Shailoh Phillips

Flirting on the ferry

Amsterdam has no bridge between the Centre and the Noord. A wide body of water separates us. The underwater tunnel only allows motor vehicles, the closest bridge is a 45-minute detour, and for the time being, the Noord-South metro line is just a colossal construction site. For pedestrians, cyclists and hopeless romantics, the ferries are the only way across the IJ. They are the heartbeat of the Noord, steadfast, running day and night.


Going by Ferry - Willem Velthoven

On the ferry, for a few minutes, the rush of daily life is suspended. Time stands still and the panorama of the city unfolds. Nothing matters but the coincidence of strangers waiting together on a boat.
I am already on the ferry, my nondescript black bike leaning against the wall, locked – to keep it from rolling away, not that a thief has anywhere to go here. You are right in the nick of time, pedaling as if your life depends on it. Catch your breath now. Glad you made it.

The ferry surges on, slapping against the water. We both get splashed a little. You glance left, then right, tracing the sweeping horizon. Habitually checking for traffic, admiring the skyline, or trying to seem disinterested? At last you flash a sideward grin. I can’t keep myself from smiling back, can’t keep myself from wishing this journey would last forever. Gently, we rock together. Waiting is the perfect alibi for love at first sight.

Soon the ferry grinds to a halt and gently hits the opposite side. The ramp lowers, and reality rushes to meet us. No, I do not want your name and number. I am already late for my meeting.

Noord and The City, the edge and the centre, the establishment and that which is yet-to-come, the sea and the sky, my life and yours. For just a moment you and I can be inbetween everything.