In the summer of 2007, my family, my girlfriend at the time, and I went on a cruise around Europe and Northern Africa. These are the pictures I took aboard our ship, the Costa Concordia, which now lays on its side off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio.
It is strange to think about. The boat we were on, that we had great memories on, is the one that ran aground. The rooms are not gone but are now filled with water. They still exist. What gets me is the fact that it could have happened when we were on board. Everyone has to go through the mandatory drill on the first day in case something like this happens. I undoubtedly didn’t take it seriously at the time but went through the motions of finding the life vests in the room and then waltzing into our muster station with some sort of smirk thinking that it was stupid. I would have been unprepared.
The girls stayed in a beautiful room near the top deck with their own balcony. My dad and I were in a much smaller room a few feet above the waves. At night, I would sit in our window and listen to music and watch the stars. I was fascinated by the amount of space between me and the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. It blew my mind to think of all the things that could be underneath us at any given moment, of all the things that could be above us.
The ship also took us to Tunisia before their revolution. The people and hills there still exist despite what happened to their government. The bed I slept in on the boat still exists despite what happened to the ship’s hull. Events happen that can change the direction of a person’s life in an instant and the best we can hope for is sufficient preparation. I should take things more seriously. Not for myself but for the people who care about me.
Ships sink, governments fall. The oceans reclaim their elements, people reclaim their freedom, and we reclaim our ways of getting by day to day with help from those around us. The people we love are the ones we surround ourselves with and if something tragic happens, they are the ones we turn to for guidance and strength. To lose them would be incomprehensible. This could have been that time and my heart hurts to think about those few who lost someone within the same rooms I shared so much love in.
One afternoon while we were standing on the girls’ balcony, the ship carried us straight into a wall of fog. There was no subtle transition. It was a wall of grey and we quietly collided with it and fused into its wondrous unknown. Nothing can compare to the odd feeling it had, a solid blanket of the unanswered questions. What is to come and what could I have done better?
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