Really, I think what happened here is that he made a crack in his current reality. A small one, almost unable to be noticed, but by shear emotion and will, he cracked whatever fate is binding him to the Erf. A perfect way to end the first chapter: not only does it confirm that Parson does have SOME pull on his fate and has a chance to escape it, but it leaves everyone wondering how many more tiny chinks he must make in Erf's armor to discover the truth?

(Oh, and the whole idea that IRL Parson is doing nothing but coasting through life, and in Erf he actually shattered a piece of reality speaks volumes to his own self-worth, and his growth as a character. Just wanted to say that didn't escape me.)