The Island of Flowers

Chapter 12: Isla de Flores, Petén, Guatemala, May, 2014

Fleur was no clock flower, nor a wall flower, although she was camouflaged into the hostel wall. If it hadn´t been for the fact her face was lit up in the shadowed corner of the hostel bar, by her iPad, I would´ve missed her completely. What a rare find she was. She swiped from one world to the next with such ease, like a breeze drifting across continents. I was intrigued to know what kind of flower she was: one that treads so lightly on the soil, leaving no obvious trace only a fragrant scent of wonderment?. I latched onto her, like a butterfly on a bloom, hanging on to her every word. She, in turn, fluttered with me to the ancient Mayan ruins. 

Like two thieves in the night, we snuck away, unnoticed by our guide and devised our own route, losing ourselves in the wilds of Tikal. We leapt high in the air at the foot of the temple steps, where once devout worshippers knelt and Gods looked down. Whenever we saw huge crowds of tourists, we´d dart in the opposite direction, instead we instinctively followed the monkeys´ trail. Fleur left  petals in her wake and little stray monkeys weaved around them. We finished that magical evening watching the sun go down with the other sun worshipers from around the globe. All of us crammed together on the ridges of the highest temple we shared tobacco, beer and travel stories until we were ushered out by the guards.

Unable to put roots down, Fleur left the next morning in search of richer soil. Once again, I sat alone at the hostel bar, pulling petals off a wilting orchid. Shall I stay? Shall I go? Shall I stay? I should go. The gods had spoken: the Alice trail was growing cold and I was headed home.

Wriiten and illustrated by Lucy Lilley. All rights reserved 2022

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