Edited: Tuesday 10th December 2013. Punctuation and grammar. Spellings amended. Name changed from ''Fatherly Love'' to ''My Father.'' Also changed from three parts into one long shot.
On 18 April 1912, the Carpathia docked at Pier 54 at Little West 12th Street in New York. Rain drizzled in the air and the sky was grey and cloudy. Photographers and people lined the dock to get a glimpse of survivors; many had waited hours in the downpour just to hear news of Titanic's survivors. Relatives of Titanic passengers waited for news of who had survived and who hadn't. Thirty five ambulances lined up on the pier, accompanying them were seventy interns and surgeons from the staffs of the hospitals and more than 125 males and female nurses. About each gangplank a portable fence had been put in place, marking off some fifty feet of the pier. Next to the fence, crowding slowly against it, were anxious men and women, their gaze strained for a glance of the first from the ship, their eyes opened to draw their breathes in spasmodic, quivering gasps, their very bodies shaking with excitement, excitement which only the suspense itself was keeping in subjection. These were the husbands, wives, children, parents, friends and family of those who had sailed upon Titanic on its maiden voyage. Several minutes passed and then out of the first class gangway; tunneled by somber awning, streamed the first survivors. Newspaper writers and custom officials questioned them as they disembarked, demanding their names and questions of other survivors. The two hundred and more steerage passengers did not leave the ship until 11o clock pm. They were in a sad condition. Among them, a woman, with long auburn disheveled hair, is wearing a black overcoat which seemed to belong to a male. She disembarked her face somber. Her eyes did not once lift from the ground. She seemed to be alone. Flashes from the photographer's cameras illuminated her deathly pale face and she squinted. Her body visibly shook, terribly. She stopped, perplexed, almost ready to drop with terror and exhaustion, and was caught by a customs official.
''A survivor?'' He questioned rapidly, and a nod of her head answering him,. ''Your name?''
''D-Dawson.'' She managed. ''Rose Dawson.''
The answer given, he began leading her toward the section of the pier where friends and relatives were waiting. She squinted around at the large crowd, she had never seen so many people, perhaps thousands. All was silent. When she stepped from the gangplank, all was silent on the pier. She staggered, rather than walked. A low wailing sound arose from the crowd.
''Dorothy, Dorothy.'' Cried a man from the number. Suddenly, a young lady flew past her and almost dived into the crowd. The man broke through the double line of custom inspectors as if they were just a line of toy soldiers; he caught the woman to his breast.
The rain beat down heavier and a flash of lightening in the distance crashed. Stumbling out into the New York City streets, Rose Dawson staggered through the throngs of the crowd. She could hear the shrieks and wails of survivors being reunited with loved ones, but not once did she turn to look back. She felt almost in a trance as she continued to walk, to struggle against the cold New York evening. But in all honesty, where was she staggering to? She was a young woman out alone in a city at almost midnight. Nothing, no thoughts filled her mind. Her shaking body already numbed with cold felt nothing. She might as well have been dead, she felt nothing, her body just an empty shell of her former self. Halting, she squinted her eyes and felt pain, was there a tear strolling down her face? Although she felt no emotion. Weakly, she raised her head and gazed at the stars above. She felt heavy and as though she weighed so much more than she did. With that, she tumbled to the ground, her body lying lifeless on the cold hard floor. Rain continued to fall and the now roaring wind sent her hair flying about.
Just after midnight, on a cold and windy April night, William DeWitt left his usual haunt to return home. The large city seemed silent. Litter lined the streets he walked and the biting wind sent it flying around the sky twirling in the air. He wrapped his un-gloved hands firmly around his body in an attempt to shield away the chill. His night had been spent drinking whisky and playing poker, something which he indulged in. In fact, it was something which he had lost his family through. He was a married man, although separated. His wife, an important figure in society, with a high standing socially, had ordered him away from his family in Philadelphia the year before. The reason his wife had gave was 'to save her and their daughters social status.' He had married for love, although he knew she never returned it. He also had a daughter, Rose. As a child she had been the apple of his eye, he had doted on her. The last he had heard of his daughter, had been in the newspaper in early January – his daughter had become engaged to Pittsburgh steel tycoon Caledon Hockley and they were due to marry in June.
Like a tornado, the wind howled, almost blowing the brown flat cap from William's head. The coat he wore was thick and lined but still he felt the chill. His deep set brown eyes watered from the cold. His sight seemed slightly hazy, perhaps from the drink. The walk home seemed longer than usual. The buildings around him seemed larger. The whole city seemed dead. No sound except the howling of the wind could be heard, all was deathly still. He felt a sense of sadness as he glanced around, no lights on the street, not even the gas lamps had been lit. Turning the corner onto an almost black street, William picked up his pace. His eyes stung from the wind and their vision blurred. Several paces later, a lumpish black figure came into view. Squinting, William unfolded his arms and began staggering towards it. A few paces later, he realised what it was laying on the cold floor – a person. His picked up his pace into a run, the wind seemed to want to hold him back but he fought against it and reached the body laid on the floor. It was most definitely a woman, with fiery red hair. He wondered if she was alive. Removing some hair from her face, with trembling hands he touched the woman's neck gently with his index and middle finger in an attempt to find a pulse. He knew she was young, no more than twenty. After shifting his fingers around on her neck he finally found a pulse, a strong one. His heart beat faster as he now realised he had to get the woman to safety. With his right hand, he cleared all hair away from her face allowing him to now see her face in full view. Within seconds his stomach fell, his mouth fell open inarticulately as he realised who this woman was – Rose, his daughter.
