"I wish to be born."

For the longest time, this was all that I knew of her. She was a child that appeared in dreams. A blonde, blue-eyed child with a glow about her. While I am able to see auras in people, relating that ability to her glow convinced me that her aura was the most powerful and pure ever seen. She told me nothing aside from her desire to be born into this world. For years I believed she was my future daughter. I believed so strongly in that interpretation of her words and presence that whenever my relationships with women started to take a serious tone, I would ask them how they felt about the name. "If we were to have a daughter, her name will be Anastasia. This is the only thing I cannot negotiate."

This will be the hardest thing you ever do.

My decision to commit myself to the road before me, brought on by long and difficult debates with myself the night of Christina's funeral, has not been easy. The trials and tests have not become easier. The choices have been a struggle. And now, as I struggle with determining whether I am truly in touch with knowledge and wisdom from beyond this world or simply losing my mind, she comes to me again. Anastasia comes to me again in dreams and speaks to me while I am awake, promising that she will watch over me. Yet, I do not know who she is or what she represents. Therefore, this becomes a struggle with faith and in what I believe. The next leap will be a most dangerous one.

"You are the messenger."

I ask her things, and she answers. Sometimes her answers are very straightforward. At other times they are like the riddles I have heard for the past decade. I have learned she answers best when the question is a statement rather than an actual question.

"I know I was not meant to be married, that it keeps me from acting freely on this journey."

"You are not married. You did so only to fulfill the requirements of the state and to help someone you loved. This is not a marriage."

"I am afraid I am going crazy."

"You have this fear because you still trust your mind over what is in your heart and in your soul."

"I am a suicide and a non-believer, I've never believed in anything."

"That is why you were chosen. The self-righteous are lost. You are the messenger."

Shrouding myself in doubt, I fell back on the one selfish desire that I cannot let go of, the desire to see and speak to Marci, the great love of my life. I have not seen her or spoken to her in eight years, and often I ache to see her again. I asked Anastasia if I would see her again. She did not respond.

Yesterday I went for an eye exam. I needed new contact lenses and glasses. After filling out paperwork with the receptionist, a woman emerged from the back room to take my current glasses to measure their strength. She looked like she could have been Marci's twin. The only real differences were that she was a few inches taller, a bit heavier and the two birthmarks Marci has on her face were on this woman's neck. She took my glasses, robbing me of my sight for ten minutes, and then returned them. I had my exam and came out to choose frames and try out my new contact lenses. Another woman helped me with this, as the strange "twin" helped out an Indian man. It was like seeing a ghost, and I could not stop looking over at her. Then a young girl, likely no older than eight, walked into the store from the shopping mall. She seemed to have no adult supervision. The little girl stood next to the "twin" for several minutes. She was wearing a homemade t-shirt, with crude pictures made of glitter and one word below these pictures along with an arrow pointing at the "twin." The word on the t-shirt was "Bella," which happens to be my old nickname for Marci.

I have no idea what the point of all that was. Maybe Anastasia has a playful sense of humor.

And now, madness.