Deja Vu Massage

Every massage is memorable in its own way, but some leave lasting impressions more than others. One such session that included near-failed deja vu on my part quickly rose to become my best first session with a client.

A client was on my schedule whose name was familiar to me because I’d seen him booked with other therapist’s at the clinic. Once I introduced myself, I recognized his smile from the times I saw him exiting therapist’s rooms with that classic post-massage hazy, euphoric grin.

As it turned out, he happened to be one of the clinics longest standing clients, and his beaming smile was coupled with the sweetest personality. He requested a focused low back session with some glute and quad work. I exited the room to allow him to undress and get under the sheets.

When I came back in the room, he was in his speedos, shirtless, and lying face down over the fitted sheet having removed and folded the flat one because it was unnecessary. Impressive. A sign of an experienced massage client. As soon as I looked at his back, there was something quite familiar about it. I couldn’t pin down why, but I felt like I’d worked on it before. “Have we worked together before?” I had to ask.

“No, we haven’t but I’ve been here a lot,” he responded.

My mistake...time to move on, but something wouldn’t allow me to. A sudden feeling of deja vu swept over me and the remembering part of my brain went batty. I felt compelled to ask again, “Are you sure we haven’t worked together before in all that time you’ve been coming in? Because you look so familiar.”

“I’m positive. I’ve wanted to see you for a while now but haven’t had the opportunity to get on your schedule.” His reassuring smile was unwavering.

I tried thinking about something else as I worked on his back for the next five minutes, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of having done this not once but numerous times before. “Look, I know this is going to sound funny but I really think we’ve…” and that’s when it hit me. I’d been staring at his back nearly everyday for years!

A framed photo of an unknown swimmer in a freestyle stroke pose with his back to the viewer hung in the room which the owners had asked clients to pose for years back. “This is you here on the wall isn’t it?” I suddenly blurted out in excitement.

“Yes, that’s me,” he responded with a smile that was half “got caught in the cookie jar” and half “how’d you ever know?”

“I knew I had recognized it, I mean you, from somewhere,” I said in a tone of satisfaction. After staring at his back for so many years, I felt I knew it more intimately than I would with someone I was working with for the first time. The rest of the session felt like I was getting to finally know my long-time massage version of a pen pal. We hit it off beautifully.

I’ve now been seeing him for over seven years and since that initial encounter, he got married and had a daughter. I see his wife regularly, and his daughter holds the distinction of being my youngest client ever when they brought her in some weeks after being introduced to this world. Memorable in its own way as many sessions, unexpectedly, can turn out to be.