“You’re a tight ass!” Sarah shrieked with a laugh as she dug her elbow into the middle of my fanny.
Lying face down on a massage table, the face port paper crinkled in my ears though I could hear Sarah quite clearly. The first of my physical therapy sessions had begun. It was akin to torture. Therapy sounds happy and pleasant. Add the “physical” into it and it quickly became a series of muscle manipulations that well, hurt. Sarah, the physical therapist, tried to allay my concerns, telling me that many clients with extraordinarily tight muscles had come before me. “You’ve had this injury for a year and a half. Your muscles have completely tightened around the injury to stop the pain. It’s not that unusual,” she said.
Unusual or not, it hurt. Plus, I hated being one of many.
“Every week, I’d like to see you and work these muscles out,” she said. “It’s something you really cannot do yourself because you are so tight.” Did she really have to mention that “tight” stuff again?
That said, she consulted my file and gave me several instruction sheets with exercises to do everyday.
It was like I was three years old all over, learning to walk again as I had when I burned my leg.
“It’s going to take some time, bear with it.”
I’d hear this before many, many years ago.
It was like coming full circle.
I glanced at the file she held in her hand.
“Could you do me a favor and update my name. It’s no longer hyphenated. Just Gallagher, “I paused.
“Actually, it’s always been Gallagher. I never changed it.”
Sarah laughed. “You’ve been a client since 2004,” she said as she peeled off the hyphenated name.
“2004? That’s when my now-ex began stealing from me,” I said quietly, as much under my breath as I could. It was hard to even admit. “Or at least when I think he began stealing from me.” I had to breathe now. Deeply.
This healing thing was a little more complicated than I anticipated. It was as much emotional as it was physical.
That’s when I remembered the conversation I had with my mentor, Mr. B.
“Annie,” he said in his gruff voice, as he picked me up at 5:45 am for a trip to Detroit. “I think your blog has played out this burned leg thing.
“You should really start writing about what’s going on with you now. There’s anger, there’s challenge….there’s good stuff,” he said, letting the “f’s” in stuff linger for emphasis. Mr. B. knew. Duplicity as we say in the trade is good stuff. It’s interesting and creates a good story line.
“Let me think about that, Mr. B. Let me think about that.”
“Just remember Annie, fire isn’t always the flames. It it’s the emotions too.”
This was a whole different ball of wax. Something that needed some thinking work.