Erica slips into the nostalgia of her past with Chris primarily because of what her mental state has become after the attacks of September 11. Changez finds her to be as the personification of discombobulated. Changez is surprised to see her as dangerously thin, unhealthy in overall appearance, as well as nervously anxious. He remarks that she suffered from sleeplessness, depression, and not wanting to eat. With needing to take medication as becoming an absolute and literally withering away, Changez recognizes that September 11 has destabilized Erica in a significant manner. Sex between them is a savage exercise, one in which Changez has to pretend to be Chris and through which Erica finds some respite of comfort. The stench of blood and the picturing of her vagina as an open wound are both allusions to the fragmentation of Erica in the wake of September 11. Erica's condition is one in which the realty that was brought about through the attacks of September 11 was one that lacked a firm understanding and analysis of the present tense. This is only accentuated through Erica's mental state since September 11.