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Blanche Tickle Girl
Book Two of the Full Sails series
Wes Boyd
©2012, ©2014

Chapter 27

Gray days are not uncommon in Canada in the month of November, and in Newfoundland the days are often grayer than most. From her St. John’s hospital window Mary could see that it was an ugly day out there– stormy and foggy, not a good day to be at sea. Right at the moment, she was grateful that she wasn’t, and for several reasons.

Her body still ached from the last couple of days, and she was tired, but she’d slept about all she could for now. There would be more sleep to come, a little later, but there was no point in sleeping now and having to stay up all night either.

Besides, there were some things she needed to do, now. It was awkward to get to the phone, but she managed to snag it and drag it close enough to dial a couple of numbers she’d brought with her. It only took a few seconds for a woman to answer, “Caldwell-Deerfield Manufacturing. How may I direct your call?”

“Extension 301,” Mary said.

There was a further buzz on the line before a woman picked it up. “Mr. Caldwell’s office,” she said. “How may I help you?”

“I need ta speak ta Mr. Caldwell.”

“And who may I say is calling?”

“Mary O’Leary Caldwell.”

“Oh, Mary!” the woman on the other end of the line said; Mary knew from her voice she was Adam’s secretary, although she didn’t know the woman’s name. “It’s good to hear from you. Mr. Caldwell has been worried half sick about you! I’ll put you through right away.”

There were a couple clicks and a few seconds of recorded filler before she heard Adam’s voice. “Mary!” he said. “How are you doing? Is anything the matter?”

“Everythin’ is fine,” Mary told him. “An’ I have Matthew O’Leary Caldwell sleeping nicely at my side.”

“Thank God,” Adam said in relief. “And how is he?”

“Fine as can be. He was seven pounds, five ounces, nineteen inches long, the right number of fingers and toes and such. I had them run a white blood cell test on him just ta be on the safe side, even though the docs say it ain’t gonna mean much at his age, an’ the result was normal.”

“Good,” Adam sighed, the relief still obvious in his voice. “I’m told that it isn’t thought that leukemia is passed along genetically, but that didn’t keep me from worrying about it. I knew you were getting close and thought I ought to come up there just so someone would be with you, but it would have been hard to get away.”

“It worked out. I’ve been in St. John’s for a couple weeks, stayin’ with the Widow Kelley, just in case a storm blew in an’ I couldn’t use the road ta get here. I used ta room with her some back before I met Matt. Then when Matty started ta come I called down ta Blanche Tickle, an’ Sinead and Evan came up ta be with me, too. Evan is still hangin’ around town, he’s gonna drive Matty an’ me back in a couple a’ days.”

“It’s good that you have friends there.”

“Aye, ’tis, an’ they’re about as good a friends as a woman could want. Seems a mite strange, but I’m now known as “the Widow Caldwell” around the settlement. Been that way ever since I got back. I ain’t the first woman from Blanche Tickle to have her husband die at sea. I hope I’m the last, but there ain’t no tellin’.”

“I suppose not,” Adam sighed. “So is everything else all right? I’ve worried a lot about you since your last call, right after you got in after Matt died.”

“Aye, things are goin’ ’bout as well as can be expected. I suppose I should have called ye more often, but I still ain’t got a phone ta home. Sinead does, but it gets a little complicated about payin’ her for usin’ it. Anyway, I didn’t have much trouble with the authorities about gettin’ Matt’s death certificate. I still have a few loose ends ta tie up, like gettin’ the car an’ the Mary Sue inta my name, but I figured there ain’t no rush on that.”

“Is everything all right with your house?”

“Aye, there’s no problem there. I called Sinead before Matt an’ I left Boston, an’ she had it all cleaned up for me as soon as the Yank artist fella left. I didn’t miss him by more than a couple a’ days. It took a mite ta get used ta livin’ there by myself again, an’ I really wish I had Matt with me, but I’m hopin’ having Matty there will make it a little less lonely. Sinead an’ Evan an’ a few others have been comin’ by ta keep my spirits up, but I still miss Matt.”

“Having a baby in the house will keep you busier, that’s for sure. I remember those days with Matt, and now it all seems like such a long time ago. I sure wish I could do more for you.”

“Near as I can tell, everythin’ is fine for now,” she told him. “I still have most of Matt’s money left, and it’s not gonna cost me much ta live in the settlement.”

“Mary, if there’s anything I can do for you, anything at all, let me know. I have enough money to make it so you won’t have to scrimp and save for anything, and my father does too. All you have to do is let us know.”

“Ye can be sure I’ll let ye know if I need it. I don’t right now an’ it could be a while in the future before I do. Ye needn’t be worryin’ that I won’t let ye know.”

“How about the Mary Sue? What are you going to do with her?”

“I don’t know yet, but that’s one of those things I don’t need ta worry about right now. Evan an’ a couple a’ the b’ys an’ I talked it over an’ we decided it would be best if we didn’t leave her in the harbor on a mooring for the winter. They built a cradle for her, an’ just before I came up here ta St. John’s they got her up on it an’ got tarps all over ’er. It just about knocked the stuffin’ outa the crane to get ’er up there. It was really gruntin’ an’ groanin’, ’cause it’s a couple mites heavier than the small fish boats around Blanche Tickle. But I’m lookin’ forward ta gettin’ ’er back in the water come spring. I may not sail ’er much but I’m lookin’ forward ta bein’ out wi’ her again.”

“But probably not sailing it around the world,” he laughed.

