On my first trip, the evening came towards an end; it had been a quiet night and my thoughts turned to how I would spend my first ever night at sea. I worked my way back to my cabin down the corridor from the main lounge. Unlocked the door, fumbled for the light, fumbled for the bathroom door, abluted and headed for the bed to undress. An evening of good food and plenty of booze had made me forget I was nursing a horrible injury but as soon as I tried to undress a searing pain crossed my lower ribs. I struggled to remove my shirt, and it was even worse when I tried to bend to take off my shoes. After a couple of low groans and contorted face expressions, I managed to push back the crisp white sheets, fall as gingerly as possible into my cot and draw the sheets back across me.
Then I had to get out again as I realised I had forgotten to turn the bathroom light off.
Lying in the dark I tried not to think of the pain in my chest. The motion of the ship rocked me side to side in my bunk and the low throbbing of the engines three floors below me was ever present. I found that I nodded off very quickly and another experience was under my belt. I slept so well and it was almost as if the RMS itself was rocking me and singing me a lullaby. For the first time of many, I started to think of the ship as a person.
Next morning the thin curtains across the port hole let in light as soon as the sun made its first rays come up over the Atlantic. I rose soon afterwards, well rested but my torso very stiff from the bruising.
I got myself together and went for a quick breath of air on deck. A few people were having a smoke up there but otherwise it was all quiet and as for the view, it was blank. I was surprised to see that after the rolling of the night we were sailing across a sheet of glass. Here in the middle of the Atlantic, the last thing I expected to see was a calm sea, but here it was – as level as a billiard table, as reflective as a new mirror.