My feet strutted down the same road that keeps tossing up an array of experiences. On my way home from work I decided not to open the umbrella as I anticipated getting a taxi soon. Nada. I began walking to the junction. I spied movement in the distance. Ah! It was a young man I had bought avocadoes from. Hadn’t see him in a while. I was on the left, and he was on the right side of the road sitting under a tree. When I opposite him he raised his hands displaying two avocadoes. I asked the price, decided on one, and he came limping over the road to give me my choice. I asked what had happened to his foot. Said it was his knee. He jerked his leg the day before and felt as if his patella had moved. The knee began to swell and was very painful. After we exchanged money and fruit he limbed back to his spot. Thereon we had a shouting conversation as vehicles swooshed by between us. I advised him to strap the leg until he got home then ice it. He took off his jersey and folded it to wrap his knee. The pain made him clumsy. I told him if I had to come over to him he’d have to refund my money. So he made more effort. I shook my head and crossed the road.
First, stretch the leg out. Major trouble having bent it to sit down. We worked together and bit by bit the leg straightened. Now for the wrapping. The mere fabric touching him seemed to be painful. So I began to palpate the area. He hand was quick to withhold mine. I promised to be gentle. Significant pain along the medial aspect of the knee, and above more than below the patella. After a few minutes his hand stopped hovering over mine and I took the oil from my bag. With his heel now on my lap, and oil providing glide, I was able to work better. Taxis passed, only because I had no need of them. You know how that goes? We probably did half an hour…during which I learnt that his mother is at work and he is out catching his hand. She has painful veins in her lower legs according to him and uses a lot of sports rubs. With his gaze shifting to the various scenarios and his mind raking up information to dish out to me, there was enough distraction from the thought of pain to allow me to consistently work at reducing the swelling. Then we tied the leg to support the knee. I got up and asked what he will do now. Said he will go home and put ice. Okay. I was a few yards away when I decided to look back. He was standing with avocado in hand beckoning to drivers. Back to business. Good for him.
Well I was far from my bed, but I could hear it calling. Worked the night before and felt like staying in that morning, but some commitments must be honoured. So the plan was to get back home at the earliest opportunity to catch up on my rest. And, as I just indicated, I ended up engaging in roadside assistance. It’s bad enough when a car is stalled, let alone a human. After that other things vied for my attention before I finally made it home…by which time sleep had taken a hike. But let me tell you of my friend of the night before. On my way to him the taxi driver was talking of how the system is set up to take everything from you. Passengers chimed in with their bit. One lady spoke of repaying a loan for which the installment is just shy of $400. She ended up with a bad credit record because there were times when she did not pay the 82 cents and now she has to pay $75 on each of the 82 cents she did not pay. According the Bank’s record, that happened ten times, so it’s $75 by ten. She wants to know how come they can cajole you into a loan, but none of the Tellers were keen to inform her that 82 cents will cost her a pack of milk, well, a carton of milk in this case. What’s infuriating is that all year her money is thoroughly used, practically raped by the bank and her account has not reflected $75 increase.
The driver said he was home chilling one day when he heard the horn of a Police vehicle outside. He looked out. They called him to his gate. He went. The Officer asked him if he has insurance for his pit bulls. He said No. He was then asked if he knew that fine was $250,000 if one of the dogs mauled someone. He remarked that he feeds his (4) dogs, they are trained, and they are on his property which is secured enough to retain them. The Officer raised his voice and proceeded to argue with him. So to make a long story short he asked the Officer to tell him where insures a dog for $250,000. The Officer said he was being disrespectful. Shouted a few more remarks and drove off promising to send someone to him. Was that a threat or a promise to send him an advisor? He’s not sure. He said he plants crops and 2am one morning he saw a man moving in the bush. He got the dogs because agriculture is hard work and he cannot afford to have another take his produce. He knows self-defense techniques, but he is not going out in the middle of the night to do practice them, especially since the thief might have a gun, so he is quite fine with finding a man mauled on his property the next morning because the only man allowed with a sack on his back was Santa, and it was not that time of year.
Anyway, while the sun was falling behind the hill my client called to say his back was killing him and he needed a massage. The kind of thing that makes you feel your service has value. Arrangements were made and I left home two hours later to go see what I could do about his back. As I walked up the corridor to the room and man came walking towards me, nodded, and passed me. When I got to the room the man was on his way back up the corridor and looked as if he was about to stop at the same room. I said my name and asked if he was expecting me. No, that’s not his room, he’s just exercising along the corridor. I see. I knocked on the door. I was greeted by squinting eyes and chubby cheeks smiling a very warm welcome. I entered. Got out of the sandals, cross the floor to put down my bag, and sat to hear the story. No story. Just needed a good massage. Okay! He was quickly out of his clothes and hopped into bed. I could not see the entrance to the washroom. Room too dim. So I asked. He pointed. Oh! Okay. Went over, pushed the door open, and almost stumble on the sink. Some washrooms are tiny. Alright. Hygiene taken care of, I returned to him. He was prone. I suggested supine so that the session ends with the area of contention. He rolled over and I got started…with his chest.
As I worked he spoke about fitness and how he doesn’t even stretch anymore having once had a very fit lifestyle. Such is life. Said he needed to lose 20lbs and it’s all in the abdomen. What about you, do you work out? I said massage is as good a workout as any…for me. And with that his hand held my thigh and squeezed. He must have been an expert on lymphatic drainage. There was very effective alternation of compression and relaxation. You seem fit to me, he said, as he continued squeezing. Very fit. Alright, it’s not ten minutes into the massage yet and he marched right past the therapist/client boundary. He’s near-sighted, but not to the extent that he could see my muscle tone through two layers of clothing, so it was necessary to palpate. I enquired about his sight and learnt he is debating LASIK. What? He explained…the laser surgery. Okay. I finished up working on his chest and I told him I was about to work on his arm, and when I was finished, I would appreciate him not using his hand to squeeze me again, or we might have a falling out. He apologized. Did not know I was offended. Because I continued talking as if I was unaware of his hand? Would he have known I was offended if ah de hit him a clout? One of those self-defense moves the driver spoke of…maybe.
We continued about fitness. He spoke of the need for gym visits as many are engaged in office jobs and have little or no time for the activities or chores that would keep them fit. I asked if he had an office job. Yes. Okay. When I got around to the other hand I told his hands do not feel like they’ve been fiddling with keyboards. He laughed. I asked what work he did. Said he is at the bottom of ships with a torchlight bending looking for things. Things? Hmmm. Okay, so my client is some kind of inspector…investigator…something. No need for confirmation or clarification. I told him I could more relate the texture of his hands to constant use of a torchlight than a keyboard. The back pain was there as if to justify his reason for calling. Oh, my feet. He said when he saw the anklet he thought of exotic dancing and wanted to know if I did exotic massage. Is this a conversation? Hmmm. All’s well that ended well. In the end, when he was switching glances between his dribbling erection and I, in some non-verbal communication that my brain could not process, I told him the only thing left for him to do is determine his nationality, having being on all those ships, and hoist the flag on that pole. When I got home and check my phone he left me a message on WhatsApp. Hey Renalda. I enjoyed our visit. Next time I visit TnT I hope we share even more. I responded. Hmmm. Very bold. Can’t see that far into the future so I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. He responded. The audacity of hope, eh? I responded. The audacity indeed.