I sat there with my unkempt feet, painfully aware of the outgrowth clearly visible on my polish-overdue toenails and the condition of my poor heels. I wanted to hide my toes under the the toweling cover of the therapy table, all the while searching for excuses on why I didn't have time to take better care of my feet between moving house and life in the sticks and love and work and how me-time most often translates into wine-and-reflecting-or-recovery-time and so seriously not into grooming time. And because we were building and paving and I had to fix the leaking tank myself since the nearest plumber lives 110 km away and that I love the fact. And that sometimes I needed help with the heavy stuff but my helpers were doing more heavy stuff so I didn't want to seem weak and just sucked it up and did it myself and felt good that I did. And I have boys, two of them... marvelous, beautiful, energetic, silly-crazy male childs that LOVE to play outside and run and bike and climb and swim and mess, and they love their mama to play along. And we play but we just don't do shoes...
She took place at the bottom end of the therapy table and had a close inspection of the mammoth task at hand. She, with the perfectly groomed fingernails, single working mother of two teenagers in a private school, where most of her peers probably are more than content with the future that public schooling would offer their children. Without probing I realised that her work didn't start at 8 am or end at 5 pm, and that here breaks were few and very far in between. I was inspired by the her strength of character and quiet confidence.
She started to rub my feet. I cringed. She noticed the outgrowth. She noticed the dry heels. She noticed the calloused second toes where I just can't seem to avoid blistering no matter which shoes I run with. I was holding my breath, waiting for a little snigger or a remark, even an admonishment.
She started to carefully roll up the cuffs of my jeans in order to get a full load of the situation at hand, all the while talking softly. Working methodically, gently, yet purposefully. She rolled my pants up to the top of my calves. I shot up a quick prayer of thanks that I remembered to at least shave my legs, as some sort of redemption.
Then she looked down at my shins and noticed the bruises and scabs. 'You got hurt?', she noted.
I felt silly, thinking back of how I tripped over that low wall next to the garage, numerous times, while carrying large boxes that obscured my vision.
'I'm sorry', she said in a quiet voice.
No snigger. No reprimanding. No probing. No wise-ass remark, advice, or life-altering-lecture.
And for a moment, one precious moment in a life weaved together by many...
I was breathless.