Unsolved mysteries and questions unanswered: One pasty kid’s journey to discover the truth: Is there really a pool on the fourth floor?

Aaron Brezel, Editor-in-Chief

 

nd of the fourth floor pool was only told through whispers in the hallway and snickered remarks at unsuspecting freshman.  But I still believed.  When I first came to this school I asked a senior where my Global I class was.  They said, “right next to the pool on the fourth floor.” Even after an awkward conversation in front of the health teacher’s office, I still believed that the legend was true.

There were subtle hints that kept my hopes alive.  A sudden whiff of chlorine and water flowing from the social studies wing ceilings were tantalizing glimpses into what I was convinced was reality.

I will not lie; it became something of an obsession.  The thought of myth becoming reality consumed me for years into high school.  It must have been hard for my loved ones to see me lose  control over what was real.  I even started imagining there was still asbestos in the walls of the school.  Crazy right?

I vividly remember a conversation I had with my friend Bettina Cattaldi my sophomore year, “Aaron we are all worried about you. The pool on the fourth floor is only in your imagination. Come back to us. Come back to us!”

I did try to look for the pool several times, but each time I walked up to the fourth floor of the school, I left disappointed.  Going into senior year I had almost given up on my dreams. Years with no payoff left me disillusioned to the idea that I could ever find that pool.

This September, I thought that part of my life was over.  I was done with the pool, but the pool was not done with me.  It hit me while I was doing physics homework. While contemplating life on the streets, as many kids do in this situation, I heard it calling out to me in an ethereal whisper, “Find me.”  The hunt had begun anew.  For my senior experience, I decided to do something productive and look for that fabled swimming pool.

The research was painstaking.  I poured over  old schematics with little results.  The work began interfering with my personal life again.  I was ostracized by those closest to me.  Eventually the pool was all I had left, my only motivation.  As time went on I took a more direct approach, asking around and talking to some of the higher-ups in the school.  Every effort I made was rebuffed with a laugh and a shake of the head.  I knew there was something the administration was not telling me.  I guess I caught some of the administrators’ attention.  I knew something was fishy when the school was evacuated due to a “gas leak.”  After we were let back into the building, I rushed to my locker where I had kept all my notes on the subject only to find it ransacked and all my hard work gone.  Every time I got a yard ahead of the administration, they moved the goal line to the other side of the field.

That was the last straw. No more games. I ditched my economics class, grabbed the bathing suit I had always kept in my locker just in case, and stormed up the stairs to the health office.  I burst into the room for whatever answer awaited me.  The room was deserted.  I searched around the room and found nothing.  No trap door, no secret hatch.

It dawned on me that maybe the fourth floor pool was a mystery that I was never meant to solve.  I felt a pit in my stomach that was heavy with the weight of all the hours of devotion I spent on my fantasy.  Just as I was about to turn around and leave the room, I felt a soft breeze on my neck.  That ethereal whisper spoke to me again, “Window.”  Almost in a trance I moved toward a window on the far side of the office.  I climbed through the window and dropped down onto the roof. As my eyes adjusted to the blinding light, I saw it.

Light glimmered off the water’s surface, shining bright in my eyes.  It was everything I had dreamed of and more.  I could not wait to jump in. I entered the conveniently placed changing room and removed myself from my stiff denim prison.  Clad in bathing suit, I leaped high and far into the pool.  Immediately, I remembered that it was Nov. 1 and I would probably die of hypothermia if I stayed in the pool for much longer.  I had to quickly leave, but I knew that the experience would stick with me forever.

I ended up sitting in English class, freezing and soaking wet, but happy.  I tried to tell my story to anyone who would listen, but everyone just laughed and walked away.  They may not believe, but I know on that fourth floor, that pool is their waiting for me.