04 February 2010


A softly dimmed room, lavender-scented. A white, cottony cloud of a bed with heating blanket and knee pillow. Sounds of Spanish guitar and lapping water.

Clean, warm sheets against tired skin. Eyes closed. My breathing turns suddenly, deliciously, deep and slow.

Smooth, delicate and perfectly temperate hands first rest on my neck, just below my ears. They move to wrap around my chin, then glide slowly toward my temples. They come to rest on my forehead and apply the slightest steady pressure. I find I might weep from the relief and gratitude for the ninety minutes that lie ahead. I relish the intimacy and sweetness of touch, someone's hands on my face, lavishing such care on something I sometimes skip before going to bed (I'll get it in the shower in the morning). We small-talk in hushed tones about the beauty of her new engagement ring and laugh about the fact that you can "never really trust a man with jewelry decisions" (something I don't really believe in the least -- depends on the man -- but that I'm already too far gone to care to defend). We fall quiet again and lemony suds roll about on my cheeks. Why can't it feel this way when I wash my own face? I ponder.

Other potions are visited upon me, ones that smell of pure peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, citrus, and sea minerals. (Grant me, dear reader, an aside: I've never been one for sweet, fruity, contrived scents, or candles that smell like cake batter or apple dumplings. Ew. Give me anything that smells like pine, brisk mountain air, soap, French countrysides, California pepper or eucalyptus groves -- yes. And thank you.) Her fingers, though, are the thing. The ideal vehicle. There is something peculiar in her touch that whisks all unpleasant thoughts and worries quickly from my brain, dumps them outside the door, and leaves me deliriously focused on all of the more delightful, frivolous, and dreamy themes. Possibilities rather than realities. Highs rather than lows. Bright colors rather than murky ones.*

Now her hands, ready with some coolly-scented essential oil, rest on my chest and circle across my shoulders, then reach deep between my shoulder blades in one swift, strong, perfect motion. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Heaven. Heaven. Heaven. When I feel her slick the peppermint balm onto my lips and kindly apply dots of eye cream in little tapping motions, I know it's over. My entire body sighs at the prospect of having to forsake my cocoon, but she leaves the room, my limbs stretch wide, I inevitably can't help but smile to myself, and tarry a small while since she quietly assured me, "take your time."

Why this experience only happens once or twice a year, I cannot say. I intend to remedy that silliness. A facial every other month is a little luxury I'll soon be able to afford myself. It's worth every. single. penny.
(By the way, her name is Danielle and she works at a cute little place called The Skinbar in Brentwood. She's a miracle worker.)

*I'm fully aware that I sound like a Hallmark card or a Lifetime movie. I know. I can't help myself.