Except from "Dreams in Ebony"
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
“What is that?” I asked.
“A quote from some woman named Lewis Carroll.”
“Lewis Carroll? Lewis was a man.”
“Oh no. I’m pretty sure she was a woman.”
“Alicia, believe me, he was a man. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was his real name.”
“Well, she looks like a woman in her picture.”
“Don’t you have anything more important to do? I’m trying to work.”
“It’s raining out and I’m dreadfully bored.”
“Dreadfully? I never thought I would say this but I think you read too much.”
Alicia sneered. “If you don’t know where you’re going… I don’t think any of us really know where we are going. Do you know where you’re going?”
I looked up from my work. “To hell,” I wanted to say but I didn’t. “Is something bothering you, Allie?”
“No way! I’m just thinking about what you’re gonna do when I’m gone.”
I tossed my pen down and took a drink. “Okay. So, where is it you’re going? And why are you leaving?”
She didn’t answer right away; she just dug at the crotch of her jean shorts, involuntarily swaying her foot back and forth. Finally, she said, “I don’t think I can just explain it to you that easy. I don’t think you would believe me if I did.”
“I want to believe you,” I said. I really meant it too. While Alicia could be frustrating at times, her mind fascinated me and if she was willing to open up and show me what was going on up there I wouldn’t argue.
“I have been dreaming about death.”
“What about it?”
“About ‘me’ dying.”
“You’re twenty three. If anyone around here needs to worry about dying it’s me.”
She got to her feet and walked to the window. “I really, really like fall time. So, pretty. I like leaves but they don’t live very long, do they? They’re dying and falling from the trees. I wonder if the tree is sad when its leaves die. I would be if I were a tree. It must be sad being a tree.”
“Are you sick or something?”
“No. Not yet.”