My work colleague dropped me off outside the dentist. ‘Are you sure you don’t want me to wait?’
‘No, that’s okay, I don’t know how long I’ll be. Will you be able to find your way back?’
‘Yeah, should be fine. See you tomorrow!’
I fumbled at the door lock and stepped out of the car in the only way I could. Ungraciously. ‘Bye!’
I pulled my phone from my bag as the car drove into the distance. I called my Grandad to ask if he was in- he was- as I was in the area, hadn’t seen my grandparents in a while, and was eager for caffeine. I would call in on the way back from the dentists where I intended to postpone next week’s appointment for another six months, as that amount of time was never likely to happen.
The receptionist was on the phone as I stood ineptly at her desk. She avoided my gaze which gave me ample opportunity to see the coffee stain on her desk, and the button she had missed on her beige cardigan. Coffee and beige do not go well together, yet somehow she had retained her classiness (albeit with missing button) and had not spilled brown liquid all over herself, as I would have done. She had blonde hair and large bosoms, purposely barely retained under her white blouse. She was beautiful, but ultimately flaccid. I hated her. The television above her head showed a video on the correct way to floss, and made me feel nauseous. A child in the waiting room behind me grabbed his mother’s purse and flung the contents all over the floor. It contained nothing of interest.
I collected a tiny toothpaste tube from the barrel in front of me while the receptionist waggled her pen between her fingers, and pushed it into my pocket. I also took the accompanying leaflet so no-one could accuse me of just being in it for the free toothpaste the whole time. I didn’t even really want any free toothpaste, I simply needed something to do with my hands.
The woman hung up the phone, and after inanely typing for a few moments, turned to me and asked if she could help. I cleared my throat. There would be no excuses this time, I would just tell her straight. Damn straight. I would not tell her that I had another appointment for toenail removal at the exact same date and time (again), or that I couldn’t get the time off work, or that I didn’t have any teeth left for them to butcher, anyway. I just wanted to postpone my appointment and she was going to let me do it, because I had actually bothered to come in this time. And how long for? Six months. Certainly, and what is my name?
I told her my name and that was that. It seemed much too easy. She took her time writing my appointment details, and I caught sight of a string of saliva falling from the mouth of the man who was being forcibly flossed on the television. Gross. The receptionist passed me my card. I thanked her and fumbled at the zip of my messenger bag, the bright lights of the waiting room having caused my scarf to become quite unnecessary. The kid behind me had started to slide around on his buttocks, like a dog with worms. Then all of a sudden a noise enveloped my attention.
‘Did you used to dance for Astrid Lafelle?’ Continue reading “Toothpaste”