“Preference on your therapist?” she asked. “Male or female?”
“No preference,” I said, forgetting to mention that I needed a strong hand, which usually meant male. But I’m not one to discriminate against women with man hands.
“Then you’ll be with Igor today.” She said it like “Eee-gor,” and it made me think of some wicked little hunchbacked troll they kept in the dungeon. But the man who greeted me was an average-sized older gentleman, with a lean, athletic build, and a full head of snow white hair, dressed all in black.
“Mrs. Chako,” he said, in a deep, melodic voice with a heavy Russian/eastern European accent. Except it sounded like “Meeesus Chaako”. Picture Dracula saying it.
He led me to the dark, quiet room. Kind of like a cave. I explained the aches and pains du jour. He proceeded to make enough references to sternocleidomastoid muscles and other suffering body parts to convince me he had skills, and I slipped out of my clothes quickly and under the covers. But not before noticing that his business card just said "Igor." No last name.
Igor returned and began his routine. Testing my muscles here and there. Slow, gentle strokes at first. Then more pressure. “The pressure – is good?” Which in standard English is a sentence, but in his imperfect English with the accent became a question. I mumbled an affirmative into the pillow.
“Now Mrs. Chako, I will need you to make deep breath, and release slowly, while I count from six to one.” Except he said “seeex.” I took a breath, and let him work his magic.
“Seeex . . . five . . . four . . . “ The voice started to distract me. He started to sound like the Count on Sesame Street. I kept waiting for him to laugh . . . “ha ha ha . . . I LOVE to count!”
“. . . three . . . two . . . one.” Yes, definitely had that Dracula sound.
“Ok, this will be painful. Little bit.” Except it sounded like Dracula saying “Leeetle beet.” I have to try to not snicker. Wonder if he’s thinking of biting my neck. Waiting for him to say “I come to suck your blood . . . “
Then he hurt me. Which made me stop thinking about snickering. Don’t get me wrong. It was a good hurt. But one without bite marks and immortality. I let out a breath.
He worked muscles I didn’t know hurt. Muscles that people haven’t worked in a long time. Speaking to me in that hypnotic voice, discarding unnecessary “a’s”, “an’s” and “the’s” as he went. Suddenly, I understood how vampires got their victims. The voice itself was therapy. Now if only he looked like Edward from the Twilight movies. Bite me . . .
Sixty minutes was over too fast. I felt drained, but still had all my red blood cells, as far as I could tell. No more counting, no more pain.
He waited outside the room with a glass of water. Thanked me formally. Smiled.I still found myself trying to catch a glimpse of his canine teeth. But willing to risk another appointment. Because there is nothing more oddly appealing than laying naked on a table in a dark room while Count Dracula’s voice says “This will be little bit painful . . ."