The Wishing Pool

I burst out of the water, sucking down air as I twisted to float on my back. I glanced at my watch and groaned, slapping the water in frustration. So close.

‘I was beginning to think you didn’t need to breathe.’

I flipped back around to treading water, looking for who said that. A man was floating in front of me, arms folded, and close enough that it shocked me. How had I not heard or seen him coming?

‘I wish,’ I scoffed, trying to hide my momentary surprise. He had a strange look in his eye.

‘Do you now?’ he whispered. He absentmindedly stroked at his beard. I heard a bell ring somewhere and wondered who it was for.

‘Do you work for the hotel?’ I asked. He shook his head.

‘Oh no. I’m here on business. I do,’ — a strange smile came over his face — ‘I’m looking for someone who does bath modifications.’

He chuckled to himself like he’d told a funny joke I wasn’t in on.

‘Right…’ I murmured, wondering if it would be rude to just swim away. 

He grinned again.

‘Fair enough,’ I sighed. ‘I’m on vacation so I best be going now.’

‘Is that so?’ he muttered. He tugged on his beard again.

Where was that bell coming from?

‘Well,’ he continued. There’s something special about what I want this contractor to do. More specifically… bathtub modifications for seniors. Sydney has plenty of people who need the help of this contractor.’

Now that he mentioned it… I felt the same way. There were plenty of people I helped, every day. A wave of fulfilment washed over me and I smiled at him.

‘Well, this has been nice,’ I said, and pointed down at the water, ‘but I’m trying to break my record. Wish me luck?’

A look of disappointment crossed his face. ‘Good luck, Cindy,’ he sighed, arms uncrossing.

I waved goodbye and dived down, coming to a rest on the bottom. After the fifth minute, my eyes suddenly snapped open.

When did I tell him my name?