By Virginia J. Pasalo
THIS afternoon, I was treated to a very special massage at Nuat Thai by a friend, Girlie Villariba. We wanted to have a foot spa earlier, but she offered me a choice.
The massage areas were partitioned by curtains, and I can easily hear the sighs of the man on my left, and Girlie’s movements on my right. I asked about the bed sheet, whether they changed it after every client because I saw a video of famous hotels not changing their sheets. Girlie said, best thing to do is to carry a malong, and since I was unprepared for a massage, she handed me her shawl, which I laid over the sheet.
The mattress was exquisitely firm, something I would love to sleep on. By force of habit, I was looking for a hole to put my head while lying face down, but finding none, I submerged my head on the pillow. I was wondering why some massage parlors and spas have holes to put your head in, but all of them do not have provision for the breast. Literally, the breast gets pressed down in between the firm mattress and your upper body.
The massage was so relaxing that I found myself emitting sounds rhythmically with the man on my left, that it was almost like we were in bed together. Realizing this, I almost burst into laughter, but cannot help myself from groaning.
Then I felt a really hot “something” on my back, being scrubbed all over. I could tell that it has a somewhat rough texture, like the feel of a “panghilod”, stones used by my grandmother to take off dead skin. I was told later that these were soft balls filled with a special blend of Thai herbs (tamarind, kaffir leaves, lemongrass, ginger, and eucalyptus) and are steamed before being pressed onto fatigued muscles to detoxify and relieve muscle and tissue aches.
This experience is different from the massage which Daisy Langenegger and I travelled for to Cavite, at Sonya’s Secret Garden, but just as good. At Sonya’s, all my muscles quickly surrendered to the touch of the lady masseur as she explored to soothe my nerves, and with the help of the almost inaudible music, made me sleep almost immediately. I did not ask anything after, I felt a certain calm, and quietly sipped the Jasmine tea with an oregano leaf floating on it.
After an hour and a half, I was done. I felt hot and glorious. I saw Girlie still flat on the bed, covered with her malong, eyes closed. I stood slowly and saw, from the small space between the curtains, the side glance of the man on the left, without a groan, smiling, and putting on his T-shirt, as hurriedly as I was putting on my blouse. Almost at the same time, we quickly drew the curtains together. In my haste to leave, I forgot to pick up Girlie’s shawl, which I folded neatly before I stood up. I gulped the Jasmine tea.
herbal balls strum
a doo a doo dum
sleeping cords wake
nerves on pirouette
tea leaves swim
dancing, a daydream
balls rubbing the heat
of a heartbeat.
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