I am reaching out to anyone else who has the most emotionally intense moment of their life inextricably tied to the giant Gollum suspended above the cafes in Wellington airport. I refuse to believe that I am alone in this.
Perhaps someone asked you to take a photo of them with Gollum, only for that someone to later rip your heart out and destroy your belief in love forever. Or just as tragic, maybe it was while waiting for a flight underneath Gollum that you heard that fateful email-ding noise, to discover that your online shopping was to be delayed another two weeks. Or slightly less worse—perhaps being the romantic soul that you are, you proposed to who you thought was The One beneath Gollum, only to be rejected, the whole thing filmed and added to a YouTube compilation of marriage fail videos. So friends, while we wait for Wellington airport to burn down that wretched thing, let us make a club—we can all get together and share the terrifying ordeals that continue to be triggered by that oversized Gollum and his stupid fish.
My own ordeal began when I saw my then-boyfriend for the first time in nine months underneath Gollum. Yes, for a brief moment in time Gollum was an icon of happiness. But soon my lover had to return to his Scandinavian motherland and together we cried underneath the ever so omnipresent epoxy-skinned, polystyrene-hearted creature. Like the slimy sheen of Gollum himself, as we spent our last moments together, we too knew that something mucus-like had embittered our love. Nothing survives a Wellington winter. Just two broken hearts and Gollum.
Like that Graham Greene short story where the protagonist’s dad is killed by a falling pig, there is something belittling about having a very large, bald, ugly, slimy, cave-dwelling goblin-thing as the great motif of an impossible romance. So although the pang I feel when passing through that fateful spot should feel poetic, that smug half-toothed face peering across the food court quickly replaces poetry with patheticness.
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Oh, of all the things that occasion could have imprinted upon instead—a passing orchestra playing Mendelssohn’s Symphony no. 3, a pop-up florist, the smell of a fresh batch of Donut King donuts. But no, of course it’s a 1.2 tonne Smeagol. Worse, Gollum has not only belittled such a pivotal moment in my life, but has come to predict the future. That is, my love life today has come to be very Gollum-like—a lot of talking to myself, living alone in a cave, infrequent bathing. Gollum obsessed over a magical ring, I constantly hiss about failed relationships. Potato, potato. Oh well. I suppose it is better to have loved and to have lost and to be reminded of it by a giant Gollum, than to have not.