The Man Who Made Women As Good As New ©
by Benny Thomas
camp: Svandalen, Norway
19 April 2010
The man had no special gifts except his hands. And he had made the city his home.
The city was called Sin City. The particular adjective gave no air of anything even remotely hinting of moral or ethical lapse. In fact the city touted quality of life as its promise. Quality of civic life nevertheless made the name stick. The city fathers had given their solemn promise and through thick and thin of economic meltdown the city did not let go its virtue: quality of life for all. Yet the civic fathers failed them not for wanting to try but for something none could put his finger on.
Men made the city work for them but women found something go out of their lives.
They could not exactly say what. They made their homes and kept their budgets tight and in all that computing and meeting their civic obligations they ceased to feel quality of life, assured by statutory laws and it did not make them feel precisely as a woman should feel. Nothing between their legs or their biology suffered but a general malaise of being alive. At the same time of being made less than before. They shielded their own brood from the brunt of life they carried on daily basis. In making the nest they merely stressed their own strengths and these didn’t account for the empty nests the chicks would leave behind. Somewhat similar to this, women felt city had carried them high only to deny them something they could not find words for. Quality of life in their pursuit of happiness was not equal to what their femininity expected them as due. That gap merely became ever perceptible as time went by.
Somewhere in a woman’s life what she is born to and what she ends up with is a fault line and it creates symptoms. Some tried alcohol and another coke; some tried acupuncture and another yoga. There were many stimulants and sessions and every thing worked up to a point.
One woman tried massage and discovered him. How the man worked on her pressure points made her feel as good as new. He worked well and what he charged was worth every cent. She passed on his name to another. This made the out-of-towner to stay on. He was a masseur more of a complete woman than a body. He solicited custom on that point and women accepted it as the truth.
Each woman,young,fading,floundering or dithering felt as new.
Twenty years he worked with his hands and he could not yet say what made them exceptional. His hands were well padded but not fleshy; it was neither hands well shaped or that of a brute. His hands were such ordinary as hands that stuck out of cuffs neither calling attention to them nor to the cut. He was ordinary and the spanking whiteness of his shirt or his pants added little to to his evanescent personality. When he worked with his clients he was almost not there. His work-out made each woman count the professional hour as homage paid to her and he spoke not a word that was out of place. He was loathe to draw attention to himself. His hands worked silently. Even where what some positions of his workout could have compromised him he was cool detachment all through.
He lived and made the quality of the city pay him dividends. His office gave him panoramic view of the city and he desired nothing except what his hands could earn.
He put every client at ease and never he rose to a higher or lower pitch to give himself away. Part of the hour he let her sat on his lap or he bent over her while his discreet stance gave nothing that she could have benefited. Her private thoughts were all hers and if these put out tendrils of hope or nostalgia, and she seemed to float back in womb of time it was all hers. He merely let his hands touch pressure points and if his clients took off from there he chose to remain an outsider. His service was faultless as his distance from his clients was thoroughly cultivated by sheer will power.
He performed with clinical efficiency that his secretary kept strict watch over. Daisy from her cubicle saw the naked bodies of clients contort or go limp and if she grimaced or nod in approval it was over the client and not over the man. His hands were miracle workers and nothing more. She noted in satisfaction no woman remembered afterward the face except her. She took down appointments and arranged his daily schedule knew his worth.Her position was secure and won over as with the man by her professionalism. She greyed and somewhat frayed around her supple body in service. She didn’t mind, Her quality of life she wrested from the city by her iron will.
Each day she checked with her boss before the day. He worked by appointment. His office on the 10th floor was as unobtrusive as those who came in or went out.
Under the watchful eye of his secretary he learned to work as though he were a free agent. He never felt imposed upon by certain rules of office practice each expected from the other. His ten minute recess at the end of one hour session was strictly enforced and he appreciated she saw to that he had sufficiently recovered from the previous before he began the next. He was a miracle that paid for her bed and board and a place in the community. She was not going to lose all that by neglect. Her selfishness he saw as altruism. If he were not placed by society women in their social engagements or made calls it was not her problem. He had to have work. That was all he insisted upon. There was no let up from day one.
