I dreamt that I walked into the ocean, and that it dressed me in its image. Curtains of tremulous waves rose to my neck and I felt the currents measure me like the fingers of many pallid seamstresses. My inches ebbed and flowed with the moon, so I hoped that the evening would show a crescent one.
Languid on the latitudes, I relaxed on pillows of froth and gossiped with the other ladies waiting for their oceanic designs. I was shown materials to choose from: silver scales that melted in the sun and became meek and somber in the shade; swatches of coral, torn from the bed of Neptune; handfuls of sand, each grain a different color, a different world, a different galaxy of molecules; lobsters that would sit at my shoulders like scarlet epaulettes and ribbons of seaweed to wrap around my throat and arms.
Arranged on velvet trays were salmon colored stones; white rocks glittering with quartz; striped and spotted pebbles that made me wonder at my designer's ingenuity. I picked through milky pearls; blue-eyed scallops that fluttered obligingly onto my hands like submerged sparrows; whelks, snails, cockles, muscles – twisted and painted by the ocean's whimsy. I paused over a selection of starfish that would glitter from my hair with a drowned elegance. Sea horses approached, ready to be harnessed to my ears.
Finally I made my selections. As I waited for my dress to be constructed, I rested. And I slept. Suddenly my gown was ready, a marvelous thing: ruched with flounders, embellished with coral, hemmed with anchovy tails and fins. Clams were sewn into the skirt with braided strips of kelp. It was covered with a rich skin of scales, and I shimmered like a fish as I put it on.
And then I woke up.