Authentic love: a short story

I saw the message request notification on my social media profile. I opened it up to find a very attractive man who called himself John Wilson had written to me. “Hello Gracie” it started “I was looking up a friend when I came across your profile. Your eyes captured my attention I had to say hello” I rolled my eyes and let out a sigh “great another catfish” I said aloud to no one in particular. I was alone after all. The story was always the same. They were looking for something when they came across my profile, I’m gorgeous they couldn’t look away, they had some tragedy happen where they’re all alone in the world looking for love. Except of course they’re on some top secret mission for the military with some crazy high rank. They need money sent right away or their unit will leave them behind. “I’ve never met a 38 year old General with scraggly facial hair and an obnoxiously thick gold chain” I had said to the last one before blocking and reporting the profile. Catfish: someone who pretends to be someone else in order to pull a scam on an innocent victim. The fakes were bad enough but stolen valor irritates my soul with vigor. I knew I should ignore the message but something told me to respond. I knew he was fake for how attractive he was with those bright blue eyes and dimpled smile. There were no fatigues with the name he gave plastered across it but sometimes the military part comes later. “Okay John Wilson we can chat but you must answer me one question.” “Anything doll face” he replied. This is how I know he was fake. The over extensive flattery. My round cheeks dark brown hair, brown eyes and slightly crooked nose did not belong on a doll, maybe a haunted one. Anyway, John Wilson agreed to a question so a question he shall get. “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” I’m a bit of a smart ass but I always said it was better than being a dumb ass. The indicator appeared that John was responding. Then it stopped. Then it started again. Then it stopped for a long time. “Ha! I got him” I again said aloud. I really needed to stop talking to myself. I went and made a cup of coffee and when I returned there it was: “He would chuck, he would, as much as he could and chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood.” I stared at the screen flabbergasted. He responded correctly. “Okay John Wilson you have my attention” I replied. The saga continued on he told me he was in the army (shocking) but had no family. He never married or had children he enlisted right out of high school and made a career out of it. I listened to him. I listened to every word he said but I didn’t believe any of it. He was still kind of fun to talk to though, he made me laugh a lot. We didn’t chat much as they’re busy overseas (of course. enter eye roll here) but over the next few months I enjoyed my sporadic catfish messages. We talked about everything and anything. I was careful to only allow very limited information what he could see as my friend on my profile. I thought about it showing where I worked but thought meh he wants money not me. The more we were able to talk the more I started wishing those messages were from the real John Wilson. Every time my feelings were stronger I would just pick a fight about him being a catfish. “Ffs Gracie you still don’t believe me?” “Well” I’d respond “I gave you tasks to do in pics and you can’t and you won’t video chat with me so I have yet to see proof” “Gracie these guys already tease me mercilessly about you the last thing I need is some jerk making obscene gestures in the background.” “That’s a flimsy excuse” I’d replied. I didn’t hear from John for a long while after that. I was starting to think I had successfully broken his scam. Then it came : “Gracie I will be returning stateside next week I’d really like it if we could be friends.” Oh boy I thought any second now he will need money to get home. “Gracie please the army is bringing me back what I want is to continue to build what we’ve started here you’re special to me.” The week went by and no request for money. I had broken the scam. He was done. I was in a way sad but still admired my victory that I didn’t give in. I went through my daily duties at the magazine I worked for. Wrote articles, played with products, banged my head on my desk. Yesterday was the day “John” was traveling. I used air quotes to refer to him now. My work bestie Rebecca plopped in a chair opposite my desk and pulled out her lunch. I had told her everything in the last few days. “I’d noticed” she said “you were on cloud nine and now, not so much.” It was then I realized how much I was going to miss what had happened. “I gotta get back before my department kills each other” she headed back towards the lobby to get to marketing. Advertising geniuses could be a challenge at times. I shook my head as I edited the article I was working on. I saw a slow trickle of women head toward the lobby. Some giggled when they walked past. Strange I thought as I shook my head. Just then Rebecca’s voice came over the intercom: “Gracie Johnson you have a visitor in the main lobby!” Odd I wasn’t expecting any appointments today. I got up and smoothed out my skirt as I headed for the lobby. The marketing department was gathered there I could see through the small door window. What on earth? I wondered. I pushed open the door as a couple of the girls let out soft squeals. I stopped dead in my tracks. His bright blue eyes looked right into me as he cracked that dimpled smile. The big bouquet of flowers almost blocked the name tape on the fatigues that said “Wilson” “what? How?” I stuttered. My knees buckled and the squealers stood on either side holding me up. “Hiya doll face” he said “maybe you believe me now?” I ran with everything I had across the lobby and wrapped my arms around him as tight as I could. I couldn’t believe it! My boss appeared then and told me my day was done enjoy my weekend. I looked over at Rebecca who had a huge smile on her face and she winked at me. John took my hand and led me out the door. I’d tell you what happened next but Amanda says this is a PG-13 blog 😉 -Gracie yes Gracie I’m sure we can imagine -Amanda

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