He is Walking.
Where doesn't matter: Maybe to the store or school, maybe just down the sidewalk, under trees, past all the neat, perfect houses here in neat and perfect Wheaton, Ill. It is early morning, still quite cool. His wife has already left on the train to Chicago. He tires easily, though this isn't the season for that; you can smell summer coming. His face has swollen because of the steroids, but he still has his hair, humor, charm. Tim Gullikson has a Nike sweat top on. He doesn't look bad.
He's walking alone, and it's odd, but this song he hasn't thought of since high school choir drops into his head and onto his tongue, like a stone. Just appears. Gullikson blurts the first line: I love life. His voice sounds strange, out loud like that. He waits a moment, feet still moving; then all the words come, and he can't help it, but he begins to sing, voice soft and hesitant, then stronger:
I love life
I want to live
To drink of life's fullness
Take all it can give
I love life
Every moment must count
To glory in its sunshine
And revel in its fount
I love life....
The French Open begins May 29. Soon, his brother will be in Paris.
It came with sleep. It came from breathing each other's air, each other's dreams, night after night. Some say identical twins gain their closeness earlier, jostling in the womb, long before they learn of concepts like love and cancer and Australia. But what's nine months compared with 18 years? You want to bond with somebody? Try sleeping in the same small bed with your double for 18 years, an imaginary line down the middle of the sheets and one leg flopping over each side. Tim is 43, and his wife knows: He has to have the left side still. Only recently, hundreds of miles away in Palm Coast, Fla., Tom Gullikson gave up the right.
"When we took naps in kindergarten, they'd always try to separate us," Tim says. "Everybody slept on these rugs you brought from home, and by the time nap was over, we'd have moved our rugs. We'd be next to each other."
It came with waking, too. The boys would open their eyes to a fresh Wisconsin morning, and from across the street would come the pure solid pock of a tennis ball hitting a backboard. Someone would play the bagpipes, badly, and they would run to the courts of La Crosse State University and watch tennis class. By the time they were eight, the buzz-headed twins had become mascots; college boys hustled bets with suckers who thought they couldn't lose to kids. The twins took home a quarter each: their first prize money.
"I can't remember anything they did separately," says their mother, Joyce. "They were just...together."
Always. Tim and Tom—everyone gave up guessing who was who and just called them TimTom or Gully or Hey—played in the same infield as Little Leaguers and, when the family moved six miles to Onalaska, starred in the same hoops backcourt at Onalaska High. They lived in a dorm at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, starred on the college tennis team, coached at clubs and went on the pro tour just a year apart. They didn't marry twins, but close: TimTom landed sorority sisters from Northern Illinois, then cobbled unspectacularly successful careers as tennis pros that never saw one offend the other by becoming too much better. Their head-to-head singles record was 2-2, and their best individual showings at Grand Slam tournaments ended in the same round—Tim's in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, Tom's in the quarters at the U.S. Open. Is it any surprise that their greatest success came as a team, when they reached the Wimbledon doubles final in 1983? After the '86 U.S. Open they retired for different reasons, but, of course, it all came out the same way. Together.