With the blinds open at the office, the sun opened up a warm seat in the waiting room for me to fill out my forms and tuck into a book. The ear-budded office staff talked about efficiency with delegating the tasks of the day, and I tried to worry less by reading. Then the dreaded and anticipated sound of the endodontist's assistant calling my name, the intermittent shaking of my legs as I worried about not being able to swallow as my face went numb with novocain.
When the endodontist arrived, he tried to chit-chat about the weather to calm me. "It's a beautiful day, isn't it?" he asked, as my mouth was pried open. I tried to say "gorgeous," but it came out "gggshush."
Then I was faced with a light above my head and what felt like a torn balloon over my wide-open mouth for an hour and a half while the assistant and endodontist worked their medical magic. Words like "mesial" and "pulp" peppered their conversation. I wore plastic goggles and wondered what would happen next most of the time since they weren't the type of dentists who gave a play-by-play to their patient. There was the smell of clove, and the feel of my tooth being oddly higher than the rest for a bit, like a skyscraper jutting out among cottages. I saw the the tiny plastics that would be used to replace my roots, which I was told were "really long." I thought of how careful the dentists were, and how detailed the work was, and wondered about what I do for a living and how it compares. There's no avoiding someone's need for a root canal if it is your job to perform one. There is plenty of avoidance in a writer.
At some point my legs ceased their shaking, and the dentist talked about how he was tricked into watching a movie with his wife on the snow day before. It was "Slumdog Millionnaire." Had I seen it? Did I like it? With my mouth still latexed like the lining of a pool all I could say was "Yesh," but I didn't really like it.
When the procedure was over, I thanked both of them for their careful work, and walked out with my palsied mouth into the sun to try to whistle in the mirror. I laughed at the sight, started the car, and drove off into the blinding blue light of a