Mary clutched to the nondescript item that was keeping her afloat. She glanced around, seeing nothing. It struck her that it was so black and so cold; the ship had been the only source of warmth and light out here.
The cold seemed to penetrate directly to Mary's bones. She had never known anything so cold. While at first her fear had been drowning, her fear now was that the night would steal the heat from her body.
Screams had been erupting all around her. Mary added her own wretched shriek to the din, though it did no help. Her mind went back to where she had been a mere four and a half days previous . . .
" . . . and remember to be safe. I don't want my Mary getting hurt!"
Mary wiped the tears from her mother's eyes. "I will be fine. It's you I worry about. How can you take care of the rest of the children without me?" Though Mary was ecstatic about attending an art school in America, doubts plagued her mind. Her mother needed her here at home.
"Don't you think like that," her mother scolded. "This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Go and make me proud, my little Mary."
Now wiping tears from her own eyes, Mary turned away to meet her Aunt Ellen and head off to America.
Aunt Ellen looked her over. "Are you the sweet girl who sent us this picture?" she held up a painting of a garden that Mary had sent Aunt Ellen and Uncle George as a gift over a year ago.
Mary nodded shyly, tightly clutching the rest of her paintings under her arm.
Aunt Ellen smiled warmly. "You'll be a famous artist one day. But first, we have to dress you so you look like you belong in first class."
A few hours and many stores later, Mary held a brand new suitcase, filled with four brand new gowns. Aunt Ellen and Uncle George were very rich; that is how they were able to pay for art school for Mary.
Mary struggled to keep up as Aunt Ellen strolled causally up the street, chattering happily.
"You are going to love being on a ship, with the ocean all around you. It feels like you are simply flying over the ocean, with wings and all. And here it is!"
Turning the last corner of the street, Aunt Ellen and Mary stopped side by side. Ellen was stunned speechless. Nothing could be that big. She couldn't believe she was going to be on it soon.
"The Titanic," Aunt Ellen said fondly.