"So, how is the sea treating you," Patrick Crawley asked me as he pulled out my chair when I met him to dine.
I gave a small laugh. "It’s not been too dreadful," I replied. "Though I still don’t know how anyone convinced me to go with you. I mean no offense of course. I have always wanted to see New York. I have a bit of a soft spot for America."
"Yes. It’s the oddest thing. What draws you to it?"
"I’m not certain I know for sure."
"Oh, come now, you must have some idea," Patrick pressed.
"Well," I began, only to be stopped short as a deafening noise and jarring crash rattled the ship. Patrick and I exchanged a look. We both knew what the other was thinking without either of us needing say it. The ship was tilting. The Titanic was going down.
Not wasting a moment, we followed a panicked crowd out to the lifeboats. I kept him within my sights every second. He was my lifeline. I needed him if I was going to make it out of this alive. Lifeboat after lifeboat filled with women and children went down. I refused to board without Patrick. A foolish notion, perhaps, but I needed to be assured of his safety as well as my own.
It became harder and harder to find a lifeboat. At the rate the ship was going, we'd be lucky not to slip and splash into the freezing waters below. Seeing as our chances were dwindling, Patrick fiercely grabbed my hand. "We have to go," he said. "We can’t wait. We have to jump." I nodded, trusting him without a second thought. "On three." I nodded again.
"One." I breathed in deep as Patrick counted us off, preparing myself for the fall. "Two."
"Promise me you won’t let go of my hand," I said, before he could hit three. Now he was the one giving me a nod.
"Three." I squinted my eyes shut and we were flying. In the span of a few seconds, it seemed as if there were no bottom to reach, no water below us at all. We would stay perpetually falling through the sky for the rest of time. And then, the cold.
I had lost sight of Patrick the moment we hit the water. Our hands slipped apart with the force of the water against them, and the suddenness of the icy chill prevented me from calling out to him. I blinked my eyes furiously, my lashes heavy with water drops. Everything around me was blurred, distorted. Wreckage, other people, I could hardly tell the difference.
Once over the initial shock, I began to shiver. In the short while I had spent in the water, I could hardly feel any of my body. I was numb, floating there, not even completely able to feel my legs as I kicked them, swimming to some semblance of safety, no matter what form it came in. I kept scanning the area for Patrick, but he was nowhere to be found.
I grabbed hold of a large crate, floating gently by. It was enough to keep me up and mostly in one place. I tried once to cry out Patrick's name, but the shivers prevented my call from being anything more than a stuttered whisper. He was lost to me, and I could only hope he’d be okay.
The cold sank deeper into my bones. No feeling was left in my legs at all anymore. I even reached my hand down to check they were in fact still there. It seemed so surreal not to feel them. The longer I waited there in the water, the calmer I became. I fought to feel the panic from earlier, but it was drained from me entirely. I made one more slow, nearly effortless attempt to search out Patrick, but my heart was no longer in it. Between the darkness of the sea and the clouded night sky, the last thing I remember...was black.