Years ago, my sweetheart gave me a gift card for three complimentary massages. This would be a first for me and I wasn't sure what to expect.
What I didn't expect was, well ... read on.
My first visit was at 7:15 in the evening. It was dark outside and I didn't know the area, but I found it without much trouble. The building looked reputable and the front window read "Chiropractor’s Office" so I assumed it was legit.
When I walked into the office it looked closed except for one overhead lamp burning at the reception desk. A thirty-something guy sat behind the counter.
He knew my name and seemed friendly enough, although I thought his eyes looked a bit shifty. I hoped it was my imagination.
He introduced himself and quietly led me back through a large dark room filled with chiropractic equipment and on to a smaller, shadowy room.
He opened the door and waited while I walked through. The room was wall-to-wall storage boxes and there was a massage table with crimson-colored sheets placed in the middle of the room.
Sensing my anxiety, he apologized for the appearance. He went on to explain that the room was a work in progress and would eventually look more presentable.
I feigned approval, but a knot formed in my gut. Was this a scam? Was this guy a real massage therapist??
James (not his real name) stood in the doorway and told me to undress and climb beneath the sheet, then started to close the door. Now, I was really nervous.
“You want me to take everything off?” I said, trying not to sound like a fretful little girl.
“You wanted a full massage, didn’t you?” He replied.
Did I? My mind started to spin. Who knows?!?
I had a gift card for a free massage! How did I know what kind of massage I was supposed to have?
Was I in the right place? Should I stay ... all by myself ... in the dark ... with this stranger?
“Um ... yes. A full massage.”
Burning with apprehension, I glanced around the room while removing my clothes.
I noticed a framed diploma hanging on the one wall that wasn’t covered up by boxes. It was from a reputable massage therapy school in the area, but I still wasn’t quite convinced.