He would come back
Based on some situations originated by J. Cameron
"Ok, Mrs. Dawson. I need you to push."
After that, the silence. My mother always said that she never felt so much horror as the horror she felt the day I was born. She had expected me to cry, as all of the other babies do when they are born, but I didn't cry. They all thought I was dead, and you know what? I think that too.
But fortunately, he who delivered me was a good doctor, and he didn't let me die then. I don't know what he did to me, but the next moment a was crying at the top of my tiny lunges.
"Congratulations, it's a boy."
And that was how I was born. Much to my surprise, that wasn't going to be my only time facing death face to face.
My parents were great people. They decided to call me Jack, after my dad's father. So, I became Jack Dawson. Somehow, that name fitted me perfectly; I guess I was meant to be called that way. The next day, May 13 1892, they took me home. It was a nice house, not too big but comfortable enough for the 3 of us to live. We weren't rich, but I knew that we were going to be ok.
My childhood was very happy. I was an only child, so I had my mother all to myself. Everyday she would pick me up from school and she bought me an ice-cream on our way home. My father was fun too. He had to work during the week, so I didn't see much of him, but during weekends, he was all mine.
I particularly remember this one time when he took me ice fishing on Lake Wissota. It was freezing cold, and my mother had suggested that we stayed home, but my father and I were too excited to wait, so she had to give up. She knew us too well to fight.
We arrived to the lake, which was, of course, frozen.
"Be careful, Jack. You might fall through thin ice."
I was a very adventurous boy. I always liked to do dangerous things without paying attention to my elders. But that day I learned my lesson. I was trying to find the perfect place for us to chop the hole when I fell. I tried to call my dad, but the water was too cold for me to think clearly. I could barely stay afloat. I'll never forget that time. The water hitting me like a thousand knives all over my body. Fortunately my father had seen me, so he took me out before something worst happened.
Sadly, we couldn't fish anything because we went straight home, hopping that my mum wouldn't kill us when she heard about what had happened. Well, she didn't kill us, but she almost died herself when she saw me completely soaked, hiding behind my dad.
She would have fainted if she hadn't noticed that the weather was freezing cold and that I was wet, but as she did noticed it, she prepared a hot bath for me and she put me into dry clothes.
Nevertheless, that didn't prevented me for catching a very bad flue, with high temperature and all that, so I had to stay in bed for almost a month. At the beginning it was terribly boring to be there just lying on my bed, but then my dad, who was feeling a bit guilty, brought me a present that changed my life: an art set.
At the beginning I thought it was as boring as anything else, but then I discovered that I actually enjoyed drawing, and that it was something I was good at. My first portrait was my mum. I gave it to her as a present one morning when she brought my breakfast and she let me go down to the living room that afternoon. From that moment onwards, drawings became a very important part of my life. Little did I know how much they would mean to me as the years passed.
Well, that happened when I was about 10 years old. My father never again offered to take me to the lake, not even in the summer. For a couple of years we lived very happily, as we had always have. But that happiness wouldn't last forever.
"Jack, would you come down here for a second?" my mother called one afternoon. I was 15 now, and I was going through that time of rebellion most of the teenagers go through. My mum usually said that she no longer knew who I was. I decided to pretend that I hadn't heard her.
"Honey…?" She called again. This time I noticed something wrong in her tone, so I had no choice but to go downstairs and see what was happening. I found my mother sitting alone in a couch, hiding her head in her hands. My father was looking through a window, as if he was expecting someone. There was another man in the room, someone I didn't know.
"What's going on?" I asked, noticing that something bad was about to happen.
"Jack… Your father was fired." My mother replied after a very long pause.
"What? Why didn't you tell me? How long ago?"
"3 months ago. We didn't tell you because we thought that I would find a job before we ran out of money, but…" my father replied.
"This are difficult times, son. And you deserve the best."
"Dad, what are you talking about? Who is this man? What's going on?" now I knew for sure that something really wrong was happening. I had never seen my parents so down before.
"We are going to go through some very difficult times here, son, so your mother and I think you'll be better off with your aunt Sara."
At this point, I heard a sob coming from my mother. I didn't understand it all at once, I couldn't believe that my parents were letting me go!
"You… You don't…. You can't do this! I'm your son! We're a family, for god sake! Aren't families suppose to stick together, for better and for worst?"
My mum was now crying. My father could only mutter that everything was going to be fine. I was so mad at them that all I could do was run upstairs to my room. The only thing I knew was that I was not going with my aunt Sara. I took my school bag, I threw some clothes in it, my art set and the few bucks I had managed to gather from the sell of my drawings. For I moment I thought that I ought to tell my parents about my decision to leave, but then I realized that it would be to hard to face them. So I took one of my drawings, a family portrait, and I wrote 'I will come back. Love you.' I left the piece of paper on my bed and then I climbed out from the window, trying my best not to cry.
I was leaving behind everything that had ever meant something to me. Everything that had ever made me smile was in that house. My first impulse as I saw it from the street was to run back, but I knew that if I stayed I would be nothing but miserable. I had no choice but leave.
'I will come back.' I whispered.
I guess that there was a part of me hopping that someone saw me and made me go back home, but that warm afternoon of June it seemed that all the people in Chippewa Falls have disappeared.
I arrived to the train station. This was going to be my first time on a train and I was a bit nervous. The woman at the ticket office gave me a kind smile when she asked me where I wanted to go.
