Friends is better than anything –
Family, wife, kids –
Friends is best.
And we had always been
I can’t remember a time
Before we were.
And then this
Cut the legs from under Dan.
Into the three who could do –
Asher, Reuben, Me –
And Dan who couldn’t.
We tried so hard to keep together;
To include him.
But he was drifting away from us,
Even though he couldn’t walk.
He was in despair and we were just desperate.
And that’s how we ended up on the roof.
Asher’s idea – of course – to take Dan to the Healer,
“It could work!”
Reuben, as always, up for a lark and something new.
Me, as usual, not sure it would, but not willing to risk it wouldn’t.
Even though Dan was furious.
Lugging him out into the daylight
Asher leading the way
Leaving the carrying to Reuben and me
We were sweating and straining – Dan’s no lightweight –
While he kept up a stream of curses on us
Interspersed with a repeating chorus of “It’s a waste of time!”
But when we got to he house,
Even Asher was defeated.
Couldn’t blag a way to the door through the crowd.
Reuben stopped laughing
And Dan went quiet.
That’s when I realised
How much he’d been hoping.
And then it came to me!
Get him up on the roof, make a hole and drop him through it!
And I’d said it aloud
Before I could stop myself.
For a second they all looked at me,
And the next thing we were round the back
And climbing up with that
Dead weight on the stretcher.
Pushing, pulling, dragging him up there
While people shouted and swore
And tried to grab us back.
Us kicking them off and swearing.
Dan back to cursing us;
Afraid we were going to tip him to his death.
We ripped a hole in that roof
With the energy of men who had nothing left to lose.
Knowing we were already in big trouble all round;
Waiting for angry shouts from the room below.
But when we peered in
There was just a gaping astonishment to match the gaping hole.
And the Healer squinting up at us
As the sunlight poured in over our shoulders.
Dan had fallen silent;
Eyes closed tight.
So we lowered him down into a well of silence.
He was the only one who didn’t seem put out.
He looked at Dan and told him
He was forgiven.
That was a bit of a shock all round
You could hear people muttering
And well, disappointing
To be honest
But then he told Dan to get up
Who has never been one to do as he was told,
Even if it was good for him,
Reuben burst out laughing!
Asher burst into whoops!
And I burst into tears.
And then Dan and the Healer
Looked up at us
And Dan was smiling.
I’d forgotten that he could.
And the Healer
He just nodded at us –
It felt really good!
I don’t remember getting off the roof
I think people helped us down
Dan staggered out of the house like a shaky toddler
And we all hugged each other.
Then we set off for home
The crowds parting like the Red Sea
Asher and Reuben went ahead dancing about, giddy
I’d linked arms with Dan as he was a bit unsteady
Like he couldn’t believe he was walking again.
I asked him how he’d know he was healed
He said he hadn’t
Until he tried to get up.
He said deciding to try
Was the scariest thing he’d ever done.
He’d been so afraid that nothing would happen
And everyone would see
That he was beyond healing
A man unable to believe enough.
Then he lowered his head on my shoulder
Whispered “Thank you”
And we walked on.
Afterwards Asher took to telling everyone it was all his idea,
I didn’t mind.
It doesn’t matter
Friends is best
And the Healer
He turned out to be one of us.
copyright Tina Towey 2020