On Saturday, after the final day of workshops and the exhibition, we all — Émile, Badoux, Blake, Fanny, Fabrice (the French counsel), and I — have dinner. Then we follow Fanny to a massage parlor she knows, on the sixth floor of the Excel Building. (Massage is big in that part of the world. Real massage, not always that other kind.)
The six of us don pajamas and lie on beds. Our masseuses enter, mine a lovely long-haired girl who sits on the bed with me. She bends my limbs this way and that until they seem like they’re no longer part of me — I am watching them being manipulated from somewhere above. It’s strange, and yet strangely normal, to have this Burmese girl with three words of English sitting on my bed, touching me with her delicate, strong hands. I fall in love with her, but it’s the love a child feels for its mother. Later, she walks on my back and squeezes the breath out of me in strangled grunts. It’s marvelous.
As we all shyly put our clothes back on, we exchange notes on the experience. We all got the most of it, except, it turns out, poor Émile. “She walked on my willy,” he remorsefully explains.