Day 3 of our journey to America on the SS France brought us a lot of emotions, terror, and along with violent sickness, if there was another word I think I would be using it.
The Captain, from what I remember, told us to be calm but we were approaching a hurricane! That’s all I remember, and as a young child I probably didn’t know what that meant because I continued my running around the ship, looking for things to do and not understanding why no one was playing? I remember my Mummy and Daddy were looking worried and kept telling me to be careful, “It’s not bad out yet but please D. don’t go too far on the ship, the weather is going to change very soon!” I said, “I promise I won’t run outside Daddy, but where is everyone? I want to play?” Daddy didn’t really explain, I’m not sure, I’m also not sure I would have thoroughly understood the weather changing, since the sun was still shining?
I ran the halls of the SS France, playing by myself. Ka was not allowed to venture out with me. She was afraid and my parents felt it was better that she would stay in the cabin with Mummy while she was taking care of Ya. Daddy and a lot of other passengers were speaking about the upcoming change, so he was in and out of the cabin. Running the halls, looking at worried passengers and not seeing any children was boring, so I ventured outside on the deck, I didn’t see any problems, yet.
During my childhood I was defiant, I would get in trouble not listening to Daddy. I promised I wouldn’t go outside, unfortunately I didn’t keep my promise, and it seemed the deck was the only place I could find fun. As I said, the sun was still shining, but the sea was getting rough, and the waves were hitting the side of the ship a little more fiercely. The deck always had things to do, yet again no one was around. I was skipping around and decided to go towards the bow of the ship, to this day I don’t know why. I just wanted to see the front and how the ship was shaped, it was curiosity, but curiosity killed the cat, didn’t it? I started slowing down and stopped skipping. Daddy was right, the weather was changing. The sky quickly turned into a grey, yellow look. The waves were getting higher and were reaching the deck. The ship was swaying left, then right. I briefly looked inside the glass where the indoor pool was and noticed the pool water increased in waves. A boy was trying to swim but had to get out because he was getting sick, it was so gross.
In just a few seconds my venture towards the bow railing was abruptly stopped. A wave higher than I ever saw visiting the coastal seaside where Daddy lived, rose and hit the deck right at my feet. All of a sudden the breeze was no longer and it turned into a wind that hit me like a rocket. I was thrown face forward towards the bow and it’s railing. I was dragged by the fiercest wind known to me at that point of my little life and I thought I was going over board. I was completely terrified, and in the second where I thought I was in trouble and going over board, it calmed down, and I was able to get up. I jumped to my feet, crying but not hysterically, I think I was in shock, I wasn’t moving. I knew I had to get back inside but I was so scared I couldn’t move. I don’t remember how long it lasted and I don’t remember a lot after that except I managed to get back inside, before the wind started howling again and the waves continued to bash the ship and deck.
I was had salty sea water all over me, and the only thing I didn’t want to do was go back to the cabin. Daddy told me not to go outside, but I did, defiant as usual. Was he looking for me? Was anyone worried about my absence? It didn’t seem to be because I slowly went back to the cabin and all I saw were my parents getting sick. I don’t even think they knew I could have died within seconds from the abrupt change in the weather. I looked at them with fear in my eyes, but didn’t tell them, it wasn’t important at the time. We were all locked inside, terrified about the hurricane, and didn’t know how long it would last. I knew I couldn’t do anything so I decided to lay down on my bunk bed. It didn’t last, I became sea-sick just like everyone else, except my sister Ka. She was scared but never got sea sick, I would just stare at her and would think, “Why isn’t she like us?!” The thought didn’t last, all I was concentrating on was trying not to throw up.
We were all like this from Day 3 to Day 5 on this beautiful ship that I couldn’t explore, my Mum and Dad weren’t able to do activities planned for them, we were a mess. The biggest picture in my mind was watching my Daddy throwing up outside the porthole because he couldn’t move to our tiny bathroom. My Mum had the responsibility of solely taking care of us, while getting sick herself. I couldn’t stop crying, this wasn’t what I thought was going to happen to us during the trip Daddy said was going to be the most wonderful time in our lives. Well it was memorable, those 3 days, and it was hell also, watching waves reach the porthole, the ship rocking so dramatically that nothing stayed in its place, I just wanted it to stop.
Hurricanes eventually do stop, along with sea sickness, but those 3 days were hard and a lot of memories stayed in my head, mostly the near death experience. It slowly got better as the hurricane died down, we were never going to die but it felt like our insides were dying. There were more days to our adventure on this magnificent ship to come and more stories to tell.