May 15, 2008
By Katya Bondareva, Marion, IL

The string is tied to the golden door knob, and I’m sitting on my bed looking at it. My tooth has been loose for about a week now and I finally got enough nerve to yank it out. The door hasn’t moved in half an hour, I’m still making excuses as if something will happen and the door will magically disappear. See I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but every time I even think about it I cringe, I think imma freak.

So I think “its only gonna be a second, it’s just like ripping the band aid off”, simple as that. Yet I’m still surrounded by lilac walls, panting heavily on my soft bed. I look down at my palms and notice they are sweating. Goodness, I’m acting childish. The door now becomes my enemy, as I look at it more, it seems farther and farther away.Whats bad about this is that the dentist doesn’t sound half as bad.
You know how some people are deathly afraid of spiders or the dark? Well I’m deathly afraid of the dentist. Every time I go, he finds like a hundred things wrong with my mouth and as a result, I get stuck in the chair of torment for hours.
How stupid must I look? I start to mumble under my breath because I fell like a total freak trying to pull my own tooth. Who does that anymore? I think as everyone passes on to junior high certain things like door knob tooth pulling become a thing of the past. At thirteen, I manage to walk to school by myself, but can’t face a dentist? That’s my problem, I guess growing up doesn’t automatically make you brave.

I let another fifteen minutes pass by and decide to man up. Something doesn’t seem right. I look around and notice that my window is bare and people can see inside, so at once I jump up to my feet and close the curtains. Now what else? Well the awkward silence was starting to grow on me, but it will make me feel better if I would turn up the tunes. So there it goes, Mariah Carey came blaring out of the speakers. Big mistake. Up until now I have been so focused on my problem, forgetting that my mother is down stairs, and there it went, the knock.

“Must the music blare from this room?”
I’m trying to come up with words but too embarrassed to spit anything out. Imma chicken. My cheeks turn red, some sort of a lump forms in my throat and I barely choke out the words.

“Sorry I’ll turn it down”
She isn’t giving up. She looks down and checks her watch.

“Its four o’clock, should you be doing your homework?”

“No homework today” That lump doesn’t seem to go away.

“What are you doing here in the dark anyway?

“Just sitting, the sun was too bright and anyway it helps me to relax”

“Mhhmm…did you have a tough day?”

“I guess”

“Doesn’t sound like you” She replies obviously noticing something is up. No sooner she says this; her glance falls on the door. I don’t think I tried to hide my embarrassment anymore. My red cheeks were now burning. Mother quietly examines the knob with the bright yellow string wrapped around it. I can’t tell what she’s thinking, but I can see a smirk emerging on her face. Without saying a word, she turns on her heels and goes on about her business.

The next morning, neither mother nor I mention what happened earlier. I can still feel my cheeks getting hot. My mom gently laughs every time she thinks about it, I can tell, and my eyes don’t fail to roll because I try to cover up my shame.

“Pass the cereal, please” I ask her with my eyes down at the bowl, afraid to meet hers. She examines my face for the longest second ever. Finally she passes me the Cheerios. On the box I found a note that read: “Violet Smith, DR. Danes, DMD, Thursday, April thirteenth, eleven A.M.” Quietly I rip the note off and without a word we eat our breakfast.

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