"And it is easy to slip into a parallel universe. There are so many of them: worlds of the insane, the criminal, the crippled, the dying, perhaps of the dead as well. These worlds exist alongside this world and resemble it, but are not in it.
"My roommate Georgina came in swiftly and totally, during her junior year at Vassar. She was in a theater watching a movie when a tidal wave of blackness broke over her head. The entire world was obliterated -- for a few minutes. She knew she had gone crazy. She looked around the theater to see if it had happened to everyone, but all the other people were engrossed in the movie. She rushed out, because the darkness in the theater was too much when combined with the darkness in her head.
"And after that? I asked her.
"A lot of darkness, she said.
"But most people pass over incrementally, making a series of perforations in the membrane between here and there until an opening exists. And who can resist an opening?
"In the parallel universe the laws of physics are suspended. What goes up does not necesarily come down; a body at rest does not tend to stay at rest; and not every action can be counted on to provoke an equal and opposite reaction. Time, too, is different. It may run in circles, flow backward, skip about from now to then. The very arrangement of molecules is fluid: Tables can be clocks; faces, flowers.
"These are facts you find out later, though.
"Another odd feature of this parallel niverse is that although it is invisible from this side, once you are in it you can easily see the world you came from. Sometimes the world you came from looks huge and menacing, quivering like a vast pile of jelly; at other times it is miniaturized and alluring, a-spin and shining in its orbit. Either way, it can't be discounted.
"Every window on Alcatraz has a view of San Francisco."
I'll have my own thoughts on this tomorrow (need to get to bed, doc's appointment tomorrow morning and I've been pushing myself way too hard), but I wanted to share.