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February 17-18, 2024:
Lily came to clean the room while I was laying down in bed.
“Do you need any help?” I asked.
“You just lay there and get some rest,” she said with a smile.
I had noticed the first time I went there that she had been working on some crochet pieces, so I made a comment about being a professional macramé artist. She said she knew that form of art, too, and that she had a macramé lampshade piece she had been working on for years. It was one of her unfinished projects that got stored away for a future time.
“I said I would get back to it,” she said, “but that ended up gettin’ pushed aside for about six years.”
“Do you want me to help you finish it?” I asked.
She was ecstatic by the very idea, so for an entire day and the following morning I worked on her lampshade. She had done the top half and I had finished the bottom. I didn’t expect it to take so long but I was working with 2mm rope and making really detailed knots. I couldn’t complain, though for I had deeply missed working with my hands and the tedious movements that helped relax my mind.
It was cute to find how she was my biggest cheerleader. Every person that showed up in the room she would pull them aside and say, “There’s a professional artist workin’ right here, right now! In front of us! Can you believe it?!”
No one really gave a shit, but I was grateful for the opportunity because she fed me homemade food and let me stay another night, free of charge.
“It would be cool to be you, Freyja,” she said.
Ha! You’ll find I’m ridden with anxiety.
I loved how at home it felt at Lily’s. People lounged around on the couch or hung out in the garden looking at the rainbows above her wooden fence. There was a Swedish guy sitting next to me working on a drawing in his sketchbook. There was also a super hot Australian guy volunteering there. He was so hot that he inspired me to go visit his country for a year on a work visa and just fuck all the locals. Unlikely it would actually happen for I was almost 30 and had different plans of where I was going to hike/travel the next few years. Tickets were already booked and it wasn’t going to be anywhere close to Australia.
The following afternoon I had scheduled a glow worm group tour around some caves. I took the hostel bike over to the lake and checked in, then went to sit on a bench.
A woman sat beside me and out of excitement I asked, “Are you going on the glow worm tour?”
“Yez,” she said, “you?”
“Yes! I’m so excited! I’ve always wanted to see them.”
Her husband approached her and then her very attractive son. They were Danish and had the accents to prove it. I had a hard time controlling my urges and predatory eyes towards him in front of his parents. He looked so yummy.
“So, is this a family trip?” I asked.
“Our son lives in Queenstown so ve came to see him for tree veeks and I’m sure he’s already sick of us.” She looked over at her son and teased, “But you like us paying for you right?”
We all got on the boat for the tour, then upon arrival we were separated in small groups and were given a small presentation about glow worms. Apparently, their vomit, piss and fecal matter was what made them glow.
I asked a random lady if I could use some of her bug spray because I was getting attacked by sandflies—pesky little things I wasn’t going to miss. Then, our guide led us through the caves. There were roaring waterfalls and eels taking rest where the water was still. There small formations of limestone and slight blue lights making an appearance on the cave walls.
Then, we sat in a small boat and got all close and cuddly. Our guide put his finger up to his lips signaling for us to be quiet. He walked the rim of the boat and, of course, stood directly in front of me where his bulge was just above my face. Thank God he turned the light off because my attention would not be focused on the glow worms.
In the pitch black darkness, he guided us through the caves, bumping into the walls every so often. As our eyes adjusted to the darkness we began to see little bright blue dots scattered all throughout. It reminded me of the Universe and its galaxies. I cried from how beautiful it was, however, overall, I was not that impressed by the experience. I seemed disappointed because I made the assumption that glow worms were the same thing as bioluminescence. I kept waiting for the moment we were going to glide our hands through the water and see the glowing blue trails of light. Turned out, that was an entirely different phenomenon. Our guide said we were not allowed to poke the glow worms because they were very fragile and would die.