I met him at the airport, which had shaken off its stodgy skin and adopted a Carnival atmosphere. There were wandering jugglers and drunk youths dressed for a Harlequinade and acrobats and dancers and ordinary people, all wandering through the security checkpoints without removing their shoes. It was like a circus, except that no one paid any more attention to the costumed people than to the people in ordinary clothing, and I do not remember there being any clowns.

     He was walking through the terminal with a friend of mine I've encountered only in dreams. I'm not sure of this friend's gender or name; s/he always dematerializes thoughtfully after escorting the key player(s) onstage.

     I did not so much approach him as we were brought together, perhaps by some convenient contracting of the surface under our feet. (Which was concrete. I think.) We were at an awkward angle, not facing. I offered him my hand politely, to be shaken, not kissed.

     "I'm Jo," I said, though I felt that he should know this already.

     He said nothing, merely stared down at the floor, and did not take my hand.

     Rebuffed, I drew my hand back. I couldn't talk to him if I didn't know his name, could I?

     So I was silent. After a painful moment, the obliging floor whisked me away, and I found myself in a throng of friends. Some were recognizable from my waking life and others were vaguely familiar dream companions. All were laughing and trying to draw me into their laughter. Someone set a wreath of dark purple flowers slightly askew on my head; someone else helped me put on a toga. Everyone, myself included, seemed intoxicated.

     Then the scene shifted, and we (less the acrobats and dancers) were at a bonfire in the middle of a Minneapolis street. One that runs parallel to the freeway; I could tell by the high wooden barrier wall. He was there, but conveniently far off, standing on the other side of the leaping flames with his own, smaller entourage. My companions were busy blending into the asphalt. I sat on a picnic table and talked to a soldier who was charged with guarding the wall.

     I didn't like the soldier. I didn't like my crown of flowers or my bedsheet dress. I was not really laughing, though I tried.

     All I wanted was for him to talk to me, but all I got from him were curious little glances now and then. Nothing more. Someone gave me an unlit cigarette and I tried my best to light it in the bonfire without burning my hand.

     Using my best dream logic, I concluded that he did not want to know my name, or tell me his, or shake my hand. He didn't want anything to do with me, yet I still wanted to know his name.

     The dream ended before I could trick him into telling me, or find out on my own, or even try talking to him again. My sense of disappointment was still with me when I woke up.

     I am not in the habit of having prophetic dreams, so I can only conclude that this was my unconscious hinting, none too subtly, that I might be a bit nervous about my upcoming trip. A useless hint, as this nervousness had been quite evident to my conscious mind ever since I bought my plane ticket. The unfriendly boy in the dream was not an actual person, but rather a figure representing the nonexistent boy of my dreams (literally); a warning, perhaps, of the dangers of wanting what you can't have.