Manifest by Amy Sackville

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A woman arrives at a port on the latest leg of a budget cruise in this story by Amy Sackville

Sailing into this port that is a dream of a port. Pale, yellow stone, umber-shadowed, early light framing the brilliant red of rooftiles; the shadow of the walled city cast across the sea, and the slant-bright-shimmer of the water beyond it; a deep blue where the sky began, where the night was still ending. They had moored very early in the morning. The lines of things, the contours of them – towers, thoughts, dark windows – still just emerging. Women fishing with lines on the stone steps at the water’s edge, and a man setting out row upon row of tables on the wide wharf for a cafe that wasn’t open yet. She stepped across to the dock out of the upholstered sway of the night; out of the unsteady hours after midnight, the dreams of the shift of the sea, of this port, of coming into port and stopping or being stopped there, of falling or diving and waking to find herself under stiff clean sheets on the thin too-soft mattress on the hard bunk and her body immobile and the world moving.

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