I wrote this immediately after the third of the four massages I got while in the Philippines:
- Hilot traditional massage at Crimson Resort & Spa Boracay – 1 hour – $50
- Hilot traditional massage in my hotel room at the Two Seasons Coron Bayside Hotel – 1.5 hours – $26
- Swedish massage in some unmarked, nondescript location in Isabela province – 1 hour – $6
- Whatever massage at-home service in my friend’s parents’ condo in Manila – 1.5 hours (back/neck/shoulders) -$5
My body is not a temple. It is a haunted house. My massage therapist observed as much for $6. Her hands spoke to me. They said, “God, what the fuck is this now?” Over and over. The back road that is my body is one in Southeast Asia, after all: unpaved, unwieldy, unpredictable, and probably still pregnant with land mines.
But she was not to be deterred. For the first time in my massage career, I met a pair of hands under which my body could break. Usually, it’s a symphony of the crackling bones of The Fallen, broken under my merciless terrain. But tonight. Tonight, I met an unconquerable foe. She bludgeoned me. She made me alive with fear having realized the existence of long-neglected muscles, touched for the very first time, and squished under her power. She was the Thanos of massage therapists. Except, rather than mercifully eliminate me in The Snappening, she preferred to hand-deliver me to my Maker. My ass was punctured. The steaks of my body were tenderized under her meat cleavers. My many, many knots were pushed into the earth of my soft body, and the planet of my being screamed, “AHHH HOLY HELL.” I was kneaded into an even softer dough, and now I don’t know what to make of this new existence. I am sand, broken into a million fragments, memories of a once-impenetrable stone. I am a plaything under her current.
I need a chiropractor.