Aaron and Holly sat side by side on a bench that looked out onto the river and across to the city where Stephen King lived.
It was a gorgeous, sunny morning, and because of the CDC’s recent announcement, neither of them wore a mask.
Holly sipped her coffee and enjoyed the view. Aaron tossed this bottle of Snapple from hand to hand as he stared intently across the river. Perhaps he was thinking about the famous writer who lived on the other side when he finally spoke.
“Do you believe in ghosts?” he asked without looking over at her.
Holly turned to her best friend with a perplexed look on her beautiful face.
“Is that a serious question? I’m never sure with you lately…”
“Yes, Holly, it was a serious question,” he assured her with a quick glance so that she could see the roll of his eyes.
“I’m not sure,” she admitted with a shrug. “It’s not like I don’t believe in them. I’m just not sure if I believe in them. Does that make sense?”
Aaron nodded and finally took a sip of his iced tea.
“I’m not sure if I believe in them, either, but I was talking to someone about my weird dream from the other night..”
“The one about the trip to Paris?” she asked to clarify.
“Yeah,” Aaron confirmed. “She said it sounded like I had unfinished business with people from my past, which is why I often dream about them even though they are long gone from my life.”
“Like ghosts haunting your dreams…” Holly completed the thought.
Aaron let those words settle for a moment while he stared at the sapphire water.
“My brain is a haunted house,” he remarked. “That would explain a lot.”
Holly chuckled, and rubbed his shoulder to make it clear she was laughing at this wit, rather than laughing at him.
“I don’t suppose you could call the Ghostbusters for this one,” she quipped.
“It would be nice to stop dreaming about my ex-wife,” he confessed. “We’ve been divorced for a long time, I never see her, or think about her. I’d like to exorcise her from my subconscious.”
Holly sipped her coffee to buy some time to ponder her reply. Aaron’s ex-wife was a very touchy subject, and while she’d never met the woman, she really disliked her. Not only had she broken her best friend’s heart, but she also sounded like an unpleasant woman.
“You can’t argue that you have unfinished business with her,” she finally spoke. “I mean, you didn’t plan for your marriage to end, and from what you told me, she was out the door before you really had a chance to talk about things or try to save the relationship.”
Aaron shrugged. He hated even thinking about her, and refused to allow her to ruin a perfectly gorgeous Sunday.
“The case is definitely the same with your father,” she continued because she knew her best friend was not going to comment on the other person. “He was taken from you while you were still in college. You’ve spent almost your entire adult life without him, grieving him, and missing him. He might not be in your life, but he’s definitely still in your thoughts, which is why you dream about him.”
“But nothing is going to bring him back,” Aaron stated with a mix of anger and sadness in his tone. “How do I complete that unfinished business? I hate the idea that he’s haunting my dreams and unable to rest in peace because I still need him and miss him.”
Holly put her hand on his to comfort him. She half expected him to brush it away, but he didn’t, which she took as a moral victory.
“You told me once that you are named after your Dad, and you live your life to prove you are worthy of his name,” Holly reminded him. “I say keep doing that.”
“And I’m not positive how the afterlife works, but I’m pretty sure it’s the ghosts you can see who haven’t moved on because of unfinished business here. The ghosts in your dreams are safe and sound in their final destination. In fact, they might even choose to ‘haunt’ dreams as a way to keep in touch with those they miss.”
Aaron liked that answer, and rewarded Holly with a squeeze of her hand.
“So that explains why my Dad visits my dreams so often,” he said. “Why does my ex-wife constantly haunt them?”
“Oh, she just likes being a bitch,” Holly replied without hesitation.
They both broke into hysterical laughter.