Close to the shore she lived, and her lonely walks along the beach had been part of her life for as long as she could remember.
Then she befriended a dolphin.
The animal sometimes swam in the water close to where she would be walking, giving her the impression of accompanying her.
Soon, she looked forward to her walks even more than usual, and they became less lonely with her newfound friend.
The dolphin's visits did not seem to follow a pattern; there were periods when he would be there daily, and at other times, there were intervals of days or even weeks between one visit and the next.
When the dolphin wasn't there, she missed him, and she worried about him, thinking of all the dangers an animal living in the wild can encounter.
There were probably many more like her, she was sure of that, dotted along the coast, who delighted in the dolphin's company.
Every now and then, she would see groups of dolphins further out in the sea, and much to her own annoyance, she would feel excluded, almost deliberately snubbed.
She knew that dolphins have complex social lives and need their own kind just as much as they need to hunt for fish and breathe air.
She also knew and accepted that they both inhabited different worlds, separated by the natural limitations of their respective species; the land was her world, the water was his.
During a particularly regular period of visits, when the dolphin swam closer to the shoreline than he had done before, she began to wonder what it would be like to hug him.
Would he simply swim away, possibly never to return? Or would he attack, punishing her for having overstepped the mark?
She had to find out.
So, one day, she left her usual path along the rim of foam and sea weed on the wet sand, and stepped into the water, towards the dolphin.