I wrote this story for the Monthly Simlit Story Challenge! Please visit the forums and real all of the other June stories!

She has insomnia – that’s what she told me that night we met at the bar in the dark hours of the morning. She can’t sleep, so she goes out for a swim. It calms her mind. Usually I roll over and ignore it, but I couldn’t sleep either. Something in the back of my mind told me to get up.

I found her on the pontoon, staring at the wedding arch. Her parents had made it out of fresh palm leaves just that morning. I can’t imagine what she was thinking, really – I never can. There’s an unfathomable sadness in those seaweed eyes sometimes, something I can’t really ever hope to understand. All I can do is be there.

I went up and stood by her side. After a while, she turned to me.

“The sea is beautiful at night.”

I put my hand on her shoulder. She looked away, then back at me. For a moment, I thought she was going to say something else – but she didn’t.

We went back to bed. For once, she slept.

The next morning, I was nervous. I’ve never been able to say how I feel in public, not once, so we’d decided to have our ceremony alone. I must have looked silly, walking down that empty isle in my white gown with flowers in my hair, but I didn’t care. All I could think about was the fear, however unreal, that something would go wrong, that she wouldn’t be there.

Then, of course, I saw her standing under the arch. My Alice. She was wearing her mother’s wedding jewelry, the blue-silver necklace with the matching earrings, and a fishtail gown in ocean blue. She had never looked more like a creature of the waves.

We said our vows to each other. There was no one else we needed, no-one we needed to prove our love to. Our witnesses were the sun and the sea and the sky. No-one else mattered.

We invited our parents over to celebrate later, of course. We all sat in our little kitchen, laughing and drinking kava. When they had all left, we stood by the bonfire we had lit and watched the driftwood flames burn blue.

In those fires I saw her at last. Through all the unfathomable depths of her soul a song came shining through, haunting and profound. It had no words, but it said everything it needed to say.

We lay in the sand till dawn, the waves lapping at our feet. Dolphins called in the distance. Somewhere far away, very far and very deep, I thought I heard a heartbeat.

I always used to wonder where Alice goes at night. Does she swim with the dolphins, chattering with them as they race by? I used to think so, but now I know better. She’s looking for tears in the depths of the sea, trying to find the sorrow that will allow her to drown her pain. If she finds what she’s looking for, will the shadow over her dreams pass by? Will the sun finally come up for her, and will she finally be able to dance in the rain?

There are good days and there are bad ones for her. There always will be.

Still, it’s just like she told me that day, as the dawn finally came to wake up the world. With her heart and her eyes and her music and her fire and her soul, she told me what her words could never accomplish.

She found what she was looking for in me.



¡Oye! Buenos días.”

08-16-18_11:44:01 PM

Buenos días to you too, sleepyhead. El desayuno is almost ready.”

08-16-18_11:39:10 PM

Ay, María, what would I do without you?”

“Go hungry. Eat.”

Te amo.

Tambien te amo, cariña. Now eat.”

For a few minutes, the only sounds in the small house are clinking forks on plates.

Savroso como siempre. You are a good cook!”

Ay, no me digas.


08-17-18_12:38:00 AM

“Ah, sorry. I gotta walk Daisy. See you after work, sweetheart.”

08-16-18_11:41:52 PM

“Oh, you are not getting away without a proper kiss, you!”

08-16-18_11:42:53 PM

¡Dios mio! Someone’s in a mood.”

“Well, maybe I am. So what? Aren’t you happy to get a kiss from your girlfriend?”

“Of course I am! See you later, chica.”

Hasta luego, cariña.

08-16-18_10:16:47 PM.png

08-17-18_12:36:34 AM

“Hey, I’m home! I brought tamales–”

08-17-18_12:44:54 AM

Juana pauses. María is nowhere to be seen.

¿Cariña? Did you go out while I was at work?”

She pokes her head past the dividers that separate the bedroom from the rest of the house.


“Do you have any idea how hard it is? I get that you have problems, but you can’t just sleep all day!”


08-17-18_12:47:39 AM

“No! You will not cariña your way out of it this time! It’s been two months, María! ¡No puedo seguir así! No–

¡Juana, me quedé sin medicamentos!

Juana stops.

¿Qué pasó?

Los tomé a todos.

María…” Juana trails off. “María, why didn’t you tell me this before?”

08-17-18_12:48:33 AM

“I was afraid.”

“Of what?”

“I don’t know. All I know is, I was afraid.”

“María, you need to tell me these things. I can’t help you if I don’t know.”

“But Juana… What if you leave me someday? What if you go out and you don’t come back?”

“María, I will never leave you. Nunca te dejaré, okay? Now let’s eat. I’ll make some mac-n-cheese.

08-17-18_12:52:24 AM

As Juana begins peeling off her tank top to go to bed, María stops her.



“Can you stay up with me? Just a little longer.”

“Of course.

08-17-18_12:33:58 AM

Love isn’t about loving someone in spite of their problems.

It’s about loving them and accepting that they will need your help.

Love takes work. It takes patience and hope, it takes trying and failing, and it takes getting back up again and trying again. It’s not easy. It never has been.

But for love, it’s worth it.