“Naw, not with a wee one, an’ probably not with the Mary Sue, but I’m not sayin’ that Matty an’ I might not set out again some day. So how’s it going with you? The last I heard your wife was still in the hospital.”

“Afraid so,” he told her in a disappointed tone. “I didn’t tell you much about it when you called right after you got into Blanche Tickle, but when we got to the hospital room in Boston the morning after you and Matt left, well, she went off her rocker for real. I mean, totally uncontrollable. They had to sedate her just to get her out of the room. I couldn’t bring her back on an airliner with her like that, so I had to charter a special flight back here, and she was under sedation all the way. We wound up having to take her to a private mental facility, and she’s still there.”

“Is that goin’ ta be a permanent thing?”

“I hope not. She’s better now, if not real good, but they’re having to keep her pretty drugged up to get her in touch with reality at all. She still won’t admit to Matt being dead, even though her doctor and I have told her any number of times. But there has been some improvement, and it could be she’ll come home one of these days.”

“Aw, that’s a shame,” she said sadly. “I never got ta know her much and for the most part I guess I’m just as glad I didn’t, even though that’s not the right thing ta say.”

“You can go ahead and say what you really think,” Adam said. “She never really accepted a lot of realities, like you or the fact that you and Matt were married. When we were in Boston, I don’t think she noticed you were pregnant and I haven’t told her. I probably am not going to tell her about your son, our grandson, until she’s out of the residential facility, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that were to knock her right back into it.”

“Ye don’t think she’ll accept the reality of that, either?”

“Yeah, or it could go the other way. Mary, I’ve known for a long time that Brittany is obsessive-compulsive and doesn’t accept reality well, at least if it’s unpleasant. That’s why she hasn’t accepted the reality of Matt’s death. Hell, I’m not very happy about it myself although I’ve known it could happen for years. Like I told you in Boston, I’m concerned that when she learns she has a grandson she’s going to see him as being a replacement for Matt, and will do everything she can to sweep him into her arms, no matter that he’s your son. That’s why I passed along the advice from my attorney to keep him in Canada. It’ll be much harder for her to start some kind of legal custody action or cause you trouble that way.”

“Aye, that’s a bit of a worry, an’ I don’t know much about it. I’m afraid I’m gonna have ta depend on ye ta do what ye can ta keep her off our backs. But Adam, I’m sorry ye have ta be stuck with her. It can’t be real comfortable for ye.”

“I don’t plan on being stuck with her any longer than I have to,” he replied. “When she threw that fit in the hospital room in Boston I made up my mind that I’d had enough. I’ve put up with it for twenty-five years, and I’m sure Matt told you about some of the background to that. I’ve filed for divorce, Mary. I’ve already moved out of the house and into a small apartment. I haven’t had her presented with the divorce paperwork yet, because her doctor doesn’t think it’s a good idea while she’s still in the hospital. I’ll go along with him that far, but when she gets out it will be waiting for her.”

“On the one hand it seems kind of mean of ye,” she sighed. “But on the other hand, I can see why ye’d want ta be free of her. I guess I don’t blame ye for wantin’ ta not have ta deal with it.”

“The hell of it is that I would be willing to deal with it if she’d accept some reality and meet me part of the way, but it’s been all or nothing for years. That’s part of why Matt went sailing in the first place, to not have to deal with it. But she’s not going to do it, and all she’s going to want to do is to continue to make my life unhappy. I’ve put up with enough of it. It’s fine with me if she wants to be unhappy herself, but I’m tired of being dragged into it.”

“Well, yer probably bein’ wise ta do it, then,” she said. “I know ye’ve put up with an awful lot for a long time.”

“Like I said, I don’t feel happy about leaving her in the lurch, but I’d feel worse if I didn’t. Anyway, that’s not the point. I told you I’m concerned that if she finds out about your son, she’ll do anything she can to get him away from you. I figure the first line of defense is to not let her know where you are. Maybe it’s paranoid of me, but I think that means we have to be careful about communicating with each other. If it’s an emergency, go ahead and call me here at the office, but for routine communications I think maybe we’d better be a little more careful. Do you still have Matt’s computer?”

“Aye, though I haven’t had it on for a while.”

“When you get home, set up an anonymous e-mail address on some free server. If you don’t know how to do it Sinead may be able to help you. Then e-mail me at ‘mdac85@zapmail.com.’ I won’t check that address for e-mail from you every day, but maybe once a week, and then not from one of the computers I use regularly. I assume you’ve talked to Jake?”

“Once, after I got in last summer,” she admitted. “I was just about ta give him a call after I got done talkin’ with you.”

“Good. We may have to pass messages through him, too.” He let out a long sigh and continued, “Mary, there’s nothing more I’d rather do than see you and the baby, but I’m afraid it won’t be soon. I will make it sooner or later, but with the divorce under way and not knowing what Brittany is going to do, I think it would be best if it wasn’t soon.”

“You’d know better than I. I’d like ta be seein’ ye too, Adam, but it’s gonna have ta be your decision ta make. If it takes a while, then it takes a while, an’ I’m fine with that.”

“Good. I just don’t want you to think I’m cutting you out, but until the situation with Brittany clarifies I’m going to have to be careful. But Mary, you know something?”


“Matt showed me around the Mary Sue one time, but I never got to go sailing on it. I’m glad you’re keeping it, because maybe someday you and my grandson can take me sailing on her.”

“Aye, Adam, I’d like that. I surely would, an’ I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt’s spirit were sailin’ on ’er with us.”

The End

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