I find myself alone in a dark desert. The moon is high above somewhere, but he’s covered his face behind clouds. In front of me is a cliff so sharp, so deep I fear even to approach it. Something, perhaps the curiosity of childhood that prompts all of us to take just a peek into that scary closet, prompted me to step forward, toes right on the edge. A few stones bounce down the canyon wall. Bounce…bounce…bounce…into forever. It’s cold here, but I am only frozen by the fear of stepping off the edge. I’m told, heard a hundred times, that if I take that step it won’t be air, but somehow my foot may meet solid ground; that some faceless someone may catch me at some point. When I look down I only see black abyss that threatens to swallow me in nothingness. A violent wind swirls up and around me from Down There. Scrambling from the cliff’s edge, my pulse quickens. Hands scrape along sandpaper ground and begin to bleed. Blood mixes with sweat as I find myself enclosed in a glass box, isolated but not alone. Familiar faces mingle in the desert darkness. The glass isn’t quite glass, but more like a mirror. I see my reflection, but also see them. It’s like my reflection is out there with them, but the real me is stuck in this box. They glance my way from time to time. Some of them smile. Some of them wave. Some only notice when they bump the box, and move on their way with no expression at all. Loneliness grips me with fear that it will last forever. “Help me!” I scream over and over. In frustration I bang my hands on the walls to get their attention, leaving bloody handprints on the looking-glass. It gets their attention. Instead of rushing to my aid, their bustling stops. Their silence confuses me. “I don’t know what to do. Why won’t you help me?” When I look in their eyes, I understand. They look at me with sadness motivated by pity. They can see these walls have no doors, and they dare not break the mirrored glass. So they keep their distance. It’s safer this way. I steal a glance toward that terrible ledge, knowing the nothingness beyond, and realize this is a decision I must make on my own. Suddenly the cliff and desert is gone. All I can see are repeating images of myself, covered in bloody handprints. I am stuck in a world full of images of myself, but totally alone. Frustration, anger, and loneliness overwhelm me as I sink to my knees on the cold unfeeling rocky ground. Time passes. There is no wind, but heat like that of a fire begins to warm my face, but there is no crackle of burning wood or roaring flame. I raise my eyes, and am mimicked by a thousand reflections. Slowly I get to my feet. It’s hard to tell direction in this four-walled funhouse. One of the walls is warmer than the others. I can hear someone breathe on the other side. It doesn’t sound quite human. As I listen, it’s as if this person’s breath gives permission for the rest of the world to continue to move and have its existence. This is oddly comforting. I put my hand on the warm pane but can only manage to whisper, “Is someone there?” When no reply comes, I listen to the breathing a while longer. Partly in frustration, partly just to listen, I sink to my knees again, with my still-bleeding hand on the mirror. I bow my head and press it to the wall, giving up. The warmth rushes into my body from the top of my head, through the core of the bone, all the way to the tips of my toes. I take a deep breath as the glowing heat comforts me. Then my hand feels the glass begin to tremble. When I lift my eyes, glaring light blazes around me. The mirror once again becomes crystal glass. Once my eyes adjust, I can make out a figure standing outside my box. The light and warmth is coming from him. The moment I notice him, he raises is hand and I can see that his is also badly scarred and bleeding. His wounds are much worse than mine. He places his hand opposite of mine on the glass. The instant his blood makes contact with the glass, it seems to melt away and my own palm begins to burn. Startled, I gasp and pull my hand away. Upon inspection, not only is my hand uninjured, it is completely healed. When I looked back at this gleaming man, my glass box totally melts away and he stands suspended, as if on some invisible floor, over the canyon which I had refused to accept. I look into his face, knowing what he is asking, all the while fearing the question. He just looks back at me with an expression that defines love. Before this moment love and understanding has not existed completely on another human countenance. Though I have no choice but to love him in return, I remain on my knees. I will no longer look down into the abyss. I will keep my eyes on his. We will take this step, this leap together. I’m just not sure I’m ready yet. His smile says he will wait. It’s not dark anymore. I’m not alone.