Thursday, April 7, 2011

Face/Off (Part Two)

A continuation of Monday's post, Face/Off (Part One)...

As Anthony and I entered the cabana for the rest of the day’s pampering, things continued to look up. After changing into plush white robes, we settled into huge rattan chairs while Lucretia and Ana washed and lightly massaged our feet in beautiful Mexican pottery bowls filled with water, scented oils, and more rose petals. This experience was simultaneously lovely and a little uncomfortable, but I beat back any unwelcome thoughts, determined to enjoy myself and relax. I threw in a few Lamaze deep-cleansing breaths for good measure.

Just as I was starting to melt into my chair and forget all about the hydrotherapy mishaps, we were directed to another steam room, this one much, much smaller than the first. And far steamier. When the door shut with a click behind us, I started taking in huge gulps of “air.”

“I don’t like this,” I said, trying to sound normal as I forced down the lump in my throat.   Anthony must have heard the edge of hysteria in my voice, because he started trying to talk me through it right away.

“Just focus on my face,” he encouraged me, in his best coach’s voice. Nice try, I scoffed silently. He had used the same line on me when I was pushing out one of his giant-headed babies two years earlier. It didn’t help then, either.

“I would if I could see it!” I snapped in his general direction. The steam was so thick that I could see nothing. It was a white out.  Only hot.  Very, very hot. 

The rest is something of a blur. It included a dry sauna in which I was sure the eucalyptus fumes were burning out the lining of my lungs. After that came a soaking tub where they plied us with champagne, helping the panic of repeated entombments recede.  The cabana’s windows offered stunning views of the Gulf, so I gazed out at the bright blue water in an effort to access some form of serenity and listened to poor Anthony try to cheer me up with jokes.

Finally, it was time for the long awaited full-body massage and facial. I had been anticipating this part all day. Actually, I’d been looking forward to this for the several months since we booked the trip. No more small spaces. No more steam. No more internal monologues of terror.

Anthony and I were on side by side tables. They started with the massage, which was, in a word, fabulous. At the end of the hour, Lucretia wrapped my body tightly until I was bound in a snug cocoon of sheets.

Oh, God. Not again. I tried to pretend it was a hug.

She placed gauzy pads over my eyes and started spreading mud over my face. It was creamy, cool, and comforting. I willed myself to focus on these pleasantries. “Oooh! This is nice!” I called over to Anthony, I hoped my voice sounded convincing. Poor guy, no doubt he was expecting a better reaction when he set this up.

“See, I told you it would be,” he agreed.

Lucretia cleared her throat to interrupt us.

“I cover you mouth?” she asked me.

“Um. Okay?”  My voice cracked.

I instantly regretted my choice as she drew a thick slathering of mud over my mouth and nose, then cleared it from my nostrils with a quick swipe of her finger.

“It’s okay, babe.” Anthony reassured me from his table. Of course.  He was smart enough to  answer “no” when Ana asked “I cover you mouth?”

I focused my energy on resisting the urge to jerk my mouth open and bust out of the mud mask I was sure was fossilizing by the second. 

How long can they possibly leave this thing on? We only paid for a four hour session and most of that must be used up by now.  And what is that noise?!

A weird, rapid sound, a cross between rushing air and snorting, filled the room.

“Babe? You okay?” Anthony didn’t sound as reassuring this time.

I was hyperventilating. The weird noise was me breathing hysterically through my nose. Between the mask and the sheet-hug, I was officially losing it.

The rushed drumming of my pulse filled my ears.  My frenetic thoughts sharpened into visions of Metallica’s “One” video as I seriously considered tapping out S.O.S in Morse Code with my head.

When it was all over, I was weak-kneed and not in a good way. I stumbled, shell-shocked, out the little hut of horrors dragging Anthony behind me, bypassed the complimentary golf cart, and sprinted to the wine bar.

My new and improved Golden Spa Experience is all the better for being at home and at the hands of a sweet friend. I am happy to relax on my own couch, my dog staring at me curiously, as I listen to the clatter of my children’s forks on their plates and answer their endless stream of comments and questions:

Bronte:  Does that hurt?

Carys:  You look crazy, Mommy!

Chloe: Can I burn my face off when I’m old?

Yes, dear daughters.  Yes, you can.

 Home, sweet, spa. Blueberry chemical peel in action.


megscolaro said...

OMG for a second I thought the blueberry mask was burned flesh! lol @ Chloe

Trinity said...

Giant-headed babies! Hah! Talk about claustrophobia- just imagine how they must have felt! :)