Disclaimer...if I owned Mary Poppins I wouldn't have this under fanfiction now would I?
Sometimes it seems like Ive known her forever. Known every little quirk and trait that makes her who she is. Knew her as a child I did
can even go so far as to claim I grew up alongside of her. Prim and proper she was, even then while the rest of the world remained in organised dusty chaos. I watched her grow as she in turn watched me, each as different as could be and yet somehow, as close as could be. Even then both of us knew that she was different. It was hard not to see it and I think she knew that her calling was not going to be what everyone was expecting. Back then, her future was to be marriage and children. She had the children all right but none of them were hers
and never for very long.
We grew up side by side. Me, the strange, quirky boy who could turn my hand to almost anything but rarely had the patience to stick with any one task for very long; and she with all the patience of a saint and the odd bewitching charms that surpassed even the most beautiful of women. She could not only charm the socks off a man, but charm them to wash, dry and fold themselves neatly into a drawer
and I watched her do it frequently! I sometimes wonder if she knew then what she was destined to do. Whether she knew then that she would become the Perfect Nanny. Anyone who heard us talking would have been amazed or startled for our subjects were strange. If I complained about having to do a chore she would march me straight home and make me do it if I hadnt already. Somehow, with her right there with me the chore would seem like a game and get done twice as fast. Of course, we spoke of the normal childish things. I would constantly speak of my future, of the great and magnificent deeds I would perform. It was never the same goal twice for I could never make up my mind. One day I longed to be a musician, the next I wanted to be a chimney sweep. And then there was Mary. She would sit and listen to me, taking in the world around her while she listened to my fantastical tales of when we were all grown up. Never once did she actually contribute to those conversations and when I asked she would simply answer with a vague, Ask me later. And yet I will never forget the day when I decided to become an artist.
The details of the beginning and end of the day are insignificant. I know she would disagree with that but she is the centre of my story and therefore I need to concentrate on those moments when she was with me. Everything else just seems to fade into the background when I try and recall that day. But I know that, as the author of this tale, I somehow need to set up the scene so just hang on tight while I try. I am not the natural born story teller that Mary is, but I will do the best I can to imitate what I knew and felt that Sunday afternoon.
I remember having a piece of chalk with me that afternoon. I cant remember how I got it but somehow I had found it on the way to the Park. Maybe it was lying in the middle of the street or I had located it while waiting for Mary to join me. I dont know. But I know I had it with me. I was playing with it too, drawing on one of the paving stones that made up the pavement just outside the Park entrance just enjoying the way it felt in my hand and the way the broad white lines appeared whenever I pressed it against the stone. She was with me that day too, sitting primly next to me, quietly observing my motions but somehow managing to stay out of my light and out of the way of the families drifting in, out and past the Park. They paid us no heed. Who does pay attention to two children sitting on the pavement? Her skirts were bundled under her as she tried (very well I hasten to add) to keep her dress clean among the dust and dirt of the London pavements. It was quite a pretty day, with a blue sky overhead and a warm, gentle breeze making the leaves of the tree within the Parks walls tremble in anticipation. That same breeze would pick up a few days later, helping to fuel an interest for both of us. I would start to learn to fly kites and, years later, to make them. Mary on the other hand would simply learn to fly. But that is another story entirely and one I do not wish to tell just yet.
As I completed the picture, signing my name with a bit of a flourish (the result of Marys constant and patient teaching), I glanced up to catch the eye of my friend, full of pride at my achievement. But she was not watching me. Instead, her focus had left my wonderful work of art (well, at the time it was) and was watching a family that was just coming out of the Park. I was surprised I had not heard them before this for two of them were almost screaming at each other. The father was red in the face, a cane gripped firmly in his hand, bowler hat straight on his head. The mother had their kid by the hand, struggling to restrain his wild motions and trying to get him to walk properly instead of merely kicking or dragging his feet along the ground as he walked. The poor woman was nearly in tears, her stylish dress looking a little wrinkled and a few locks of hair falling around her face they escaped her hat pins, her face red from exertion and not just a little sweaty. She kept glancing at her husband, before glancing back at her son, silently pleading for help with the exuberant boy. And he, straight and stiff as a poker responded to her pleas by shouting orders at both mother and child in the no nonsense tone of an Army major, though his crisp suit, bowler hat and general dress sense suggested he was otherwise.
