It felt so good. The jet bubbles massaged his stiff back and sore hip. He stared into the foamy, bubbling waters drifting into a relaxing abyss.
About ten minutes later, an old man joined Harold in the whirlpool. The old man smiled, and said in a thick German accent, “Sure feels nice to be in here today.”
Harold looked up, shielding his eyes from the bright sun. He had heard that voice before.
The man was friendly but Harold was fixated on the bubbling waters. There appeared to be a face forming on the surface. It was the face of a man that he thought he had locked up in a secret vault of his painful past. The image of the man terrified Harold. It kept floating around the hot tub.
“Any plans for today?” the man asked.
Harold was startled out of his reverie. “I have an appointment with the back doctor,” Harold said. “But I don’t feel like going.”
The old man related about his bad back and all the spinal surgeries that he had. “Surgeries never seem to do any good,” he said. “The pain keeps coming back.”
Harold looked in the water and the face was gone. He thought that his mind was playing tricks on him.
Then the water slowly changed into the color of blood. Harold’s old, frail body quivered. “Himmler’s water,” was his first reaction.
“Are you okay?” the man asked.
“I have to go,” Harold said with fear in his voice and grabbed the railing to make his way out of the water.
“I noticed the numbers on your arm,” the old man with the thick German accent said. “Were you in Auschwitz, Dachau?”
And before Harold could answer, the man raised his arm, showing him six numbers that were tattooed in faded blue ink on his forearm.
Harold took a deep breath to calm his rapid heartbeat. He wanted to go back into the pool and hold onto him, but he was too afraid. He didn’t want to go back into Himmler’s water.
Once Harold steadied himself, he said, “My friend, please don’t stay in there too long.”