[L]ife is a phenomenon in need of criticism, for we are, as fallen creatures, in permanent danger of worshipping false gods, of failing to understand ourselves and misinterpreting the behaviour of others, of growing unproductively anxious or desirous, and of losing ourselves to vanity and error. Surreptitiously and beguilingly, then, with humour or gravity, works of art--novels, poems, plays, paintings or films--can function as vehicles to explain our condition to us. They may act as guides to a truer, more judicious, more intelligent understanding of the world.
I may wish to return to my home in England, and I stand in New York, but ever since I was born I have been bound to this earth by a law that I have never been able to break--the law of gravity. I am told, however, that there is another law, a higher law, the law of aero-dynamics, and if only I will be willing to commit myself in total trust to this new law, then this new law will set me free from the old law. By faith I step into the plane, I sit back in the rest of faith, and as those mighty engines roar into life, I discover that the new law of aero-dynamics sets me free from the law of gravity.
The difficulty lay with the mind accommodating itself to the notion of the plane, with all its weight, defying gravity, staying aloft. She understood the aerodynamics of flight, could comprehend the laws of physics that made flight possible, but her heart, at the moment, would have none of it. Her heart knew the plane could fall out of the sky.
I push against the tree and run away, stumbling, the unreal night playing with me, gravity pulling from below, behind, above, making me fall. And I run through a world that is rotating, conscious of the earth's spin, of our planet twirling as it careens through nothingness, of the stars spiraling above, of the uncertainty of everything, even ground, even sky. Mumtaz never calls out, although a thousand and one voices scream in my mind, sing, whisper, taunt me with madness.