We watched the strained family unit pass us by, the father marching purposefully forward, stressed wife struggling to keep pace with a sulky kid who clearly wanted nothing more than to go back to the Park, his feet dragging, churning up dust as he did so
straight through my beautiful picture. Mary and I scrabbled backwards, trying to get out of the way of his large, heavy looking boots. He didnt even look down. To him, we were not worth his notice even though Mary was probably from the same social rank as he. The dust from the pavement and the chalked picture cascading onto my face and Marys otherwise spotless dress. I waited until all three had turned the corner before hauling myself to my feet and giving myself the chance to rant.
You alright? I asked Mary, pulling her to her feet. She nodded. I stared after the bratty kid who had passed us. Did you see that? He completely ignored us! It was like we didnt exist! What was that about?
I saw it. And I do not know why he did that, she replied thoughtfully, dusting off her skirt briskly as she stood beside me.
Kid was a complete brat, I answered bitterly, searching for my cap among the settling dust. I spotted it close to my feet and picked it up, jamming it onto my head in frustration.
True. What on earth makes a child act that way? She reached across to straighten my collar as usual and I lightly batted her hands away
Who knows? Some kids just want the attention. I lightly brushed off my shirt.
How so? Are you planning to take that chalk with you? She pointed to a small object by her feet.
I picked up the offending article, putting it into my pocket as I considered what made kids brats while there were plenty who werent.
They think screamin or misbehavin will make their parents spend more time with em. Cos when they behave they're ignored, I answered dismissively.
But should the parents not do something about it? she asked in earnest, dark eyes searching my face anxiously for the answers.
I thought back to the family I had seen earlier. Nah. Not that one. Parents arent the ones bringin em up.
What do you mean? Here, hold still a moment. Pulling a handkerchief from her coat pocket, she reached for my face, holding my chin firmly as she started to clean off something. Well?
Well what? She didnt answer, leaving it up to me to remember what had been asked. That family! Oh right. Well, the way they were dressed for one. Really fancy clothes. Bet you anything they ad a governess or nanny to look after Master Pain-in-the
BERT! she interrupted, shocked.
More than likely today was a rare outin or the nannys day off, I completed, a little sheepish as she glared at me.
She pocketed the handkerchief. The problem was not just in the child. It was the parents as well. Everythings all tangled up.
And Ill bet you wanna be the one to untangle it, I nudged her playfully, waiting for either a blush or a protest to appear from her. Neither came.
You cant be thinkin of bein a Nanny! I responded astonished, and not just a little bit horrified. Kids ate em and when you think youre finished bringin up one kid, they always have another! Besides, once the kids are grown up youve got to find another family to take you in and not all of em are nice friendly people!
Oh, dont worry. I wouldnt remain in one place forever. Just as long as Im needed and I have had the chance to teach them all some valuable lessons. Sometimes, you just have to change the children to transform the family itself. Once they have been taught all I need to teach them
I will move on.
Old on, old on! You telling me you plan on flittin from ouse to ouse to all those families who need it? Ow you gonna know who needs you?
I dont know. Somehow I will.
And ow do you intend to get to all these places?
I dont know.
But I will figure it out somehow. I cannot be the way I am for no reason. There must be some way I can use my particular
talents to change things for the better.
ow can you change the world? Its not possible!
Things that seem impossible can become certain you know. Anything can happen!
I sat there, dismayed. My best friend was planning her entire life and none of it involved me. She was dreaming the impossible and I was to be left behind in her tales.
I ventured, hesitantly.
Yes? she queried, watching me carefully.
