Beth gives a massage — A Twitter Story

by DRM

She wasn’t young any more. You can’t get a new life & still be young. The lines that were missing on her hands were settling in her face.

Beth kept her kit in the bottom drawer of the counter at the corner of the studio.  The oils went on the stone top.  She lit her candle.

Some days the girl at the front would turn the speakers off so Beth could play her own music.  She had small speakers for her phone.

Beth didn’t like to play the usual new age music that most people liked.  She preferred classical music.  It soothed her.

They called her Beth here.  She wasn’t Elizabeth any more.  She’d left Elizabeth behind when the rest of her life had been tossed aside.

She felt like Elizabeth when she got her life insurance statements.  Michael still paid those direclty.  They were addressed to Elizabeth.

But each thing that was hers in life that she had made with her own hands was Beth’s.  That was the person that she had earned.

There was a light knock on the door.  Her first client was about to be brought in.  Beth went out the side to the waiting area.

The attendant would set the client up on the table.  Beth would wait a few moments and then come in silently.  She flexed her hands.

The work kept her hands young: the stretching and pulling, the oils and lotions absorbed through her pores.  She had young hands.

She wasn’t young any more.  You can’t get a new life & still be young.  The lines that were missing on her hands were settling in her face.

She opened the door.  “Are you ready?”  A soft voice murmured.  The light was lowered.  The flame flickered.  Beth slipped to the table.

As Beth reached to turn the music on in her phone, she caught the profile of the woman laying on the table.  She had long blonde hair.

Her hair lay across her face and shoulders like ridges of sand on a wind-blown beach.  Her eyes were closed.  Her skin shined slightly.

The woman was at rest.  Her arms were extended along her side, palms open and facing upwards.  Beth caught her breath.  She was beautiful.

Beth was frightened to touch the woman.  She didn’t know what she would feel.  “Do you ave any specific request?” Beth asked.  “Relax me.”

Beth pulled the sheet back and lay her hands across the gentle swell of the woman’s back.  Her skin was hot to the touch.  Beth was still.

“That feels good,” the woman said.  “I can feel your heart beating through your palms.”

When Beth found that her life had been tossed aside, she didn’t understand how she could ever again feel the warmth of another person.

The knowledge that her life could be tossed aside made her feel cold inside.  It was like her temperature had dropped.

Whenever she saw Michael — to negotiate terms, or exchange papers, or to testify to their desires — she saw him as a bright yellow light.

She knew that he was with a younger woman.  She felt sorry for the girl, whoever she was.  He was taking the warmth out of her too, she knew.

Maybe that was a man’s way, to take the heat out of all the things that were around him.  She didn’t know.  Then she stopped wondering.

Elizabeth wondered why she was left feeling so cold.  Beth didn’t wonder about that kind of thing.  Beth hardly remembered Michael at all.

As she held her hands against the woman’s back, Beth saw images, felt sensations, became infused with a warp of memory.  And then imagined.

She imagined that she was crawling into the woman’s body, through the veil of her skin, and swimming like an eel into her heart.

Beth felt her stomach swell and her palm begin to quiver.  She traced her fingers along the woman’s back.  She listened for the reaction.

The woman didn’t make a sound.  Her back raised and lowered with each breath.

“You are very beautiful,” Beth said.  The woman smiled.  “So are you,” she said.

“I can feel how beautiful you are,” the woman went on.  “I can feel your energy pouring into me.  It feels so good.  Don’t stop.”

Beth raised her hands and looked at them.  They were slick with perspiration, hers & the woman’s.  She ran her palms across her cheeks.

She imagined that her skin glowed.

She took her hands and pushed them firmly against the woman’s back.  The woman exhaled firmly.  This is it, Beth thought.

This is what they are all looking for.  This is what Michael takes.  This is what we have to give.  I want to put it all back.  Back inside.

As Beth ran her palms across the woman’s flesh, she heard a sound like water trickling through a crack.  That is me, she thought.

This is what is sounds like to be alive.  Then there was no other sound, no breath, no music, no hush.  Just the sound of herself.

This is one of a series of stories that were first told on Twitter.  I call them Twitter Stories.  Each paragraph is no more than 140 characters.