Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Is it breaking "the girl code" to blog about a massage?

Lounge at the Westin Maui Spa
“Miss Scott? We’re ready for you now.”

Okay, I’m—wait, what? Oh. You don’t mean me, and that isn't my last name anymore. Down I sink into the shiny leather cushion. The waves out the window move from right to left in staccato strokes like Chinese characters. I’m drunk on atmosphere. My brain says we’re sailing north, though I’m sure the hotel is firmly rooted. I peel my sleepy gaze from the glass like a fruit roll. Now I’m alone in the lounge except for one man, his gaze fixated out on the moving type of the sea. I laugh inside about the nervous peace of the spa lounge. All of these people waiting for treatments, all naked under their robes, all pretending to be clothed, all attempting a look of deep relaxation. All averting eyes in case a hem falls open.

I close my eyes and fill my lungs with balmy, pretentious air. I’m confident that spa air, steeped in a brew of mint, citrus and eucalyptus, is a preview of Heaven's air. I force my memory to absorb at double the natural rate; we won’t be able to afford this type of luxury again for some time. I pray and pray for time to slow.

It’s not long before I’m called up by a petite Asian woman. She leads me to a dark room and shows me where to lie. Please, I think. I’ve got this. She leaves the room and I do the sprint from the robe hook to the safety of the covered massage table. The blankets are heavy and warm, the music a monotonous tonal drum. With a quick knock, she’s back in the room. I smile into the face doughnut because there’s a delicate orchid in the bowl under my nose. I wonder if the flower is somehow wasted on my upside-down massage face.

She works my bones. Right arm, off the table, forearm limp. She whirls my limb from the joint. I’m the slack-jawed skeleton in the 7th grade science classroom. Twirl my arms, unhinge my skull. Shoulder pressed, fingers slack. I’m a chicken, pin back my wing. Incubate me in the low glow. She changes layers, moving up to muscles. Press, smooth, dig. How? I marvel at her geological choreography. Shoulder muscles tense on the scoliosis side. She chases my knot like a mouse. Again and again it escapes. Press. Press. Ouch. Breathe. Run. Breathe.

Her elbow slides at my back. I’m thick chocolate frosting. My hip is pressed into the table, the opposite shoulder the same. I'm a sturdy table. Lean on me thoughtlessly. I allow myself to fall into a synesthetic rabbit hole. Each stroke a color. Light green swirls, a blue line. Purple, red. Green again, now white. Eventually I realize this is weird, eventually I realize I’ve been writing in my head as I lie there. I force a line break, close my eyes again and focus on losing my focus.


It’s time to roll on my back, and I’m sad because I know time hasn’t stopped like I wanted. My sinuses welcome the release. A brush of purple, circles of green, white… oops, I’m doing it again.

My 80 minute massage over, I sip limed water and plop down again in the lounge. I’m determined to soak up every last drop of “free." The spa employees must have a word for people like me—the clients who come early and stay late, loitering in the lounge, savoring the sauna... using every available free product in the locker room. Why does spa shampoo smell like Jamba Juice? I have no answers, but I make sure to lather, rinse and repeat.


  1. I am so jealous! Sounds like an amazing time! Oh and I am the same way in the spa. The cotton balls, q-tips, lotions, mini Listerine bottles- I use it all!

  2. thought this was going to be boring but it was actually really, really well written. I like.