''Oh my Lord, Rose.''
Her face was cold and deathly white, her eyes closed and lips almost blue. One side of her face was imprinted due to her face been on the ground for God knows what length of time. William felt like sobbing, like pulling his daughter close to him to give her all of his body heat. His arms felt weak as he lifted her up into his arms, he struggled for a moment with her lifeless body. Her head jolted backwards and he arranged his arm under her head to support it. He struggled home, in disbelief of what he has discovered. Once he arrived at the small four roomed house which he called home, he lowered his daughter's body onto the couch. She did not stir, still lifeless. Hurriedly, he grabbed several blankets and wrapped them around her. He rubbed his forehead as he felt a migraine creeping. With the strike of a match, he lit a fire in the stove in an attempt the warm the icy room. He brought his own shaking hands to his mouth and blew to keep them warm. Kneeling beside Rose, he then hesitantly and shakily took her hand in his. She had woman's hands now, she was a woman. Her beautiful face was illuminated by the flames from the stove. What on earth had happened to his Rose? Why was she alone in the city at midnight? Where was her mother and fiancé? He lowered his head to kiss her hand and then covered his own face with his hand and sobbed. His heart sank lower than before, he prayed to God for her to wake, so he could see his daughter again.
The cold still surrounded her, the ice biting her. Darkness surrounded her as she realized she was alone in the world. Her hand was still welded tightly to Jack's. She was still staring up at the stars in the trance she was in. No more tears came to her eyes. The boat's flashlight still highlighted the area of the water where she was.
"Come Josephine...in my flying machine...up...up she goes…"
The sudden pain which overcome her body was one she'd never felt before. Tears spilled rapidly from her eyes. Her breathing quickened as she tried to catch her breath.
"Jack!" she called faintly. "Jack!" She burst into yet another heart-wrenching sob.
'Jack!' she called loud and breathlessly. She felt a hand, a strong warm hand touch hers and her breathing quickened more than ever.
''Jack?'' Her voice was almost inaudible and tears spilled from her eyes. The bitter sting in her eyes, her head felt heavy, her body was weak. She had no strength, not even to open her eyes.
''Is that you, Jack?'' she whispered. The hand grasped hers tighter.
''Rose?'' the voice whispered. A man's voice. But the voice did not belong to Jack. The voice sounded like...her father. ''Rose, come to me, Rose. Open your eyes.'' The voice continued.
With all the strength she could muster, Rose's eyes flickered open. Her father's face was what she saw, his large brown eyes and dark wavy hair. He had a smile on his face, and when Rose squinted her eyes, he was still what she saw.
''Daddy...'' Was this really her father she saw before her? Her father she had not seen in over a year? Rose battled to keep her eyes open and again in seconds they were closed. She had never felt such weakness in her life. Her chest fell and rose steadily, and William guessed his daughter had drifted to sleep. But her sleep was disturbed. Her constant loud and haunting calls for 'Jack', she cried desperately in her sleep, and all William could do was watch his daughter in this agony which she was in.
Early on the morning of 20th April, Rose awoke disoriented and stiff. Readjusting her eyes, she found she was in a small room. A large fire burnt on the stove and the smell of coffee filled her nostrils. Her body ached but not from the cold because for the first time in a long time she felt warm. Several blankets covered her body, and she appeared to be laid on some sort of couch. The surroundings were new to her; this was something she could not remember. All she remembered was the cold, and the wind, the rain falling down harder than she had ever known, her body feeling weak and as though she could not hold her own body weight. The nightmares which had come to her, in actual fact were not nightmares but memories of the night the Titanic sank. The cries of the thousands of people who had slowly froze to death in the Atlantic Ocean, the screams of terror and agony which still rang in her ears and Jack, his face still handsome even in death. The promise which she had made him – to go on. Something which she wishes she hadn't done. So many unanswered questions. Would she be waiting for an absolution forever?
A strong warm hand touched Rose's forehead, tenderly stroking her auburn curls. After so much sleep, Rose's body felt terribly achy. Her head ached and thumped heavily. Slowly, as if in slow motion, Rose raised her shaking hand to her forehead and placed her hand gingerly on top of the hand. Slowly opening her eyes, her vision blurred slightly before clearing. Her father's smiling face was what she saw. Just as she remembered him. His auburn hair, deep set brown eyes, strong jaw and the smile which has always reassured her as a child. His smile reached his eyes; his hand moved slowly stroking his fingers over her hand. The moment was surreal. Was this really her father? Or one of her dreams? Suddenly a quivering gasp escaped her lips; her very body began to shake.
