I sat in the back of the shop in a large chair with a rolling massager that pressed hard into my back and shoulder blades. I tucked my phone away and slipped my feet into the warm, bubbly spa, closed my eyes, and escaped the Christmas crazies for a little while.

Any day in December that starts with twenty-something is deserving of such a treat.

The young woman’s hands were surprisingly strong; she worked exfoliants and lotions deep into my calves, ankles, and tired feet. The rhythm soothed me, as she moved back and forth from one side to the other in a well-rehearsed operation.

I forgot about the shopping, the meal planning, the tree trimming, the gift buying, the porch decorating, the wrapping, the lighting, the shipping, the baking, the giving, the card writing, the visiting, the traveling, and that sinking feeling that somehow it still isn’t enough…

I forgot about my sister, who thrives in chaos and likes to share it with others, especially at Christmas. I forgot about COVID and all of its variants. I forgot about politics and Alzheimers and family dysfunction.

For 45 minutes, the rest of the world melted into nothingness, and I relaxed into this simple nail-salon pleasure.

Then… back to the tasks at hand.

Wiggling my tidy toes dressed up in glittery red sparkles completely appropriate for the season, I smiled to myself, slipped into my shoes, and stepped back out into the bustling expectations of the week before Christmas.

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