Slowly, one by one, I watched as the life-boats lowered away. Even more slowly, the TITANIC began to tip, and the passengers started to worry. Thirty to forty minutes later it was far easier to find women and children who wanted to enter the boats. There was still the odd lady who went berserk or hysterical, but on the whole, filling the boats went a lot smoother. Albeit, they still weren’t filled to capacity, but at least they had most of the women and children on board. Everyone was finally beginning to realise that we might be sinking. Time seemed to be running out, the ship was clearly taking on water fast. I knew because the porthole down the side of the prow which I could see at 12:50, had disappeared far under the water. It was slowly dawning on me that we were, most certainly, sinking, and by the time the water was up to the nameplate, I panicked.
“Get on the bloody boat now!” I shouted to one young lady who didn’t want to leave without her fiancé. Surprisingly, my tactic worked, along with her fiancés assurance he would be fine. I was not so sure. I was also unsure whether he was lying, or if he was really, incredibly still oblivious to the seriousness of the situation. Regardless, he played his part well, and I watched as boat #16 was lowered with her in it. No sooner had it gotten lowered than I noticed a commotion, the passengers had begun to panic. I heard gunshots. What the hell was that! I thought as I rushed towards the noise. By now most of the boats were gone and the last rockets had been fired, and some passengers finally realised what was happening. Some cowards were even dressing up in women’s clothes so as to get into the boats! As I arrived at where I thought I heard gunshots, I saw it had to do with lifeboat number 1. After overhearing the commotion, I was led to believe that an officer had fired his gun to ward off the crowd pressing up against the rails by the boat. By around 1:30, order was breaking down, and there was nothing more a landlubber like me could do. No one needed to be convinced into the boats by now. In fact, it appeared that some Italians had been conspiring together to rush the boats. It was also clear to me that now, my final journey was approaching. I knew it would be impossible for me, a young man, to honourably get a spot in the lifeboats now. Besides, other people deserved my spot more than I did, there was no reason to live anyways. My business was going bankrupt, my mother and father were dead, and I had just said goodbye to my family in Poland. What better time to die than to die now? Now was my moment, I assured myself. I went down the grand stairway to the galley of the Al La- Carte Restaurant, the stairs were tilted and quite difficult to climb down, on account of the angle. This was my final journey into the depths of the ship, perhaps my final journey…ever. I rummaged around and grabbed a few pastries, but wait, who else was down here? I glanced around the corner and saw my friend William, half drunk rummaging around as well, I inquired whether he wanted to have his final snack with me.
“Sure!” he gaily agreed as we both brought our sweets and delicious treats to the table. He, struggling to walk properly on the deck, nearly spilt his brandy all over himself, and would have, had I not helped him to his chair. I decided to put the plate on my lap where I could balance it, (I didn’t want my food sliding off). After eating quickly and nervously, I checked my watch, if I was going to die I wanted to know roughly what time I would die at. It was 1:48. I gave myself a good 20 mins.
“What do you think it’s like to die?” I asked William.
He replied slowly, drunkenly, “Well, it’s quite painful to others. I am beginning to wonder if dying is really worth all the trouble….” What did that mean? Did we even have a choice of whether or not to go through ‘all the trouble?’ I had no reason to live, but I never really thought about dying as ‘trouble’ or as painful either. No sooner had I thought these thoughts when William continued in a slurred mutter, “What does it matter? Dying. Most of us are dead anyway, only difference is some are breathing and some aren’t. Most people don’t die naturally, they kill themselves, their hopes and dreams too soon. I have lived my whole life, done my hard work! Only to watch my kids– young, promising souls, vanish from my hands! My life’s efforts, wasted….” He then, angrily, despairingly cried out, “Is it even worth living, if everyone kills themselves inside, before their time is up? Why did I have to work and slave?! When death should have been my peace like it was others! I would have been wiser to give up sooner. I thought I was being brave by living… perhaps… but who was I to be brave when others were not? Rather than living and watch as slowly… pieces of me, the loves of my life died. I should have given up long ago. What does life matter, if no one cares for your efforts, your love? Life is pain, death is peace… I just wish people would have trusted me, and fought on longer… but no, I had to take on the cold world alone. Death is for cowards… but is it really if life’s accomplishments and dreams vanish because of selfishness. Death… what does it really matter if I die today or tomorrow?” Somehow this drunken man struck me. His words reminded me of how my mom and dad had loved me. I remembered their caring, how much they slaved for me. Was I just taking the easy way out? Was I the coward he was talking about? Was I killing myself, my dreams, too soon… like Williams’ children had done? Was I ignoring others love for me? Yes, I was letting down all those who ever cared and gave me their time, their effort. I was not only killing myself, I was being selfish and killing others dreams as well. Now I saw the true pain of giving up, it’s not death itself that’s the pain, it’s the desire to be selfish, the killing of not only yourself and your dreams, but everyone else’s love for you. Ah, the trouble with dying… you have the weight of the world on you…but no matter what, you must not let go. The only reason life is worth living is to be courageous and love, along with the rest of humanity. Dying before a fight, giving up, is not love.
“I must fight on”, I whispered as I got up from the table. I realized I was shaking, not from fear, but from shock. “William come on! We at least have to try!” I urged, but he would not listen. Time was almost out, the lights from the insanely angled chandeliers were flickering. Then I saw it…WATER IN THE RESTAURANT! It was already a foot high at the end. At that moment, to my surprise, up from the hold came a swarm of steerage passengers on the grand staircase. They were struggling to climb up the stairs. I, attempting to help, decided to provide some order and went to assist them. I took my final look at that intricate clock. I can’t remember what time it was, but it was after 2:00. It was even harder now to adjust to the stairs, and to make matters worse, the water could be seen rising just a few feet below us. We were desperate now, and our adrenaline more than helped as we surged frantically up the steps just in front of the torrent of water. I turned back to see if William had come, no…he had made his choice. It was every man for himself, no one could save us but God. To my utter disappointment no sooner had we arrived on deck when we realised that there were no lifeboats left. However, even more disheartening was that there were still WOMEN AND CHILDREN on the deck!
“Why aren’t they in the d*mb lifeboats!” I screamed at a frightened seaman.
“I… I don’t know how they got here!!! Get out of my way!” was his panicked reply as he ran down deck. I presumed he was going to help with the collapsibles which were still tied to the roof of the ship… but to my astonishment he jumped into the sea! He was abandoning ship to swim for one of the more recently left boats. There was no more time to gawk, I ran to a few Swedish steerage ladies and in my best Polish tried to explain that they had to get into one of the collapsibles. To my dismay they didn`t understand…. I haplessly motioned to them to follow me, and finally resorted to taking one by the hand down the deck, the others followed. Collapsible A was ready, and it was floated off the deck with the two Swedish ladies and a few young men. I tried to climb aboard, but the people all around were crowding the boat, it was getting swamped with water. After some panic, I chose to sacrifice my spot for the sake of keeping the boat afloat longer… and as a result, over the edge I plunged, into the icy depth’s.