"Eh…. Where is the next train going to?" I asked.
"There's one going to New York leaving in 15 minutes." She replied.
"Ok, I'll take it, thank you very much."
The minutes seemed like hours to me. Something in my head told me that I had to stay and fight for my family, but there was this other part that told me that it would be useless to stay. Finally, they called us to the train and I left Chippewa Falls for a long time.
New York will always be my favorite city in the world. Not only is she a beautiful place to live, with the parks to draw, but also it was the first city I ever visited. My first impulse when I arrived was to jump back to the train and come back home, but I thought it twice and stayed. I didn't have much money, so I couldn't afford a place to stay. I spent my first night sleeping on a bench in the Central Park. I don't regret it, though. That trip made me grow up, made me see that I had to live my life, to do all the things I wanted to do while I still could.
The next morning I found a job at the port. It was a horrible job, but I just did it to pay me a place to sleep. In the afternoons I would go to the park again to try to sell my drawings to the people that passed by. Unfortunately, they didn't seem to care much for my work.
Eventually, I got bored of my job so I quitted. I stayed in New York for another month, but I had to admit that I would never sell my drawings there, so I left. I went to the train station and I got into the first train I found. I'm not proud of it, but it just seemed the right thing to do back then.
I spent two whole year traveling from place to place. I never stayed more than a month in each place, because I got bored very easily. That was until I arrived to Santa Monica. From all the places I've visited, I still think that Santa Monica is the best.
The moment I got there I was amazed with it. The pier had everything I could possibly wish for in a city: the gigantic rollercoaster, the artists, the men with the horses for rent… I'll never forget what I felt what I first arrived.
With the few bucks I had I bought some sheets of paper and pencils and rented a room in a small hotel, though I wouldn't have minded to sleep at the dock, facing the stars. I then went to the pier and sat facing the ocean. My father had always said that he would love to go on a cruise to see the world. Or at least, he hoped he would ever see the ocean. and now, here I was, fulfilling his dream. I tried my best to capture the view and to put it in the paper to show it to my father when I returned. I knew that that would make him very happy.
People in California were a lot more generous than people in New York. I had no problems selling my drawings for 10 cents a piece, making a whole dollar some days. For a while I stayed there, but then the cold arrived and tourists left. Staying there would be useless, so I decided to see what the real artists were doing, and for that I traveled to Europe.
Europe was better than I had imagined, it was perfect, marvelous. First I went to England. Everything there amazed me, it was so different to America, or at least the America I knew. The rich men wearing top hats and the ladies with long dresses. Of course I knew that we had that in America, but not in Chippewa Falls. I couldn't picture one of those women going to pick me up from school like my mother had.
Then I went to Paris, which was a dream come true. The moment I arrived to the bohemian part of the city I knew that I was meant to do that for a living. I found a lot of people willing to help me; those were my firsts actual models. It was hard at first to draw naked women, but I got used to it – for the sake of my art, of course!.
Unfortunately, Paris was full of people like me and I couldn't find anyone who thought that my drawings were any better than the hundred of others they relieved everyday. Still, I knew that I was meant to be an artist and I decided that no one would ever tell me that I couldn't do it.
I then decided to go to Italy, to see other kinds of artists. I knew it would be different to Paris, but I never imagined it would be so nice. I went to Florence, to Venice and to Rome. There, in Rome, I met a boy called Fabrizio DeRossi. He was about my age and he dream was to go to America. We became friends almost instantly. He was kind enough to invite me to stay with him until I decided to leave again. I couldn't pay him, but I promised him that I would take him to America. He thought it was a good plan, so he agreed.
I lived there for nearly 3 months. I had never intended to stay there for so long, but it was Fabrizio's family what made me stay there. Seeing Mrs. De Rossi taking care of her 5 sons and daughters made me realized that I really missed my family and that I really wanted to go back.
I told Fabrizio that if he wanted to come to America with me, he would have to join me now. He didn't need much time to think, all he had to do was convince his mother that he was going to be fine. So, on the last days of March of the year 1912, Fabrizio and I left Italy hopping to get to America.
I couldn't believe my luck. If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would be going back home in the grandest ship ever built, I would have said that he was crazy, but here I was, about to go on the Titanic.
Fabrizio and I had been drinking some beers in a bar in Southampton when 2 men asked us to play a hand of poker with them. They said they didn't have any cash, but that they would play their tickets. Fabri and I thought it was fair enough, and so we played.
Imagine my surprise when I saw that a had gotten I full house! According to this cards I was now holding, I was going back home! I know I had promised Fabrizio that I would take him to America, but the moment we left Rome I realized that it would be almost impossible for us to get two tickets on any ship. Still, I tried to sound confident for Fabri's sake. But now, it seemed that all the problems had disappeared, because I was going home!
"The moment of truth boys. Somebody's life's about to change." I said, looking at my three friends and trying to hide the happiness I was feeling. "Let's see... Fabrizio's got niente. Olaf, you've got squat. Sven, uh oh... two pair... Mmm." I had done it. I had won!! "Sorry Fabrizio."
"What sorry? What you got? You lose my money?? Ma va fa'n culo testa di cazzo..."
"Sorry, you're not gonna see your mama again for a long time..." he looked at me. They all did. "Because we're going to America. Full house, boys!!!"
