Never Mind the Questions There’s No Answer For (30 Stories — 20)

“I had a boyfriend once who laughed in his sleep,” Verna said, pouring water into teacups. She pushed one across the table to Anna. “He always said he didn’t remember what he was dreaming that made him so happy.”

“They always say that,” Marlys said, reaching across for a cup. “As if giving up their dreams was stealing their souls or something.”

Verna smiled, a little sorry she’d invited Marlys when it was really Anna she wanted to talk with.

She didn’t know why she’d brought up Eliyan and his secret dreams. It was more than a year since they’d broken up. She’d heard he was in Belize, working as a diving instructor and living with some Garifuna woman and her children. She wished she hadn’t heard that part.

Anna laughed. “I seriously doubt that any ex of mine was deep enough to have thought that,” she said. She sipped her tea and looked at Verna. “But you didn’t call us here to talk about sleeping exes, Vern.”

“No, I’ve got to sort through these job options, decide if i’m going to take one of these offers.”

_____

That night, as she shed the day in her shower, Verna’s thoughts were centered again on Eliyan. How had he chosen Belize? It wasn’t even a place he’d ever mentioned wanting to visit, let alone live.

She’d heard about his move from his sister, running into her at City Winery. She’d thought his sister seemed happy to tell just how completely Eliyan had moved on, but maybe she’d imagined the smirking tone.

A Garifuna woman. She wouldn’t have guessed he would be with a black woman, even a foreign one. She hated that she had the thought — didn’t that make her racist? — but she couldn’t deny it. Maybe that was why they’d broken up. Maybe he’d been dreaming about some dark-skinned beauty all those nights.

In bed, she thought of what Marlys had said, how knowing a man’s dreams took a piece of his soul. Had Eliyan’s dream always been to live on the water, to spend his days in the ocean and his nights … She shook her head, hating to think of him settled into some tropical life with his Garifuna family. It seemed that staying with her meant giving up that dream, missing out on the random life he had chosen meant losing part of his soul. She fell asleep realizing she couldn’t have ever really known Eliyan if any of that was true, angry for the time she’d wasted mourning the loss of him, imagining his return.

__________

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