Was all she could manage, her voice trailing off. It seemed it was a struggle for her just to speak.
''Yes, it's me, Rose.'' William approached Rose; he bought his body closer to hers and felt her shakes. What the hell had happened to his daughter? ''It's me, Rose.'' He whispered again, and Rose squeezed her eyes closed feeling the tears spill from her eyes.
Moments later, she attempted to get into a sitting position, her body feeling lifeless still, she struggled. William watched her struggle, her shakes and he had heard her cries and screams during her two day sleep, her calls for 'Jack', her body writhing as if she had been possessed by some evil demon. Something traumatic had happened to his daughter, he knew that much.
''Rose...'' William started. Suddenly lost for words. He rubbed his forehead, feeling the throbbing of his head. He was never one to be lost for what to say. But what could he say? Ask questions? ''Rose, what are you doing here in the city?''
Rose sat upright, her trembling hands placed in her lap and her head bowed down low. Her hair hung lifelessly in her face, and slowly she raised her head upwards and gazed right in the eyes of her father. Although they had eye contact, William felt like his daughter was somewhere else. Her eyes red and puffy from the lack of sleep, the nightmares which haunted her keeping her from rest. She did not speak for several minutes, just gazing into her father's eyes almost absentmindedly. William felt almost uncomfortable and almost as if this wasn't his daughter.
''Rose...?'' He asked again.
''...I'' was all she managed. Images of the Carpathia docking filled her mind. The press, the flashes, the screams from reunited families, the cries of the relatives learning someone they were waiting for would never come, that they had died with the Titanic. ''I was on the Titanic.'' She managed, numbness overcoming her body. William's mouth fell open slowly. His breathe became caught in his throat.
''The Titanic? Where is your mother?''
'I do not know, nor wish to know.' Her voice was low.
William stood from his chair and shook his head violently not taking this information in. He himself had read the horror stories of the Titanic in the newspapers, the loss of over 1,500 lives. His face screwed slightly, not knowing of what action to take.
''Jack...'' Rose wept. Her hands covered her face, William immediately came to her side, placing his arm around her shoulder and gently kissing her forehead. Her face was sticky from her tears; Rose immediately rested her head on her father's shoulder. She had not been comforted in so long, she had not felt affection from anyone other than Jack since her father had vanished from the Dewitt Bukater household. She herself felt the urge to ask so many questions.
''Rose...who is Jack?''
Rose paused for a moment. Who was Jack? Besides the love of her life, the man who had saved her from death so many times. The man who had lost the battle to live, for her. Who was Jack Dawson to her? Not a husband, nor a fiancé, not even just a lover.
''He was my Jack.'' She whispered. The image of his smiling face entered her mind, the handsome face and boyish smile which had captured her heart for eternity.
''Rose, I cannot even begin to imagine how hard this is for you. But please darling, talk with me.'' William urged, placing his index finger on Rose's chin to raise her face to meet his. His eyes pleaded with her.
Taking a small sip from the hot tea, Rose felt the liquid soothe and warm her insides. She could not remember the last time she had drank tea. Shakily placing the cup on the small end table beside the sofa she sat on, Rose took a deep breath. She could feel the warmth from the stove and the scent of the chicken soup cooking filled the air.
''I boarded Titanic in Southampton on April 10th.' 'Rose began. That day was just ten days before and her life had since changed dramatically. ''After I had became engaged to Caledon Hockley in February, he arranged for himself, my mother and I to take a trip around Europe for our engagement, as a surprise he also booked us tickets on the Titanic home.'' Rose proceeded to reminisce the story of her journey on Titanic, the way Cal and her mother had treated her and how she had found love and freedom in Jack. William listened in disbelief and astonishment at his daughter's words. He felt anger at his wife, and even more so at Cal. The man he believed to be very respectable and was to be trusted with his daughter, to marry her.
'What happened to Jack?'' William asked, he was almost afraid to hear the answer, somehow already knowing what the young man's fate had been.
Rose's lip quivered and she felt a single tear slide down her porcelain face.
''The boats returned and the officer in the boat was shining a light over the ocean, he was shouting to 'come about.''
His voice was haunting.' Rose shivered. ''I shook Jack's hand and called for him to awake, but he never did. His hand had frozen to mine and his body was so stiff. We had been in the water for no longer than twenty minutes and it was in the last few minutes before I was rescued he had gone.'' Rose sobbed.
Immediately, William came to comfort his daughter, though he knew he wasn't much help to her. Nothing was. How could something like this have possibly happened? He hadn't appreciated the true tragedy of the disaster until this moment. Some men at the pub had even cracked a few jokes about the ship and the sinking, he now felt sick knowing he had laughed at them. He held his daughter in his arms feeling her pain, he knew that he would have to help her to become the woman she once was again, but he knew it would take a long time.