The Lines That Bind Us

Kadek and I, we are bound by my lines. The lines that connect bones to muscle. The nerve lines running up and down my body. My energy lines. By now, he is familiar with the complex network of lines that lie submerged better than anyone else; in fact, let’s say he is on intimate terms with the lot of them. These lines expose not only my physical self (sub-epidermally as much as above skin), but large swaths of my emotions as well. And so we are bound by what he has learned, felt and manipulated, and by what I feel every time he skillfully maneuvers around my body.

I remember the first time I saw Kadek. I reviewed my list of fractures, injuries and pains. Inadvertently, I left one out. No sooner did I lie down and he began to get the lay of my body’s land, than I nearly jumped out of my skin: Kadek was methodically working his way down the inside of my left arm when he landed on a hot spot. Owwwwwww! I’d somehow forgotten to mention the nerve damage down that line – but there was no keeping it from him; Kadek would discover the hidden pockets of pain and resistance everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. Everywhere, because all our body parts are related, and bones rely on muscles (and vice-versa). And everywhere, because he traced the line from one spot to another and then yet another – regardless of how far and deeply he had to reach.

Soon enough, he found all the blocks along my lines; and by now, I am convinced he knows most of my body by heart.

Another day, another line: One day, Kadek brought in a crudely-fashioned (homemade, in fact) electric contraption I fondly call the zapper. It’s a tile-sized green square made of felt onto which he sewed or glued a circular piece of foil. A short wire runs out of the square, a plug at the end. He demonstrated its use: With the zapper plugged in, I would place my left heel on the foil circle, then my right foot on the line of grout between tiles (for water content), at which point the current would pass through me to unblock dead blood and release other constrictions.

I momentarily feared I would sizzle up into crisp toast. A few trials – with Kadek interposing himself into the current – helped calm my anxiety.

But when the zapper and I returned to my room, I tried to recreate the effect, to no avail. I tried the plug in three outlets, yet the foil on the square remained dormant. Maybe (I silently hoped) it’s a sign that I’m not supposed to be subjecting myself to this treatment. But Kadek would have none of that. So after my massage yesterday, he came over to rectify the situation; and as if it was a recipe’s missing ingredient, we just had to add water… to the floor.

Healing for the week done, it was time for dinner. We headed out to a local grill joint in Mas (just outside Ubud) called Gurihan. Kadek ordered ribs, while I feasted on what I would deem to be the best fish meal I’ve had in Asia thus far: grilled snapper, rice and green beans.

My body – and all the lines that comprise it – is still a work-in-progress. Now, in addition to my twice-weekly agony-inducing but (ultimately) body-healing massages, I am embarking thanks to Kadek on an even more intensive regimen; hooking myself up, daily (ideally more than once), to a line of electricity. For my nerve lines. And my blood lines.

Speaking of which, perhaps blood-letting is next on Kadek’s agenda. Who knows. He is full of surprises. For now, I think I’ll go zap myself.

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