No one, absolutely no one had seen that coming. The last thing I remember was Olaf punching Sven very hard in the face. Fabrizio and I laughed, but then we realized that we were going to be late, and the last thing we wanted to do was miss our ship.
The moment I step foot on it, I knew it was big. I couldn't help to think that maybe the entire town of Chippewa Falls would easily fit into that ship.
"I can't believe that we are actually going to America. It's almost too good to be true."
"I know my friend, but it's real. I'm coming back." I smiled. I thought about my mother. I could see her in the front door, waiting for me. In a week now, she would be hugging me again.
We found our cabin more luxurious than we had expected it to be. Both Fabrizio and I had traveled several times on a ship, but none of them had had a steerage section as clean as Titanic. It was truly the ship of drams.
On our second day – well, on our second night, actually – I didn't feel like sleeping, so I went to the deck to think. I thought about my parents. Would they be mad at me? Would they still be living in Chippewa Falls? Somehow I knew that they were still waiting for me, and that made me feel very happy.
Suddenly I heard someone passing running beside me. I stood up, trying to see if it was someone I knew. To my surprise, I saw a beautiful red haired girl that was heading towards the back of the ship. Something inside me told me that I had to follow her, so I did.
I found her hanging from the back of the ship, as if she was planning to jump. She was wearing a long, expensive dress, so I assumed that she was rich and that she was traveling in the first class. A closer look told me that I had already seen that girl the previous day, while I was talking to Fabrizio and Tomy, a man we had met there. She belonged, in fact, to the first class, and she was traveling with what seemed her husband. I had seen him too the other day. Why was she trying to commit suicide if she had everything she could possibly want?
"Don't do it." I said, trying not to scare her. She looked at me, confused.
"Stay back! Don't come any closer!" she said. I could see from her eyes that she didn't want to jump and she was silently begging for my help. She was also crying.
"Take my hand. I'll pull you back in."
"No! Stay where you are. I mean it. I'll let go." I tried my best not to laugh. I couldn't believe that someone in that situation could be se stubborn.
I walked a few steps to throw the cigarette I was smoking to the Ocean. She was facing the water once again.
"No you won't." I said as if I was challenging her.
"What do you mean no I won't? Don't presume to tell me what I will and will not do. You don't know me." She was mad at me now.
"You would have done it already. Now come on, take my hand." I gave her my hand, but she still didn't want to take it.
"You're distracting me. Go away."
"I can't. I'm involved now. If you let go I have to jump in after you." I didn't want to jump and I wasn't really looking forward to jumping after someone I didn't even knew, but I was too involved. I couldn't just walk away.
"Don't be absurd. You'll be killed."
"I'm a good swimmer."
"The fall alone would kill you."
"It would hurt. I'm not saying it wouldn't. To be honest I'm a lot more concerned about the water being so cold."
There. I had scared her. I guess she had been expecting a quick death, but I knew that would happen. If she jumped, it would be a slow, painful death.
"How cold?" she asked, trying to sound as if she didn't care much about it.
"Freezing. Maybe a couple degrees over." She looked down again. "Ever been to Wisconsin?" I asked.
Now she thought I was really crazy. She looked at me and say that she hadn't. I told her about my fall through thin ice. I described the pain I felt, hopping that that would made her realize that she didn't want to jump.
Yeah, I was crazy. What was I doing there, talking to someone I didn't even knew and that didn't even belonged to the same class I did. But I felt that I had to help her.
"That's what everybody says. But with all due respect, I'm not the one hanging off the back of a ship." I went one step closer. "You don't want to do this."
For a while I thought she was still going to jump, but then I felt her hand over mine. She turned around and I could actually see all of her face. She was the best looking girl I had ever seen.
"I'm Jack Dawson." I introduced myself.
"I may hafta get you to write that down." She smiled. In that moment if she would have asked me to let her go, I would have; if she had asked me to jump after her, I would have too. I was caught by that smile.
I then knew that there was something special about that girl.
"Ok, let me see if I got this straight. You're having dinner with the rich people? Are you sure that he wasn't joking?" Fabrizio wanted to know.
I had just told him and Tomy about my adventure of the night before.
"Men, you're so lucky! Hey Fabri, what do you say if we go push some girls overboard and pretend we save them to get a free meal?"
They both smiled. I guess my story wasn't very convincing, but it was the truth. When I was pulling her back over she had slipped, and she had nearly fell. A bunch of officers had come and thought that I was trying to hurt her, but she corrected them, not with the true, but with another lie. That was why her fiancée, a rich guy called Caledon Hockley, had invited me for dinner.
"Well, if I were you, I would say goodbye to her this same night, because I doubt you'll ever see this girl again. Even more, are we sure that she'll go to the dinner tonight?"
"Well, Tomy, I think it's the second time you're wrong about this girl and Jack" Fabrizio commented. Both Tomy and I looked to where he was pointing and we saw her. It would have been impossible to miss her with that hair. Besides, her dress had probably coasted more than the clothes of all the people gather there.
I raised my hand to catch her eye. She saw me and she immediately came to where I was.
"What…?" I didn't know what to say. For the first time in a long while I was nervous.
"I was hopping to have a word with you." she said. Then looking at my 2 friends that were absolutely amazed by her, she added. "Hi, I'm Rose."
None of them seem to be able to talk, so I introduced them. "Would you like to have a walk through the deck?" I asked.
I followed her to the first class deck. For a while we talked about stupid things, like the weather. Then I told her about my childhood and my dream to go back home.
