Lynn was bored. She was playing with her food while her sister and the others droned on about the current state of the country and the prospect of work in America. She was in the main dining room for her class, as it was put aboard the ship. The room was only for the wealthy and not for the poor filth down below. That was what the man sitting across from her had said. Lynn thought he looked rather like a pig and she sniggered at this thought.
She was so bored. She tapped Mary on the arm.
“May I go please?” she asked.
Mary looked down at the little girl. She looked tired.
“You can go Lynn, but go straight to bed, you look tired”.
Lynn thanked her sister curtseyed to the rest of the table who stood as she left and then skipped out of the room. She looked up at the night sky. It was completely clear, cloudless. She felt that cool breeze on her skin again as she looked and she stood for a moment, letting it roll over her. Then she skipped off again.
Patrick woke from the light sleep he was in and stretched. He stood up off his bed and looked at Joe. The boy was fast asleep. Patrick turned and saw Michael looking at him, twirling a small knife in his hand.
“Will you tell Joe that I’m only gone out for some fresh air if he wakes up?” Patrick said to the older boy.
The boy nodded.
“Thanks”. Patrick went out the door and made his way up to the deck. He took in the clear, cloudless night sky and felt a cool sea breeze as he walked across the deck. He went to the railings and looked over at the water zooming by, spraying the sides of the ship. He thought about his mom and what they were going to do without her. He didn’t see the pair of eyes watching him from the shadows.
Lynn watched from behind the barrel as one of the boys she had seen crying earlier moved over to the railing. He seemed to be deep in thought.
Lynn sidled out from behind the barrel and crept over to the boy. She tapped him on the back and he swung round, tears in his eyes. He was much taller than she’d thought.
“Hello”, she said.
“Oh, Hi...” he replied, wiping his eyes.
“I’m Evelyn, but you can call me Lynn.... everyone does”.
“Alright”. He extended his hand. “I’m Patrick”.
“Why are you crying?”
Patrick wiped his eyes again, “I’m not”.
“Don’t lie to me...I don’t like liars. Why are you crying”, Lynn stared at him, her eyes huge and curious.
Patrick stared at her and then relented, “Alright...I’m crying because I’m stuck on this stupid boat on my way to a place where I don’t know anyone. I’m crying because my mother was shot as we got onto this boat. I’m crying because my little brother is asleep downstairs and he doesn’t know what is going on. He is all I have now and I have to look after him. I......” his voice broke then and he began to cry again.
“I-I’m sorry.... I didn’t know....” Lynn felt a tear roll down her face. “You know you don’t have to be alone... I’ll be your friend and so will my sister”. She took his hand in hers and she felt scars there; scars from a hard life as the main man in the family; scars which bore true horrors in them.
He looked her in the eyes again. She could see a glimmer of hope in those eyes; maybe he didn’t have to do this alone.
“Th-that would be nice, Joe would like that... I-I would like that”, he squeezed her hand and she smiled.
“I’d like that too”, she moved closer and hugged him. “I need to go find my sister and tell her, I will see you tomorrow Patrick”. And with that she skipped off back to her room to tell Mary about her new friend.
Patrick watched as she skipped away, the wind ruffling her hair. He turned and looked over the side again, staring out into the open sea, contemplating the future for him and Joseph. Maybe this wouldn’t be so hard if they had a friend along the way with them; at least until the boat reached America in three months. That was when the difficult part begun. He turned away and headed back to the room.