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Fleeing from France

by R.A. Moseley 2 months ago in Historical · updated 2 months ago
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The Tip of the Iceberg

Fleeing from France
Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash

"The reality was that an iceberg was not the true culprit of Juliette’s heartbreak."

Her senses were overwhelmed, her eyes trying to cut through the darkness. Her ears pierced by the sound of panic and destruction, her nose filled with the smell of smoke, the taste of salt water lingered on her tongue. Her hands cold and wet, Juliette clung to her two small daughters, shielding them from the ice cold wind and waves, in a lifeboat that didn’t seem sturdy enough to make the voyage, to land, wherever land was. Her tears froze at the peaks of her cheeks, not only traumatized by the unforeseen crash, but the mere fact that she was now alone. Two children under the age of 4 years old and one fighting to thrive in her womb and her husband lost among the wreckage.

Even in the midst of chaos and tragedy she couldn’t help but think, what if we hadn’t fled France?

Hatred made them flee France, Hatred had taken a husband away from his wife, a father away from his children, an incredible mind from the world. Bias and ignorance had placed her face to face with an immovable iceberg, left her stranded in an ocean, miles away from home, from a new start. Juliette’s husband, Joseph, was a brilliant engineer. But before his brilliance could even be acknowledged, his skin was. His capability and educational background would have made any white counterpart highly employable. Unfortunately his brilliance was almost unrecognizable when paired with his complexion. This bias left Joseph without employment and left to make a decision that would ultimately change the trajectory of his life and the life of his family.

Juliette drifted in and out of exhaustion, on the lifeboat, only awakened by the cries of her children, Louise and Simmone, or the bitter cold of the night air. The images on the insides of her eyelids flashed briefly but were filled with enough joy to keep her through the night.

“Juliette, we will reach America soon, and then Haiti” , Joseph smiled widely, as they spoke almost nose to nose in their cabin, as the girls slept peacefully beside them. “This is our moment, our chance for a better life.” He paused only to touch her stomach, “My home, our home in Haiti is where we are meant to be, free of the hatred, a new start.”

“We are here! I have women and small children!” The hoarse voice of Captain Lowe shouted, jolting Juliette out of her somber state. A wave of relief overcame Juliette as she focused her eyes on the three other rescue boats that Captain Lowe had spotted and beckoned too. Several passengers, including Juliette and her children, moved to the other boats that were set to voyage to New York City. They had survived the most disastrous piece of the journey, and were now headed to an unknown, but seemingly free land. This land may have been advertised as free, but without resources and support, Juliette and her children may be just as vulnerable as they were back home. Back in Europe where her children, as fair as they were, might still be persecuted like their father, as they grew into their distinguishing features and beautiful complexions.

Juliette flashed back to images of the streets of France, when she would walk alone with her children, while Joseph spent his days looking for work. There were no disapproving looks, no one gawked, no one scowled, no one knew. She flashed back to images of her father, a well to do winemaker, who begged them to stay. Juliette had a choice to make, bury her children’s true identity with their father at sea, to ensure them security and a life of comfort in Europe. Or, travel through an unknown land, with nothing. The reality was that an iceberg was not the true culprit of Juliette’s heartbreak. The end and the beginning of all of this devastation began with the world's inability to accept those of a different color. What could Joseph’s life have been without it, what could her children’s lives have been? Tears filled her red and swollen eyes, what if they were never forced to flee France?

~ End


About the author

R.A. Moseley

Self proclaimed story-teller and dreamer, wrapped in one anxious ball of energy.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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