I crawled beneath the desk and hid there until the screaming and the shouting stopped, until I heard smack, a cry and then sobbing silence. There was nothing I could do. Nothing about this night seemed different than any other night.

Everything was different, just not to me.

***

Trapped. Oscar Fitzgerald felt trapped. In a body that would likely fail him in less than five years. Oligodendroglioma. Trapped. He wasn't happy in his marriage. Trapped. The thought of spending what time he had left with Francine made him numb, but he was trapped. He loved his kids. He fucking loved his kids, Alice, Melissa, and little Robert. But Oscar only had an outside shot at living five years.

Driving home from work, the weight of his diagnosis pulled him down in his seat, as everyone else on I-64 tuned in to talk radio, the useless jibber-jabber of nonsensical heads in a box. Tuned in to up and down melodies, back and forth rhythms. Tuned in without listening, without hearing a damn thing.

Tuned in to cell phones, screamed in to cell phones, got directions to soccer games on cell phones.

Oscar tuned out.

He sat in his car, rolling slowly in the traffic, in silence. He left early today. Left work early for an appointment. The headaches weren't from stress. Though not because Oscar wasn't stressed.

He'd felt the tumor spreading diffusely through the tissue of his brain.

Like a tree.

***
I hid under the desk until I didn't hear anything for a long time. Mommy and Daddy didn't see me leave. Couldn't stay there. Not tonight.

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