The pale moon glowed eerily against the night sky, washing its silvery rays on her ashen face. Her lifeless vacant eyes gazed blankly at the dark sea stretched before her. Her dress fluttered around her as the frigid wind bit into her bare arms like sharp swords. She didn’t seem to notice, she had learned to ignore the pain long ago, to lock it all away. In her trance she was transfixed on just one thing; A whisper.
The whisper was soft against the rumble of the surf. Haunting yet achingly familiar. Beckoning her, begging her to remember. She walked forward dazed the sand beneath her feet shifting. As she reached the cold murky waters, she didn’t sink into it, but padded gently over it, gliding across the waters like a ghost leaving a trail of ripples in her wake. She walked for a long time, the shore now but a speck in the distance leaving her with nothing but inky waters that stretched for miles and miles. The insistent ache in her urging her towards the whisper, to know. The whisper suddenly became louder and louder, intensifying the pain in her heart, her very soul yearning for a reprieve. She ran desperately as the whisper rose to a crescendo and her heart thundered in her chest. Suddenly, she lurched to a stop, a horrible realization dawning over her. Those weren’t whispers.
They were screams.
Suddenly the water beneath her gave away. She barely had time to give a startled scream before she plunged into the icy depths of the sea.
The unearthly silence of the waters and the terrible feeling of not knowing what lay within the gaping darkness terrified her. She flailed desperately upwards gasping for air as she emerged out of the waters. Her face paled as she took in her surroundings. No. Not again.
The hulking mass of a ship was already half submerged. Shouts could be heard with a maelstrom of emotions. Panic. Horror. Sorrow. Dozens of lifeboats were scattered across the waters, hurriedly drifting away. But they did not carry all. The heart-wrenching cries of grieving women and children as well as the desperate pleas of those still on deck clinging to the railings were proof of that.
The water beneath her formed and she now stood on it once again, but she didn’t notice. Dread clawing at her heart as she took in the scene in front of her. Yet she couldn’t look away as her nightmare haunted her once again.
She could almost see herself. A small toddler huddled into one of the lifeboats about to leave, staring in befuddlement at her parents. Uncomprehending of the tears in her mother’s eyes and her father’s ever-strong form faltering. Uncomprehending of the agonizing sorrow etched in them as they gave her a final embrace. Uncomprehending of her mother’s soft soothing voice wavering as she choked back tears while father finally broke and openly wept. No. Only as the lifeboat drifted away and she looked back to see her parents embracing one last time as they met their watery graves did, she finally comprehend. She was never seeing her mother and father again.
Elizabeth woke with a start, the memory still playing in her head. She couldn’t remember anything of that night, the doctors said it was due to trauma. And now she remembered. The tears that leaked from eyes and her wet sniffles developed into short gasps and then gut-wrenching sobs. For the first time in years she let the grief, the anger and the pain out; Weeping for the parents she lost, for the years wasted in sadness and anguish. Yet with the pain came an over-whelming relief because she finally knew. Knew that for all their faults her parents loved her and died for her. Their last goodbye a bittersweet memory. But at long last she knew what happened to her parents that fateful night. The night the Titanic sank.
By Sobia Ahmed