Mrs. Herceforth called yesterday, and as usual, provided a stimulating and amusing time of chatter. At one point, she mentioned the dinner party she hosted last week. Tom and I were not able to attend, and she said that although she missed our presence, it nevertheless gave her guests plenty of time to discuss Tom’s prospects in a run for city council.
I reminded her that Tom has no desire for public office, but she only shook her head at me. It seems that the public (or a few influential members of it) is clamoring for his service. Mrs. Herceforth gave me the impression that Tom may not have a lot of choice in the matter.
I mentioned it to Tom last night. He just sighed, the kind of sigh that says, “I don’t bloody have time to serve in public office, there are too many ships that need building.” Of course, Tom would never say “bloody” – but if he ever allowed himself to say it, he would have used it last night.
What he DID say, was that he hoped to simply ignore them until Titanic was finished and he had returned from her maiden voyage. He would deal with them then.
He said it just like that – the casual statement of a busy man who automatically prioritizes the demands on his time and gives no more thought to them. And as has been happening so often lately, his innocent statement felt like a punch to my stomach.
He talks as if he has no knowledge of the future, no idea of what will happen on that voyage. As if, of course he’ll go on the voyage in April, and will be back in six weeks and life will continue as it always has.
Why does he do this? I live in dread of every day that brings us closer to April 14, but he just goes on as if it means nothing. Sometimes I think he doesn’t really understand. I know he believes us – he’s done so much to make the ship stronger than she was in our timeline. I guess he thinks that’s enough. That even if they hit the iceberg, the ship will float long enough for rescue to get there, and they’ll have enough lifeboats anyway. That’s what he and Sam have tried to do, after all.
I will never be able to relax about it. I don’t care what they’ve changed, Tom could still die. And when he says things like he did last night, I feel that he’s not taking it seriously enough. He’s so busy, that if I bring it up, I feel like I’m nagging him. No – I feel like he thinks I’m nagging him.
Oh bother. When I read back through this, I can see that I must be very difficult to live with these days. I really try to put on a brave face. But I keep seeing the scenes from that movie. It doesn’t show how Tom dies. No one knows exactly – the last anyone saw him was either in the first-class smoking room, or on deck, throwing chairs and doors to people in the water.
But I see him. I see him die a hundred different ways in my dreams. And I can’t let it go. I can’t stop these thoughts, and my every attempt at bravado falls flat.
If we can travel back through time… why can’t we stop it, too?