Conversation with Lily

I was mad one afternoon because of a matter I couldn’t even recall now. I chatted with my hubby, and he suggested I go out and eat ice cream to cool down. I spoke with a friend, and she couldn’t do anything else but empathize. I wanted to vent out to someone, to someone who is with me physically. I wanted to say something, and I wanted to be heard. But everyone on the island was busy with their own jobs and life, and nobody could care less about my anger.

I walked out of the office and thought that a change of view or fresh air would clear my head. I planned to go to the jetty, but suddenly, my colleagues asked for help when I passed by the reception. A guest was sitting in front of them. I thought, hell no! Is she complaining? Why now of all times? I am not ready for this.

To reconfirm that it was really me they were calling and not someone else behind me (even though there was no one behind me), I asked my colleagues again, do you need me? Because they won’t usually call me if they have complaints anyway. I’m not the Front Office Manager.  Yes, you, one of them said.

The guest was looking for someone to talk to about our Sustainability efforts, and I could not think of anyone else to bring to her, so I volunteered. I smiled behind my mask, which hopefully was conveyed by my eyes, and invited her for a drink at the bar. She ordered iced water, and the bartender served an iced cola. Great for starters.

I informed the guest that I could share only what I know since I am not an expert and we don’t have anyone from the Marine Conservation Department on the islands. She happily obliged. She said she just started her own eco-friendly site so she is interested in getting information about our practices.

I told her about our activities, such as reef cleaning and coral planting, our previous turtle start-up program which came to a halt after the government policies changed. I told her about our shipwreck and how it mysteriously sank two days before the scheduled sinking, and about groundbreaking projects we initiated that has become the standard, of all the resorts in the country.

We spoke about greenwashing and how some companies dredged sand, destroyed beautiful lagoons, and turned them into man-made islands where they built resorts. After destroying nature, they, later on, bragged about how sustainable they were because of their coral planting activities, and because they eliminated the use of plastic bottles in the resort.

She listened attentively to me and jotted down notes, occasionally bit the tip of her pen, before throwing another question.

A pod of dolphins suddenly interrupted our conversation when they decided to pass by in front of the island. Three to four dorsal fins appeared simultaneously one group after the other, their movements in unison. The world stopped for them. Everyone left what they were doing and ran to the jetty to get a closer look, waiting for the showstoppers to come up from the deep.

When no traces of dolphins were left, the clock started ticking again. We sat and went back to where we left off. In the end, she thanked me for my time and for the cola she never ordered and told me her name is Lily.

Lily came in a time when I needed someone to talk to the most. I wasn’t able to vent out my anger, but having someone to talk to and who listened attentively about things I am most interested in, made me feel good. I even forgot that I was angry after that conversation.

Such situations don’t come all the time for me here on the island and I was grateful that day.

I wanted to be heard, and Lily came.

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