“Do you know who I am?” The apparition asked.
“Yes.” Jean replied.
“And will you listen to what I have to say.”
The apparition nodded.
Jean hesitated, then asked “How do I find you again? How do I become what I once was?”
The apparition listened, waiting before it replied, “By returning to what you once were.”
“But I-I don’t want to be alone again.” Jean’s voice shook.
“You are not alone now?” The apparition asked. “You do not feel loneliness now?”
“I do…” Jean admitted, her head falling as if under the weight of this confession. “I feel lonelier now than I’ve ever been.”
The apparition was quiet.
Hot tears stung Jean’s eyes as she asked, “What can I do? How can I fix myself?”
“Sometimes, what needs fixed must be broken to become better than it is.”
“You’re telling me to break my own heart?”
“Yes.” The apparition confirmed. “But, I will make you a promise. Turn away now, from everything you have now, from everyone you’ve ever cared for, from everyone you’ve loved here, break your heart…and find happiness.”
“How?” Jean was crying now. “How can I find light within darkness?”
“By looking for it.” The apparition replied. “There is nothing among the shadows. There is nothing for you here.”
“There is nothing.”
Jean’s shoulders shook as tears slid down her face.
“Do you accept my promise?” The apparition asked, raising her left forepaw.
“Yes...” Jean gasped, raising her paw. “Yes…though I pray for strength…”