It’s funny, because even though they’re rattling on about the Games, it’s all about where they were or what they were doing or how they felt when a specific event occurred… Everything is about them, not the dying boys and girls in the arena.
I feel like I owe him something, and I hate owing people. Maybe if I had thanked him at some point, I’d be feeling less conflicted now. I thought about it a couple of times, but the opportunity never seemed to present itself. And now it never will. Because we’re going to be thrown into an arena to fight to the death. Exactly how am I supposed to work in a thank-you in there? Somehow it just won’t seem sincere if I’m trying to slit his throat.
Fighting and scars are part of a trader’s overhead. But fighting is only useful when there’s money at the end, and if I can get it without, so much the sweeter.
Before drifting away entirely, he found himself reflecting – not for the first time – on the peculiarity of adults. They tool laxatives, liquor, or sleeping pills to drive away their terrors so that sleep would come, and their terrors were so tame and domestic: the job, the money, what the teacher will think if I can’t get Jennie nicer clothes, does my wife still love me, who are my friends. They were pallid compared to the fears every child lies cheek and jowl with in his dark bed, with no one to confess to in hope of perfect understanding but another child. There is no group therapy or psychiatry or community social services for the child who must cope with the thing under the bed or in the cellar every night, the thing which leers and capers and threatens just beyond the point where vision will reach. The same lonely battle must be fought night after night and the only cure is the eventual ossification of the imaginary faculties, and this is called adulthood.
Heaven was a dim attraction compared to that of fighting – and perhaps perishing – in the service of the Lord.