This far away you cannot save the pilot from dying. It is 2001 and the pilot last flew a plane into France in 1945. It is 2001 and you are in Memphis Tennessee and the pilot is lying in a hospital bed, his lungs filling with water as if he had crashed into the ocean and was breathing only brine. He did not crash into the ocean. He lived to marry and work his whole life at one job and to father three children of which you are one, the middle one. You grew up in Memphis Tennessee and you cannot even touch the part of your father that flew planes and wore his country’s uniform and courted the beautiful woman who lived across the border in another country called Canada. You are small and slight and afraid of so many things that the world seems a bit agley, a bit pear-shaped. You grew up and fell in love with books and this always has seemed a fine way to expend your liveliness, following phantoms from one room to another, from life to death, from chapter one to chapter infinity. Books, you told yourself, are like airplanes. They are like airplanes and this connects you to the pilot. If it connects you it connects you too late. It is 2001 and the pilot dies in a hospital bed eradicated like so many of his generation by a love for tobacco. You cannot imagine the pilot dying. You cannot approach the sealed room that is his mind full of thoughts of dying. He did not seem peaceful you think. He seemed frightened and smaller somehow and he seemed unlike the father who was as strong as black eternity and as large as an angel. And like an angel he flew away. It is 2012 and he has not returned and you cannot imagine that you will ever understand why he flew away before you understood him or yourself or anyone. It is 2012 and you cannot fly and yet you are not grounded. You dream about the pilot. In dreams he is always there for consolation and support. He is there because you want to understand and you want the pilot to live on in you, to live on like the protagonist in your capacious memory.