I knew the Vietnamese massage routine by heart and was thankful that the back part came first because surely I couldn’t have endured this torture toward the end of the hour! It was really more like a body rubdown as I really don’t believe she was actually a trained masseuse.
Shortly, there were footsteps and voices coming up the stairs. I lifted my face out of the hole in the table to see a small Vietnamese man wearing dark sunglasses followed a large Caucasian man coming up the stairs.
My table was next to a wall so there was only one of the remaining four tables next to mine – and that’s the table they selected. No wall, no curtain, and no more than two feet between our tables. The blind masseur would periodically bump into me with his butt as he worked his way around the rotund Russian.
Between this absurdity and the family dog barking downstairs and the kids yelling what sounded like “onion chips” and the masseur and masseuse chatting away in Vietnamese, and my bladder predicament, I almost burst out laughing a few times.
But the pain I was experiencing kept me focused on the slow passage of time, and knowing the massage routine so intimately didn’t help things one bit. I was trying to relax my body but it was impossible. Never before had I prayed for my massage to end.
Next it was the feet and legs, then arms, neck, then turn over for more legs and arms, then finally my head before mercifully sitting me up for one last back and neck rub. Lastly came a thorough pounding of her fists and palms up and down my back; every blow imparting an ever-increasing, and almost unbearable, grand finale of misery.
Then it ended, and oh my goodness, was I ever happy!!