I wrote a long, winding piece of fiction about The Titanic some years back. That piece got lost in time (it was one of many pieces to disappear into the ether during a computer backup) and it is hard to remember even what I wrote about, the characters name and the plot. But, even if I’m unable to remember the details, I can still remember how it made me feel desolate and curious to find out more.
Recently I watched the film again – mainly for the self-discovery love element which happens before the ship goes down, and especially the scenes of the dance below deck. It warms my heart. I know it isn’t historically accurate in every regard but, just like Braveheart, I can enjoy it while still knowing it isn’t entirely true. It was never marketed as a documentary, after all.
I imagine a young man, boarding the ship with expectations of a great and glorious future in foreign parts. I imagine his letters home and his beloved wife waiting to join him for their new life, and so I write the following:
My Dearest Annabel,
I boarded this Titanic vessel with some trepidation, yet, ultimately, with delight, for to be onboard is an honour. Nothing so marvellous and awe-inspiring has before existed: either on God’s Fair Earth or God’s Deep Blue Seas. Truly the decks onboard sweep large as ballrooms and my cabin is comfortable, furnished with all that is necessary for a solitary gentleman’s travels. The Dining Hall puts one in mind of Pembrokeshire where we dined with the Cathcarts. Onboard though, the floors shine, the brass shimmers and the furnishings dazzle with their opulence.
My sorrow that you were unable to travel to Belfast and view this Wonder is tempered only by the knowledge that your delicate condition will shortly be taking you into your confinement. Have no concerns, My Dearest. Within days of disembarkation at New York I shall secure rooms awaiting your two presences, with Gladys, of course, as constant companion.
I waved as we left yesterday, imagining you, My Beloved Wife hidden amidst masses waving back, tearful at the reality of our year-long separation, but also with a sense of anticipation at the new life ahead of us. Oh, My Dear, how you would have wondered at the rockets firing, the cheers and the crowds!
I, My Dearest One, undertake to daily write, whether onboard or onland; to keep you with me always. In return, you must undertake to keep our first born safe and come to me with all due haste when you are able.
With Regards and Fondest Love, Your Husband Benjamin Woods.