Berdine stood atop the house and stared towards the sea. She hated herself for doing it but here she was, seemingly a caricature of the sailor’s wife worried and pining for her man to come back from the sea.
“Curse you, Peter Devereaux,” she said aloud to the approaching storm, “You’ve sailed great distances and been to sea for more’n 2 years. I’ve heard nary a word. No carrier pigeon nor mail deliverer has chanced to brighten my days with news of you. Come back to me soon, my love. Be safe!” She sobbed as she put the back of her hand on her forehead.
Pete Devereaux was an accountant for a sea freight company in Hartford, and his wife, Berdine was a crazy woman. Well, she was crazy, but she was crazy in a harmless way, even in an endearing way. The people in their neighborhood in Hartford knew her and tolerated her ‘eccentricities’. Many even encouraged them. Bill and Irene Sanders, who owned the house that Berdine was standing atop were even more than tolerator’s, they were beyond encouragers too, they were best described as enablers; inviting Berdine to use the widow’s walk atop their Victorian manse to play sea captain’s wife whenever she wanted. They had even given her a key to the backdoor in case she needed access when they weren’t home.
Berdine was posed, leaning on the wrought iron railing, clutching a black silk handkerchief and letting the wind blow her hair when the stairway door from the attic to the roof opened. She spun around to see Bill Sanders standing in his shirtsleeves. He rattled the ice in a highball glass that he held in his hand. He wore no jacket and his necktie was loose. Berdine surmised that he must have recently arrived home from the office. Bill was a partner in a law firm downtown, specializing in real estate law.
Berdine clutched her wrap a little closer and lifted her handkerchief to her mouth, “Gracious, Bill, you startled me.”
“Sorry Berdine,” he said, “I just wanted to let you know that Irene made a pitcher of margaritas and some chili con queso. When you’re done playing, you’re welcome to join us in the kitchen, if you want. Pete can come too, if you want to call him.”
“That’s so nice of you Bill. I’ll call him and ask. I’ll be down shortly.”
Bill nodded and retreated back to the staircase while Berdine dug for her cell phone in the folds of her wrap. She thought how the days seemed to be getting shorter and the winds off the Atlantic were developing a bite. She might have to invent some new characters soon. It was getting a little late in the season to be playing on the Sanders’ roof. She turned her back to the wind and dialed Peter.
Three minutes later Berdine came down the back stairs and popped her head into Irene’s kitchen.
“Peter sends his regrets,” she told Irene. “He’s working a little late tonight and I really should go too. Thanks for letting me come over.”
The two friends exchanged air kisses and Berdine hurried to let herself out the door. Bill came back into the kitchen to top off his drink as the door latched shut.
“Berdine’s not staying then?” he asked his wife.
“No, she had to go. I think she got herself all worked up playing lonely sailor’s wife, and now she’s got to go home and throw herself at Pete.”
“Lucky guy,” said Bill. He held up the pitcher of margaritas, “You want some more of this?”