One week ago today.
While millions of people across America were getting ready to be charmed by screaming fireworks, our massive cruise liner had been sitting tranquil atop the warm blue water of the Caribbean for hours. We had sat down shortly before to what would be a dinner of wine, shrimp cocktails, prime rib that melted in one’s mouth, and our favorite… chocolate melting cake. We had ordered it every night so far.
It was in that moment that a single unwanted tear rolled down my friend Lilly’s face. She wouldn’t have an appetite that night. Not with what was going on outside. I couldn’t blame her.
The straw that broke that camel’s back came from the table beside us. “Look on the bright side,” the young school teacher said to us. “We get to enjoy a beautiful sunset tonight.”
In the three or so hours preceding, we heard so many other heartless declarations, as well.
“At least they caught them before they made it to America.”
“Oh my gosh, how long is this going to take?”
“It’s not our job to take care of them.”
“I really hope they don’t let them on the ship.”
“I heard if they get sent back to Cuba they get executed for trying to run.”
Many other things were said. Many, many others.
Three or so hours before, the cruise liner stopped in its journey and the intercom cracked as the cruise director informed everyone that there was a small vessel full of people on the starboard side of the ship. The Coast Guard had instructed our captain to hold position until they could arrive. It’s all we were told. Anyone listening knew what it meant.
After he made the announcement, passengers flooded to the side of the ship. The speed with which they stampeded and the ferocity with which they elbowed each other out of the way left me puzzled as to how our ship wasn’t immediately capsizing. People began pointing. People began taking pictures. People began saying very heartless things.