A bi-annual tradition chugs onward.
I go home about twice a year now, because Los Angeles is a far distance from New Jersey. It’s obviously not the best situation: whenever I need my parents to help me with something, or I’m craving my mom’s cooking, or I’m simply missing my family from plain old homesickness, I just have to suck it up and deal with whatever it is on my own.
That makes the time I do spend home that much more special. My fam smothers me in bonding time (not that I totally mind — I have learned to cherish meals where my parents are picking up the bill) and I run around trying to see as many of my high school friends as possible, but of course there’s only so much time before I fly back to the 310.
But there are two things I always do: I visit NYC, either with my fam or with friends, and I get my teeth cleaned.
My dentist is an older Asian gentleman named Dr. Lin; my family’s been going to him for as long as I can remember. I used to be good friends with his daughter, but though the two of us no longer see each other, every 6 or so months I have a date with her father, during which I pray I don’t have any cavities.
On this particular occasion, I was staring up at Dr. Lin as he bustled around the room where he does his teeth cleaning. He was telling me that his wife, also a dental professional, and his daughter were going to take a train from Moscow into China. Traveling through Siberia is one of my bucket list items, so I was feeling a bit of jealousy. Summer in the extreme of either hemisphere is, supposedly, something quite special.
So I was lying back, waiting for Dr. Lin to go through his 4-step cleaning process, when I heard a buzzing, then a tapping, sound. I looked away from the tray where the good doctor was placing his tools (so shiny, so sharp) and saw a black blotch moving behind the cover of the ceiling light.
It looked like it was about an inch long, and there were noticeable wings attached to the body. Having recently read “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” my immediate thought was that it must be a wasp, like Lisbeth Salander’s oft-mentioned alias and neck tatt. Hopefully it wasn’t, because holy shit, imagine a wasp (or really, any large winged insect) buzzing around a dental office while procedures are taking place. Sometimes, you just want to keep your peace of mind.
During the 30 minutes it took for Dr. Lin to inspect/pick at/brush/floss my teeth (4 steps, ever since I was a wee tot), I looked past him at the mysterious buzzing bug in the ceiling light, waiting for it to stop moving and just sizzle and die. There were other black shapes up against the light; the heat would petrify the bodies, still them and display them as cautionary tales like Icarus and his wax wings.
Dr. Lin told me to clean my back molars better. I promised him that I would, then went outside to soak up the muddy East Coast summer heat and wait for my father to come pick me up.