June 03, 2016
Pull It Hard

She thought she had passed that stage of fear of meeting someone from her past, but sometimes they still got to her.

by Amy Pangestu
Culture // Prose & Poem
Share:

Pull hard…pull fast.
Sarah kept repeating those phrases in her head in the first week of her training. It was like a chant, actually. Harder, faster, so the customer would not get hurt.
It was not like she could not get a better job. She just wanted to try something new while she was young and she wanted to escape for a while, if three months could be considered a while. She thought seeing new faces in this part of the town was exactly what she needed.
Indeed it was.
After finishing her training, her hands would feel sore and numb. Is there a clinical word for that? Sarah would walk fast straight from work to her 3 by 4 flat on the 3rd floor right across the flower shop with a strange sensation between her crotch.
She knew she was just imagining things and tried to swat that unbecoming thoughts from her mind. She believed deeply that all shall be well in time and she would get used to it. Perhaps reading The Secret and growing up in a religious family had made Sarah a person who tried to see the silver lining in almost every fucked up moment.
Sarah had seen countless genitals from the movies and prints. But facing it live and actually touching a stranger’s without involving any feeling was something different. It was a raw and carnal experience every single time.
She was first assigned with two customers a day. It was hard at first to keep her face still and expressionless, her fingers unfaltering. To show just a bit of discomfort was considered unprofessional and disrespectful. It could get her a complaint. Mama Cherry did not like complaints and Sarah still wanted to stay.
After a month, Sarah got better in her job and was assigned up to four customers a day. That meant she could keep it. She did not tell any soul she would not be a permanent. Why should she? The co-workers were all chatty and full of roses, pink roses, so giddy like they probably were drowned in a pot filled with unicorn urine when they were babies.
No one was to blame though, they were supposed to fake it to bring the customers in and to make them feel comfortable at first. That was something Sarah could not yet fully comprehend. They reminded her of Marie Antoinette and her entourage, nothing but a mere façade. Although she did admire them deep inside. Those women were unrelenting and could be quite ruthless when they were handling their customers. Pull hard, pull fast.




By the end of the third month, Sarah felt like her time working there was enough to make sure the confidence she needed was at full bar. She felt like she could go back to her old place, the better part of the town, feeling like herself and not giving a shit of whatever people were or about to say.
One chilly Saturday morning, it was drizzling lightly, Sarah got a call and off she went. She was not late but apparently there was a customer who came early, already impatiently waiting in one of the rooms. Sarah presented her best smile and greeted sweetly only to be faced with her utmost horror. Her customer was Max, they dated throughout high school.
The half naked Max freaked out and started throwing fits. It was quite expected since Max had all the right reasons to hate Sarah. Max put on her pants while spewing harsh words. Sarah could only close her eyes, knowing stopping her would lead to more trouble.
Max headed to Madam Cherry's room and told her angrily that no man should be allowed to work in a woman’s wax salon and how they all should feel lucky that she would not press charges, though she would tell her friends about it.
Sarah was grateful she had money and an actual place to live, not in that 3x4 flat of course. She offered Madam Cherry some money to compensate that uneventful morning, apologizing and trying not to take her swearing personally. She then packed her things.
Technically, she was not lying and she knew better to stand her ground. She just did not need the drama. Sarah thought she passed that stage of fear of meeting someone from her past, but it did not change the harrowing fact that sneering faces and unexpected random encounters still got to her, sometimes. She should have just taken the job at the tanning salon instead.
Amy is a nerdy mom slash bread baker slash gamer. She homeschools her daughter, so she is free from the nightmare of having to wake up early. Enjoy her (bread) porn at @mamiko.breadlab