"You seemed to have had a wonderful childhood. Why did you leave?"
I told her everything. It was so easy to talk to her!
"After that I traveled. I went to Santa Monica and a bunch of other places in the States. Then I decided to try luck in Europe, so I bought a ticket on a small ship and went to England."
"Wow. That must've been fun." She paused.
"So…" I said. "What did you want to talk about?"
"Yes, about that. Mr Dawson, I…"
"Jack?" she seemed to be talking to a man for the first time. "I want to thank you for what you did. Not just for... for pulling me back in, but for your discretion."
"You're welcome." She paused again. Then she finally opened up and told me everything.
She was supposed to marry this guy Cal in Philadelphia a month after our arrival. None of her friends were going to be there – as a matter of fact, I got the impression that she didn't have any – only wealthy people, friends of her mother and the groom.
"I know it's stupid, but sometimes I feel in a middle of a crowded room, screaming at the top of my lunges, and no one cares. I guess you don't know what is like to feel that nobody cares about you."
"So why don't you walk away?"
"Easier to say than to do. It's not that simple."
"Yes, it is. Go to him and tell him that you can't marry him."
For the second time in 2 days she looked at me as if I was completely insane.
"I couldn't possibly do such thing. My mother would die if she heard something like that!"
Once again I knew from her eyes that she didn't mean what she was saying. Yes, she was desperate to break free, but she needed someone to help her.
"Do you love him?" I asked.
"Do you love him?"
"Pardon me? That's not a suitable question. You're being rude."
"It a simple question, why can't you just answer it?"
"Because you don't know me, I don't know you and we are not having this conversation. I wanted to thank you and I did. Goodbye, Jack- Mr. Dawson."
"No, I don't love him, you idiot!" her eyes seemed to be saying. I watched her leave, but suddenly she turned around.
"Wait a minute, I don't have to leave. This is my part of the ship. You go!"
"Hohoho, well, well, well. Who's being rude right now?"
She smiled. I did too.
"What's that stupid thing you carry around all the time." She asked pointing my sketchbook. "What are you, some kind of artist or something?"
"Yes, actually, I am."
That shocked her. She took my portfolio out of my hands and started to look at the drawings.
"This are good." She said. "This are very good actually."
We stood for a long while there. She told me that she had once dreamt of becoming an actress, but when her father died she realized that she would never be able to try. So much fun we were having that we lost track of time. Before we could tell, we saw a group of ladies walking towards us. Rose recognized them and immediately stood up.
"Mother. I thought you were having tea."
"Yes, Rose, I was. Half an hour ago. I thought you weren't feeling alright and that you would stay in your room all afternoon."
"Well, yes, I was going to, but…. But I thought I had to thank Mr. Dawson for what he did last night."
"I thought a free dinner would be enough thank." I saw Rose's face turning as red as her hair.
In that moment we heard a bugler sounds right behind us. It was the meal call.
"Why do they insist on always announcing dinner like a damn cavalry charge?" one of the ladies commented. She didn't fit in that group. She seemed more from my world than from Rose's. I knew later that she was Margaret Brown, a 'new money'.
Rose and her mother went to change their clothes. That made me feel nervous. I wasn't planning to change my clothes. Molly surly guessed what I was thinking, so she took me to her cabin and borrow me a suit.
That night I went to the dinner. The moment I stepped in the dinning room I knew that I could never possibly get used to that environment. Cal and Ruth, Rose's mother, arrived shortly after me, but they didn't see me. I guess they had never thought I would be well dressed, or maybe they even thought that I wasn't going to show up. But I didn't have much time to care about Cal and Ruth, because Rose arrived only a few seconds after them.
I now believe that it was in that moment that I realized that I couldn't live without her. I realized that I was in love with Rose.
"Well, well, well. Look at you." she told me. "I must admit that I hadn't seen this one coming."
"You look beautiful too." I said.
The dinner was as boring as I had imagined it would be. The only fun thing about it was to see Rose making fun faces everytime someone said something. I had to try hard not to laugh.
Finally the men decided that it was time for a brandy, so they all went to another room. I said goodbye to the ladies and went, but before that I passed a note to Rose inviting her to a party downstairs.
I went to wait for her and the clock, guessing that she wouldn't come. Imagine my surprise when I saw her.
"I must be crazy for doing this." She said.
"It's good to see that I'm not the only crazy in this ship." I replied making her laugh.
I took her to the steerage section. There were people from everywhere playing typical songs. We danced, drank beer… Above all, we had fun.
I walked her to the first class entrance. Maybe we were a little bit too drunk, because we were singing 'Come Josephine'. It was a good thing that we were alone, because no one would have understand us, they would just thing we were 2 crazy people.
"Isn't it magnificent? So grand and endless." She suddenly said looking at the sky above us. "They're such small people, Jack... my crowd. They think they're giants on the earth, but they're not even dust in God's eye. They live inside this little tiny champagne bubble... and someday the bubble's going to burst." The sadness in her tone was indescribable.
"You're not one of them. There's been a mistake." I said to try to cheer her up. "You got mailed to the wrong address."
She laughed. "I did, didn't I? Look! A shooting star."
A looked up. Yeah, there it was. A shinning star. I hadn't seen one in years!
"That was a long one. My father used to say that whenever you saw one, it was a soul going to heaven."
"I like that. Aren't we supposed to wish on it?"
"What would you wish for?" I asked.
