Amy was heavy with emotion, and she thought that is must be how the ship would feel if it could feel things. The last cruise ship out of Miami, Florida was the freshly renamed Harbinger of the Seas, and it was full to breaking with anxious passengers. They had crammed on board trying to leave the sweltering and sinking state, only to be crowded ten people to a four-person cabin and sharing a thin supply of food for breakfast and dinner. No lunch. And everyone on board was still waiting to hear from the captain where they would make landfall.
Amy stood at one of the starboard railings and looked out over the sea. It had been a day and a half since they left the Miami harbor, but they were still within faint sight of land. She could not really see the coastline. But she could see pillars of smoke rising from the once dense city. She thought by now that Miami would be in ruins. Even if the cruise ship was proving more uncomfortable every hour, she felt better about her and her little Jace being here rather than there. Jace’s dad was still back there she thought to herself. “Kevin” she muttered “you douche.”
“You still talking about him Amy?” said Gretchen, Amy’s friend who tapped her on the back and rolled her eyes dramatically. She was carrying two martini glasses and handed one to Amy. “I don’t know if I want one of those right now Gretch.”
“Please, It’s just orange juice. You know Captain Scrooge isn’t letting anyone near the booze just yet.”
“Right” said Amy taking the glass and having a sip. “I don’t really care about Kevin, even if he’s still alive he isn’t getting out of Miami any time soon. I’m Jace’s only parent.”
“You were pretty much his only parent already,” said Gretchen. “Kevin only came around what, like, one time? I guarantee you any rando on this ship could do better.”
Amy looked around at the smattering of people wandering around this deck of the Harbinger. Some were sobbing, some were laughing, some were standing there with hardly an emotion on their faces staring at the smoke rising from the horizon. Amy looked down and took out a locked, shaped like a heart, and opened it. There was an old picture of her and Kevin inside. It was from their senior year of high school, and it showed them kissing. Gretchen made a fake vomiting sound seeing it. “Unbelievable. I knew you weren’t over him.”
Amy just sighed. Gretchen shrugged “I do get it. I just think of all guys: Kevin doesn’t deserve the kind of love you’re showing him. He hasn’t showed it to you since y’all took that picture.”
“You’re right” Amy said “and honestly I’m glad he’s not here. Imagine what kind of man Jace would grow up to be in Kevin was in his life more? An honest to goodness sleaze. If I had to describe what I felt toward him, I do not think love would be the right word. Regret maybe. I don’t regret having Jace even though we were way to young to have a kid, I just regret taking Kevin so seriously when he didn’t take me seriously.”
Gretchen said “wow, I’m proud of you Amy.”
“You don’t know the half of it Gretch. You know I told him all this was going to happen? I knew the Governor was going to call martial law, and I could see that Hurricane Bertha would break the sea walls and flood Dade County. I knew all that and more, and texted that jerk three weeks ago and told him to save his life, and what does he do?”
Gretchen waited for Amy to say.
Amy laughed “he said “Amy, I do not care how much it costs to pay for childcare, I am not paying.””
“The nerve!” Gretchen said.
“Right?” Amy said. “Ugh, thank you Gretch, and thanks for the OJ.”
“Sure thing sis.” Gretchen said with a smile. “I’m going back up to the top deck to sun, you coming?”
“Not yet” Amy said, “but I will come up for a bit, better than being cooped up downstairs.”
Gretchen went back inside, and Amy turned back toward the coast. Leaning over the railing again she focused her sight and looked out at where the smoke was rising from. She could see silver squares of coastal hotels and some where bright where fire was leaping out of the windows. She could also see some yachts and fishing boats in the foreground taking the same route the cruise ship was. She could tell they were all heading north, but she was not sure where they would land. She was hoping the Captain would give them a clear answer soon.
She knew she had to pick up Jace from the ship daycare in a few hours and figured she had at least two to sit around and chat with Gretchen. Then after she had Jace, they might watch some movies and wait to see what they could get for dinner.
Amy was about to turn to head upstairs when she took the heart shaped locket in her hands again. She looked at the picture of her and Kevin one more time. Suddenly, she felt a twitch in her arm. She lifted it up straight and dropped the locket into the water. It fell for about thirty feet before it slipped silently into the foamy water surrounding the ship. Amy took a deep breath. She could just barely smell the ash from the coast. She exhaled and relaxed. The last picture of Kevin that ever existed was now sinking to the bottom of the sea, since his apartment was one of the ones on fire in downtown Miami.
Amy turned away from the smoke rising from the coast and walked inside toward the stairs, feeling much lighter than before.