Jack was poor and Rose was rich, yet both were bound by such love that surmounted obstacles, making one of them pay the “ultimate price” of sacrificing his life for his lover…
Is that what comes to your mind when you hear the word “Titanic”? Well, as much as you believed it all your life, that story is just a Hollywood make-believe, a fiction based on one real event: the sinking of “The Most Famous Ship in History”, the RMS Titanic on Monday, April 15, 1912!
It is now exactly a century since that ship, which was said to be “unsinkable”, sank on its first voyage, however, I had a special relationship with that vessel. Recently, I wrote a letter to her:
By the Atlantic Ocean,
Akwa Ibom State,
April 15, 2012.
Though you sank in 1912, I started loving you when I was 12. That was when I saw your beautiful face and admired your charm, even when I only saw a photograph of you. So, you see, it was not just love at first sight, but you were my first love.
I had moved my fingers over your face, your bow and closed my eyes… I kept thinking of holding your hand, your anchor, leading you into the sea. Those may have been dreams but I still believed them, for like you, I was born on the coast of the Atlantic, a few days after April 15.
When I looked into your eyes in that picture, I could see the joy on the faces of those 2,200 who boarded you on that first voyage, that lone voyage. They were there for many reasons. many had travelled to make a new life in far-away lands, and others to make history… a hope that became a mystery.
Your large propellers are like fingers that could fit into mine, when (as I thought) we will stroll along the length of the warm Atlantic in a future that never came because you did not wait for me.
Proud Captain E. J. Smith was an old man that though tired, refused to retire. he wanted to break the world record with you, on that wild ride across the Atlantic. you should have turned him down and waited for me, but you did not. You betrayed my love!
From Southampton on April 10, you eloped with him. You only stopped in France and Ireland before he rode in a rage, en route New York City. He was warned, but he did not listen. From your bridge, he ordered that you be stretched to your limits.
The tale is everywhere here, tales of how you went into a drunken stupor after you tasted just a cube of cocktail ice…no, for kissing an iceberg. At that time, it was too late to save you, for it broke your heart, your hull into two. It made you drown in the sea… you sunk, you did not wait for me.
Had those contractors not supplied substandard rivets, even when Captain Smith embarked on his suicide mission with you, you would have stood on your feet and today we would have met. That is why, even when you sank a hundred years ago, I still believe that you were unsinkable…an unsinkable ship that unfortunately sank in its first voyage, that cursed voyage.
Some may think that I am out of my mind to say this, but I know you better than they do, for I have loved you. I kept dreaming of waking you up, of using your blueprint to wake you up as a Marine Engineer. I waited and waited for so long because I still believed that you were designed to be unsinkable, but Captain Smith murdered you.
I stopped dreaming of you when I read your diary. Why did you not tell me about “The Olympic”? Why did you lie to me about “The Britannic”? Why did you hide the truth in a history that is overshadowed by your tragedy? Why should I recreate you, why should I continue to love you when you were unfaithful, giving your heart to reckless Smith… a man whose ego killed 1,500 souls on that cursed day?
Today, the 15th of April, I stand by the coast of the Atlantic to say my last goodbyes. I came to tell you that I got married twelve days ago. We had courted for five years, walking the green fields of Use(h) Offot. Unlike you, her name may not ring a bell, but she is equally attractive and totally devoted to me. I got married to Mechanical Engineering.
So as I stand on this beach this Sunday, it will be the last time I would sing “Nearer to Thee” for you, the same way the 1,500 did when they went down with you. The more I will sing, the further you will go away from my heart. As I smell these red roses, as I light this candle, as I sail this paper boat in the Atlantic, the ocean on whose bed you are laid, I will pay my last salute, my last goodbye to you. For a hundred years, you have gone and my love for you has finally drowned.
I will fold this letter into the paper boat and hope that the turbulent Atlantic waves will sink it, and drag it down to the bottom of the sea to meet you.
O Titanic, black queen of the Atlantic, please find a place in your heart, your now corroded deck, to forgive me. For I had loved you this long, Pretty One, but I guess it’s time to say “goodbye Sweetheart!”
Samuel, E. A.
(I had loved the Titanic for so long and believed it was actually unsinkable even when it sunk on its maiden voyage. At first, I was only angry with Captain Smith whose quest for glory on his last duty before retirement made the ship strike an iceberg. Recent findings by researchers changed my mind and seemed to prove my strong belief that by design it was “unsinkable” but substandard rivets may have compromised it. Realising this may have been one of the reasons why I dumped Marine Engineering for Mechanical Engineering. Graduating 12 days before the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s sinking was even more proof that the loved I shared with the ship had indeed expired. I had to let go, to finally say goodbye to a ship I had loved since I was 12, a ship that sank in 1912!)
This article was first published in The Bearing, the magazine of the Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Uyo in 2012.
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