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Often, when I look at the ocean, I space out. My thoughts chain off of one another and I think about worse case scenarios. I could start out thinking about dolphins, remember when I saw one in Florida, how I went to a suvenir shop and got a ton dolphin things and then finally how after that store I went to Spinozos, a pizza place down by the ocean.
I eventually get to some topic that had no relevance what so ever to the topic I originally thought about and by the time I come to it’s been an hour.
Trying to remember Spinozos isn’t helping to keep my breakfast down. Nor does being on a boat. Or having seasickness. Maybe this passage, wasn’t the best idea.
When I was younger I loved the ocean, all of the mysteries that lie beneath its waves. The way the sand felt, wet but dry. It’s a strange feeling, being unsure about the dangers that possibly wait below you. I also loved boats, but when I was seven that passion was ruined for me. Thanks to the Titanic.
In the distance I see the light shining from the vast, cumbersome structure that breaks my chain of thought. Finally, land. I love lighthouses, how they always seemed to guide me to safety. I return to my cabin and the strident alarm piercing my ears.
That sound means that there has been an emergency and that the people should go up to the main deck. This sound is the highest level of alert. As if I didn’t have enough to worry about. Luckily I haven’t unpacked my bags yet.
When I get up to the main deck, I see a whole new level of selfishness and worry that could only come from humanity. People running around, knocking others over making sure they have secured a lifeboat that heads towards the lighthouse, and the lifeboats are dwindling in quantity, while the amount of passengers is astronomical compared to the size of the small inflatable boat. Of course, leave it to the day that I break down and ride a boat for the first time in twelve years that it becomes a seen from Poseidon.
I filter through the crowd. Already I feel my breakfast ready to make its reappearance. But I compose myself and get in line.
I turn around trying to locate the source of my name when I am greeted by an elderly lady.
“Angela it is you” she says!
It’s my old neighbor. I rush over to help her with her bags, my space in line quickly taken.
“Mrs. Cranberry? What are you doing here?” I ask
“Well I was wondering that myself,” says Mrs. Cranberry, “I never thought you would ever ride a boat again, after that Titanic incident. Anyway I’m fulfilling my bucket list. I saw the movie with that man, what was his name?”
“Morgan Freeman.” I say
“Oh yes, him. Anyway it was a wonderful idea so I made my own and one of the first things I wanted to do was see a wild orca. So here I am.” She replies as we make our way to the lines.
I find myself once again staring at the ocean, although I am unprepared for the giant wave that washes away the lifeboats on the way to the island, the remaining ones, and Mrs. Cranberry.
They say in these situations that the most important thing to do is remain calm, and up to this point I have been. But at the sight of my old neighbor, who was practically family being dragged away to the bottom of who knows what, is too much for me to bear.
I’m on the verge of a break down. Mentally, emotionally, and physically. I try to recall some of my happiest moments, but all I see are the memories my family and Mrs. Cranberry had. She had outlived all of her other relatives, and my grandparents had died before I was even born; my parents had no siblings or cousins, and neither do I. So whenever the holidays came my family and Mrs. Cranberry spent them together.
The memory that is haunting me is the one from the fourth of July, years ago. We were at my house, and I was swimming in my pool. But no matter what any of us said Mrs. Cranberry would never get in, the pool or the ocean that we both shared a passion for (which has now turned to hatred), she would never even attempt it. She had said once that she never could swim, that she sank like a boulder the instant she touched water.
I hear other people screaming, crying, but I am in my own world. The memories are all flooding back to me now, back before I went to college. Finally after what seems like years of reliving my past I awaken from my own pit of depression and self-pity. Pity. I always hated the word, to have someone else feel sorry for you. I am alert now. Somewhat recovered from my moment of weakness at the sight of death. Then is when I fully comprehend the chaos that is around me.
Whatever order there was before leaves not even a thread behind. People now are desperate. And stupid. Some are too scared to think clearly, jumping off of the boat thinking they can make the swim. I know they won’t and I know they know as well. Deep down in the remains of whatever is left of their sanity.
Then I see the captain standing tall on the balcony. They haven’t evacuated him yet? I always assumed that the captain went first. Maybe he’s going all Jack Sparrow, going down with his ship.
“Attention please” he begins.
Everyone is looking up at him now.
“These are....” He pauses looking for the right word “Difficult times. The boat has been punctured and this vessel is sinking as we speak.”
He stops waiting for the words to soak in.
“But we have protocols for this.” He continues “A swim to the island would be difficult, but a lifeboat might make it even with those waves.”
“Well, all of the lifeboats have been washed out to sea.” says a man in his early twenties.
“Yes, but there are more, the only problem is that the other life boats are in the bottom of the ship.” Replies the Captain
“Oh and what a smart set-up that is!” says the same man
“We need someone, a good swimmer to retrieve them.” says the captain.
Without even meaning to, my hand shoots up into the air. I am a good swimmer, best on the team, and with lots of experience.
“Good!” says the Captain, and in moments I’m diving down into the sunken ship.
It’s a long swim but eventually I make it. I grab the boats and begin my way up when I see the boats stuck on something. I pull and pull losing my breath. Then I hear it.
I’m no longer in the water, pulling on boats but instead I turn and see Mrs. Cranberry. Then the Wave.