Hostage

 

Christina Oxenberg

 

It was summertime and I was 18 and just moved to NYC. With nepotism on my side I wrangled a job and a studio apartment. My privileged childhood did not prepare me for these strictures and nightly I drank microwaved ice cream and wondered what the hell had happened to my life.

 

Midwinter I was invited to Palm Beach for a weekend and I gratefully accepted. Someone knew someone with a private plane and space was found for me. On a Friday afternoon we flew out of Teterboro Airport on a small but very deluxe plane with burled cherry walls and wide white leather seats.

 

The plane owner, one polo playing tycoon, switched on a movie called Dog Day Afternoon. Before the movie was finished, Mr. Tycoon and his passengers began mimicking Pacino’s lines and making bang bang sounds, and soon Mr. Tycoon picked up a gold receiver and commanded the pilot change course.

 

Just like that I was hijacked and diverted to the Bahamas for one night at Mr. Tycoon’s white oceanside domain. My only request was that I be allowed to use a telephone when we landed to alert those expecting me in Florida.

 

At the Tycoon’s marble palace I was assigned a room with massive windows and stunning views, and I exhaled as if I were home. “This is more like it!” I thought, soothed.

 

I changed into my swimsuit and made my way across rubbery lawn and down a path edged with orchids to a half moon shoreline. I sunk my toes into the sand and absorbed the pristine view and the dwindling shafts of daylight fusing with dusk.

 

Meditatively I made my way into the gentle water, disturbing tiny shells over my ankles. I was considering diving in and I was wondering how deep the cove might be when I thought I saw something, something dark. I stopped and focused.

 

In the pale water, a mere few feet from my own toes, three pointy upright black triangles circled.