Stormy Seas

There are no stars out tonight. Decks 6 and 7 got closed on the outside; the ship is pretty much rocking, meaning that salt and pepper and vinegar run away from you in the dining room, and knives and forks tend to slide down on the floor. People are pushed into the walls while they move; my head met a lamp in the corridor yesterday. We are sailing.

I didn’t go swimming today – it was way too windy, and the water did not feel inviting. The ocean around us seemed dangerous and beautiful; someone immediately brought up the rumor that once upon a SAS a student fell overboard and the ship had to turn around and pick him up, and it cost a fortune. But rumors spread here like plague, in this small closed community, good enough to be a town. You know – “little town, it’s a quiet village, every day’s like the one before…”
Only in this town days are never the same. It’s even scary, you know.
But more scary is getting news from the outside. Email is the only means of communication, and suddenly poof – and you learn that your school is angry with you [because you won a hell of a scholarship for a prestigious study abroad program and it doesn’t go well with the new Soviet-style university rules]. You’re walking up the stairs somewhere between decks five and six, and here’s the message that makes you sicker than the rocking of the ship. And it’s so far away, all these people with all these problems, my problems… and not my problems. I know I need to care, but I don’t care. I can’t care.
See, I got my first A today. We don’t have A’s and B’s and C’s back home, we have 5’s, 4’s, 3’s. I got an A in a circle, and it felt good just because it was new. It felt good because someone evaluated you, and we all need to be evaluated. And encouraged. And cared for.
This salty ocean air is so calming. And the sound of the waves hitting the ship. And the laughter around the snack bar. And the jokes and the smiles, and everything around – it can sometimes feel very lonely indeed, but only if you want it to. The community is bonding now. Friendships are being sealed.
Little tracks of water run from the pool across the deck. It gets slippery, and one has to jump over the puddles when outside. But it’s the part of the fun. Everything here is a part of the fun, even some unreasonable rules. There always are some unreasonable rules. Doesn’t mean the life should stop.
I only wish everyone was closer. So many faces, so many names, so many stories. They make you lose the track of time and miss – something important, maybe. Something. Something to get and something to lose.
Something to learn.

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