She paused and looked at me. Then, in a very bitter tone, she replied:
"Something I can't have." I understood her, God I did. I would wish for the same thing. "Goodnight, Jack. And thank you." She slowly walked away. I wanted to stop her, I wanted to tell her that I loved her, but I knew I couldn't. She had say it herself, I couldn't have her. She belonged to Cal and that world. I could never be part of her life.
I would have to forget her. New York was only a couple of days away from us. If I could avoid her during those days I would never have to see her again. If only I could forget her that easily…
My determination to forget Rose lasted for about 4 hours. When I woke up the next morning I realized that I couldn't let her walk away without knowing what I felt. Perhaps she didn't belong to my world, but she wasn't part of their world either.
I went to the dinning room, which was now the chapel. All the rich men and women were there, singing. I wanted to wait for her outside, but two bodyguards saw me and 'politely' asked me to leave.
"No, it's ok. I was here yesterday. Remember me?" they didn't.
"Is there any problem?" Lovejoy, Cal's valet, asked.
"Yes, actually. I want to speak to Rose."
I admit it, I was stupid to think that they would let me go near her just like that, but I didn't think back then. The result was that the 2 men followed me back to where I belonged in a not very nice way.
Tomy and Fabrizio saw my face and immediately guessed that something had happened. I was about to tell them about my experience upstairs, but in the back of my head I found another way to get near Rose. I run out of the room and asked my friends to followed me.
They helped me to get to the first class deck without being seen. I heard them saying that I was not being logical, but all I cared about in that moment was seeing Rose. I borrowed a hat and a coat and I went to find her.
She was with her mother, Cal and Thomas Andrews, the ship architect, who was showing them the ship. I waited until she was behind them and I forced her to a room that happened to be the gym.
"Jack, this is impossible. I can't see you." she said when I had closed the door.
"No, you have to listen to me." I forced her to look at me. She did and then I told her how I felt. "Rose, you're no picnic... you're a spoiled little brat even, but under that you're a strong, pure heart, and you're the most amazingly astounding girl… woman I've ever known and…" Yeah, yeah, I know. that's not the best way to talk to the girl you like.
"No wait. Let me try to get this out. You're amazing... I'm not an idiot. I know how the world works. I have 10 bucks in my pocket and I know I have nothing to offer you, Rose. I know that. But I'm involved now. You jump, I jump, remember? I can't turn away without knowin' that you're goin' to be alright." Why couldn't I say 'I love you'? maybe it was because, deep inside I knew that Tomy was right, that she really was out of my lead.
"Jack…. I'm marrying Cal. I love Cal." She was lying and I knew it. Again I got the impression that she was begging me to save her. "I'll be fine, Jack. Really."
"Really? Because I don't think so. They've got you in a glass jar like some butterfly, and you're goin' to die if you don't break out. Maybe not right away, 'cause you're strong. But sooner or later the fire in you is goin' to go out."
She looked at me with her eyes full of tears.
"It's not up to you to save me, Jack."
"You're right. Only you can do that."
We looked at each other, begging for a miracle that would set us both free, but it didn't happen.
"I have to get back, they'll miss me. Please, Jack, for both our sakes, leave me alone." She finally said. Maybe she was right, maybe I had done enough. She left and I didn't follow. Perhaps I should've, I don't know. I shouldn't have given up on her so easily.
For the rest of the afternoon I wandered around the ship, too sad to do anything. I knew she wasn't mine, I knew I had been more than lucky to even get near her, but I couldn't help to think that I had lost something very important to me.
Around sunset I was at the bow. I had discovered that spot my first afternoon onboard. There, I felt free, like flying. I had planned to take Rose there to make her feel the freedom she had been refused for all those years, but… Well, you know the story.
"Hello, Jack." I almost fall from the ship. Was that voice inside my head or was Rose really there? I turned around and I saw her. "I changed my mind." She said smiling. "They said…" I told her to shut up.
I took her in my arms and told her to close her eyes. She had no idea of what I was doing, but she obeyed anyway. I helped her to climb the rail, facing the ocean. I took her two hands and raised them until she was standing with her arms outstretched on each side, like wings.
"Ok, now open them." I got the reaction I wanted. The moment she opened her eyes she gasped and said:
"I may not be able to buy you expensive things, Rose, but I can offer you this: freedom." I whispered.
It would be useless to describe what happened next. We kissed, we hide from Lovejoy, we went to the boiler room, we kissed again…. Ok, you get the picture. By the time we were back on the deck it was already dark.
"When the ship docks, I'm getting off with you." she said out of the blue.
"What? That's crazy!"
"I know it is. That's why I trust it."
Nothing could possibly ruin that moment. That was what I thought, but the ship began to move and we saw an iceberg passing right next to us.
"Shit." We both said at the same time. We knew instantly what would happen. We also knew that there were enough boats for the 2,500 people traveling on the Titanic. Plus, we hear Mr. Andrews talking to some officers about the damaged caused by the iceberg.
"We have to tell my mother and Cal." She said. "If you want I can go and you wait for me somewhere"
"No way! You're not going anywhere near that Cal without me. God knows what he would do when he finds out about us."
"Yeah, you're right. But still, she is my mother, and I have to warn her about the iceberg."
That same afternoon after she came back to me and before our 'adventure' in the back of a car, Rose had asked me to draw a portrait of her wearing nothing but a diamond necklace her fiancée had given her the other night. Apparently that diamond coasted thousands of dollars.
