it." Bill was clearly drained, his eyes bloodshot, his hands unsteady. He
leaned back against the wall and put down the camera. "During the heat of
the moment it seemed like something worth doing. It was exciting, scrambling
around with the snipers, being in on something I knew would be history. I
didn't see any bodies or blood, just some nuts parading around with weapons.
The feeling of death never reached me. But this morning, when I heard all the
hostages had been killed.... That was no game yesterday. I'm a little ashamed
Bill donated the
payment for his pictures to the fund for the victims' families. "I couldn't
take advantage of someone's death," he said.
disinfected the abrasions from my early fall and took me to the doping test. I
submitted a urine specimen to one of a row of cubicles. The female attendant
was asking if she couldn't work in another room.
"It makes me
sad to be always with the fourth-placers," she said. Thunderheads were
building. My mood was worsening from fatigue and the pressing, curious crowd. A
boy begged for my number and I let him pull it from my sweat suit. He yanked so
hard I staggered back, instantly detesting him for an absurd sense of values.
What possible good was my number to him? When he got it off he shoved it in my
face to be signed.
no," I said. "You can't know how tired...."
must!" he demanded.
not!" I raged, shoving him away. I was incredibly close to swinging at him,
a 12-year-old. Bobbie soothed me and we kept on, she waving away the autograph
hunters, me limping and whining when the cobblestones found my blisters.
Village we met a boxer who stopped to observe my crablike attempts at climbing
the stairs. He had a mouse under one eye, tape above an ear. He said, "Why
would anyone want to be a marathon runner?"
Frank and I sat
in our room the next morning. It had been an effort of will to jog three miles
around the soccer fields. The weather had turned in the night and a wintry wind
had cut through our sweat suits. We were caught in the melancholy that follows
a well-run race, deepened now by the griefs of these Games. Neither of us said
much, but the feeling persisted that something ought to be said.
"How do you
think the medal will change things?" I asked.