When I was 11 I went to a fancy private school in Auckland, New Zealand, and a girl called Daisy Lawless was in my grade and she had a birthday party and invited everyone in the grade and that’s how I got to go to Xena’s house.
I remember walking into the foyer closely flanked by my mum and seeing a mountain of sparkling gifts, placing my tribute at the foot of this mountain, and bolting. During that time I think I spoke with Xena but I was probably too overwhelmed by her enveloping, motherly kindness to process anything. I remember a golden light emanating from her face and arms, and her black hair streaming like ribbons over her sensible blouse, and her eyes looking down like piercing diamonds from a very great height, and then I remember getting changed and getting in the pool.
The pool was definitely bigger than my entire house, and it had one of those side pools that are shallower and warmer than the rest of the pool, not like a spa, just like a pool landscape, like some kind of resort thing except it was at Xena and Daisy’s house in Mission Bay and I was getting into it with some of my other friends.
The lawn was also definitely bigger than my entire house and probably bigger than the park next to my house because it had room for both a bouncy castle and a set of gladiator podiums that you could mount and try to knock your opponent off with these padded barbell looking things. I remember wondering if Xena had ever actually been on Gladiators because they looked like actual Gladiators set pieces. I had a go on the bouncy castle but I was too scared to go on the podiums, and then my mum came to get me and Daisy continued to not speak to me at school and I never even saw Xena again.