The down arrow gently pulsed. I could have walked, but 29 floors was a long way and there was no rush. While waiting, I briefly reflected on a job well done, a particularly troublesome loose-end tied up once and for all.
A door clicked shut behind me. I turned to see a figure emerging from the gloom.
It was 4:15 in the morning. Why was she there? I was told nobody would be there.
I smiled and stood to one side as the lift door slowly opened. I wouldn’t get paid double, but when my liberty was at stake, not even money mattered.
These words form this my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.
For fifteen years I worked as a Cabin Steward on various Mediterranean cruise ships. Before that I served nine and a half years in the Her Majesties Royal Navy – many months of which was spent under fire in distant combat zones. I loved everything about the life at sea. From a boy I’d dreamt of nothing else. I’d never suffered from sea-sickness, never once felt frightened by rough, foreboding seas. I actually enjoyed the feeling of being calm and in control when others around were unable to suppress their fears and worries.
Yet, as much as I enjoyed my work, I also enjoyed my time on shore. We stopped in so many places. I never had time to form lasting relationships: there was always another departure looming, another month at sea just around the corner. Instead I preferred to deal with my urges on a needs basis. I’m not sure when I lost the ability to control those urges; I can’t truly remember the first time I hurt someone. I didn’t mean to – I still don’t.
I was always glad to get out to sea again. However, no matter where we sailed I knew I’d never escape who and what I am.