What am I supposed to do while youre off elping the worlds kids? I demanded, outraged that she was going to leave me all alone.
She blinked at me, surprised that I even had to ask. Why
help me of course! What else? She glanced at the sky critically before grabbing my hand. Come along. We have to get home. Its getting late. Spit spot!
We continued to grow up, for nothing can stop that, but this time we grew with a fierce purpose to our lives. I watched as Mary learned to fly the kites I made, somehow learning about air currents and how to manipulate the air currents to travel the direction you want. I saw her made a statue wave just by smiling to it. The years passed and we learned to see beyond what we knew, met interesting and exciting people like Mrs Corry who could sell words and conversations the way others sold sweets. I continued to flit from task to task, never settling on the one skill for I somehow knew that Mary would need someone who could be anywhere, doing anything at any time. I perfected my artwork, discovered music and began creating kites. And she
she was in training, learning to perfect her skills, all the while becoming practically perfect in every way.
She came to me that first day, the day she was to leave. I was adjusting a kite string, building up my stock for the next windy day when she came to see me. I glanced up at her when her shadow fell on the kite but my face fell when I spotted the bag in her hand. I stood, dumbfounded. I knew she would leave
but I hadnt expected it to happen so soon. She smiled tightly, unshed tears in her eyes. Neither of us spoke a word. I dont think we could if we tried. She reached for my face, planting a gentle kiss on the cheek softly murmuring Au revoir, as she pulled away. I wanted to stop her and I think she knew it. But this was her dream, her ambition and I had to let her go. So, carefully, I reached for her hand and before she had the chance to pull away, pressed my lips to her fingertips. She smiled and I squeezed her hand before letting it go and watching her turn away.
Wait! I called and to her credit she paused, looking back to see me panting after her. Take this, I pleaded, handing her my old scarf. Its cold up there and I dont want you to get sick.
She gazed at it, then at me a little uncertain of what she was meant to do. I did it for her, wrapping the scarf around her neck, hugging her tightly once Id finished.
Take care of yourself Mary Poppins. Dont forget me.
I couldnt if I tried, she laughed, opening an old black, parrot-handled umbrella she had unearthed somewhere and securing her grip on her bag.
The wind whipped around us, filling the umbrella before gaining enough power to lift her from the ground and carrying her away to
wherever she was needed.
Au revoir, I called, waving my cap to her until the clouds hid her from my sight.
When she left that first time, a part of me went with her. Oh, she returned of course, my Mary. Returned dozens of times with the easterly winds. After all, there were kids in London who needed her help just like everywhere else. I did my trades, as varied and sporadic as I had been as a child, staying near the Park whenever I could so she could find me and introduce me to her latest charges. Ah, I knew most of them from one job or another, but I kept a special eye on a few when she left, making sure they upheld her teachings or knew how to call her back once they allowed themselves to admit that they needed her.
Many a child will still approach me to talk of the practically perfect nanny that we both knew and I am more than happy to oblige. And when there is an awkward pause or neither of us knows what to say, well stop, wait and with a simple shrug or even a half smile on our faces, one of us will face the other and blurt out that magic word. Or maybe we will chorus it together and burst out into fits of laughter at the wonderful ridiculousness of it. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. She was right
once youve said it, theres always so much more to say. I swear, sometimes, when I sit very still in the Park and mutter it to Neleus, my favourite statue, I can almost see him smile and fancy that he can remember the times he has been given the chance to dance and sing with the rest of us. Once, I even saw him wave to me. But its not the same as when Mary is with me.
So, I will fly kites, draw picture and even sweep chimneys. I will sit on rooftops, just waiting for another easterly wind to blow in my Mary, still with that carpet bag and loud-mouthed umbrella of hers that scolds her whenever she leaves in secret. I will wait for her because she told me we would meet again. I will wait for her to take me on those childish adventures and brighten up my life once more
if only for a moment more.
To give me one more jolly holiday with her.