I woke up one morning and really, really wanted to write something similar to the Titanic. I...
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RMS Veendam, 1920
My dress is silky sapphire blue. It clings tightly to my slim curves and flows like water down my legs. Mother forced me into months of horrid dieting to wear it, making the once beautiful dress seem quite detestable. I don’t complain though, as Sylvia helps me into its soft folds. I don’t complain as she curls my mahogany hair. I don’t stop the buckets of make-up brushed across every surface of my face. I force myself into calm obedience. Tonight will make every hour of pointless beautifying worth it.
Only one thing in my life gives me real pleasure, and that’s dancing. When I dance, all my cares and worries fly away. I feel weightless and free. Dancing brings happiness to my life, something it’s all but devoid of any other time.
Mother was quite excited about this cruise that travels from our home in New York to London. She loves high society and the elegance of our magnificent cruise ship. She had no say on the decision to come here, of course, but I can tell she is radiantly happy nonetheless.
Father decided we should go on this cruise. Father decides everything. I long ago stopped trying to resist. Resistance is pointless and almost always ends up with a hand across my face. I rebel in smaller ways, ways he can’t notice. Every time he sends me to buy something, I keep the change. Someday, someday, I will have enough to leave here. Then, I can finally be free.
Sylvia finally finishes my hair and rushes off to assist my complaining mother.
“Annabell, get over here this minute!”
I obediently enter her room, my face an emotionless mask. I am good at hiding my emotions. Right now, I am pretty annoyed at my controlling mother.
“Turn around and let me have a look at you.”
I spin in a slow circle, hating how soft the dress feels against my legs. No dress is worth so many hungry nights.
Now my mother is clucking her tongue. I turn around to glare at her, sick of hiding my emotions.
“What?” I almost snap.
“Your figure.” She shakes her head disdainfully. “No sugar tonight, you hear me?”
“But,” I begin to protest.
“No buts! If I catch you sneaking even a bite of anything containing sugar, it’s no food for a day. You hear me?”
I wince, because I know she’s not exaggerating with this punishment. I fill with rage at the injustice of it all.
“Yes, mother.” I force myself to curtsy and head out the door. I pass my mother’s locket, sitting on a nightstand. She wears it all the time. I know the only reason it’s not around her neck right now is because Sylvia is busy helping her into a ball gown. I snatch it up, and quickly leave the room before she can notice.
The locket is small and silver. I fasten it around my neck, fingers quivering with rage. My mother can do nothing about her missing necklace in public, so I quickly sneak out the door.
The revenge fills me with new energy. That along with excitement for the ball mean I practically skip to the ship’s magnificent ballroom. Giddy with excitement for the freedom of dancing, I fling open the ballroom door and waltz inside.