My Italian Birthday... Gone Wrong

March 22, 2012
By Natalie Lindell BRONZE, Waterford, Wisconsin
Natalie Lindell BRONZE, Waterford, Wisconsin
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

My name is Ann Marie. I am 15, soon to be 16 and with my grandparents celebrating my 16 birthday. I am here with my grandparents because every year they take a new grandchild on a cruise for their birthday. We are flying to the place where the cruise ship awaits us... in Italy. I am so excited but never did I know that the Costa Concordia could be the most terrifying place in the world.

As I was boarding the ship, everyone was welcoming me. I even got a smoothie! How could this place get any better? After I settled in my room, I went up to the ledo deck to play some shuffle board. When I went up to the shuffle board, I saw some kids around my age and two workers. I went up to talk to the kids. I was talking to them, but eventually my ears wandered to the conversation the two workers were having. Their name tags read Bob and Marci.
Marci was saying, “Did you hear that the captain got a warning that he was getting to close to the shoreline?!”
Bob said, “No I didn’t. What did he say?”
Marci replied, “He got a radio call from the lighthouse saying he was getting really close to the shoreline. If he didn’t back off, he would hit the ocean floor! The reason I’m concerned is that he didn’t listen because he believed his skills over the lighthouse!”
Bob said, “Well, I’m sure captains right. Calm down. Everything is going to be alright.”
Once I heard that I got really nervous, for this was my first cruise. I was so scared I felt sick to my stomach. I was going to go tell grandpa what was going on. After I got to my cabin, I woke up my grandpa and told him what I heard.
He could tell I was scared so he said, “I’ll go check it out pumpkin. Until I get back, why don’t you go and have dinner at the buffet.” I said ok and that was that. Never did I know that might be the last time I saw my grandpa. I wish I would’ve said something to him.
That night, my grandpa never came back. It was worrying but I knew he was in good hands on this ship. At 3:00 am our cabins lights turned on with a worker telling us to get up. Me and my grandma looked at each other in bewilderment. What was going on?! Once we got up to the main deck, everything that could go bad, went bad.
We were on the inside with the roof creaking above us. The minute I looked at my grandma in concern, the waves crashed. All I could hear was screaming and crying. I opened my eyes to see water flooding in like a waterfall into the dinning room where we stood. Right before the waves hit me and my grandma, we grabbed eachother’s hands. I grabbed at a pillar, failing to accomplish this. As we were riding the waves, I looked to my left and to my right; seeing nothing but as soon as we passed the bar, I saw a pillar that I could reach. I swam with all my might just to grab at it.
As I’m holding onto the pillar, my grandma says to me with tears in her eyes, “Be strong and brave Ann Marie. I love you. Promise me that you will never let go!"I am baffled by what she is saying but I still nod. Is she giving up? Is she trying to prepare me for something. All of the sudden, she lets go. I start to panic, wondering if that what she was trying to prepare me for? What does this mean? I am about to let go when I remember the promise I made.
It tares my heart apart to know that my grandma and grandpa are gone and possibly dead while I am holding on to a pillar as little children’s bodies get pulled away by the current. The boat is probably tipped at a 45 degree angle right now. As I am taking in everything that is going on around me, I forget about holding on and let my grip a little loose. With that, I too am swept away with the current.

I am in a hallway, tumbling through the water. I see doorways and stairs and I think, “If I could just get to one of those stairways, I could make my way to the top of the ship where there will hopefully be no water.” So I make the effort. I start swimming to the left fighting the current. I forget that there are pillars in the middle of the hallway. I hit one violently with my body and swung around to the right. I thought I was going to die but, because of the violent hit, I got swept into a stairway. What luck!? I started running up the stairs, freezing because it’s 3:20 am and the air outside is frosty. Even though this is true, I keep pushing on only because of the promise I made to my grandma. I get to the highest room and I sit there, waiting, waiting for someone to come find me. I hope they come soon.
I have been sitting here for a full 24 hours and no one has come for me. Should I just give up? No! I can’t! I made that promise to my grandma and now that I will probably never see here again, I must keep it.

It has been 72 hours since I sat here. There is no hope now. Right before I jump into the water, a helicopter comes around and tells me to stop. I am so confused. Is this a dream? Then a guy in a jumpsuit comes down and grabs me at the waist. What is happening?! They pull me into the helicopter and head towards the land.
I am being lowered in the harness to the ground so they can go make sure that I am the last person on the ship. When I was in the helicopter, they explained to me what happened and what was going on. I understood. I was alive! If only I could see my grandparents one more time. As I am about fifty feet off the ground, I start looking at the people’s faces. There are only two that stand out to me. My grandma and grandpa.

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