I dreamed I was on a beach. With each wave coming in, a herd of beautiful pure white or black horses came thundering up out of the ocean.

I watched them, wondering how I might catch one for myself, when one herd of horses was followed by a closed carriage pulled by two white horses. The reins were left dangling, and no one seemed to be driving. I ran up and caught the reins. An elegant blonde woman looked out from within the carriage.

I said, "I will serve you for two days if you will give me one of those horses. But first, I have a question."

She seemed annoyed, but agreed.

"Are the horses real?" I asked. "Could I catch one? Or are they just a metaphor for the waves?"

"No, they're real," she said. "People have caught them before. There's one getting fat in a pasture in Ireland right now."

The scene then changed to a different beach. The first one had just been the idea of a beach, but the second one was very detailed and tactile. Huge cold waves kept crashing over me, and the sand was full of wriggling sandcrabs, kelp, sea urchins, and scattered jewel-like stones.

There were a bunch of rowdy kids playing, and I headed away from them. I heard a girl remark that I didn't like being around people. A bit hurt, I went to a house which had a porch overlooking the beach and lay down on a sofa. A young man came and lay beside me, putting his head down on my chest. I started stroking his hair.

At this point I recognized him. He was someone from real life, a buddy from when we were both five or six, but whom I've never met as an adult. In the dream, he was in his early twenties.

He said, "Don't worry about the kids. I've explained about you."

"Really?" I asked, wondering what exactly he'd explained.

"I've done it so many times, I've got your story down to its essence. I can make them understand everything in just a few sentences."

I realized how long and faithfully he must have been going around telling people about me. He must have been doing this for years. And I'd never known, or even known that he cared.

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