I woke up with an aching tooth.

You know that pain? Forget the Isinde penalty. A toothache. It stings. Like as though someone left a fire emoji in your mouth. It’s excruciating, the pain. You can’t touch it. Actually, you can touch the pain, but you can’t do anything about it. You can’t yawn. You can’t chew (you eat with your eyes and ears). Suddenly, you start speaking with a lisp. “Guyth, let’th go,” you yell. And your peers start laughing at the way you speak.

It ‘hurtth’.

Today, I visited a dentist to establish the source of the damned pain. Did someone ‘de-tooth’ me in my sleep? I mean, January is a tough month. Since I am insured, it was a smooth process. Plus, I wasn’t going to spend a single penny. Insurance helps, folks. The lady at the reception asked me countless questions as though I was there to apply for a Visa. I sat there and responded with gestures till she realized that I was hurting as hell and told me to wait for a few minutes because the dentist was out. I smiled, nodded my head, like a lizard and killed the promised ‘few minutes’ watching television (which was on mute).

This was my first time to visit a dentist.

I have never suffered a toothache that pushed me to seek medical attention. I was here for inauguration of sorts. I was scared, in case you are wondering. Scared because what if the dentist says I am suffering from some grave cavity-related disease that needs special treatment by a team of highly qualified dentists from one of those hard-to-reach countries in Europe. Like my teeth (32 or so of them) need to be replaced and shit. I was scared, I tell you.

The dentist walked in.

He’s young. And I hate that. His youthful looks means, I thought, that he perhaps has little experience with people’s mouths. “How can I trust this young man with my mouth?” I thought to myself, privately. But doctors are doctors. They act as though they are God’s interns and they are here to give life. Indeed, I was there to get a toothy life.

I ambled scarily in this little cubicle that harbored these huge extraterrestrial machines. It felt like walking to a set of a sci-fi movie. Suddenly, I wanted to pee, but I couldn’t. I stood there, arms folded across my chest and I looked at the machines, the needles, more needles, and heaps of drugs. A fan whirred above us. Outside, the January heat burned like melting brass.

The youthful dentist collapsed in his soft chair, turned his head and asked me politely. They always talk in that annoyingly polite tone, you simply want to hug them and cry in their ear, “My tooth is hurting. Can’t you see?”

I laid on my back on this bed-like chair, worn these reddish glasses and stared at this blinking light that torched directly into my eyes, almost blinding me. For some reason, I felt like I was the ‘chief viewer’ staring at the Lunar Eclipse and, for some other reason, the whole staring ordeal felt like I was here for an eye problem. I wasn’t. I was here for a fucking hurting molar.

The dentist playfully rotated in his chair, pulled it closer and told me to open my mouth. Now, that sounds morally wrong. It’s even worse considering the gender of the said dentist; he was a man for teeth’s sake! And there I was, laid on my back, my face up, and my mouth open, ready to take in whatever is shoved in there. Suddenly, a tear slipped from the corner of my left eye and stained my collar. I hurriedly collected saliva in my mouth and swallowed in fear. I was restless. The doc readied himself. I could see his blurry figure. The fan, above us, whirred noisily. The machine coughed as if we were about to launch to Mars.

“It won’t hurt,” The doc assured me. In my mind, I thought, “Well, first time always hurts, you buffoon.” He inched closer.

I remained there; face-up. Mouth open.

Until he was done with me.