Water slid across the surface of my skin. As I outstretched my arms delicate orbs of light formed around them like glow-worms were dancing beneath the surface. I let out a little laugh, looking back at him in amazement. Unable to stop myself, I soon broke out in a roar of laughter as I cupped the water in my hands and threw it to the roof of the cave watching a thousand tiny light bulbs glisten to life.
I had heard whispers among the crowds about a small beach with a cave that glistened to life with bioluminescence when the full moon lit up the evening sky. The white marbled streets of Dubrovnik danced with hues of pink and orange in the afternoon light. Puppeteers guided their wooden figurines among crowds of excitable children. A brilliantly coloured parrot adorned the shoulder of a tall blond stranger, singing sweetly and requesting monetary favours. An array of suited wait-staff stood in front of lavish restaurants promising the best locally fermented wine and fish that the region had to offer.
Strumming a frail wooden guitar, his eyes left its empty case and found the turquoise pashmina scarf draped loosely around my neck. He continued strumming as he sung out through the animated streets. Shuffling in my backpack I offered him a smile in gratitude for the music. I didn’t have much else to offer. I laughed before setting on through the opening of the city gates back towards the port. A husky voice called out behind me. Pivoting back on my heels I saw the man hastily pack the guitar into its case and shift through the crowds to join me. He offered me his CD’s before asking where I was headed. On the walk to the cave the guitarist and I shared a paper bag of freshly picked grapes. He spoke endearingly of his simple life here on the shores of the Adriatic Sea and the fine produce that Croatia had to offer.
The pebbled staircase was just out of view of the roadside and he took my hand to guide me down the dark path. Slipping from my cotton dress, I waded out into the sea and followed him into the opening of the cave. As I swam further, the waves loudly crashed against its sides. Sitting upon a little beached shore at the end of the cave, I finally examined the way I had just come from. Through its opening I saw the brilliant slivery light flood into the cave. At first I didn’t see any sign of the reputed bioluminescence and so began my journey back out of the cave.
It wasn’t until I moved my body back through the currents that it began to luminously shine, lighting up the dark crevice in the rock shelf.