My Daughter, My (Former) Younger Self

My daughters dropped me off for a dentist appointment — worse, an oral surgeon — appointment and disappeared to check out a mural in town.

I wait. I wait a little more. The appointment’s at the end of the day, and, as I’m waiting, darkness wraps around the little building. Later, my 14-year-old tells me she was outside in the dark, jumping up and down and waving her arms at me, watching me read.

Who sits in the dentist chair and just reads? she asks.

It’s an odd feeling — myself in a brilliantly lit chair, while my daughter’s outside in the dark, trying to get my attention.

As for the tooth, he looks at it and says, What a shame. The rest of your teeth are so good. I explained I injured the tooth many years ago, but I see he’s not really listening. He’s looking at that tooth. He’s thinking. I say, what’s the least bad way forward?

Then, alone in the room again, I wait and wait, no longer reading, thinking of the story of the tooth, that slender bit of enamel.

It’s nearly 6 p.m. when he returns with an insurance option. I agree, of course. When I walk out, my daughters roll down the windows in the car, laughing, teasing about taking forever….

Here’s my ode to silver maples in State 14.

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