My head is in his lap. My head that has never rested in a man’s lap, my head that’s thrown into tiny seizures at the mere thought of a man’s lap. But here I am with my head in his lap and a rubber block yanking my mouth into place while he wields his weapons above me. I understand- and I am a dramatic person but am not being dramatic when I say this- why people cry out for God, Jesus, and their mothers when they’re being tortured. Because I am half a sneeze away from kicking that goddamned overhead light and its blue glow across the office. My breath would be shallow but I can’t breathe with the block pulling my jaw apart, the thick tubes in my mouth, the saliva clotting at the back of my throat, and the dentist’s rubbery fingers pulling at my teeth. My mouth is small. It is a tiny rabbit warren with baby bunnies flickering at nearby footsteps or rustling wind. My mouth would be content if no one ever came near it. It is wet and pink and the most vulnerable part of me and stretched prone in the chair with hands and tools and voices and drills and smells swimming around me is a personal hell. The pain sucks and I hate it but it’s not what keeps me awake at night. My head in this man’s lap with his hands moving the air to the side around my nose while I fight for breath is what wakes me at 3:00 am. That and the sound of the drill. Metal spinning against metal and the smell of metal burning and the smell of my mouth and the dentist’s drill. The smellI of things long dead and still dying long deaths. It’s a sweet smell and an old one and it fills the room and I want to die with the dentist holding my head in his lap while this smell hangs in the air like curtains around us, holding us together in this terrible moment. I believe I’d feel less like shit if I had my legs open to a roomful of strangers. My poor mouth. My poor soul.
It’s so much worse than this. I don’t know how I’ll ever find the words.