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Caged

By , Tower Lakes, IL

The carpet covered stairs lead directly to my destination, the sounds of drills and screams muffled by the large oak door gave me a reassurance that I was in the right place. The railing was a dark mahogany, and I grasped it with my left hand as I followed my father into the receptionist’s office that was much too cheery to be a dentist office. There was not a fish tank to be seen, and it gave off a surprising feeling of comfort with plush chairs and art on the walls, much different than the hospital, white walls of which I was expecting. The receptionist greeted my father and me with a warm smile and a kind “Good afternoon” from behind her grand horseshoe desk. I sat down a few steps away in a convenient armchair and watched as my dad began to sign document after document while the lady behind the desk kept switching monitors so fast she looked as if attempting to catch a rodent.


I figured it was going to take a while, so I grabbed a sports magazine of the fancy brown coffee table on my left-hand side and flipped it open to an article about the benefits an athlete can receive by playing two sports with common movements to make them much more effective in both. It was interesting and I became so engrossed I never noticed the dentist enter the waiting room until he asked to see me. His voice was deep and loud, like the muffler on an old sports car. I stood up and proceeded to follow the man down a long hallway with patient rooms on both sides. One thing I hadn't noticed before was the music, it wasn't the mundane soft rock on repeat, it was the same station I was listening to in the car on my way here. Small things like those began to calm me down, this place wasn't as scary as I thought it was going to be.


Near the end end of the hall, the dentist stopped and wrapped his wrist around the shiny brass doorknob. “Dr. Schuberth. Nice to meet you” I stretch out my arm and extend my hand towards the man in the bright white coat. “Ricky, nice to meet you.” He swings open the door and flips a switch on his right-hand side, illuminating the wall. The room flashes as the incandescent bulbs above begin to glow and I can see a large chair in the middle of the room with all of the scientific equipment stationed next to it. A counter spans the length of two walls with cabinets above and below, a large silver sink in the middle and a computer monitor near the end. I take my seat and sit down in the chair. It’s a dark shade of blue and surprisingly comfortable. I suddenly began to sink into it. The dentist pulled a swivel chair out from under the desk and took a seat as he pushed himself across the room until he was right next to me.


“Let's get started.” He grabbed the handle of a large white dish and lifted it towards the ceiling until it eventually its hinges restrained it from moving any further. He stepped on a button and light poured down from the dish blinding me. I felt as if I had just got hit in the face with a fallen tree trunk. He reached behind his desk and pulled out a pair of ugly pink sunglasses, I put them on reluctantly, for my eye's sake, and I sat back down in my chair. One thing I had not noticed was that a nurse had wheeled in a cart full of tools for Dr. Schuberth. I tilted my head to the left, hoping to see all of the torture instruments but all I saw were two gloved hands with a sharp dental explorer gleaming in the bright white light.


He began.


I opened my mouth as he started to investigate. He switched back and forth from poking at my gums, to annotating on the computer behind him. Each time was as painful as the other, he would poke at my gums and then scrape at my tooth. Each scrape could be heard like nails on a chalkboard, long and slow. I felt like I was being tortured in a prison. He kept doing this over and over again until it felt like I had no teeth left. “You did excellently!”, he said. It felt more like excruciating I thought. He told me with boosting confidence, “I need to review everything with your nurse but it looks like you should be out of here in I don't know, fifteen minutes.” “Thank God” I mumbled sarcastically to myself “Thank you,Im” I said louder and to the dentist. He smiled and disappeared through the doorway, back into the hallway which led me to my cell.


Something about the dentists extremely bubbly mood made me feel a little bit uncomfortable. I felt almost queasy by the way he lingered on the last few words “Fifteen minutes” I had a feeling it was going to be a lot more than fifteen minutesI'mprone to getting nervous and overreacting, and let me tell you, this situation made it so easy. I began to think “What did I do?” “What's wrong with me?” a million more questions like that began rushing through my brain and bouncing off my skull giving me a horrible headache. It seemed to be growing worse and worse, like the walls of the tiny room were getting smaller. Things seemed to be falling apart until, I heard the doctor knock. He wasn't knocking for permission, he was knocking to let me know he was coming. It didn't make a difference, I was still fretting whatever it was he was going to say.


“You need braces”




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