I recently had a brief but torrid love affair with a beautiful woman. That is, she seemed attractive — I didn’t actually get a good look at her.
Certainly she was beautiful on the inside. Strong but sensitive. Confident and compassionate. With hands like two lumps of warm, pink Play-Doh. You know, after it’s been played with for a while.
Her name was Elsa, and she was a masseuse being paid to give me a hot stone massage. But “hot” barely begins to describe our passionate rendezvous, which I confess was quite knotty.
I don’t get a lot of massages. And I can see how the intimate nature of the act might confuse a less rational person. She might swoon under the pleasure of a compassionate caress in our increasingly fractured and impersonal society. She might even fight back oddly romantic feelings for the poor spa employee who was assigned to her room.
But as sure as Shiatsu is painful, you must believe me, people: This was love. Elsa touched me like no one else.
Our fling began, as so many do, with idle chitchat. Have you been here before? Any recent surgeries I should know about? The usual.
Elsa and I found we had a lot in common. We both enjoyed candlelight. We both loved the smell of grapefruit. And we both wanted me naked as soon as possible.
Things were always so easy with Elsa. She seemed to know exactly what I craved, and when, and how much. When I had an itch, she gave me time to scratch it.
Though she wasn’t the type to come right out and say, “I love you,” she spoke with her fingertips, and I could feel the amorous sentiment working its way into my muscles. On my lower back, she loooooooooved me. Across my shoulders, she luh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uved me. On the soles of my feet, she loop-de-loop-de-loved me.
I worshiped her. She kneaded me.
But it was not to last. Our liaison had its kinks, you see. She was pushy, and I yielded all too easily. She was a giver, and I selfishly took and took, never offering more than an involuntary purr or grunt for her kindness. Sometimes — oh, god, the shame — I would fall asleep during our time together.
Ultimately, we were just too different. Her penchant for pan flutes and jungle sounds was just weird (there, I said it). And although she made me feel like it was all about me, I knew she was secretly thinking about her next client — probably someone smoother than me, who had bothered to shave her legs before the appointment.
I knew it was really over when Elsa whispered those dreaded words in my ear, those words no lover wants to hear: “Take your time getting dressed.”
She left the room as quietly as she had entered, and I never saw her again. But I still think of Elsa from time to time, when I smell grapefruit. Or throw my back out. I’ve finally managed to wash all her greasy massage oil out of the hair at the base of my neck. But something about Elsa will always stick with me: the moment of tenderness she showed me in a jagged and jarring world.
I’m everything I am because she rubbed me.