As we walked towards the Dewitt-Bukater room, Lovejoy, who was waiting for us in the corridor, put that necklace in my pocket. Well, I guess he did, because I have to admit that I didn't feel him. When we opened the door of the room, Cal had an officer to search through my pockets to see if I had taken it. Of course they did – as Cal knew they would – and they took me under arrest.
Rose was speechless. I tried to convince her that I was innocent, that I had no interest at all in her money, but they took me away so fast that she didn't have time to react.
Downstairs, I was left alone with Lovejoy. He sat at the desk, still unaware of the fact that we were sinking. Soon I noticed a change in the ship. It was going down by the bow. The valet also noticed it, and he changed his attitude towards me. He stood up, took his gun out and put it on my forehead.
For a second I thought he was going to kill me. I saw my whole life like a movie and I suddenly regretted leaving home. But, to my surprise, I didn't feel the bullet. He didn't shot me, he just punched me in the stomach, leaving me out of breath for a couple of minutes.
When I recovered, I found myself alone in a room, handcuffed to a pipe. I had no way to free myself. I tried to call out for someone, but no one heard me. I was starting to believe that I was going to die there, alone, with no one out there even knowing what happened to me.
Soon the water started to enter. It was cold, as cold as I remembered it.
"This is not fair." I thought. "I was coming back; I really was coming back!" I was about to cry. I don't usually cry - actually, I can't remember of the last time I cried – but I had been really looking forward to seeing my parents again and I couldn't believe that I wouldn't.
"Jack?" I didn't move, I just listened carefully. "Jack?" the voice called again. I thought I recognized it, but I wasn't sure.
"Rose?" I asked.
Yes! Rose was looking for me.
"I'm so sorry, Jack." She said when she saw me. I wanted to huge her, to thank her for believing in me, but I couldn't move. I just kissed her and told her that everything was going to be fine.
She looked for the spare key while I watched, trying to think of a place where it could be.
"Rose," she stopped searching and look at me. "How did you found out I didn't do it?"
"I didn't. I just realized I already knew."
I smiled at her, forgetting for a second where we were. Then I remembered and told Rose to get some help. She kissed me and left. Five minutes later she was back with no help but with an axe.
"Will this work?" she asked.
"I guess we'll find out"
I closed my eyes, not wanting to see what was about to happen. I heard the axe hitting the pipe and I felt free again.
"Nice job! Now go, we have to find a way out."
We wandered around for a while until we finally reached the third class doors. There was a huge crowd and we couldn't move. I knew what they were doing, they were locking us up so that rich people had more chances to survive.
In the crowd I found Tomy, who confirmed what I already knew. Fabrizio came shortly after, claiming that the boats were gone. We decided not to believe him and we checked. Fortunately we were told that there were some left, so we hurried.
We split in two groups. Tomy and Fabrizio went to one side while Rose and I waited in the other. There was a boat, in fact, but the officer commanding it would only allow women and children.
"You go, I'll get the next one." I knew there wasn't a next one, that was why I was trying to make her get into that boat.
"No. Not without you."
"Get in the boat."
"Yes, Rose, get in the boat."
I was paralyzed. From all the people I could have met in that moment, I had to run into Cal. I knew he was up to something. Rose looked at him terrified and then look at me. I push her as far away from him as the crowd would let me, but he also moved nearer us.
He took out his coat and gave it to Rose. I decided to pretend as if he wasn't there, but that didn't work either.
"I have an agreement with one of the officers in the other side. We can get safely, both of us.
"See? I have my own boat to catch." I tried to sound calm, but I knew that someone like Cal would never let me get any benefit from his money.
"Hurry up. It's almost full."
Rose looked at both of us. I didn't want her to think too much, because she would realized that Cal was lying. Fortunately, the officer grabbed her and pushed her into the boat. I held her hand for as long as possible, but I was pushed too. The boat began to be lowered away and I wondered if I would ever see Rose again.
"You're a good liar." Cal told me.
"Almost as good as you." I replied. "There's… There's no arrangement, is there?"
"No, there is. Not that you'll get any benefit from it. I told you, I always win. One way or another."
I wanted to punch him in the face. I wanted him to miss his stupid boat so that he couldn't find Rose again. I knew he had been turning her life into a living hell and I didn't want to think of what he would do when they were married. I looked at him and I hated that he was smiling.
"What's she doing?" someone asked. I immediately turned to the boat just in time to see that Rose was jumping back to the Titanic. Without thinking about it twice, I ran downstairs. When I found her, I hugged her and kissed her.
"You're so stupid, Rose. Why did you do it? why, Rose?" I asked.
She looked at my with her eyes full of tears and she replied "You jump, I jump, right?"
That was the most romantic moment of my entire life. I wanted to embrace her and stay in her arms forever, but I was forgetting Cal. When he saw us together, she took a gun from Lovejoy's pocket and shot us. He missed, thanks to god, but Rose and I run as fast as we could to hide from him.
When we were back on the deck – yeah, again – the boats were really gone. The deck was a complete chaos, with people trying desperately to save their lives.
"We have to stay on the ship for as long as possible." I yelled over the crowd; she nodded in response. As the ship was going down by the bow, we knew that we had to go to the stern.
Before we could even tell, the ship was almost vertical. If we stood were we were we would have fallen, so we climbed over the railed.
