Weary and tired after visiting the steel mill, Caledon Hockley slumped on the bench. His wife, Isabella, sat next to him, watching their two children play in the park. It had become a sort of ritual for the husbands to come to the park at least once a week; a sort of play put on for everyone else to show the bond he and his wife held.
The gossip of the women abruptly stopped as the daily routine was broken. Someone new, someone entirely alien, had entered their sacred park. The woman entered the park with a graceful air. Her dress was black, holding little embroidery, and a dark hat was pulled low, sending a dark shadow over her face so that she was unrecognizable. To both hands hung two children. One was a tiny little girl with eerily beautiful hair and large, sparkling eyes. On the other was a boy, younger than the other child by about two years. He was still a toddler, and jumped at the sight of all the other children gathered in the park. The woman motioned for her children to go play, and they eagerly scampered off. She herself sat on an empty bench, oblivious to all the eyes firing into her very flesh. Finally, the hat was lifted from her head, and a silent gasp went through the curious onlookers.
Rose DeWitt Bukater, in all her dark glory, sat on the very bench so close to them. Her beauty was breathtaking, though no one had ever dared to admit it. And now, after becoming a legend only whispered among housemaids and butlers, she seemed to be an unearthly goddess. Her hair was an unnatural red, derived only from the color of blood and the fires of the underworld. It hung in impossibly smooth, glossy strands to between her shoulder and elbow. Her ivory skin basked in the fading embers of the dying sun, and her eyes, shades of blue and green and gray, finally fell upon the husbands and wives unable to tear their gazes from her.
Finally, a particularly forward wife moved her stealthy eyes to Roseís ring finger. Upon it lay no gold band. This woman, the mother of two children, had no husband. Yet who was she mourning in her somber expression?
Cal had not been able to take his mind off of Rose. All those years...his mind broke off. The unanswered questions that had been churning though him nonstop for this entire week were unbearable. He remembered how innocent and sad she had looked that day in the park. She had kindly smiled at the rude onlookers, but they had all abruptly turned away, not knowing how to respond.
Presently, she had called her children to her in a gentle, bell-like voice and left. And that was the moment that his world had stopped. He could not go on without knowing every single thing that he wanted to know about Rose. His feelings raced through every inch of his body, and there was nothing that he could do. Curiously enough, his actions did not reflect a single thing that his mind, heart, and soul felt. He had no control over the fact that he went about his daily routine, even going back to the park. But she never left him.
He was working alone in his office one day when a soft knock was heard at his very door. Regrettably, he walked up and opened it.
Cal had lost the ability to breath. Panicked, he tried to remind his lungs how to work, but his mind could not remember a time when he had breathed properly.
Roseís soft hand grasped his arm and she asked, "Are you okay?"
As his organs were jostled awake, he managed to choke, "Yes."
She laughed, not realizing the torment she was putting him through with her presence. "Whatís the matter?"
"Y-youíre not really here. You canít be."
"But I am."
"I love you."