As soon a he entered the premises, every single employee was requested to stand still in front of their assigned spaced and smile at him as he moved through the maze of corridors that made up the wellness center. Every single worker knew who Vladimir Natarenko was: the biggest name in boxing in the last decade. He had just defeated his closest rival. In doing so he had become the world’s champion and more than one woman was craving to get close to him. Not only he was very attractive, despite all the cuts, lacerations and so on, he was obviously getting wealthier by the second.
Carmen stood still in front of her assigned room and waited for the big guy to pass. She wasn’t specially thrilled by the prospect of seeing him or anything. Of course she thought he was really attractive but that day she had receive news from the mortgage on her house and she was in desperate need of money. The one thought on her head was all about asking her boss for help, for a certain amount that she could pay with work or something like that. The center did very well and Mr. Crane was a very nice man that did the best for his workers. She trusted help would come from him.
Vladimir finally passed in front of her door but, she was too distracted when he greeted her, smiling with his beautiful cherry lips and his big blue eyes. She just gave him her hand and shook it. Vladimir looked at Carmen as he walked away, being moved by his manager. She didn’t even notice him at all. She just went into her room and decided the best moment to ask for money was during lunch, when most people were outside of the building. She didn’t want anyone to know. It was partly because she felt embarrassed but also because it wasn’t their business.
Trying to focus on her job, she organized her station and received her first costumer of the day. It was a very thin girl who started talking as soon as she walked in. As always, Carmen turned on some music, lit up an incense stick and asked the costumer for her favorite body oil from those she had available. Then she put on the oil on the person and the massage session would begin. They lasted for around forty minutes but people could ask for longer or shorter ones, depending on what they needed, if they felt pain somewhere in particular or anything like that.
The girl was an actress and she just went on and on about her career and how it was very hard to get the right role and how sometimes she had to do things she wouldn’t normally do. The woman could have told Carmen all the secrets of her craft but she wouldn’t have listened to any of them. She did her job well but her mind was absent. Her hands glided over the girl’s body and sometimes she needed but that was the only way to know she was still, kinda there. Losing her house was too big of a deal to care about anything else.
The same happened with the other two clients she had that morning: she was so distracted that, when the second one (a tall guy, very handsome) asked her for her number, she told him that it was a pleasure to have had him and just pushed him out the door. She really didn’t have time for men at that point in her life. She needed a miracle to happen in order to help her survive all the difficult things she was going to face if her house was taken away from her.
What hurt her the most was the fact that she had inherited that house only two years ago, when her parents had died in a tragic car accident. They were traveling by car in order to have a relaxing weekend and a truck just rammed them on a very tight curve. She would always remember the day a policeman called her and bluntly told her that they were dead. She had wanted to know who he was to punch him and teach him how to have a heart. But she never knew who he was and maybe it was for the best. She was in no state to do anything.
Thankfully she had that job and they paid better than in other places but still not as much to pay all the bills. At first, she had thought the house had been a very nice present from her parents but soon realized she would have many more financial responsibilities and Carmen was not ready to assume all of those. She barely made enough money to support herself, so paying bills for a house too big her was not easy on her. Many told her to sell it as soon as she had received it but there were too many memories and she was still in deep mourning.
Now, years later, she had moved on. However, she still thought the house should stay with her and maybe use it one day to raise her own family. She thought of that as a tribute to his parents and her family in general. So when lunchtime came, she almost ran to Mr. Crane’s office. Her secretary asked her to seat down and wait until he was available and she complied but it was very difficult to sit still, repeating in her head what she thought were the right words to phrase her request. Her hands were now moist with sweat and she had to clean them on her jeans.
The secretary finally told her to go in and she did so by trembling all the way to the door. She greeted her boss and he asked her what it was that she needed. She realized he was in a mood and that made her doubt for a second. Bu then she started talking, very fast, telling the whole story of the house and her financial situation. When she finished, her boss told her he was glad she was so honest. However, he confessed the business was not doing so well so he was unable to provide her with the money. He told her he would try to help her out with something but further along in the year.
As she stepped out of the office, Carmen felt her knees shaking like crazy. Her boss had been kind, as always, but the answer she had received was obviously was not the one she had desired. As she walked to her station, she realized how obvious it was that he wasn’t going to give her any money: he was right, no one was coming to their spa. Well, maybe that was an exaggeration but the number of clients was diminishing. She used to have up to eight clients in the morning, now that was down to three, sometimes even only two.
Carmen realized two things as she walked slowly through the corridors: the first thing was that she wasn’t hungry at all. She had brought a big salad from home but she had no time for food right now. And the other thing was that her only solution now was to sell the house she had grew up in. As hard as that decision was, it was the only possible one, unless she wanted to be jailed for not paying all of her debt. It was a horrible choice to make but her time had run out.
She stepped into her station just in time: tears came running down her cheeks and she covered her face as she squat on a corner of the room. She felt miserable. Not only sad but also very disappointed on herself. She felt ashamed of losing her family heritage and also because her life hadn’t taken her anywhere. She lived from massages and on the weekends she did the same thing for anyone who would call and she was getting very tired of all of it. She was getting tired of her life and that she was always, apparently, on the brink of losing it.
Suddenly, she felt a hand on her forearm. As Carmen looked up, Vladimir’s big blue eyes looked down on her. He asked her what was wrong. She stood up fast and cleaned her face, in a vague attempt to pretend nothing had been going on but he interrupted her by saying he had been there the whole time as his next stop in the spa was getting a massage. He had been lying in there for a while when she came in. Carmen was embarrassed and tried to apologize but instead, Vladimir asked her o tell him what was happening. Surprisingly to her, she started talking.
As Carmen kept talking, she indicated him to lay down for his massage. It was the first time it was her talking during a session and not the other way around. The best thing was that he seemed to ask all the right questions and seemed genuinely interested in her problem. When she finished, and the session was done as well, Vladimir told her losing the house might be for the best, as her parents would always live in her heart and mind and not in the house. With those words, he left with a smile. Silly enough, that session and those words were exactly what she needed.
And the big tip he left her, too. Help comes in the most unpredictable packages.