She has had these for sixty years. It is like a lightening storm. A discharge of built-up energy. After a period of more-than-usual stress, or sometimes maybe just for the hell of it, muscles or nerves in her head spasm with an almost skull-cracking ferocity, over and over for days.
Now that she is alone, her husband no longer able to soothe her with head rubs, she allows her daughter to massage, caress, and love her neck and noggin - an act that brings everything around full circle, from mother nurturing her young daughter to daughter now caring for elderly mother as she would her own child.
So sweet. So intimate.
With her mother's head in her hands, the daughter dances lightly among the hyper-alert muscles. As she would do with a an abused horse, she allows her hands to gently say hello, not lingering long in any one place, gaining trust as she shows that she means no harm. Listening with her hands and heart, she only comes close if there is permission. She asks the muscles, as she would ask the horse, "What do you want to tell me?" Then she listens for the answer.
Yes, she mostly listens. Because everything: horses, muscles, birds, the earth, our lovers... all of life needs our listening.
This is what she hears: ancient wounds, stored in tight fibers, which caused a mother to try to control the uncontrollable in her son and daughter; the inner pain that would cause a parent to tear off her teen-aged daughter's clothes in front of out-of-town guests; the unvisited scars that could motivate a woman to make public scenes about her daughter's eating, resulting in the daughter diving into eating disorders.
And tears of healing run down the daughter's face and into her heart.