A contact? A care ? A massage ? A human touch.
With a twinkle in his eye. His hair disheveled. He waits his turn.
His body in pain. Bruised by the street. By the years. By the cold.
Like many people experiencing homelessness.
For a morning. For few hours. At the shelter of La Maison du Père.
He waits for a volunteer’s hand to relieve his pain. At least temporarily. At Le Spa de la Rue.
He carefully removes his personal effects.
“You can put your phone here,” advises a therapist.
“Feel free to leave your small bag under the table,” insists another volunteer.
“It will be easier to relax as well.”
With a bit of anxiety, they lay down.
They strip themselves of all their properties. For a break.
A large backpack. Some plastics bags. Wallets full of papers.
“Energetic treatment, how about it?”
“I’ve never had that, but why not,” whispers a man with a small smirk.
“A foot care? A Swedish massage? “
When some fall asleep slowly. Others confide.
“A Californian massage? Osteopathic treatment? “
Passionate students of massage therapy take turns.
“A shiatsu massage? Tai? “
Experienced professionals guide the apprentices.
“I saw a man with crooked fingers. So crooked, says Gerard Piquemal, the creator of the Spa of the Street. It was during my break in a little park of a ski resort near Montreal. I gave care to the very wealthy. I got big tips. And then, I did not know if he was a homeless. But he needed. More than others. I just massaged him. This is where it all began. “
Heads in cotton pads. The eyes light up. Smiles are sketched.
By an old pain that can afford to resurface.
By an old pain that can afford to disappear a little.
“Homelessness, it can affect anyone, insists Gerard. Here we also meet former lawyers. Former businessmen. All kinds of professionals. Do not believe that it just happens to others. An insane pace of life. Drugs that they can no longer pay. A separation that goes wrong. A job that is lost. One day, the dropout. The next day, it’s the street. “