NEW YORK, USA,
19th of April 1912.
My dearest Alec,
In the Carpathia, it seemed that the days went by in a flash. Losing Henri was the hardest thing to accept, but I did not lose hope in finding you. Still feeling hollow inside, I went out of the ward and headed to anyone who wore uniforms and desperately asked if you had survived.
The men from Titanic who were holding clipboards checked the passenger and crew list. They shook their heads at me and told me that they were sorry for my loss.
My body started to tremble, my palms have become sweaty, my heartbeat was rapid, my head felt light, and I felt as if there was a lump; stuck in my throat that I wanted to vomit. The steward’s voice became distant until I could not hear anything.
Forgive me, my love, even if I wanted to grieve, there were no more tears left to cry, just this pit in my stomach. I lost the will to move, and I felt heavy. I lost my appetite. I just feel nothing anymore.
Carpathia dropped off the lifeboats at Pier 59 that belonged to White Star Line. The passengers and survivors, we set foot on Pier 54 by 9:30 PM. A thousand faces of concerned relatives, friends and curious expressions of the reporters were waiting. I felt like a lifeless body, protectively wrapped by Ms Abram’s arm around me as we passed by reporters. Some recognized me, shouting:
‘Lady Charmonte! Heiress of the DelaCour Mining Co.! May we have your statement?!’ and then another, ‘Ms Charmonte! Ms Charmonte! Tell us what happened!’
The tragedy that swallowed upon us tormented me as it flashed in my memory. I wanted to cry and just lie down peacefully, on a bed, on the pavement; I did not care where. All I wanted was to be alone.
When I saw my Aunt Celeste, she threw her arms around me and said she thought she had lost me too. I saw a woman trailing behind her, eyes blotchy from crying. It was Aunt’s daughter. When Aunt let go of me, she told me that her son, the man I was about to marry, was also in Titanic. Her daughter, still eyeing the ground out of sadness, told me that she did not see him in Carpathia, and when she asked his name on the passenger list, Mr Sinclaire’s name was not written and crossed. He was not in one of the lifeboats. I gave them my sincerest condolences.
Aunt stretched her neck in search of Henri, but I shook my head, unable to release any more tears. She hugged me tightly, and I could feel her shuddering. I breathed in deeply. She had loved Henri as her own son too. We both mourned for those people we loved and lost.
After Henri told me that Mr Charles Sinclaire is my betrothed, made to wed because of our parents’ arrangement, I had my doubts, and I was planning to end the engagement before it gets out in the world. I have this feeling in my bones that I could not take the fact that you are never going to be mine if I got married to Mr Sinclaire.
Sure, I have heard stories about him, from father and Aunt, that he was kind, generous and, as his sister added, mischievous. It pains me that he sorts of reminded me of you. You two might have gotten along well.
Aunt said that whenever I was with father and Henri to visit their estate, Mr Sinclaire and his sister were in boarding school. Perhaps, Aunt kept talking about him because it was her only way of getting by. I could only imagine how hurt she must be feeling about losing a child.
We rode in silence as we went to The Eastridge, but Aunt broke it. She asked, ‘So, who is this, Mr Sanders?’ she smiled through the dreary state she was feeling.
As if a bolt of lightning struck me, I became frozen by the mention of his name. Jane looked at me and held me close as if I was a glass going to shatter. The only thing that caught me was the sister’s reaction.
She now looked at me, and now that I could observe how much she looked a lot like Uncle Robert, but her eyes are like Auntie’s. Her mouth dropped. But before she could say anything, the motor car came to a halt, and the valet opened the door.
Once we were inside their mansion, the sister pulled me into the family room. She stared at me with a painful expression. It was starting to scare me. She then gestured her hand to their family portrait. I looked up to see Uncle’s kind smiling face, Aunt’s slightly snob smirk, the sister’s holding a fan, and in the middle —
It was you, Alec.
I dropped on the floor and broke down crying, burying my face in my hands. Your sister, Victoire, kneeled before me and wrapped me in her embrace.
Aunt Celeste came running with Ms Abram and Jane.
‘What is it, Sierra? Are you all right?’ asked Aunt urgently. Her voice was ready to cry but hid it.
I heard Jane gasped in surprise. I took that she, too, had seen the portrait. Aunt Celeste was confused, so Ms Abram explained to her who Mr Sanders was. Aunt sat on the sofa and held her chest as tears ran down her face.
At that particular moment, all I wanted was to cry. The guilt, the love, the anger, the sadness, all of my emotions came rushing in, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I thought I was about to crumble away like a piece of parchment I discard every time I was not satisfied with a sketch I made or explode because of the overwhelming sensation I have in my heart.
Oh, my love. We had no idea that you and I, we are betrothed to each other. If you were still here, we might be laughing our hearts out, but this revelation was too much for me to handle. Aunt led me to my quarters, and here I am, as tears fell once again from my tired eyes, now writing to you.
Alec Sanders, or yet, better known by everyone as Charles Alexander Sinclaire, you do really have absurd humour. I know now why you told me your name was Alec Sanders. Victoire explained it to me. I recall you tell each other everything. Uncle Robert caught you playing as a commoner when you were younger. He suggested that you should be called Alec Sanders, so even if you were playing to be someone else, it is still basically you.
I know now why you looked lost but happy at the same time that night we first met. Oh, Alec, whatever your actual name was, you were true right to me. I hate that everywhere I look, I see you.
I never even told you how much you changed my life or that I was wholly in love with you. You are the love of my life, Alec. Even though you are now a twinkling star or planet, our love was beautiful, mesmerizing. But in a blink of an eye, like a shooting star, quickly as it left a bright trail— it is gone. But like the planet Mercury we saw that night, glaring its shine upon us, my love for you will always be as close as can be seen by the naked eye.