Helen wouldn't consider herself the type to get seasick. It wasn't the constant rocking or the cold air that chilled her old, wet body, or the heavy scent of salt every time she inhaled that set her stomach at such unease. Helen was rarely subject to such ailments. But this was different. This made her stomach twist and her heart wrench in all discomfort.
"This ones alive! Get him up here!" shouted Molly Brown beside her.
They pulled out a nearly frozen man out of the frigid water. She shuddered at the memory of that icy grip she had found herself in not moments before.
"Male, late thirties," mumbled someone. They were keeping tabs on all who they found in case they belonged to someone.
Her heart skipped a beat as they pulled the poor man into the boat.
For a second she thought…she shook her head.
It wasn't him.
Every time she heard a cry she wondered if it was him, if he was one of those blue, frozen souls, floating dead in the water,
She should've gotten on the boat, she should've listened, then she would be more to save these people, but she was fighting her own battle; the battle to keep warm.
"Get him a blanket!" shouted Molly.
Helen shivered again, tugging her blanket closer around her.
It had started out so well.
~~~~April 10, 1912~~~~
The warm sun shone over the Southampton harbor. Helen's hands grasped the railing of the massive ship she found herself on, as the ocean breeze brushed her blonde hair across her face.
"What do you think, Helen?"
Helen turned to face Edward J. Smith, a friend and former patient of hers, and more importantly, the Captain of this fine ship.
To call it a ship was blasphemy; this thing was revolutionary. It was the size of a small town and held more people on it than any ocean liner ever had.
She was honored he had asked her to share in this experience.
"It's beautiful Edward, a real honor," she smiled at her old friend. "I'm only sorry Sarah didn't come to experience it."
"I tried, but she refused, apparently the salty air turns her stomach, she gets some mighty frightful seasickness," he sighed and smiled kindly.
"And how is your Helen?" Helen smiled; the young girl had been named after her after she had 'cured' Edward almost 16 years ago. To say he had been grateful was an understatement.
"Fourteen and already such the woman; she wants to be a doctor, just like you. She has been studying very hard; such a smart girl," he smiled proudly.
"I'll have to pay her a visit one of these days," Helen took his hand gently. "You are a great captain."
"Only some of the credit goes to me, Helen, the majority goes to you, that is why I find it fitting for you to be apart of the maiden voyage. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you," he kissed the top of her hand lightly.
"You are here because of you, I just helped you along the way," she patted his hand.
"Either way, I am glad you're here," he smiled again at her.
"Well, I was overdue on a trip to New York, I figured while I'm there I can pay a visit to an old friend."
"Anyone I know?"
"Not personally," she sighed.
"Captain!" A young officer approached the pair. "We're ready sir, the tugboat has cleared the New York out of our way."
"Excuse me, Helen, my maiden awaits," said Edward with a curt bow of his head before proudly walking back to his station.
Helen turned back to the ocean view before her.
She'd always loved the sea; her father had taken her on many cross-Atlantic trips when she was young. She loved traveling with him, being with him day in and day out. For a young, motherless girl, it had been heaven.
Many people lined the docks and areas of the harbor, trying to catch one glimpse of their loved ones before they sailed off, waving goodbye.
She could make out two distinct ones waving at her.
James and Nigel, her boys. The two of them insisted they see her off, both hiding their jealousy of not being able to join her on this voyage.
They waved with big arms and Helen laughed at them.
A little boy pushed past Helen's skirts to grasp on to the railing, a teddy tucked in the crook of his arm and one thumb gently placed inside his mouth. Just on the edge of the dock was a beautiful woman waving to the little boy, sending him air kisses.
Helen thought he must be one of the crew's children.
She looked down at the small child and smiled softly at him.
"Charlie! There you are!" a man wearing a crewman's uniform came up to the boy and scooped him up. "How many times do I have to tell you not to disappear on me like that?"
"Sorry papa," he said quietly.
"This is a dangerous place to get lost in, I promised your mother I'd look after you."
"I want her to come too," he said sadly.
"I know, kiddo, we're going to see her in a few weeks, and I promise we'll call her when we reach New York, okay?"
The little boy nodded as his father carried him off. Helen watched with a certain empathy for the child. She had always hated it when she was separated from her father.
She felt the ship move slightly underneath her feet and the scenery shifted in front of her eyes.
Loud cheering came from the crowd of onlookers and loved ones all crowding to see the mastery of ingenuity and new world thinking culminated to life in the form of a city-sized vessel, sailing across the sea as easily as if it were born there.
Helen moved from the side railing to the front to watch the ocean pass under the massive ship's underbelly.
This was going to be a voyage to remember, she could feel it.
And she was here to witness it.
The maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic.