The Healer by Simon Hazelden
I call out to you, grab your robe and hold it tightly. Stumbling, I lurch forward holding on then losing grip as the fabric flows like water through my fingers – but I am not giving up. I can’t.
As you move away, bodies clamour around. Figures, stiff necked and jostling, fill the space where you were. But nothing will come in my way now. It’s all I have, no other purpose in life exists but to grab hold of you again, I surge forward and see you up ahead.
I’m grabbing arms, pushing past, bodies press against mine, rolling flesh, shoulders and muscle, left behind as I surge in front. The stares of people burn my cheeks and back of head, but all that matters is you.
I can see you calmly making your way through the crowd, your hands moving outwards, touching people here and there as they clamour for just that…
I fling my arms in the air and force myself forward, ribcage squeezing through the competition, getting closer, I see you.
Unanswered questions accumulate into one
“Why? Why? Why did I have to be in pain for so long and now… suddenly… you arrive.”
I feel the demands in my throat, my lips move, my plea bursts forth but cannot be heard above the noise of the crowd.
A volume of thoughts urges me on, frustration drives me, resentment empowers me. Poverty, emptiness, when I look at you, weakens me.
My life, that I thought was worth something or tried, always tried to make it so, has diminished in your presence, by the works I’ve seen you do… memories of the blind girl seeing, the cripple walking, carrying his bed. These things burn like envy, I don’t know why but they burn through all that I thought I had. All hopes dissolve, there is nothing now… nothing but you.
Pressing on I see you, as you turn your head slightly, adding a touch of cheek and beard to your features. The cry explodes from my lungs.
And then, everything stops.
Heads turn, amused faces... laughter... all attention is on me now.
But not yours.
I lunge forward, fingers wrap over your shoulder...half squeeze... half pull and you stop.
Strength and will drain from my hand... wrist... arm... shoulder and I fall to my knees, palms hit the soil and I’m still.
The crowd steps back, feet all around me, but I can only see yours, perfect skin, veins outstanding in the heat and dust of the day. You have stopped, at last, facing towards me.
Your hand falls on my shoulder. I hold on to it.
Then all that was before dissolves.
A strange infinite peace, love undiscovered, foreign, forgotten is flooding through me, I rise to my feet.
We are standing now, face to face.
My gaze trickles away from your eye, past callow cheek bones to lips so neat within a light beard unmoving and yet all speaks, a smile that radiates silent words as your fingers gently grasp my shoulder. Undeserved approval, slicing through my soul to cease the toxic thought tracks, dissolved and ended, melted by you.
Because of who you are. Prophet, saviour… I see you.
Tears press and blur my vision,shame and regret pour like payment, exchanged for joy, We are still and yet my spirit is dancing, rising with you. Swift, perfect steps, swirls of light with every move.
I look up, choke back, smiling, I breathe in deeply as though I had not breathed for years.
Stupid, I must look, but not to you. This is your moment, my moment and you understand… unembarrassed… unashamed of me.
I sigh… fragments of my life are are reformed in your smile. And nowI see in you, a foundation, like fresh topsoil, ready to yield a new life that is mine.
Then, I watch you turn and walk away, continuing your work.
Feet cemented to the floor, I cannot move or understand until…
A slap on the back, arms fall around my shoulders. Your followers with glad faces, like revellers, gather round me. Mirth bursting from cracked eyes, knowing smiles and jokes as they shake and jostle past me.
But one of them stops, arm around me. He gazes -- a warmth. I mirror his smile, a reflection of the wonder that we both have found.
“Come on then,” he says.
And so, together, we follow.