|In The Same Boat
Author: CatalynMJ88 PM
"You must think it strikes me as an awful, lonely idea, but to be "in the same boat" as someone can be a place of friendship and cooperation... In just a few days, both literally and metaphorically, I found myself "in the same boat" as some of the most unexpected people." Titanic's voyage and the aftermath from Margaret Brown's POV, canon with my story "Yours, Tommie."Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Romance - Molly B. & Thomas A. - Chapters: 22 - Words: 52,682 - Reviews: 118 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 07-31-12 - Published: 06-20-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8239415
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I own nothing! For the origins of all characters and events, please consult James Cameron's Titanic first, historical fact second. See References for more information.
Thanks: To all my fanfiction and tumblr friends for their support! I'm still astounded by all the feedback and attention this story has received. You guys have made my summer. Seriously. But in the spirit of streamlining my A/N's for the revised version, all my thanks are now on the References page at the end of the story. More reviews and/or PM's welcome from anyone at any time, though I may not respond as promptly now that I'm headed back to grad school.
I. Dear Josephine
Monday, 15 August, 1932
Learning that such a bright and lovely young woman as yourself, already a rising star in the theater, was born after the RMS Titanic sank, nearly sent me into another one of my migraines! But I have forgiven you for unintentionally causing an old woman such distress, and am writing to give you an honest and thorough answer to your question at the after-party last month: What was it really like for me on that voyage? This letter will remain private, of course. In what little time I have known you, I have already learned to trust your discretion, and even wisdom beyond your twenty years.
It's a funny saying, "We're all in the same boat." You must think it strikes me as an awful, lonely idea: a small group of people trapped together, stranded by the elements. I'm sure your best guess would be that I immediately think of rowing in the freezing North Atlantic with some lacy, stuck-up socialites who had never done their own laundry before, much less paddled a rowboat for hours on end; or that I think of that excuse for a man, Hichens, coming unhinged so bad that I had to threaten to throw him overboard just to get him to shut up.
I do think of that, but it's not the first thing to come to mind. I see happier scenes first. I see two women sharing a lifetime worth of sweet secrets and private jokes, as they take a leisurely ride down the Seine on a sunny day. I see a rowdy band of young boys piling into a patched rowboat on the muddy shores of Strangford Lough, the tallest and most boisterous among them their "Admiral," as they row out to adventures in the cool fog.
To be "in the same boat" as someone can be a place of friendship and cooperation; fate thrusts you together, and you determine to make the best of it, to navigate the waters side by side. You can even choose to enter someone's boat with them out of love, declaring, "I'm going with you, wherever the current takes you, and we'll fight off the deadly storms and dreaded sea monsters together."
J.J. Brown and I, God rest his soul, shared a boat happily in the early years of our marriage. I was crazy to jump in, just turned nineteen and only known the man for three months, and his boat (metaphorically speaking) being the most meager and rickety paddleboat you can imagine. We had fallen for each other, and I sensed he was a good man, honest and intelligent; so I trusted we wouldn't founder. Instead, we soon had the chance to upgrade ourselves to a very nice yacht!
Muckrakers and ministers are quick to deny the wealthy a fair chance at happiness, both earthly and divine, but I am proud to say that we remained a happy family in our early years among Denver high society. It was only as the children grew up, J.J. grew old and sullen, and I grew more cultured and outspoken, that we all began trying to paddle in different directions. In the years directly preceding Titanic, my family all began abandoning ship on each other. I don't blame the wealth, Josephine- just the passing of time.
As I was losing the ability to navigate my family to peaceful waters, my charm in society only increased. It's true that some still looked down on me for being "new money," nearly two decades after J.J.'s hard work and ingenuity saved not just our family's finances, but the entire town of Leadville, Colorado. However, despite the naysayers, I made headway in my favored political causes, I learned new languages and traveled the world, and I repeatedly proved myself a gracious hostess both to gala attendees and long-term houseguests.
Hospitable, always; warm, often; but truly emotionally intimate with another person? That I was becoming less and less.
They say that Titanic gave me another cause to champion (or gripe about, if you believe my worst critics.) However, that brief, ill-fated voyage did more than that for me:
It taught me to open my heart again. In just a few days, both literally and metaphorically, I found myself "in the same boat" as some of the most unexpected people.