On Love and Nitrous
“Are you comfortable?” the dentist asked me through his surgical mask.
“You’re about to slice open my gums and remove my teeth.” I thought, “What person is going to be comfortable with that? And I can’t see your face so stranger danger is definitely a cause for concern right now.” I attempted to reach for my rape whistle. “You don’t have a rape whistle.” I remembered. “Get a rape whistle before your next dentist appointment.”
He smiled at my shrug. Of course I couldn’t see his mouth (predator mask and all) but I could tell he was smiling because his eyes got all crinkly around the edges. I relaxed. “I hadn’t noticed before, but my dentist is a rather handsome man. And friendly…and smart… and I bet he is a gentleman… and… and I want him to cuddle me in our matching long john pajamas while we drink hot totties and braid each other’s hair in front of the fireplace…I’ll make pie.”
“You should be feeling the nitrous right about now.” he said, leaning my chair back a bit further.
“I love you.” I thought, feeling warm and safe down to my toes. “It doesn’t make sense, but I love you.” It was the happiest I had felt in weeks, as though nothing could touch me. “I love you, and I love me, and I love nitrous.” I repeated to myself, swaying to the sounds of Alanis Morisette on the radio. “I never realized how soothing she is. I always thought she was so angry but no…no she is so peaceful. Sing it Alanis.”
“Are you starting to feel a bit fuzzy?” he was muffled, like someone trying to talk during a marshmallow eating contest.
“Your face is fuzzy.” I laughed.
“Good.” he replied.
“You’re just taking the bottom two, right?” I asked. “You can’t try to take more from me. I’m exhausted from trying to hold onto everything.”
“Just the bottom two.” The Reese Witherspoon assistant assured me, patting my hair.
“What do you know?” I thought, glaring at her, “You probably have never lost a thing in your life and now you’re going to take my teeth.” She was blonde and pretty and was wearing diamond earrings from her boyfriend. Not that they were labeled “from my boyfriend” or anything, but no one would buy those for themselves so they might as well have been. “Buy yourself big diamond earrings.” I mentally noted, “But maybe not real diamonds because you’re poor.”
She didn’t seem to notice I was angry with her. I closed my eyes and I started to imagine the necklace she probably made from all the teeth of the women who dared to sit in her chair. Then there was a lot of movement around my mouth region. Due to the numbness I couldn’t figure out what, besides drooling, was happening. I could generally tell things were taking place, but I felt more like they were trying to open bottle of wine they had found in my mouth than removing my wisdom teeth. The nitrous made me feel cozy.
“One down!” my dentist crooned in his handsome southern (Asia) drawl.
I tried to sit up. “I haven’t lost a tooth since I was ten!” I thought, “I can’t do this! I can’t lose more! You can’t take anymore!”
“Lay back, you’re doing well.” the assistant encouraged me as the dentist began to sew my gums with what looked like floss. I tried to spit on her but she sucked it up with the rest of my drool.
“I’m losing a lot of things these days.” I thought to myself between stitches, “Teeth, keys, boyfriends…” I looked the dentist in the eye, “Are you cross-stitching my gums?” I asked him intently.
He laughed and leaned me back, “Kind of.”
“Yep, he loves me too.” I assured myself. “I hope he cross stitches a kitty in my gums. That would be good.”
“Time for tooth two!” the assistant cheered, as though we had accomplished the first leg of a marathon together.
“It’s nice to be included as part of the team. Should we high-five?” I put my hand out. Nothing. “I’m a team of one now.” I remembered, “I don’t know how to be a team of one. I suppose I’ll figure it out like that time I took my lap top apart. But… I never got it back together again… I was such a good team member. I wonder if there is a cookbook on how to cook for one. Maybe I should turn the bedroom into a yoga studio….I’m not very good at yoga. Maybe I’ll just close the door. I’m not so happy with my new team.” I looked between the dentist and the assistant as she wiped blood off my chin. “It’s just us now guys.”
“You are doing so well. You are very tough.” the dentist added like a best friend should.
“Thank you. I am.” I inwardly congratulated myself, “I even showered yesterday. And I only slept until 3pm, so that’s…that.”
“Here we go!” they said as they dove back in.
“They are taking my wisdom teeth.” I reminded myself. “My wisdom teeth. My wisdom teeth. My wisdom…” My thoughts paused as they cranked out tooth two. “Bye bye tooth.”
I heard a plink as they dropped my tooth in with the first.
“I need to seem them!” I spit blood with my hasty words and tried to grab for the bowl. “They can’t take my teeth. Not my teeth. What if we have unfinished business? What if we never see each other again? Can I live without them? They are my teeth. It’s just not fair! I should get to keep them! Why don’t I get a say?”
“You’re okay. You’re okay.” the assistant assured me, “Almost done.”
“Clearly you haven’t been listening. I am not okay.” I thought, “I knew she hadn’t ever really been sad.”
“Would you like to see them?” the dentist asked?
“Yes.” I murmured. “Yes please.”
He placed the bowl in my wobbly hands as the assistant shoved cotton in my mouth and urged me to bite. I tried to bite her.
They were huge, my wisdom teeth. Round and long with a hook on the end that looked like falcon claw. “Damn. I’m such a badass.” I thought, “I have falcon claw teeth. I have falcon claw teeth and a house, and a job, and adorable nieces, and… falcon claw teeth. Who wouldn’t want me and my badass falcon claw teeth?”
“We’re all done here.” my dentist told me with a pat to my back.
“We sure are, aren’t we.”