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Once upon a pool

by tope Ogundare  
11/06/2013 / Short Stories

am lying by the pool waiting as I have done since I was twelve years. Today, I turn fifty.

The crowd is increasing and people are jostling for space, everybody wants to be near the pool. I know what is happening, I have seen it many times in the years I have lain here. The water is going to be stirred today; the astrologers have forecasted it.

Once every year, an angel stirs the waters of the pool and anyone that enters the pool first after the waters are stirred gets to be cured of whatever ailment he had before entering the pool. One person each year gets to be cured. I have hoped to be that person for the past thirty-eight years but I have not been so lucky. If only I have a helper to throw me into the pool.

For a brief moment, I allow myself to feel hope. This could be my year; I could leave this place walking. But it didn't last, reality return and I know that it wouldn't happen. There is no way I can get into the pool without assistance. I have nobody to help me.

I sigh and close my eyes. I can't hold back the tears. Why was I born? What offence did I commit that made my parents abandon me? The pain washes over me again. It always does at this time of the year at the stirring of the water. It is at this time that I am reminded how lonely I am and how my life could have been different if I have someone to care for me. Lying here day in and day out is frustrating. I sleep and wake up and waste away. I watch as the sun set on my dreams. I reckon that it would have been better if I had died the day I was born.

It is noon already and the crowd is getting impatient. The water is clear and still. Something is not right. The stirring always happen before noon. The astrologers must have gotten the signs wrong. What do I care anyways? It isn't like I have a chance. But then, one person has a chance and it is always nice to watch the jubilation and see the joy radiating from the healed man. I always rejoice with them, imagining what it will be like it I was the one.

A man is walking towards me. I know this because his eyes are holding mine as he approaches. Never once did they leave mine. Who could it be? I wondered. His face is not familiar and he is not accompanying anyone. He is standing over me and smiling. I manage a weak smile. What he says next is puzzling

''Will you be made whole?''

I frown. Is he really expecting an answer? I fume. What else will I be doing here if I didn't want to be healed? If only I have someone to drop me into the pool after it is stirred. Then an idea enter my mind and I smile.

''Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool after it is stirred'' I say in the most pitiable voice I can muster, hoping he will offer to help ''as I am trying to enter, someone else gets in before me''.

He frowns and doesn't speak for a moment. Did I say something wrong? I wonder.

''Will you be made whole?'' that was the question, my mind screams.

''Of course yes!'' I snap back in my mind. ''I want to be made whole''

His face softens then and he smiles.

''Rise up, take up your bed'' He says

Oh I want to I say to myself I just can't

Wait. Something is happening to me. I just felt my leg twitch. I try to move my toes and I see them wiggle. I stare stunned.

My toes are wiggling!

The man is still standing and smiling at me, encouraging me with his eyes.

I try to stand and I can. I sit upright for the first time in my life. I can feel the tears as they run freely down my face. I don't care. I stand and place one leg in front of the other, gingerly at first and with each step I become more surefooted.

''I can walk. I can walk!'' the voice was high pitched and croaky and it took a while before I realize it is mine.

I have been made whole. Now I know who he is, I have heard about Him but I had never imagined that I would ever be able to meet him. But he found me, the Messiah found me!

It hit me that moment that I have a new dream. It is to follow the Messiah everywhere he goes.

Ogundare Tope, a Psychiatrist in training at the Neuropsychiatric hospital, Abeokuta, Nigeria. Lover of books and music. A writer, poet, musician and physician. blogs at"> contact email:

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