(This is an ongoing story. If you want to start at the beginning, click here.)
AE’s table seems like a regular massage table, but it has a foot pedal that electronically raises and lowers it. I’m not sure if it’s leather or vinyl because directly on top sits a plush tapestry rug for extra comfiness. On top of that, she lays a regular bedsheet. She has one for each client, their name written on a little strip of masking tape at the corner.
My sheet is beige with blue and pink flowers.
She has one of those hanging plastic cubbies in the closet – the kind where you can store shoes or sweaters – and that’s where you stash your clothes. The only windows in the room face south so on sunny days there’s a lot of shine streaming in, even in the winter. Lying on the table when the sun is soaking through the window makes you feel like you’re on the beach, the ceiling fan loping in slow circles above your head, creating a sweet breeze. The energy work makes you feel drunk like the midday beach sun can – woozy and happy and unable to keep your eyes open.
On those sunny days, there are two little contraptions stuck to the window that whir and click. I don’t know what they are, exactly, but the sunlight makes them throw off little rainbows that dance around the walls opposite the windows. The clicking sounds like a tiny typewriter and AE and I have this joke that the Keebler Elves are writing their novels when the sun comes out. On dark, cloudy days, there’s no clicking – the elves have writers’ block.
The walls are yellow, the ceiling is blue, the thick carpeting is green. There’s a full length mirror, a couple of houseplants, a tall, delicate corner shelf and a low table with a lamp, a digital clock and a jolly Buddha. It’s a small space, so even with its sparse furnishings, the room feels both empty and full.
There are a few small paintings that lean against the wall near the corner shelf. They look like they’re some kind of studies in light refraction.
“Did you paint those?” I asked her a few weeks ago.
Not only did she paint the small canvases sitting against the wall, I also learned that many of the paintings that hang throughout her house are hers. “I always thought I was going to be a famous New York City artist. But what I’ve learned is that what I’m really supposed to be doing is this,” she said, gesturing to my body with her chin while her fingers dug into my flesh.
AE said those words to me on Wednesday, February 13, and I instantly understood that, despite having written fewer than two dozen posts in the past year, I needed to come home and start this story. There was an urgency and a surety about it that I can’t explain. Just the thought of it started making me feel better.