The wind was changing.
Blowing east for so long, it was time for a new path. It was time to move on.
On an ordinary night in London, a child in its bed could listen carefully enough to hear a soft clopping on the rooftops of London. But it wasn't Santa Claus.
A pair of sensible shoes, on a pair of sensible feet, belonging to a most sensible person could just be heard moving graciously over the tiles and about the chimneys. A scarlet coat fitting perfectly around a slender waist glided swiftly over the rooftops, accompanied by a pair of gentle lace gloves on a pair of most elegant hands, grasping the handle of a jet black umbrella. Even in the moonlight, her lovely rosy cheeks could be seen on the smiling woman's face; the face of Mary Poppins.
She stood, her toes just over the edge of the roof, opening her magnificent umbrella when suddenly a voice whispered behind her. "Does this mean you're leaving?"
She turned to meet the familiar face of a man covered head to toe in soot and wearing a beautiful, warm smile. She returned his kind expression. "The wind is changing, Bert," she replied.
He nodded regrettably, "you will be back though?"
She closed her umbrella and stepped away from the edge, turning towards him. "The wind may carry me anywhere. I may return when it sees most fitting."
"Surely you can't stay a little while?" He asked, walking towards her. "Surely your work here isn't... finished."
She looked at him uncertainly, although inside she knew exactly what he meant. "There are children who need me" she stated, "and parents who need me more, you know that."
"I do," he replied earnestly. "But I must insist you think of your friends though," he protested kindly, "we need you too." He paused, looking down at his dusty black shoes, "I need you too."
She placed a gentle hand on his sooty cheek. "Bert, as long as you're here, I will always return. You're my dearest friend."
He brought his hand to his cheek and placed it over her gloved fingers. "Must you always do what the wind tells you?" He asked, holding her hand and bringing it down between them, "what does your heart tell you?"
She looked timidly at her slender hand, clasped in Bert's gentle grasp. "That there is a job that must be done," she looked up, smiling weakly, "and I am the one to fulfil it."
He laughed. "Does a practically perfect person put their job before their loved ones?" He asked curiously. "That sounds to me a bit like dear Mr Banks down there–" but he was hushed as Mary placed a slender finger over his lips.
"Now Bert," she smiled sternly, "what practically perfect people do not do is put their interests before the needs others. It's called being selfish."
"Hmm," he replied thoughtfully, "then would the practically perfect person that you are neglect the needs of your dearest friend before you leave?" He stepped back and took a gracious bow, "after all," he added, "only then can the job be done." He gave a cheeky grin and held out his hand. Mary, though smiling, reluctantly took it.
The pair looked out to the glistening view of London as the chimes of Big Ben echoed through the night. They danced gracefully on the rooftops to the merry ringing of the bell – it sounded twelve times.
"It's now morning, Bert" Mary informed him as she opened her umbrella. "The wind is picking up and I really must be on my way." But as she turned to leave, Bert caught her hand once more. "What else does your heart tell you?"
She sighed deeply and, bringing her umbrella down to her shoulder turned back to him once more. "That the ones who love us most always have a way of finding us. So I will always find you, Bert."
"And I'll always be waiting for you, Mary," he said, his warm eyes twinkling, "until the wind sweeps us both off our feet." He sniggered as she giggled a little.
"What a pity you had to leave now," he added, "just when you're looking your finest." Mary smiled weakly and felt her face grow quite warm.
"Miss Poppins, I believe you are blushing," he said teasingly.
"Oh, Bert!" She protested, snapping her umbrella closed. "Practically perfect people do not blush," although she quickly turned away and, opening her purse, immediately began powdering the red tinge in her face. "Practically perfect people merely have rosy cheeks, fitting for a cheery disposition."
"You underestimate yourself, Mary," Bert assured her, "perfect people hold no faults, because perfect people are not human. Practically perfect people bear their faults as their most perfect feature."
At his words, she closed her purse and stood in silence. As the warm air blew against her face, a small tear formed in her eye. She looked skyward to stop it falling.
"Mary?" Bert's calm voice broke the silence. Slowly she turned to meet his gaze, her gentle eyes a little watery. He placed his warm hand against her cheek and brought his lips to hers.
Through closed lids, Mary's tears fell as Bert held her in a wonderful embrace. Finally subsiding, she pulled out a handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes. "But most importantly," she continued, wiping her tears, "practically perfect people never fall in love." She smiled apologetically.
Bert nodded, understandingly, "that doesn't mean they shouldn't."
Mary looked up into the sky and felt the wind becoming stronger. "I've overstayed my welcome," she informed him, "I really must be going." She briskly walked to the edge of the rooftop and opened her great black umbrella. Turning back to Bert she called, "until we meet again," before stepping out, gliding into the night sky.
Bert ran to the edge and waved up at her silhouette as it disappeared behind the clouds, into the stars. "Until we meet again," he replied before adding, in barely more than a whisper, "my love."
Up in the sky, behind the night clouds, the practically perfect woman heard his words and journeyed, smiling, to her next adventure, waiting for her at the end of the wind's pursuit.
All characters ©Disney