By: Annh Browder

Oh, how she wished she had listened. What tragedy could have been averted if she had only paid mind to the underlying pangs of uncertainty that had plagued her from the moment she had made her choice? It had seemed so perfect in the beginning—people laughing, children playing, the constant bustle of activity around her. She believed this moment to be the pinnacle of her young life, a story to be told to her children and later generations. Her story would still be told, but oh, how different it would be.

She could still smell the saltwater mingled with the sweet aroma that floated from the dining hall, the taste of the delicious food still on the tip of her tongue. At first, she had wondered where her next meal might come from, but the reality was, food, at this moment, was no longer her main concern. Now, instead, her only goal was to survive the night and freezing temperature it brought. She recalled the way the moonlight glinted off the lustrous handrails, the slight, momentary jostling of the ship, the sound of her hurried footsteps as she ran across the ornate, teakwood deck, polished to perfection.

The next thing she remembered was the look of panic on the first mate’s face as he passed her by, his shoulder coming into harsh contact with her own as he rushed towards the captain’s quarters. At first, she thought nothing of it, dismissing it as only a small inconvenience somewhere on the large vessel. She had continued her trek back to her cabin, ignoring the feeling of doubt that had arisen within her. To regret that action now was pointless, as she realized there was never anything she could have done to change what happened next.

The scene had changed drastically the next time she ventured back onto the deck. On the decks below, she could hear the panicked scurry of running feet and the loud voices that indicated something was very wrong. The horizon appeared unlevel before her eyes, and it seemed that the bow of the ship had begun to sink into the depths of the inky, black water. The fear was palpable as the screams grew louder, panic soon overtaking the minds of all those aboard, despite the calming music that constantly played in the background. She moved without thinking, her mind solely focused on her own survival.

Now, here she sits, eyes taking in the open expanse of the deadly Atlantic, ears filled with the eerie wailing of those pleading for a help that would never come and body numbed from the shock of the unspeakable horrors she had witnessed this night. Oh, if only she had listened. Even now, as she trembles in the cold, she knows these three things will never leave her mind: The sound of the gunshot that echoed across the night as the first mate took his own life; the screams of those unable to find sanctuary on one of the too few lifeboats; and the ship’s name, in bold letters, as it descended to its watery grave—TITANIC