His anonymity gave his hands their mystery and women found it an exhilarating. Consider he had moved into the City with one valise and the clothes that he had on his back and in a matter of some 20 years every woman who made the city her home swore by them. His hands made them feel as good as new.
That day the women waited for their turn. She saw him take on the first patient. She saw the blond and saw her hair roots were dark. He jawbones relaxed she was not what she considered as a threat. She had a body that was far below the expectations her dress called out to all. She saw him in his kimono and he divested of his clothes and go through his routine. Five minutes later she heard the body of the blond turning over. He was still a machine that performed and only then she relaxed. She went through the papers and made notes. First two hours made her keep her mind alert that the day’s routine went on without a hitch. She was somewhat over alert and she noted with a frown. On that day sky was grey and the weather made its chill in her bones speak up. She was cautious as never before. It was on that day as though her mind sensed lurking dangers and every sound made her jump and noise broke the thread of her routine. She heard one speak with some elation,’Ah that feels good, I can cry!’ Her forehead furrowed, hardly letting go her own defenses. Perhaps age was catching up before she headed into the dangerous Forties.
Each day she had to keep watch and yet seem not inquisitorial. Each client took something of him and he was indestructible,- not a moment letting his guard down.
She remembered it was she who insisted he take a recess after an hour long session.Only that day made she was none special. She was on the wrong side of thirty!
She carefully scanned his face and gestures. She casually let her eyes rest around his boxer. He was relaxed and concentrated on his work. His movements didn’t hit any hitch but he was as cool and controlled as before. Again her mind took a defensive stance with the last patient and she could mentally describe every spot he covered or every sigh that escaped women feeling the waves of unease escape their psyche.
Daisy didn’t ask what made her feel uneasy that particular day. Fifteen years she had spent manning her station while the man prodigiously worked with his hands.Was it her hormones her age or what?
As the last patient made ready to leave she sent him sms to ask for an extra session.
‘Under exceptional circumstances, she pleaded.
He texted back:OK
When she went from her desk the man awaited his patient from the door. He was not a whit puzzled or complaining to see her. Before she removed her dress she asked,’ Do you feel embarrassed?’
He raised his eyebrows.
‘All those women who come to you see you as a machine.’
“I come to you differently.’ she stammered and feeling red. It was painful to express what was so long churning up inside.
She removed her clothes coming closer and closer. Her eyes teased him now. ‘They want to be put at ease.’
He stared at her puzzled.’I want to be excited. Feel my heart!’ She took his hands and put them against her heart.’You surely must feel something.’
‘No I feel nothing.’
Her face went pale. She had removed her panties and she let it drop.
‘I am lying down. Make me feel like a client’.
He just sat on his stool shadow of dejection expanding from his forehead to his chin.
‘Oh I had a hard day, and my hands are like wet rags.’
Daisy whimpered. ‘Twenty years I slaved for you. Do I mean nothing to you?’
He turned his head away. He heard her hands bunch up the hem of her dress. She let it fall on the floor in helplessness. He could not bear her accusatory eyes. ‘ I ask to be treated like any other woman’ Her voice trailed off in a moan. He sat there. ‘You have hurt me!’
Her voice faltered and she did not cry but shook in convulsions of despair and loneliness.
‘You are my wife, and not my custom.’
‘I put 200 dollars before I came,it is there in the day-book. Consider it as my fee.’
He rose mechanically and walked towards the curtain wall of glass that looked towards the sea. He stood there lost in thought as though he wanted to watch the rising mist from the sea. He could not bear meeting her eyes that were misted in tears.
He said,’Let us go home. After dinner we shall make love as we used to.’ He walked over to her and silently held his hand out. He felt her hand and he closed over it. He sighed. It was a relief. He felt the day was much more difficult than he ever thought it was.
They took the elevator down two figures numbed already by the awful silence of the tower that was easing itself for the night.