He kneels softly at my feet, lifting each one into the bowl filled with warm water and flowers, washing each foot of its sweat and grime from a hard day of sightseeing, on Bangkok’s dirty streets.
In his culture, that sees feet as dirty and rude, how must it feel to make your living by pampering foreigners’ feet? How many times does he do this every day, smiling always at the foreigners, who must seem so large and so coarse to him?
How many foreigners take the time to smile, or chat? I am fortunate I can do so, and hope that he understands my conversation with him is a mark of respect for what he does, and the way he does it.
He pushes back the reclining chair, and engulfs me in a mosquito net. He picks up my foot, and smooths oil on it. His movements are slow and deliberate; his long, sensuous, firm strokes ease out the aches and pains of the day. He takes such care, his strokes well-timed, never hurried or cursory.
I sigh into bliss.
He moves with such kindness, dignity, and pride in his work. He humbles me. My heart like my feet, putty in his hands. The pleasure and gratitude overwhelms me as I relax, and Bangkok rushes on outside.