice, I went to see a fellow Therapist. Trying to be a little social during the Season. I felt right at home in her space. Beautiful energy. It doesn’t come without work. There is a Kali worshiper right opposite her and she struggled to get her practice going because there were conflicting energies operating in proximity. It took a while but she figured it out how to manage and her business took off. The Pundit went to visit her. Wanted to know about her spiritual practice as it was interfering with his, the potency is lost and he has had to seek the aid of another Pundit. Interesting. She told him she had no idea what he was talking about. All she does is pray to God. He tried to get more details, but she ushered him off.
Return to sender is not a service exclusive to TT Post. There was a time when she had a full time job and would do massage on the side. She left that and has dedicated herself to her business, and having recognized the importance of spirituality to the massage practice, she buckled down to a more prayerful life. So it can be understood why obstructions that are sent, return having found no place to land like that dove from Noah’s ark. One of the things you will see if you were to visit is that there are inscriptions over her doors. She said she had to seal all the access-ways because strange odors and creatures were turning up in her place. Not that they are strange looking, but their timing and presence were such misfits they stuck out. Most interesting. Obviously, her clientele is peculiar. She handed me a folder with consultation forms. Jeez! As some folks would say: real shit happening out here. They did not read like the typical consultation form. Especially the additional notes.
The whole time I was there I stood listening in awe. It was overwhelming in a positive way that she has moved beyond text book and has chosen to be guide from the inside out. That is not to say she does not have texts. Oh, she has a lot of reference materials. She would have her daughter do the research and find books to suit her needs, so there has been good investment in literature. I pulled one consultation form and asked her to tell me of that client. They had met a few evenings ago. The young lady, in her early 20s came with her husband and family members. The place is set up to accommodate such as she counsels the partner or family as she works with the client. The lady appeared to be in the last trimester of pregnancy, only she was not pregnant. They did ultra sound and found nothing. The form said she had her last period in November. Some relatives stayed outside, giving logical reasons, but she knew better. Seals seal in and seal out. Then the husband could not sit still. He went outside several times to get fresh air. She had the lady supine on the massage table while she sought to understand from those present the long and short of the story.
She said she could feel the ‘anointing’ rich on her and discerned that the husband, a taxi driver, was in relations with a cute passenger he met. Whatever they shared was especially good and desired to be kept. Whether or not he consciously agreed to such, steps were taken to keep him from his wife, sexually. But a wife is a wife and the steps were breached eventually. Cold nights can do that. Eh-eh! Soon after his wife became ill. They buzzed around the place from Doctor to Doctor to no avail. Then someone recommended the Therapist. She called in the husband to speak to him and he blurted out that he knew what she was going to say and that he was not cheating on his wife. In tears he swore he loved his wife and wants to be with her. I can’t deal with such a colourful massage practice. God bless her heart. She tried explaining to him that he crossed the other woman and his wife was paying the price. He denied, denied, and denied.
She advised them that entities had taken up residence in the woman’s womb (they seem to love that spot) and while she may die at some later stage from complications, right now they are just happy to be in that space. She told them they would have to go see her Pastor for deliverance, but in the meanwhile she will pray and massage the lady’s abdomen so that she gets some relief. She then circled the table a few times praying, then stopped and shifted the lady’s top closer to her breast so that the belly was exposed. She said the lady’s belly began wiggling vigorously. She asked if anyone saw what just happened. Only one person did; amazing that the others were looking and not seeing. She oiled her hands and began rubbing it. Braveheart! She said it was rock hard. She prayed and rubbed. The belly reduced to about half its size and was soft. That was enough for one night. She charges for an hour, but sessions like these exceed the time with no one volunteering extra cash. And she said that she did not want to go through with deliverance because she was not prepared for it and she did not want her children to be affected having experienced the repercussions of these things before. It was time for them to go and the husband asked to speak to her privately. She dismissed him. She arranged for them to see her Pastor and a date was set for them to return with the lady to have a full massage.
Many of the forms were twisted and bent because she had little time to keep them organized. After a session she would clean up in every sense of the word and rest. When a client returns she would go digging in the file again. So I stood there organizing the sheets of paper and thanking God in my mind for her. I then prayed for her family and business. We embraced, again and again. It was not logical, but we knew it was somehow necessary. We could feel support, the transference taking place. I felt love filling and rushing through me. I felt so humbled. I felt the tear welling up, but I was not sad. I was so overwhelmed. She laughed at how I was affected by what is a normal day’s work for her. I dared not ask about another client. One was enough. Massage does facilitate relief, release, happy endings…for the client, but the level at which the Therapist is orbiting makes the difference. We have our own signature as Therapists, defined by our purpose. May we appreciate and develop our gifts, and endeavor to keep our intentions pure as we extend our hands in service.
In more pleasant news… On my first day out to work for the year, my client was all smiles. As we walked along the corridor from the sitting area to the bedroom he paused several times to look me in the eyes and catch his breath to take the high notes. He never sang to me before, I doubt he had any idea it was a new year, but that did not matter. In the moment he was full of love for me and I was bashful. I asked who is the singer and he said: Chikichung. Very funny. He was singing Stardust with a hand about my waist (not for support – he can walk unaided) and the other to his heart.
Beside a garden wall
When stars are bright
You are in my arms
The nightingale tells his fairy tale
A paradise where roses bloom
Though I dream in vain
In my heart it will remain
My stardust melody
The memory of love’s refrain
He sang it very well. When we got to the room (that I was officially assigned to do massage in) and he sat on the bed he said he loves when I take him there for massages; all his family are usually in attendance and he feels very good. I asked if he meant his children. No. His parents and siblings, etc. When a client in his 90s is having rendezvous with the dead during massage the Therapist should be concerned that he might leave and go with them any moment. I persevered. Never had anyone take to the other side in my presence and I prayed that this is not the year for such.
I undressed him and he lay there in bed watching me and saying: Thank you Sister (that’s what he calls me). Thanks for the massage. I love you Sister. And I returned the sentiments. And I wondered at our insecurities over another Therapist stealing our clients. My clients are known for their blurred vision when it comes to ethical lines and I have learnt to deal with them. Even at his age it can be argued that my New Year’s client was hitting on me, but then it could have been pure love. Either way, I would not trade him or the likes for a youthful woman who looks normal and complains of belly pains only to discover that she is possessed by something that is so comfortable in her discomfort that it does a dance in her belly for my viewing pleasure. Nah! And I’m sure that Therapist does not care for a flirtatious nonagenarian. So let us be at peace in the knowledge that what is for us, is for us. Everything else is excess baggage. Theft has penalty. Envy has penalty. It’s pointless to break all the rules, get a bag of money and can’t see how we spend it, or spend our health keeping it. Let go, travel light.