But Love cannot understand this. He cannot comprehend another's infinity; he is conscious only of his own—flying sunbeam, falling rose, pebble that asks for one quiet plunge below the fretting interplay of space and time. He knows that he will survive at the end of things, and be gathered by Fate as a jewel from the slime, and be handed with admiration round the assembly of the gods.
It was long past midnight. Laura's music played on. It was composed in the language of stars, tinkling in a crystal pool suspended from constellations. She used chimes now and then, the chimes that characterized every patio in Arizona, the piano, the trees combed by wind. A prelude to a storm. It was like discovering the secret room in a dream of your house that holds all the magic. It was music I wished I lived inside. Around us, cactus, hills filled with jumping cholla, the heat of August like another animal heaving over us.
He holds Willem so close that he can feel muscles from his back to his fingertips come alive, so close that he can feel Willem's heart beating against his, can feel his rib cage against his, and his stomach deflating and inflating with air. 'Harder,' Willem tells him, and he does until his arms grow first fatigued and then numb, until his body is sagging with tiredness, until he feels that he really is falling: first through the mattress, and then the bed frame, and then the floor itself, until he is sinking in slow motion through all the floors of the building, which yield and swallow him like jelly. Down he goes through the fifth floor, where Richard's family is now storing stacks of Moroccan tiles, down through the fourth floor, which is empty, down through Richard and India's apartment, and Richard's studio, and then to the ground floor, and into the pool, and then down and down, farther and farther, past the subway tunnels, past bedrock and silt, through underground lakes and oceans of oil, through layers of fossil and shale, until he is drifting into the fire at the earth's core. And the entire time, Willem is wrapped around him, and as they enter the fire, they aren't burned but melted into one being, their legs and chests and arms and heads fusing into one.
Doubt as sin. — Christianity has done its utmost to close the circle and declared even doubt to be sin. One is supposed to be cast into belief without reason, by a miracle, and from then on to swim in it as in the brightest and least ambiguous of elements: even a glance towards land, even the thought that one perhaps exists for something else as well as swimming, even the slightest impulse of our amphibious nature — is sin! And notice that all this means that the foundation of belief and all reflection on its origin is likewise excluded as sinful. What is wanted are blindness and intoxication and an eternal song over the waves in which reason has drowned.
The sense of tragedy - according to Aristotle - comes, ironically enough, not from the protagonist's weak points but from his good qualities. Do you know what I'm getting at? People are drawn deeper into tragedy not by their defects but by their virtues.
[But] we accept irony through a device called metaphor. And through that we grow and become deeper human beings.