SAM: “Five! You made it! I’m so sorry, I thought you were-…”
RUNNER 5: (Interrupting, hyperventilating) “IMSORRY”
I didn’t get to converse any more. All that time not being able to say what I was feeling, and when I finally had the chance… my body just couldn’t wait any more. The promise of the feeling of a huge relief just wasn’t enough to keep my heart going. I remember looking up and seeing that the sky had gotten even blacker, and there were new stars swarming in to fill the blackness.
I didn’t actually “look” back; that’s a misnomer. I just remember seeing the sky as my knees buckled.
I thought that might happen; over the following days, I was able to confirm that my heart rate was up above 200 on that last sprint. Then like an idiot I bearhugged the owner of the voice. Since I thought I might pass out, I had reorganized my thoughts out on the road. I knew he’d apologize - wasn’t he just that kind of guy?
But I didn’t have to like it. It sucks that this guy, who some might look back on and say “He just sits on his ass all day while the runners do the work” … this guy is carrying his weight far more than all of us combined. He bears the heaviest burden.
And I never did get to tell Sam what was on my mind after that incident where New Canton chased me off-grid.
“I’m sorry that you’re sorry.”… it’s got to be the worst feeling in the world for him, and I never want to make him apologize for anything again.
I wasn’t afraid for my life while I was out there. That was a new feeling.
I was afraid of failure.
I was afraid of Sam losing another runner.
I was afraid… of his fear. That was what brought me home safe.