THE DIARY OF MRS. TOMY RYAN
I got up early, having slept well. We were to arrive in Queenstown today. It was just our second day of sailing, and then we would be off to New York, meeting the iceberg on the way. I watched as the passengers were loaded from the ferry, and then made sure that I had lunch in the café, as that was where Mr. Andrews reportedly ate his afternoon meals. I sat near the table where Mr. Andrews was sitting. I wondered who would be joining them. A few minutes after I sat, Mrs. Brown joined them, followed by Rose and her party. I ordered a light lunch, and tried to listen to their conversation. I was happy to see Rose. I was not surprised when Rose got up and left. I excused myself and went out on deck. I looked down into the third class area and saw a group of three men. One seemed to be staring up at Rose, and I wondered who her admirer was. Before I could approach Rose to talk to her, Cal came out and they went back inside. Not being able to pursue a conversation with Rose, I went over to the stairway and let myself down. I approached the group of men, and thought of what I could say to them. "Hello."
At the sound of my voice, all three turned and looked at me. I looked from the blonde to the dark-haired Italian to another blonde, only this one with some streaks of red. My eyes stopped on him, and I noticed how handsome he was. "I…I was looking for my cousin, Katie Mannion. She was suppose to have boarded in Ireland today," I stammered out, unable to take my eyes off of him. He had classic Irish features, and I felt myself attracted to him.
"I haven’t heard of her, miss," he said.
"Katherine Steadwick, but please call me Katherine." I still could not seem to look at anyone else. I noticed the other two only vaguely. They seemed to be grinning.
"If you’d like, I could take you downstairs and help you look around," he said, standing up straighter and offering his hand to me.
"That would be very nice, Mister…"
"Tommy. Tommy Ryan."
"Thank you, Mr. Ryan." At his look, I changed it. "Tommy." As I said his name, it came out kind of breezy, like I had known him for years, and as more than just an acquaintance. I was shaking slightly as I took his hand and let him lead me into the bowels of the ship. Having not yet ventured into third class areas, I was surprised at how little decoration had been put into them. Tommy led me into a common room, which was filled with many people.
"If your cousin’s on this ship, she might be in here. Why aren’t ya travelin’ together?"
"I’ve never met her. I lived in England and she in Ireland."
"What made ya think she’s on this ship?"
"We received a letter." I felt horrible lying to this man. I knew we were in a room full of people, but he was all I could look at. I had never believed in love at first sight, but I could think of no other way to describe what I felt. It was more than mere attraction. There was something about this man that made me yearn to be with him.
I hoped that I was not making a fool out of myself, as it had to be obvious to everyone that I was smitten with him. I let him lead me over to a bench, and sat. I glanced up briefly, and noticed that all kinds of people were in this common room.
"Katherine, I know a few people I could ask about your cousin. Let me go see if I can find them. Wait here for me."
"Th-thank you." I watched him walk away and sat with my hands in my lap, trying to fit into the background. The people around me seemed to take no notice of me, and I took advantage of this to see how they interacted with each other. There were no stories of how the third class had spent their time on the ship. I would be able to go back with lots of information. I pulled out my lists, and saw that the name Tommy Ryan was not on the survivors’ list, that in fact he would die in three days. My heart seemed to stop. I took a deep breath, and tried not to let it affect me.
I glanced up and saw that he was returning. I smiled at him, while my thoughts were filled with despair. He was grinning slightly, and looked absolutely handsome.
"Well, it seems your cousin did not make it onto the ship. I could find no one who knew her," he said as he sat down next to me on the bench. I was staring into his eyes when I heard a laugh behind me. It was the two he had been out on deck with. They sat on the bench across from us, and so we turned to them. I got a closer look at them both. They were both nice enough looking men, but I had eyes only for Tommy.
"Aren’t you going to introduce us, Tommy?"
"Sure. Katherine, this is Jack and Fabrizio. I just met them out on deck."
"Hello," I said politely.
"Did you hear that there is going to be a party tonight? It will be in the dining room after dinner. What else is there to do on a ship in the middle of the ocean?" Jack asked.
"Well, what do you say, Katherine? Would you like to join me at this party?"
The way Tommy asked, I could tell he was hesitant, like he was thinking I’d say no. Part of me wanted to say yes, because of the opportunity to see more of third class, but my heart wanted me to say yes just to see him again. "Yes. Thank you for asking."
"You don’t have to thank a man for asking a pretty woman to a dance," Tommy said.
"If you’ll excuse me then, I think I’d like to freshen up. Would you be willing to walk me to my room?"
We got up, and I put my arm in Tommy’s. I gently led him to my stateroom, telling the stewards we saw that Tommy was a dear friend of mine. At the door to my stateroom, I said good-bye. Tommy looked like he wanted to say something, but instead he turned around and walked away. I entered my stateroom and got ready for a late nap.