The family has reached Brenda Grace's front door. All talk of the race ceases. It is a superb curry dinner, in a setting of some elegance. Grace grew up in Hong Kong, and the house has Chinese furniture and pillows covered in silk. Many of the high points are provided by Paul, who breaks a liter of orange juice, spills wine on the carpet and is barely pulled from an open china cabinet in time.
Back in the car, David says, "Well, we can never go back there again." He smiles. "The British way is very much Brenda's. 'Oh, don't worry about it. That goldfish was old. I'd been meaning to have it put down for years.' "
He sees to everyone's seat belts. Talk turns to the things people have been known to do in life-or-death situations. "Lifting cars off others, that sort of thing," says David. "I've never had an experience like that, but often in races I've tried to imagine that what I was doing was that serious. But it's hard to will that. Yet, in Oslo, once I'd decided to go and not worry, I didn't worry. If it hadn't come off, if I'd died and become an uncoordinated wild rabbit, I'd have been disappointed, but able to laugh about it afterward. So it was the opposite of grim, of life or death."
"Can you run faster?"
"I don't know if I can ever again prepare for a race as I did then. If I mention that I'm going to do a 10,000 now, the papers will all shout I'm going for the world record. No, it will never happen again. Not that way, with that beautiful freedom."