They asked about my habits and I played it cool.
“I’ve been pretty good.”
The hygienist made her doubt known, brandishing her instruments.
I relaxed my whole skull. I had the self-confidence of a model patient.
“What have you done?”
After last time, I’d resolved to invert my tactics. I flossed after every meal, between every bite; I threaded my gums whenever my hands were free. Some days I slept less than I cleaned my mouth.
I got up, ready to leave.
“Please, just let him look,” she pleaded, and called in the dentist.
I opened my mouth to him without sitting back down.
“God, you’ve actually done it. Would you mind if I kissed you?”
Swelling with pride, I agreed. I couldn’t differentiate the flittings of his tongue from my own. Never before had I felt so appreciated.
The hygienist beamed at us, unembarrassed.