Robert W. Daniel: A Titanic Survivor

I looked over the rail and down at the dark ocean. The waves looked even more menacing now, as if a monster lay in its depths.

I shuddered at the thought, and returned my attention to the groggy, confused crowd I was in the midst of.

Was it just hours before that I was having dinner with The Smiths? Was it just minutes ago that I was told 'The Unsinkable Ship' was sinking?

I felt numb, yet frightened all at the same time. Was I dreaming? I pinched myself, already knowing the outcome. I was still here, shuffling along with everyone else.

I knew that almost every 1st class passenger was being led out to the lifeboats, so I felt at ease knowing that The Smiths were somewhere among the crowd.

Soon we were herded in a line. "Women and children first!" one of the men in uniform cried. He helped the passengers onto the lifeboat.

I looked around at the other boats, would there be enough for the all the passengers?

A lifeboat dropped and was followed by a splash.

They began filling another boat.

"Please, back up." One man instructed, as he orderly led passengers onto the boat.

The crowd followed the orders.

The crowd reminded me of a herd of sheep. They all seemed tense and they nervously murmured to the person next to them as the shuffled in place anxiously.

Another boat dropped into the cold sea below. We were led to another boat.

"Single file, single file, one at a time!" A man ordered, trying to keep his voice steady. Though it was clear, by the look on his face, he was scared. This didn't help the rising feeling of dread that I felt.

I looked down at the water again. What about 2nd class? Third? What about the crew men working in the depths of the ship? Was there any hope for them? Would they be rescued also?

A pair of hands grabbed me and pushed me into the lifeboat. Startled, I scrambled onto a seat.

The man finished pushing the last of us into the boat and he yelled, "It's full! Next!"

All of a sudden the boat dropped into the ocean, catching me off guard. A tiny drop of water landed on my arm. The water was frigid.

"Let's row, all together now!" A man in uniform yelled.

I grabbed an oar and began to row.

It wasn't long before the man told us to stop, we and other boats were in a cluster, and others joined us.

A small, stiff voice piped up, "Robert?" I turned around to see it was Mrs. Smith behind me.

But I didn't see Mr. Smith.

"Where is Mr. Smith?" I asked searching our boat for the familiar face.

"He said he was going back to inform other passengers about the iceberg. He said he would get on a lifeboat after." Her voice was now shaky, her face showing the worry that I was now feeling.

We both looked around at the surrounding lifeboats and the last one that was just now joining us.

No Mr. Smith.

I spun around to where I was facing The Titanic. It was now halfway in the water, almost sticking straight up, and its lights blinking. The power was failing.

"Oh no." Mrs. Smith whispered. She then buried her face in her hands and began to sob.

I was glad she wasn't looking, because just then, The Titanic's lights went out. Now it was just a dark mound in the night.

I felt a tear roll down my cheek as well.

"From what I heard, The Carpathia is on its way." A man from another boat said, peering out into the darkness.

On another boat, a woman was in hysterics. "My husband, my husband!" she wailed. A group of women were trying to console her with quiet whispers.

I looked back at Mrs. Smith who was still weeping.

I didn't even know if we would survive. It could take a long time before The Carpathia came.

I felt anger and shame towards myself. I did not even think to go rescue the others. Even if I did, would I be too much of a coward to do so? Or would I risk my life just like Mr. Smith?

It was absolutely silent now except for muffled weeping and the waves that splashed against the lifeboats.

We all sat silently and still, watching The Unsinkable Ship disappear beneath the ocean.