Incisors

Dentist working on a patient

His eyes are brown. Hazel, when it’s bright, when light floods the  room overlooking the park. They remind you of your father’s. He looks vaguely like him all around. Face: fleshy, honest. Skin: brown. Eyebrows, both thick and sparse at once, taking up a lot of room on his face, without actually being heavy, each hair declaring independence on its own patch of skin. Pioneers, frontiersmen. Under the eyes he has bags and you wonder what a dentist’s assistant lies awake worrying about when all he does is hold instruments of pain for someone else to inflict, isn’t his whole job to scrape coffee off your teeth. Fleshy moles. Your dad had them too, dotting his neck, and this guy shares your abomination. You get yours lasered off. Insurance doesn’t kick in a dime.

You are attracted to him. Men who remind you of your father always draw your eye. When you were a kid you tried to get a glimpse of his dick a lot, but he wasn’t really the kind to parade around naked like your mother. You saw it once, shriveled, hairy, beautiful, but there was no satisfaction in this because by then he was already sick and his eyes were yellow and he looked fuzzy and confused and he’d just forgotten to button up his striped pajama bottoms after he’d peed and there was a spot of yellow urine on his pants and this wasn’t how you’d wanted to see his dick. It had looked nothing like yours. 

You’re ashamed of it, this weird fascination you have with the man your mother fell in love with. You can guess every one of her reasons. His kindness. His voice, his husky husky voice. This guy has that too, but it bothers you a little, this weird accent he has. You ask where he is from. Long Island, he says. Bullshit, you think. Where are you from from, you don’t say. Whereabouts in Long Island?  You don’t know what his answer means, and anyway your mouth is numb and every time you try to make conversation your dentist has to take his fingers out and they are in there up to the knuckle but it doesn’t matter because the gas is going and it feels nice and it’s kind of why it’s okay for you to be lying there thinking about how your dead father was a beautiful man and how did your mom ever catch his eye with her droopy breasts and her not exactly showering every day.

Your doctor asks you to lay still, this part requires that the tooth dry before they glue the crown in, and every time you move your mouth the bit he has to keep dry gets wet and then the glue won’t stick and these things cost a lot of money so just hang on for a minute okay. Do you need the gas a little higher?  You shake your head. Naseous. Too much of a good thing. Your father used to have an orange after dinner, he’d call it dessert, and then rub his belly, groaning out his satisfaction. Rub-a-dub-dub, belly-rub. What a man, you would think in disgust, looking at him across the table, where you were boycotting the chocolate-less dessert. What is it to have standards so low than an orange will satisfy them all. Where is his hunger.

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