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A Door was Left Open (standard:romance, 4529 words)
Author: SfbaywriterAdded: Feb 11 2002Views/Reads: 1987/1278Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
We don't always know what we really want until something happens that shakes up what we think is real.

Jake walked through the kitchen into his living room and onto the deck
overlooking the bay. It was a beautiful sunny day, the bay sparking in 
the brilliant sun. Jake looked out observing the hundreds of white 
sails drifting across the water. He briefly wondered why he had never 
pursued his love for sailing. Before he had given any serious thought, 
he was back inside, retreating, into his bedroom. He opened the door to 
his large closet, studied his display of suits and shoes. Although he 
had many to choose from, and most would have invested some time 
considering the occasion and it's importance, he reached out and 
grabbed the one nearest to him. Quickly he selected a shirt, white, 
tie, red, and shoes, black. He dressed quickly, brushed his hair, 
adjusted his tie, and was on his way to the garage. Within minutes he 
was on the street heading for the church. He gave a brief thought to 
lowering the roof on his Boxter since it was an unusually warm August 
day in San Francisco, but the thought passed quickly. 

As he was driving, his thoughts turned to Charlie Sands. He had not
through about Charlie very much since he had heard of the accident a 
few days before. Charlie was the person that he always spoke about, the 
man who taught him to become a hard-nosed, dynamic, energetic, no 
nonsense leader. The man he told others was the most important 
influence in his life. Despite his admiration for Charlie, Jake felt no 
sense of loss or sadness. His initial reaction was more clinical than 
emotional. In order to make it to the funeral, Jake had to cancel his 
quarterly analysis briefing in New York City. He considered skipping 
the funeral, but he actually hated having to endure days of uninformed 
and repetitive conversations.  He came to recognize everyone would 
understand his desire to attend Charlie's funeral, so he was able to 
cancel the trip and stay home. He felt like he had given himself a 
vacation by deciding to skip the trip. 

Jake expected to see many people at the funeral. As CEO of the one of
the largest and fastest growing Software Companies, Charlie was highly 
visible and well known. Some considered him ruthless, others 
untrustworthy and calculating. Jake knew someone as successful as 
Charlie would always have his share of detractors, but given his 
position in the Valley, Jake expected a large turnout. He arrived about 
30 minutes ahead of time. "Get there first. Surprise them. Never let 
anyone think you are predictable". Charlie had preached to him over and 
over. So like any other business meeting, Jake made sure he arrived 
earlier than most. 

Upon entering the church, he noticed the first few pews were tied off.
He assumed they were reserved for family and close friends. Jake 
realized he knew nothing about Charlie's family or other associates 
even though he had known Charlie for 15 years. Nor, Jake realized had 
the subject of friends, family, or lovers ever been a topic of their 
conversations. All of their conversations were always about business, 
never about any personal things. Their political discussions centered 
on issues that impacted their businesses. Jake knew very little about 
the rest of Charlie's life. Walking down the center isle of the church, 
Jake wondered why this was not evident to him before. He took a seat in 
the fourth row by himself. 

He watched as people entered the church. He acknowledged a number of
people he knew. Within a few minutes Dan Jacobs entered the church. 
Jake stood up and waved, Dan raised his arm slightly, nodded and waved 
back. Dan walked down the aisle and took a seat next to Jake. Dan was 
the CFO for Charlie's company. Jake, Charlie, and Dan had played golf 
at the Olympic Club once a month for the past 5 years. Jake and Dan 
talked for a few minutes and agreed that they would meet at a bar after 
the service to continue their conversations. 

Before long, the funeral started and Jake noticed, while the church had
indeed filled up, the first few pews were empty. Looking around the 
church, Jake wondered how someone so successful and well known had no 
close family or friends. Then, the eulogy speaker made his way to the 
podium. Jake recognized him as a board member of Charlie's company.  
The speaker spoke of Charlie's success as s businessman, how dynamic 
and creative he was. His ability to quickly understand issues and find 
solutions or approaches to deal with them. How impressive he was as an 
executive. Then he finished. 

Jake and Dan left quickly once the services had concluded. Neither one
planned to go the burial. They walked to a local bar down the street. 

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