“Too early for you?” I asked M as I sat in the waiting room ahead of my first-thing-Saturday-morning appointment thinking of the enormity of the moment: The big reveal. When finally, after five and a half months my braces (the top ones at least) would be removed.
He grinned. A smile almost as bright as his new fluorescent turquoise scrubs. “What’s with the new outfit M?” “I know! Welcome to Hawaii!! He told me his attire had been acquired for him by his brother-in-law in the States. “I asked him to get me the orange ones – you know in keeping with the colours of the practice, but he came back with these.”
“Come on through S.” I followed him to the by now familiar dentist’s room and lay down in my chair. M’s assistant, Carmen bustled about looking for tools and other paraphernalia.
“Okay, I’m just going to numb you up first for the filling, then we’ll get to the braces.”
“Fine” I said closing my eyes.
A minute later: “My shin splints are really bad today, M, could I go and fill my hot water bottle and put it on my leg while I lie here.”
“Sure, no problem. Use the fountain in reception – it has hot water too.”
An embarrassing few moments later I walked back into the room, burst water bottle in hand. “You’re kidding me!” M exclaimed.
“Sorry! I just filled it up and it exploded all over the waiting room floor – I’ve cleaned it up though.” “You need to take that back to the manufacturer – where’s it made?”
Carmen scrutinised a stamp at the bottom. “It says ‘India’ Mr M.”
We giggled. “I notice you limping, M. What did you do?”
“We had some people over for a party recently.”
“Were you wearing that suit?” I interrupted.
“No! But I did try to do the splits and hurt my leg while doing it.”
“Aren’t you a bit old to be doing that M?” I asked.
“None taken” he replied lowering me down in the chair again and filling my mouth with all the contraptions that come with having a huge filling and your braces removed.
An hour and a half later with a helpful running commentary from M and the odd gentle ribbing I couldn’t reply to, I looked in the mirror.
There they were: My teeth. Straight.