“You are too young to have this, beautiful. Are you trying to get pregnant?” The young man sitting next to the window, opposite from where I was sitting, asked while he was showing pictures of his sculptures on his phone. “Eh, yea I know. I’m not trying to get pregnant.” “Because if you are, the hormones are just going to go crazy, and your whole mouth is going to fall off. Glad you came here now, before you get pregnant. We’re going to fix this, look; this is a sculpture of my cat. Isn’t it cute?”
My mouth hurt, and I was the one to blame. Thinking brushing my teeth twice a day was enough, was stupid. Going to the dentist was stupid. Looking at cat sculptures was stupid. But here I was, looking at the ugly cat sculpture, while I was trying to figure out how to get two thousand dollars for this treatment, before this session was over. “Darling, you’re too young and beautiful to have a gum disease.” The dentist had said before she left the room. I had to Google it to make sure it was a real thing, and yes, it was: Normal for meth addicts, and normal for old people with diabetes. Not a young, apparently beautiful, twenty year old girl, living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, Manhattan, New York.
How I had gotten here was another story, a boring story. Actually, it wasn’t even a story; Broke up with high school boyfriend, wanted to live somewhere else, do drugs, go to parties, have random sex, laugh about if after and have shitty jobs: Just like everyone else. But a few weeks ago the story had changed. I had got a job I actually liked, and got fired from the job I actually liked. Had sex with a guy I actually liked, and got dumped by the guy I actually liked. Did drugs that made me feel shitty, made me sing in front of all my colleagues, piss my pants at the same time, yes, in front of all my colleagues, and passed out on my desk. All this happened in the same week.
And now I was sitting in this dentist’s chair, with blood all over my face, blood on my new shirt I bought for the first day at my job I got fired from, and was seriously evaluating my life.
“You going to do this or not?” He finally asked me. Done showing me all his pictures of sculptures. “I don’t know. I don’t really have two thousand dollars. Why doesn’t the insurance cover it, why even have insurance…” “Yes, it’s a lot of money, but just think about what’s going to happen when you get pregnant missy.” I wasn’t going to get pregnant right now. “I need to call my parents.” “Yes, of course.” He walked out of the room. I pulled my phone from my pocket and called my mom. She picked up the phone, and it was nice to hear her voice. I told her the deal, and made her feel sorry for me. Even I felt sorry for myself. “Dad is on the computer, he’ll transfer the money right away.” Awesome. We talked a little more, if I was coming home for Christmas, and maybe they could come visit me soon. I hang up, and called the guy back in.
Decided I couldn’t afford the treatment, left the dentist office with high recommendations to come back as soon as possible to fix my gums. Took the A train to west 4th street, walked to the candy store on Broadway, and took a cab home. Knowing I would survive another month without a job, with the money from my parents. I was better at life before, but I wasn’t doing so badly now either.
By Inga Odette