"Jack." She said "Here's where we first met."
I looked around and noticed that we were, in fact, in the same place Rose had been only 2 days ago.
Soon the ship was completely vertical. As it was too much pressure for her to handle, the hull split. I don't know what happened to the bow section, all I can say is that the stern bobbed like a cork for a while.
Many people among us thought that we were saved, but Rose and I knew better than that. And it took only 5 seconds to prove us right, because after that timed passed we began to go down.
"The ship is gonna suck us down. Take a deep breath and hold it right before we go into the water. Kick for the surface and keep kicking. Don't let go of my hand. We're gonna make it Rose. Trust me."
"I trust you."
The next thing I remember is the water. It was as cold as I recalled it. I held to Rose's hand for as long as I could, but the suction was too much and I had to let her go or else we would both drown.
Meanwhile I kept kicking but it was getting harder and harder because of the lack of oxygen. I gathered all my few strength and a kicked one last time. Fortunately it was all I needed to reach the surface. I looked for Rose and when I found her we both swam away from the crowd. We found a piece of door big enough for Rose to climb on. I just took her hand and placed beside her.
"The boats will come back for us, Rose. Hold on just a little longer. They had to row away for the suction and now they'll be coming back." I whispered.
We waited. I had the feeling that they were taking more time than the needed. The people around called desperate to them, assuring them that the danger was over, but there were still no signs of any of them coming back.
"It's getting quiet." She suddenly commented in a low whisper. She was right, the cold water was a quick killer.
"Just a few more minutes. It'll take them a while to get the boats organized..." I prayed for them to come to save Rose. I no longer cared about me, I just wanted her to be alright.
"I don't know about you, but I intend to write a strongly worded letter to the White Star Line about all this." I wanted to keep her mind away from what was happening around us, I wanted her to forget that she could die any minute.
She just whispered the sweetest words I've ever heard, but instead of calming me down, I panicked. She was saying good-bye! "I love you Jack."
"No... don't say your good-byes, Rose. Don't you give up. Don't do it."
"I'm so cold."
"You're going to get out of this... you're going to go on and you're going to make babies and watch them grow and you're going to die an old lady, warm in your bed. Not here. Not this night. Do you understand me?"
"I can't feel my body."
"Rose, listen to me. Listen. Winning that ticket was the best thing that ever happened to me. It brought me to you. And I'm thankful, Rose. I'm thankful." I was having trouble to find my voice. I guess that the cold water was starting to get me. I just wished I could save Rose before dying. "You must do me this honor... promise me you will survive... that you will never give up... no matter what happens... no matter how hopeless... promise me now, and never let go of that promise."
"Never let go."
"I promise. I will never let go, Jack. I'll never let go."
I kissed her nearly frozen hand and smiled to her, trying to feel confident about my future, but I had already figured out that I was not going to make it through that night.
I closed my eyes, suddenly tired. I saw my mum and my dad, waiting for me in our old hose, I saw Fabrizio thanking me for taking him to America, I saw some of my French girls. I saw everything. I realized that I had had a good life, I had done everything I had ever wished. I had even found the love of my life. The only problem was that I hadn't told her how I felt.
I wasn't cold anymore now. There was a bright light in front of me and as I got nearer to it, I felt better, happier. But, just as I was right next to it, my head started to ache, I didn't know why. Suddenly I heard a voice: Rose's.
"Come back." She was saying. "Come back." I didn't at one understand what had happen. I could hear Rose, but I could not see here. Where was she?. Unexpectedly, the voice changed.
"Come back, Jack. You promised you would." To my surprise, it was my mother.
I opened my eyes and found myself under the water. I guessed that the boats had returned and that Rose had thought I was death so she had let go. I swam back to the surface just in time to see Rose being pulled into one of the rescuing boats.
"Hey!" I called, though my voice was merely a whisper. "Over here!" one of the officers looked at me, and so did Rose. She almost threw herself into the water again when she recognized me, but fortunately they stopped her. They helped me inside and gave me several blankets.
"I'm so sorry, Jack. I thought…. oh my God, I could have killed you! I'm so, so, so sorry, Jack. I…"
"Rose," I interrupted. I felt awful, terrible. I wanted to sleep, just sleep. But first I had to tell something to her. "Rose, I love you."
She looked at me and smiled.
"This better not be a good-bye, Jack."
I smiled and kissed her. "You can bet it's not."
I woke up the following morning in an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar room. I couldn't remember how I got there or anything regarding the other night. When I finally remembered Titanic, the first word that came out of my still cold lips was 'Rose'.
"Oh, good to see that you're awake. We were starting to get worried about you." someone, I nurse, I assume, said.
"Where's Rose?" I asked again. I felt terrible, but I needed to know what had happened to Rose. I knew that if I was alive she had to be alive too, but I needed to see her.
"They are all waiting for you outside. You're lucky to have all your friends with you, many people died last night…"
I didn't understand who 'all your friends' were. In mi mind I could see only Rose. The nurse opened the door and I saw Tomy and Fabrizio coming in. I was happy to see that my friends were alright, but I still wanted to see Rose.
"Rose?" I asked yet again.
"I'm not Rose. I'm Tomy, remember me?"
"Drop it, Tomy. Rose's hiding. That fiancée of hers is still looking for her, so we decided that she would be safer hiding with Helga." Fabrizio explained to me.
"Helga? The Swedish girl?" I asked.
