The date has been looming in my calendar for over a month. I prepare myself thoroughly. Wash, clean, scrub. I stand in the mirror pondering how to style my hair. I’d normally throw it up into a ponytail but I need something that I can lie on so a pony won’t do. I plait it only to shake it loose again. My long brown hair cascades over my shoulders. I leave it down and decide to take a hair tie with me. I don’t want my hair to get in the way. I get dressed.
As I drive there, I feel slightly nervous. Nothing to write home about, but definite butterflies.
An unmistakeable odour hits me as I open the heavy door. I feel like I have passed through an invisible barrier; my normal life one world, this place another with a new set of rules and expectations.
He calls my name. My stomach lurches. I have waited for this for weeks.
I enter the room. His domain now. It’s a small room with a grate over the window. I try not to accidentally brush past anything. A recliner chair in the centre. He’s young, good looking I suppose, not that it matters. We are going to do what we are going to do regardless. I’ve never had this one before, he’s new. I await instruction.
I sit down. I know he’s already thinking about getting me on my back. I try to look confident. I tie my hair back, low. I’m ready.
‘All O.K.?’ He says.
I must look nervous.
‘Yes, fine thank you.’ I reply.
‘Any pain since last time?’
‘No, all fine thank you.’
There was some blood after the last time but I’m not going to give him that satisfaction. He walks toward me, putting on a pair of gloves. He stands close to me, uncomfortably close. He reaches down, presses a button and the chair starts to recline very slowly until I’m finally lying flat, blood rushing to my head, looking up at him. From this point onward I am completely at his mercy. Will he be gentle?
‘Wide open please.’
He gets right to it. I thought I was ready but I am never as ready as I thought. It’s a bit too intimate really but this is what I come here for. He’s quiet as he looks. He likes looking. I know he does. He’s new but he knows what he’s doing. I lie there, prone. He compliments me on my personal hygiene. I try not to smile.
Surprisingly, he begins small talk. He’s talking about his wife. I can’t respond, it’s too awkward so I stay silent. He begins to prod around a bit with a deft but firm hand. It does nothing for me. That’s not my role here. I have to remind myself to remain open because all I want to do is clam up.
He gets his mirror. I look at the ceiling, desperately trying to avoid his eye as he puts something (I don’t know what) inside me.
‘A little wider please.’
I don’t know exactly what he’s doing or what will be next. I feel nervous now. Then just like that it’s over. He’s finished. He snaps his gloves off. Turns his back to me to click on his computer. I can’t tell if he’s displeased with me or just running behind schedule. I say goodbye. He’s friendly enough.
On the way out I pay at the desk. This part is always a bit embarrassing but I’m not entirely sure why. I sign a form. A waiver I assume, I don’t read it. I just want to leave now. I’m done. Back to my normal world and my normal life.
As I hurry past the others in the waiting room and head toward the exit, the dental receptionist calls jovially ‘See you in six weeks!’.