The hum of the overhead fluorescent lights droned in Alexander's head. His knees shook, and chest was pounding. The hum may have been the thrum from his blood pressure, in reality. His vision was blurred—he couldn't make out the words of the People magazine in his lap. His hair clung to his forehead, drenched in sweat.
“Is this pain really bad enough for this?” He said in a cracked voice.
A startled ten-year-old girl clutched onto her mother, newfound fear in her own eyes.
“Scaring kids, what a loser,” he muttered. “I'm leaving, that's all there is to it.”
So he ran out of the waiting room like the place was on fire, laughing at the thought that his hasty exit probably scared the little girl more than his crazy appearance and absent-minded mutterings. But laughing hurt—bad.
Ten minutes later he plopped down on the red futon in his sparsely furnished bungalow. The pain pills he'd taken had long worn off, but he couldn't will himself into getting up to retrieve more just yet. He was nursing an abscessed molar, and the pain was incredible. It no longer was confined to his jaw—his entire head was a victim to its wrath.