Tania occasionally treated herself to a cab ride when the weather was bad or the Underground stations packed. Her journey from the City of London to her North London flat could sometimes be fraught and uncomfortable. After a particularly challenging week at work, she found herself near her office building trying to hail a black cab. On the roadside beside her, stood another young woman. Her curbside neighbor waved her arms about frantically, just as the heavens opened up with rain.
The cab driver, who pulled up by the curb, didn’t know which woman he was to take.
They could have fought over whose cab it was, but Tania glanced at the other woman and asked her where she lived.
“That’s on my way,” Tania said. “Share?”
It was the easiest solution and the coincidence was too good to be true. She did not believe in fate.
Tania, hesitant at first, struck up a conversation. The two exchanged names—Elaine, she told Tania, a paralegal for a large firm of solicitors. Elaine’s face was pretty, almost childlike, with small freckles and pale blue eyes. Her damp uncovered hair was tied back into a ponytail and she fidgeted uneasily.
“I’ve just started a new job,” Elaine said. “Today. I couldn’t be bothered with the Tube.”
“Me too,” Tania agreed. “Are you a Londoner?”
“Born and bred,” she replied proudly.
Unlike Tania, who originally came from the distant suburbs, Elaine had lived all her life in one borough of London. She confessed very quickly to being single and rather solitary in nature.
“Having a new job is daunting. I’m a bit shy.”
“Not with me,” Tania pointed out.
Elaine shuffled on her seat. “You look good in that suit. Is it tailor made?”
Tania always dressed in formal suits for work. In the winter, she had the trouser version, with neat pants and straight legs. During the summer, she switched to skirts—not too short—and they hugged her thighs quite nicely.
“No, but they are quite expensive.” Tania smiled.
“I need to buy some new clothes for work. They’re much smarter at this place.” Elaine looked down at her skirt and tugged the hem lower.
Before they reached Elaine’s small, semi-detached house, they arranged to meet up for coffee and a little shopping spree. They exchanged mobile numbers and emails then Tania insisted on paying the whole cab fare. Elaine waved quickly through the rain-splattered window before disappearing indoors. The moment she had gone and the driver set off again, Tania wondered what had come over her—meeting a perfect stranger and planning to go shopping with her. She never had the time to shop for herself, never mind with another.
Their friendship blossomed over the next few months and against the odds of their circumstances. They were fortunate in working near each other and Tania tried often to squeeze a little time out of her hectic diary to meet Elaine for lunch. Approaching their next encounter, Tania had reached a point of desperation in her social life, owing to
Over lunch, Elaine suggested she should sort herself out.
“Meaning?” Tania asked her.
“Release that tension—all that sexual angst,” her friend replied enigmatically.
“And exactly how am I going do that?”
Tania blushed when Elaine whispered her suggestion in Tania’s ear. Shaking her head, Tania dismissed the idea as ludicrous and probably a fantasy of her friend’s. Elaine was the last person Tania would have suspected about knowing of such things as tantric massages. Elaine went red-faced when Tania probed her about her personal experiences. Elaine claimed, perhaps too ardently, that it was another person she knew who had used those specialized services. Tania didn’t pushed her for the truth. She brushed off the suggestion that she should try herself, too embarrassed by the notion.
Three weeks later, drunk on wine at her cousin’s thirtieth birthday party and having failed to see anybody she fancied, the sexual frustration gnawed at her. Although men typically fawned after her in social settings, lapping up her sexy body and enticing words—which she would toss about with little judgment—they had nothing when it came to pleasing her in the bedroom. A frantic grope and it was done.
Lying in bed at night, the idea of an erotic massage ate away at her. It had been six months since the last time she had invited a man to her bed—a nobody she had met in a bar on a rare night out with some work colleagues, perhaps a little too drunk. She regretted the encounter. The sex had been pretty good—what she could remember of it. However, in the cold light of the morning, her companion had dressed, said his farewells and slipped his wedding ring back on. Tania had been mortified. Though not interested in being anyone’s wife, being somebody’s bit on the side was even worse. A moral pendulum had swung back at her and she had yelled at the smug man to get out of her flat.
The frustration grew inside. Masturbating with vibrating toys only seemed to make her situation even more pathetic and her orgasms were like whimpers in the night. She asked Elaine for the address of the massage parlor called Muratantra. A small, specialized service set up to provide solace and comfort to women just like Tania—workaholic, career-minded women with no time for meaningful relationships. Worse, no time even for pleasure.
Elaine texted the details without comment. The phone call, which took days for Tania to pluck up the courage to make, was handled with courtesy and discretion. Emails were sent, forms filled in and finally she made an appointment. Her first sensual massage was to be provided by a professional tantric masseur—a male masseur.
“Yes, ma’am. Naturally, we aim to give you a full release, if you’re capable. It isn’t the purpose of the massage. However, if it helps with tension…”