Flash by Craig Rodgers
Whisper to Trumpet
Death was no surprise. Gill had been unwell as long as anyone could remember. Bad lungs. Wheezing, coughing. Drowning. He spoke in a whispered lilt when he did speak; to his friends, to his sister, Jane. His laughter was silent and often.
As a child he liked the song of old lounge crooners, each whiskey thick tune reaching something inside, a longing for voice he could name but only just. He wanted a sound for himself, something rich or deep or just different, something textured or wild. He wished for it, he prayed.
When Gill was in school and Jane came down dressed for prom her friends all cheered and clapped. Gill clapped along with them, he put his lips together in mock wolf whistle but the sound he made was a huff. They laughed and he reddened and they left but his shame stayed. He prayed for a voice, any other sound. He closed his eyes and wished again and again.
At the end they came to see him; Gills friends, Jane. His friends told jokes and shared memories and they laughed and he laughed too, silent, often, and when they were gone she sat with him. They talked, her in rich tones and he in his whisper. She asked what can I do and he said oh nothing, nothing. Just.
“I wish I could sing a song,” he said. “I wish. I could even just whistle.”
She stared and then she laughed and he laughed too, silent and full of joy.
She held his hand when he was gone and long after.
Some god or other, as they do in their whimsy, having heard these lamentations year after year and in its omnipotence not understanding the weight of their despair, took interest in this faithful case of want, and that is how Whispering Gill came to be reborn as a trumpet.