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A Good Wife

Where a husband goes, so shall his family

By Bonnie Joy SludikoffPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 4 min read
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A Good Wife
Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash

I wanted to make a run for the upper deck, but Eric was probably right. We never would have made it. We had seen already how they treated our class on the ship. While the luxury for the first class patrons was so apparent, we were mostly treated like baggage.

So much so that when it came down to it, we couldn't possibly expect to sail off in a lifeboat-- especially when there was only room for about half of us.

Trixie noticed it when we first boarded the Titanic. We were so impressed. That's what I remember. Impressed, and not concerned when our eleven-year-old pointed out that there did not seem to be enough lifeboats for such a large number of people.

Why would we need more lifeboats on an unsinkable ship, a crewman chuckled, taking my hand to help me aboard. My husband cleared his throat to let me know he did not approve. I assured him the crewman was just being polite and seeing that I did not trip. After all, I had little Margaret in my arms, Trixie holding my right hand, and baby Edward in my belly.

Eric walked a few steps ahead of us. He always had.

It bothered me, but my mother always assured me it was nothing personal. Just the way he had been raised and certainly nothing to make a fuss over. Some women were beaten and neglected; So what if my husband interrupted me when I tried to speak and walked a few steps ahead?

Was it not the job of a husband to lead?

I stuck to my own interests and duties. I took care of the children. I kept our house tidy and inviting.

And when Eric had an idea, that's what we did. This time, we were going to America.

To be honest, some of his plans had been challenging to go along with, but this one seemed right for us. I looked forward to the education and opportunities my children might have.

We went to bed quite early. Eric liked to have us out for a family stroll and some fresh air before the deck got crowded. Most nights I would lay awake for hours, but Eric could sleep through anything. Even the cries of our children.

For awhile, I didn't think he'd wake up at all.

In fact, he did not seem to feel the crash. But he did hear little Margaret carrying on.

"Can you handle nothing properly on your own?" he bellowed, sitting up in our small double bed.

I fought the urge to glare and turned my body to the side. I knew things would not go well for me if he saw an expression on my face he would deem disrespectful.

I had been holding Margaret since the crash, but she would not settle. In fact, her cries were so loud, it was a long time before any of us heard the hubbub outside our door.

Eric finally opened it, exasperated and prepared to yell about proper community decorum. But there was no one to yell to--- everyone moved with such purpose and only a few remained in the halls.

"I'll see that the children are dressed," I said, handing Trixie her sweater.

Eric shook his head. "Nonsense. Just an unecessary commotion."

In the hallway there was just a short layer of water-- like a washing machine had exploded.

"Maybe," I said. "But wouldn't you feel better if..."

"I'd feel better if we got some sleep," Eric said. "And I know our small children would behave better tomorrow with proper rest."

Trixie looked at me for direction. She knew her father would make the final decision, but it was my expression that would tell her if she'd be safe. I looked over at my husband, then back at my daughter with a nod.

"She's unsinkable," Trixie said. "Right?"

Eric had already laid back down and buried his head in a pillow.

"Right mother?" Trixie repeated. And I smiled. Because that's what I had been taught to do.

I knew things weren't right, but it was quiet for awhile. No one had stayed at our deck level. No one but us would ignore that level of turbulence.

Turbulence was something I was used to. My marriage with Eric and the home I'd grown up with had taught me about turbulence. If you accept it as normal, you can withstand quite a bit.

It would pass. It always did.

I smiled for Trixie as I always had. I wrapped baby Margaret in a blanket, and I gently stroked my belly, praying this would not be the night my water broke. We had cut it close by traveling so close to my due date.

Was everyone asleep, I wondered a few minutes later. I dared not speak; dared not to put them through the turbulence. Besides, it would surely pass. What other option was there?

When the noise got worse, Eric was still out cold. The little girls were awake and I quietly went to the front door of our cabin for a better look. Outside, the water was two feet deep and climbing every second. I shut the door behind me and turned around.

I smiled for the girls again. Trixie pretended to believe me. Same as I had at eleven. Same as her daughters would have if she were to survive.

Margaret was easily distracted with a story and somehow fell asleep and Trixie and I snuggled together. Two strong women who knew the value of following the head of their home.

We had no time to be angry or regretful.

"We wouldn't have made it," Trixie said. "There's not enough room for everyone on those boats."

I nodded, holding my smart girl tight in my arms. She told me all of her dreams for the future and the things we would do in America and I forced my mind into a dream state. And ask the water made its way into our cabin, I let it take me.

An obedient wife. Where a husband goes, so shall his family.

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About the Creator

Bonnie Joy Sludikoff

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