(Or: Thoughts as I Walk to my Temporarily-Closed Office)

Walked to my office this morning–May 29, 2020–to pick up a fan which was going unused there. Passed people wearing masks. A few not. Stopped at drugstore for a prescription. Hear man six feet in front of me tell pharmacist that he’ll have to make a call home about that– pharmacist has just told him the cost of the insulin he’s picking up for someone. I hear a hundred and something and he needs to make a call. I glance at the makeup aisle while I wait. Everything seems marked on sale. I wonder who wears makeup these days. I think about how lipstick gets on the inside of your mask. And anyway, who sees it?

At my office, the balustrades in front of the building have been knocked over. I wonder why. Yellow tape says Caution. I think of Minneapolis. Of George Floyd, now dead, murdered. And the anger. All the anger. So much anger.

I enter my office. It feels odd. I haven’t worked on anyone in over two months. Early afternoon of March 17 was the last therapeutic massage I gave. It all shut down so suddenly, from one day to the next, this stopping of my work, this closing of my office. I kept emphasizing, TEMPORARY closing of my office. It felt important to to bold that word.

Every so often over the last weeks I’ve gone to pick something up I wanted at home. A few weeks ago the muscular and skeletal system charts for classes I was teaching over Zoom for self- and pair-massage. Today the fan and my little Bose speakers. 

I miss touching people. The other night I dreamt about two of my longest term clients. They were in my home, though it was not a home I recognized in real life. I’ve been working on their bodies–in real life– or over fourteen years now. A long time. In real life, one of them was in the pair massage class I taught last week. She started crying at the beginning of the call when she heard my voice; she missed it.

I miss my clients. I miss their creature bodies. I miss greeting them at the door and inviting them in. I miss asking them: “So, what’s it like being you these days?” And then listening. And watching their bodies, which also talk to me, while they talk. And then I miss asking, “And how would you love to feel today when you leave?” I miss sensing their breathing change. I miss the little sighs they make when something in them shifts. I miss their tight places, and fulcrum-ing their head under the tips of my fingers, then feeling their neck muscles relaxing into the support of my hands, supported by the table, supported by the ground.

My husband picks me up from my office, me and the fan and my speakers. Most days I feel OK. There are things about how I’m being asked to live during this time that agree with me. Today I feel depressed, I tell him. Later I notice I feel angry. So much, too much. It’s like a rumble in my chest. He feels stressed. If I lost all my work from one day to the next, he lost six people on his team and increased his workload by a boatload and wakes up early and worried most days.

But we do have a wee back yard. And my stepdaughter’s mom drove her over so we could celebrate her sixteenth birthday in a socially-safe way last week. And a robin chose our yews to build its nest in. And then we got to watch three wee robin-lings grow up enough to leave the nest. Every day I get to go into my back yard and find something to plant or watch grow. I’m working with what we have, watching all the permaculture YouTube videos. It gives me something in the hope family to grow new things. And satisfaction to turn over the compost and see the worms doing their wormy work to break down what’s dead so it can grow something new.

On our porch, the fan from my office now whirrs on my feet. The air it moves is warm. I will turn my attention to my book, the memoir I am writing, which I now have all the time in the world for, but I couldn’t turn that way today before writing down all these odd-time things.

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