Lying face down on the massage table under the shade tree, Maggie rubs the knot at the base of my neck again and again.
As I feel my own tense shoulders start to relax, I can’t help but wonder who rubs her sore shoulders when she gets home each night, worn out from the day of relieving other people’s stress. But she most likely does not complain.
She does not work alone. One woman is older, maybe even her mother. The other seems not even 20.
They all three work under the shade tree, eager for the business.
And they’re worth every penny of their $20 an hour fee.
Sure, the spas in the resort or back home may be fancier, but they’re certainly not more beautiful than this spot where I’m lying, about a football field away from where the waves are crashing on the shore. The sound of the ocean lapping at the sand adds to the soothing feeling washing over me.
You really can’t put a price tag on this level of relaxation.
I’m nearly asleep when I hear, “Miss, all done.”
Maggie’s voice brings me back to reality.
The sun has set now and it is dark.
I carefully find the strings to my bathing suit, making sure I’m all in my before sitting up again, hoping not to reveal myself to the others packing up their crafts they were selling nearby.
The knot that was at the base of my neck is now replaced with a knot in my swimsuit… my shoulder pain relieved.
I thank Maggie and happily tip her well, thankful for her services.
She is grateful, too, and as she packs her massage table and other belongings into the car she shares with the other ladies, she asks that I tell my friends to come see her, too.
And I do. And I’m telling you, as well.
If you ever find yourself on the beach in Costa Rica, be sure to ask for Maggie, the masseuse under the shade tree.