. . . I call this essay "The Queen of the Night," and here at the last, I want to tell you about the connection between two dreams that haunted my childhood, dreams little bits of which keep getting into my fiction, and probably will continue to do so until I use them up or figure out every last thing they mean. Two dreams that in the end became one, because they were really just two ends of the same thread, though I didn't know that until the last.
The first dream is the dream of the Queen of the Night. I always used to see her when I was little. She is very tall, with long black hair that falls in waves. She is wearing a long, dark blue gown and slippers of silver. Sometimes she's African, with eyes that are strikingly blue or violet. Sometimes she has Nordic skin and a straight, high-bridged nose. Her eyes are black then. But she is always recognizable. Always the One.
She is beautiful, and she is walking, walking away from me, walking alone. I used to catch glimpses of her in my dreams--always and ever only a glimpse. And then I saw her once when I was not asleep. . . .