The corridors of the St. Anne were much more narrow than I expected on such a large ship. Which was rather comforting as I explored it’s depths. The walls were painted a nice off blue with some grey striping down the cooridor. A contrast to the more earthy tones used in the cabin.
I placed my hand on the top line. I was just tall enough to comfortably place my palm on it as I walked along the corridor. My hand occasionally dipped off the bumpy painted wall onto the smooth metal of the doors. Occasionally I’d brush against decorations someone had placed on the doors, it was interesting to feel the break in texture, my band brushing against the free floating ribbons attached to taped on balloons, white boards, posters, and on one door someone had written their name down in refrigerator magnets. It was a clever idea, and I loved the pops of color and personality in the otherwise uniform ship.
I walked the entire length before finding my hand stop on a turn and I was back at the stairs. That was it for this floor I suppose, well I could just go down to the next level. More cabins I hope, I wonder if I’ll see more posters? Or maybe something more exotic? Honestly if I knew we were allowed to decorate our cabins I might have brought more with me.
As my thoughts wonder at the next floor I catch the eyes of someone heading up the stairs as I’m heading down. It’s a man, maybe in his twenties with another male friend who looked a bit younger. The man looked at me than down at his younger companion and I keep my eyes forward as I move to pass them.
Okay, it’s okay, it’s two people it’s okay. I successfully pass on the stairs but when I reach the landing I hear a voice.
“Hey, do I know you?”
I freeze in place. Oh, oh no, did he, did he…
“What are you talking about?”
The younger boy said I presumed said. I didn’t turn to look, didn’t want too. Maybe if I just walked forward. I tried to manage a step but the response made me freeze.
“You remember, the deal with the pier?”
No, no, don’t panic. Just walk away, you don’t have too…
“No, I don’t.”
The younger boy insisted to the older man.
My heart is pounding in my chest and I can feel the blood rushing to my head. My hands start to shake and suddenly the smooth ride of the ship feels more like the bumpy motions of a sailboat. No, I can’t do this here, I have to leave. I just have to leave. It won’t take much, just have to turn. Don’t run, people chase when you run. I don’t have to stay for this. My hand reaches out and grasps the railing as I move to turn. If I keep my head down maybe they won’t confirm it. I don’t need them to confirm it, it was a large ship but people like to talk. If I can just…
“The pier security, remember, they had trouble with the metal detector.”
I miss the step and stumble at the words. Thankfully I’m used to correcting as both my hands grab the rail and grip me up. One of my feet setting itself on the step just below the landing while the other settling on one lower.
“Woah, are you okay?”
I hear the concerned voice along with a few quick steps but don’t look up immediately. My heart is still pounding but I think I can bring my breathing under control. They weren’t talking about that.
“It’s okay, it’ll be alright.”
I say the mantra softly under my breath.
They mistake it for a response.
“Alright, sorry to startle you. I’d just never seen the metal detectors go off without anyone having anything on them.”
“Wait was she naked?!”
The boy responds quickly.
The man says backtracking.
“Of course not, just she took her luggage off. Then her keys, then they pulled her aside. It held up the line.”
I say it softly as I start down the stairs again.
“Wait, I didn’t mean.”
I didn’t wait for his explanation. As I continued down the steps and they didn’t give chase. My face was flush from the experience.
“It’s okay, it’ll be alright. It’s okay,”
The mantra is something I keep under my breath, just soft enough so no one else hears. I make it to the other landing and turn into the area. More cabins.
“It’ll be alright.”
It’s okay, anyone else will probably just pass me by. It was safe, everyone just assumed I was on my way to my cabin so they didn’t bother me. Just needed to take it slow.
“You can do this.”
I stopped as I put a hand on the wall, feeling the texture of the painted stripe as I ran my hand down it. I didn’t need to worry about it. Everyone here were just tourists, strangers, no one from home was on the ship. No one here knew anything about that.
Once I got to the mainland I’d just be another face. Then I’ll be able to do what I like, then things can finally start moving forward.
Reaching into my bag I feel the small slim box in my grip. Maybe I could go on deck tonight, I don’t know how tall the boat is,a but if I lean down maybe I can do some fishing.
It was going to be okay.