Whispers

By Jim Bartlett

“Tell me you love me,” she says.

 A rush of warmth flows through my body; I’m almost too choked for words.

“Of course I love you. And always will.”

 Her eyes aglow, she smiles that smile that takes my breath away, causes the old ticker to skip a beat.

 “No, no. You know what I want. Whisper it. Whisper it in my ear. Like you always used to.”

Tears stream down my cheek. Good lord, where did those come from? I pull her close. The scent of strawberry shampoo overwhelms, taking me back to picnics in Stow Canyon, walks along the boardwalk, lying in bed on Sunday mornings.

“I love you,” I say in my softest whisper.

“Fifty years, Henry. Can you believe it? Fifty years.”

I shake my head, but, now it’s my turn to smile. “Never thought in a million years you’d put up with me for that long.

Well, here we are.”

She’s quiet for a bit — it’s what she does when something’s on her mind.

   “Henry, you need to watch the time. You’re going to be late.”

 I glance over at the clock. 10:30. Mark, our grandson, is graduating from the university today. I haven’t been out much lately, but I promised I’d be there.

“You’ll be okay while I’m gone?”

“Silly boy, I’m never far away.”

I set her picture back down on our nightstand and, using my hanky, wipe my eyes. It takes me a minute to find my legs –always does when I sit down for a visit — and, straightening my tie, I head for the door.

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Jim Bartlett has been fortunate to have a number of stories featured in Fiction on the Web, Fairlight Books, CrimeSpree Magazine, Friday Flash Fiction, Spillwords, and several other wonderful publications. He lives on a special little island in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and golden retriever (shhh, she doesn’t know she’s a dog).

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