Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Lady That Scares Me Most...

by Jena Galifany

She was the most beautiful lady ever to sail the ocean. She had class from the top of her four stacks, down to her engine rooms. She was strong. Absolutely immune to disaster. She couldn't be harmed. She couldn't be damaged. She was advertised: "God himself can not sink this ship!" Yet on the night of April 15, 1912, the great lady was mortally stuck but an ice burg, and her beauty slipped into the black depths in less than two hours, taking hundreds of lives with her.

Just because I'm writing about her, I will not be able to go to sleep tonight with much ease. You see, when I was a teen, I was obsessed by the R.M.S. Titanic. I watched A Night to Remember with Barbara Stanwick and a very young Robert Wagner. I've read everything there is to read about her. I ordered the Ship Builders magazine from 1911 through my library to read how the engines were built and dragged through the street by horses to the ship yard where she was being assembled. I knew how many were on board. I knew how many lost their lives. I knew what happened that night as it was remembered by the survivors.

My loving sister bought me a book titled, "Loss of the S.S.Titanic" written by Lawrence Beesley, a survivor, and published in June of 1912, two months after her loss. it has magnificent photographs of the decks, the gym, and the grand staircase. It has a stunning photograph of her sitting at the dock and a regal photograph of Capt. Smith. This book is in mint condition and will remain so since I have difficulty opening the cover. My daughter helped me to take the photos included here and the book has been returned to it's place of honor on my bookshelf.

Centerfold from "The Loss of the SS Titanic by Lawrence Beesley
Somewhere in the years since she was found, I've developed a fear of her. The sound of a ship's horn freezes me in my tracks. I can't help think what it felt like to be on deck that night. I can close my eyes and see the tilting deck, the lights that are already below the waterline and it fills me with  horror. Yes, I feel the fear even now as I write. I was angry when they brought up things from her. To me, it was grave robbing. There were still people alive that lost loved ones there. I felt it should be left alone, a memorial to those who lost their lives. I still feel strongly about that.

I never saw the DeCaprio film and never will. I understand the movie industry did a fantastic job of the movie but I can not face seeing it. I saw a commercial when it first came out and had to sleep with my lights on for three nights. Sometimes, it is a curse to have such a vivid imagination.

"Her Perfect Man", an historical romance, is set in Southhampton, England. It begins in 1907 and ends, well, I think you can figure that one out. I'll leave you with an excerpt from the book. I'll be watching comedies all night until I fall asleep, until the Lady decides to return to the corner of my mind where I keep the things that scare me the most. Enjoy!


Something made Anna stop. Her hand closed tightly on a gown. It was dark blue satin, shiny and cool with a sheer veiling of silvery blue lace. It was heavy in her hands. She could not turn away as the color drew her in. She shivered with a sudden cold, and clutched the material.
A biting wind slapped her face, as if she moved forward at great speed through frozen air.
The gown came loose.
A cold, wet fog surrounded her. The floor tilted at an alarming angle. Anna slid downward with nothing to hold on to.
As she melted into the surrounding darkness, an icy cold washed over her face. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't hear what was happening around her.
Where had Mrs. Trent gone? Anna tried to call out but could not. Chase? Where was he?
Fear gripped Anna as she tried to free herself from the waves that clung to her face, cold and frighteningly alive. Suddenly the scream of a foghorn sounded.
Bright lights popped overhead. The sound of twisting metal creaked, tearing, as if in the distance. Voices cried out. Hundreds of voices. Silence.
As quickly as it came, it was gone. Mrs. Trent and Mrs. Marlow looked down at Anna.
"What on earth are you doing down there, Anna?" She could hear the embarrassment in Mrs. Trent’s voice. "Are you all right, dear?" Mrs. Trent lifted the gown from her, and straightened the material as Anna struggled to her feet.
"I don't know what happened." She didn’t understand what she'd experienced but felt she should apologize. "I felt very cold, like fog on my face. It was very—strange." She tried to explain as she kept an eye on the gown Mrs. Trent handed to Mrs. Marlow.
Mrs. Trent smiled at the shop owner. "You probably see nervous brides every day, don't you, Mrs. Marlow?"
"Of course, of course," Mrs. Marlow agreed as she handed the gown to her assistant. "There is no more important day in a young lady's life than her wedding day. It is difficult to make everything come together perfectly and," she placed a reassuring arm around Anna, and led her to the bridal area, "it is your day, isn't it? You want to have everything exactly as you have always dreamed it would be, yes?"
"Uh—yes, ma'am." As if anything would be what she wanted it to be. 



Barbara Edwards said...

Interesting excerpt. Adding this to my to be read pile.
Maybe your fear comes from being a reincarnated spirit from one of the victims on the Titanic.

Jannine Gallant said...

What a cool, old book. I can see why you want to keep it pristine. Yep, the movie can be very disturbing if you let it get to you. Nice excerpt!

JenaGalifany said...

Barbara - I used to think that until I found that the Bible says "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" so I don't think so. I just have a vivid imagination that aids me well with my writing. Thank you for adding my book to your list. I hope you enjoy it.

Jannine - The book is one of my prized possessions, not only because of the content, but because my sister bought it for me. The information in it is no longer accurate, since they found the Lady broke in two, but it was what Mr. Beeseley saw from his vantage point in the lifeboat.

Thank you, Ladies, for your comments.


Margo Hoornstra said...

Jena, Late arriving here. Excellent excerpt. On my TBR pile too. Cherish the eye witness account you have.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Jena, Late arriving here. Excellent excerpt. On my TBR pile too. Cherish the eye witness account you have.

JenaGalifany said...

Margo - I cherish it for many reasons. Thank you for your interest in Her Perfect Man. I hope you enjoy it.


Alicia Dean said...

Oh fascinating! It is so cool that you have that book. What a treasure. Now I'll have to read Her Perfect Man. I love that the 'you know what' is incorporated. Titanic is an awesome're missing out! :-)

Leah St. James said...

Great premise, Jena!