Short Stories - The Whisper
John J. Uskert
Originally published in Grand Magazine at https://www.grandmagazine.com/2015/12/whisper/
Boomer-aged Jake has female admirers flocking around him continually, one admirer elicits deep emotion from Jake by the whisper with a twist.
Col. John "Jake" Smith, U.S.A.F., retired after twenty-four years as a decorated fighter pilot, now spends his leisurely days engaged in numerous activities and family affairs. , Jake is making up for lost opportunities. The two decades preceding his 58th birthday were weathered well. Bronzed by the Florida sun, Jake golfs daily, exercises regularly and maintains a healthful diet.
His workouts consist of intense physical activity, jogging and weight lifting, three times per week. His rugged looks have been greatly enhanced since retirement. Low stress, the salt air from the Gulf of Mexico, and just knowing a fish trip out to the flats is available whenever the almanac says "best," contribute to Jake's aura.
Handsome, masculine with the "GQ" look, Jake knows his female admirers are attracted. His confident persona envelopes and dominates any room. Never fearful of a religious or political debate, Jake's most entertaining quality is conversational story telling. An anecdote, a well-stretched fabrication, a recent fishing adventure, or a tale of his trip to the local winery for harvest day, are stories often accented by boisterous laughter, toasts of pinot noir and, on occasion, the aroma of a choice Arturo Fuente Opus X.
His female admirers insist they be seated at Jake's table, always. It seems the admirers seek Jake's recognition. as if, somehow, and with his mere acknowledgement and ratification, one's already notable life will be elevated to one of even greater import and prominence. It was in such a setting that the whisper left Jake visibly emotional.
Jake's wife, the love of his life, cognizant of his female admirers, is reassured by Jake's faithfulness. This bevy of female admirers includes a petite "strawberry blond" with riveting blue-green eyes capable of piercing the depths of one's soul. Understandably, the "strawberry blond" is also attracted to Jake and desires to be seated at his table at every opportunity. It was at a recent dinner party that Jake was touched in his deepest and innermost being by the whisper.
The evening was attended by friends and family. Hors d'oeuvres. Cocktails. Grilled red snapper, stuffed with shrimp and lobster. Catered by Christos, the local Greek restauranteur. Premium cigars were held in abeyance until after-dinner drinks were served. The female admirers expectantly vied for position at the main seating table to engage Jake in conversation, or at least be within earshot of his adventurous stories and infectious laughter.
Each admirer came prepared with puffery and fanciful narratives in anticipation that Jake would recognize and elevate her significance and worth, as only Jake could do. As the evening progressed, and as she could no longer be deterred, the "strawberry blond" admirer confidently made her way from the back of the room to Jake's table. In the presence of Jake's seated admirers, she took Jake by the hand and whispered in his ear, "I love you, Grandpa," as three year old Sophia hugged Jake's neck.
With a visible tear of joy, Jake was emotionally taken by his "strawberry blond" admirer.