In the darkness, her hand reached out, questing through a landscape of soft sheets and warm blankets. Moving silently, her fingers curled over her husband’s exposed, vulnerable shoulder.

Was it an amorous invitation? A long-festering “I’m going to throttle that guy if he doesn’t stop snoring” wish fulfillment?

No – in my (utterly imaginary) scenario, Gwynn’s hand took advantage of her sleeping brain to embark on an expedition all its own.

Gwynn is a therapeutic masseuse. She can use a Zoom call to guide someone through self-massage – but she can’t get those hands on tight, sticky, clumped muscles or tough, non-pliant fascia. She can’t reach out and tug a willing body into alignment. Not only is SHE socially-isolated… so are her HANDS.

And I think her hands must be going buggy.

Sometimes I lie on Gwynn’s table and I can tell her feet are almost off the ground; she’s putting her entire body weight (such as it is) into whatever muscle of mine she’s coaxing into “hurts so good” submission. If it were me, I’d be exhausted by the end of the hour.

“How many of these massages can you do a day? Don’t your hands hurt?” I am constantly amazed by how strong and clever she is.

“Quite a few,” she says with a smile. “I’m used to it.”

And now, Body Dynamics has gone virtual. My one-on-one trainings with Chip and Barbara have been as challenging and brilliant as ever; they can both STILL see every cheat I’m attempting to get away with. (Most of my cheats are unintentional… most of them!) The group classes continue to be a blast. A horrible, sweat-inducing blast. If I needed Chip to explain why I shouldn’t live on cookies and pasta, I’m sure I could sign on for a virtual nutritional consultation. (But jeez – why would I??)

But the massages – those intuitive hands, that encyclopedic brain figuring out the WHY of my various physical limitations – those are back-burnered for now. Gwynn offered guided self-massage, but you know that just wouldn’t be the same. (Or maybe it would. I should probably try it. She’s such a good teacher; I’m sure I’d learn a lot…)


And I bet Gwynn’s hands are getting wicked cabin fever. She probably looks down and is astonished to discover that her fingers are curling and flexing in hunger. Her family and her dogs must see her coming and back away, hands held up. “I’m GOOD, Mom – seriously!” She sits, fidgeting, on the sofa and analyzes Anderson Cooper’s shoulder alignment.

We’re all suffering under this brilliant, burdensome quarantine, but spare a thought of pity for the therapeutic masseuses of the world. I know your hands miss me, Gwynn, and I miss all of you!

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There are VERY FEW photos of Gwynn on Google Images, and what there are are blurry. We’ll have to make do with Thing from the Addams Family as a representation of my fantasy that Gwynn’s hands are probably skittering independently around her house looking for something to massage.





3 thoughts on “Gwynn

  1. You ave an amazing brain, Pru, that goes in weird directions (in a very good and funny way). I miss my massages too. I bought a gift certificate for 4 visits once this is all over.


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