There is a tunnel from downtown Pittsburgh to the Parkway West, carved out of the organs of the Alleghenies, a circle too perfect, cosmetic. It is hard, it is gray, and it serves its purpose, like any surgical procedure. When I drove through the tunnels, from point A to point B--
Point A was an MRI in St. Margaret's Hospital, an MRI to take a picture of just a few of my lying bones. Point B was, I thought, the nearest place that sold crutches and painkillers. I was 20 years old and I ran. Pain in my left leg's bones was, statistically, a stress fracture.
Point B was Dr. Goodman's office, Shadyside Hospital on Centre Ave. I felt like my legs left bones behind: ropes break between body and mind when you are told you have a tumor. I was 20 years old and I ran, pain deep in my marrow. I was, statistically, a rare case.
--I called my father. The words I used escape me now. They withered in the instant I spoke them. On the other end of the line
the thickest silence. His mathematician mind could not compute this reality, silent, blocking his brain and jaws and words. Statistically, he was a 56-year-old ex-smoker and a more likely patient. He, with every healthy cell in his veins, wanted cancer instead.