It was my first clue that atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith, and every word they speak speaks of faith. Like me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them—and then they leap.
I would like to say in my own defence that though I may have anthropomorphized the animals till they spoke fluent English, the pheasants complaining in uppity British accents of their tea being cold and the baboons planning their bank robbery getaway in the flat, menacing tones of American gangsters, the fancy was always conscious. I quite deliberately dressed wild animals in tame costumes of my imagination. But I never deluded myself as to the real nature of my playmates.
At times he gets agitated. It’s nothing I say (I say very little). It’s his own story that does it. Memory is an ocean and he bobs on its surface. I worry that he’ll want to stop. But he wants to tell me his story. He goes on. After all these years, Richard Parker still preys on his mind.
A germ of religious exultation, no bigger than a mustard seed, was sown in me and left to germinate. It has never stopped growing since that day.
The presence of God is the finest of rewards.