When I first became aware, I was Ronald Reagan, I was flying a plane, and I was being told to jump. At first the oddest part was being someone who was very old or dead when I knew that I, whoever I was, was in my prime.
When I looked down, I saw only inky blackness — not the glimmer of even a light, not the swell of even one shadow. How could I be expected to jump into the void? If I didn’t, how could I land the plane in the void?
And even though I could see nothing, I felt the plane descending into the darkness.
Once a beautiful young woman, I was disfigured now and had no face, just scar tissue where my face had been. Still, I dreamed of loving and being loved. One day I risked entering the anchorite cottage, where I would be able to see myself as I had been — and perhaps I hoped someone else would see me the same way. This magic came at a dear cost, although I was uncertain what it was. As miserable as I was, it seemed that the reward was worth the price.
I looked into the small wall mirror and saw myself with a face, even a beautiful one, but I felt more puzzled than joyous. It was mine, yet not mine. What had been the risk of seeing it? Why could I not stay in the anchorite cottage and enjoy the illusion of having a face forever?
A man, perhaps a couple, came in. Maybe this was the man I loved or could love. He or they did not notice me. Without the mirror, I saw that my illusory face was no more. How could that be? It was supposed to appear in the anchorite cottage, but perhaps that was the curse. I had had one tantalizing glimpse, and a dream for the future, and that was it. It was the end of hope.