"Yes. Turns out that Rose learnt some Swedish back at school so she's trying to teach her some English."
"Unbelievable, she knows Swedish but she doesn't know how to spit." I laughed.
Now that I knew for sure that Rose was ok I could rest. I knew that my friends wouldn't let anything happen to her.
"Thank you, guys, for taking care of her all this time." I said.
"No, thank you, Jack. If it wasn't for you we would be dead by now, we wouldn't have been able to leave the Titanic."
I was still very tired so I asked my friends to go to see how Rose was doing. I also asked them to tell her that I was feeling perfectly and that I loved her. They both agreed, so I was left alone to sleep.
I didn't wake up until the next morning. The nurse told me that it was perfectly normal considering the time I had spent in the water and the effort I had made to get to a life boat. She gave me something to eat and told me that I was free to leave. She also told me that the Carpathia, the ship that had picked us up, was going to arrive to America on the following day.
When I left the infirmary, I began to walk through the deck, trying to find my friends. I finally saw them near the bow. Fabrizio and Helga were trying to talk, or at least that was what I thought, because they didn't seem to understand a word of what they were saying; Tomy appeared to be sleeping as if nothing had happened. Rose was standing by the rail, watching the horizon. I walked silently towards her.
"It's always nice to see that there's someone out there who looks worst than I do."
She turned to me and laughed. It was true, she did look terrible. Her hair was a mess and her dress was dirty. Besides, she looked paler than usual and her eyes seemed redder than ever.
"I'm so sorry, Jack. I should've never let go. Don't you see that you could have died there? Oh, God, I feel so bad…. I know that you may never forgive me…."
"Wait, wait, wait. Are you serious? You saved me Rose! I was going to die. I saw that 'light' they say you see when you're dying. You saved me, Rose. if it wasn't for you I wouldn't be here right now." I hugged her, trying to wash her tears away. It killed me to see that she was crying, so I promised that I would do everything for her not to cry ever again.
"So you really don't hate me?" she asked.
"Of course I don't hate you. I love you, Rose. I really do."
She stopped crying and looked at me, a smile in her face.
"I love you two, Jack."
"Are you sure you're ready for this?"
"Honey, I've been ready for 5 years."
It had been already a month since the sinking. Both Rose and I had made it not only through the cold water but also through her family.
After staying in New York for a couple of weeks we decided it was time to travel. Fabrizio, Helga and Tomy also decided to travel, but they chose to go somewhere else. Still, we agreed to send letters all the time to see how we were doing and we also said that we were going to spend the holidays together, possibly in Chippewa Falls.
In fact, Rose and I were now there, in Chippewa Falls. I was very nervous about seeing my parents again, but having Rose by my side made it all more easy.
We walked hand in hand to the place our house used to be. I noticed that some of the people looked at us, maybe only because they thought we were tourists or maybe because they recognized me.
The house finally became visible to us. It was just as I remembered it. There was a woman sweeping the porch. She didn't see us, but I knew instantly that she was my mother. She hadn't aged a day. I laughed because I had always dreamt that she would be sweeping the entrance when I arrived.
"Go, Jack. She'll be happy to see you." Rose encouraged me. I kissed her and went closer to the house.
"Mum?" I asked when I was close enough.
She looked at me, confused at first. Then she examined me from head to toe. Finally she shyly asked if I was 'Jack.' I smiled in reply. She let go of the broom and run towards me, hugging me and kissing me.
"I knew you were going to come back, Jack. I knew it! I've missed you so much, honey. I thought I was going to die when I went to your room and discovered that you were gone…! Why did you do it, Jack? Why did you run away?"
I had never regretted living, but now that I had come back I thought that I should've never left. "I don't know, mum, I'm sorry. I didn't think. I didn't want to go with aunt Sara and the only thing that occur to me was to run away."
We stood there for what seemed like hours.
"It's getting cold, we should probably go inside."
"Trust me, this is not cold for me. But yes, we should get inside." I was already closing the door behind me when I saw Rose. "Oh, mum, wait. I want you to meet someone. Rose, come." She came in. "Mum, this is Rose, my fiancée. Rose, this is my mother, Ann Dawson."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Dawson. Jack told me a lot about you."
"I can't believe you're engaged! Why didn't you tell me? You're father will be very happy."
"Speaking of which, where's dad?"
"He's working. He should be back soon. I better cook something for dinner. This deserves something special. What do you want?"
"You know that I can't say no to any of the things you cook." I said.
"Nice try, Jack, but you'll still have to tell me where you've been all this while. I want details and I also want an explanation of why you didn't write a single letter to us telling us that you were fine."
I laughed. Knowing my mother, she wouldn't leave us alone until we told her everything.
"Fine, but first I want to see dad. I'm not going to tell the story twice."
He came home about half an hour later. As I had imagined, someone had seen me and had recognized me, because dad seemed to know that I was home. In fact, the first thing he said when he opened the door was:
"Jack, you better have a great excuse for this past 5 years, because if you don't you will spend the night in Lake Wissota."
I laughed, Rose also did.
"So you really fell through thin ice? I thought it was just a trick!" she said.
"Do you want to hear the story? I believe that my father will be delighted to tell you."
"Not so fast, you. Before that, I want an explanation and I want it now. Please, Rose, have a sit. None of you is moving until I know everything about my Jack."
We both smiled. I looked around and felt safe again. After so many years, so many adventures, I had come back.THE END