“I definitely won’t do it if that’s the case” he replied.
I thanked God silently.
“Hmmmm, they’re coming on well your teeth” he said. “I’m just going to turn that front left one around a bit more today. As for the bottom, well they’re like mine – you obviously had one taken out when you were younger – so now they’re uneven. There’s a limit to how much we can do with it.”
His comment took me back to Ireland in the 70’s. I still remember our dentist, Cosgrove, as we called him, telling my mother I needed braces. Home that night, sitting by the fire my Dad said on being told “You don’t need braces. Rubbish! Just tell him to take that back tooth out and they’ll all align just fine.”
We all thought dentists were charlatans – especially Mr C – and being the thrifty Protestants we were braces just weren’t an option.
“Still living the dream?” I asked M, mouth open so the words came out somewhat garbled.
“No, but I will be when I win the Euromillions tonight. It’s €53m!”
“No way!” I exclaimed. “I’d better do it.”
“Get your ticket at the Co-op across the road!”
“Are they going to be done by my birthday, M?” I asked referring to my teeth/braces.
“Oh yes, definitely the bottom ones will be” he replied.
M has a way of making the most disappointing news sound unbelievably positive. All I could think about now was having to smile with my mouth closed on the big day to avoid a one brace upstairs, none downstairs look.
He gave me some elastics that looked suspiciously like loom bands to wear at night and showed me how to attach them.
On leaving, I picked up my jacket. “What’s the first thing you’d do if you won, M?”
“I’d take all my family and my in laws’ family on a big fat holiday. Necker Island probably – Richard Branson’s place. I’d finish your braces though – don’t worry! In fact I’d finish with all my clients and then I’d be, like, ‘Byeee!!’”
“Text me if you win!” I said as I walked out, headed towards the Co-op, keen to be part of the ‘If you’re not in, you can’t win’ posse.