Frozen in time
Kissed by the ocean's breath
Four days ago, on April 10th 1912, I boarded the Titanic from Southampton to New York in hope of a new life. You see, I was escaping a life that was no longer my own. I was set on marrying a Duke in an arranged marriage, a Duke of royal title, but I could not betray myself by settling for less than I deserve. Marrying for titles and not for love. After I turned down the duke’s proposal, I, once an esteemed lady, was outcasted by my own family, and I hoped for a fresh new beginning in New York. I had dreams of being a musician, but growing up in London, a career as a lady was not on the cards. My only role would have to be to bear children and play the good wife. A path that was not my own. New York was a chance for me to not be a lady, but just a person. I had sold my rubies and emeralds in exchange for currency and brought a ticket to the ship of dreams. The Titanic was the talk of the town and I was to endure this magical journey sailing on the seas of change, or so I thought.
I remember arriving at the port and at first glance, the Titanic was overwhelming. It took a moment to take in the size, and yet my mind wondered how the seas could carry such mass. I was, in fact, boarding the ship of dreams, and my imagination of the future seemed bright and positive.
The first 4 days were a chance for me to reshape myself and reflect on my life. The Titanic was full of ladies and gentlemen in suits and gowns, a reminder of the life I was leaving. Observing it from afar made me pity the socialism and constraints of the roles required. For the first time, I felt free. The food onboard was delightful; plenty of delicate sweets and fine wine to be enjoyed in the presence of the sea air. The band wore black and white everything and played with such grace. The violin strings played through the halls and chambers and kissed the nerves of the all ears that heard. There was plenty of entertainment through the balls and games arranged. It was truly a surreal experience. The days and nights were filled with peace, but that peace did not last.
On day fourth day in my voyage, I had to have an early night. My stomach churned, and I had put it down to seasickness. After just 3 hours of sleeping, I was awoken around 23:40 by a mighty thud, and the glass in my chamber rattled into my dreams. Dread shivered through my veins, and I knew something had occurred. I heard people running around the halls looking for answers, yet the ship’s crew were telling people to stay in their rooms and that everything was okay. My women’s intuition told me otherwise. I sensed the worse and got dressed, gathered my strength and headed to the deck. The sea salt and frozen air hit the back of my throat and matched the burning in my gut. There was ice on the deck, and I could hear the captain talking to his crew. He said we had hit an iceberg and the lower chambers were flooding. They were planning an evacuation.
Everything escalated awfully fast. I raced around on the deck in a panic trying to find the answers or a solution, but I was powerless. My life was again out of my control. People headed to the decks; children were crying; they were still in their night frocks and alarmed by the commotion that had imploded around them. The Atlantic Ocean was still, yet in the mist of stillness was chaos and the cries of many. The captain announced that the ship was flooding and they would begin an evacuation in which women and children would go first. At that moment, I felt the hearts of families sinking with the ship, and it would be a trip that would break many and the heartache would travel through lifetimes.
An unsteadiness travelled through the waves. The ship would violently shake and the sounds of the cabins beneath us being engorged by the Atlantic were felt on the deck. The slow collapse only escalated the state of urgency through the four days the Titanic was going under. Four days which felt like an eternity. A constant loop of panic, survival, desperation and awaiting for our turn to board the boats. Four days of crying and screaming, being surrounded by confusion and the chances of surviving shrinking with each breath of the ice air. Women and children were being frantically boarded onto the lifeboats, and there were many people and little lifeboats.
My turn had arrived. I was allowed onboarded a life boat. The wait seemed like forever and there was only 5 lifeboats remaining. People were throwing themselves overboard only to be beaten by the ocean’s artic touch. I climbed aboard the life boat afraid I would fall between the gap into the sub-zero abyss. There was no space to move, the boat was overloaded with women and children in hysterics. As we were lowered the sound of the band filled my ears once again. The band continued to do what they loved in their final moments, with a smile on their faces and immaculately dressed. Their efforts will always be honourable.
As the life boat drifted away from the unsinkable ship, the lights of the ship flickered and amplified the cries and screams of those who remained. The further the lifeboat travelled, the more the screams just became an echo into the twilight hours and an echo in my mind. I looked at the faces of the now widows, stained with tears and the fatherless children who will never see the smile of their father again. Some part of me ached for my parents to hold me again and tell me it was going to be okay. Some part of me wished I stayed.
A ship so full of life not only 4 days ago, is now a ghost ship frozen in time beneath the Atlantic Ocean, in which the spirits onboard continue to dance to the melodies of the violins, at one with the sands of time, kissed by the ocean’s breath.