Nothing bonds like waiting for surgery together. In a lovely district of Gdańsk Wrzeszcz, in a glass waiting room of Perfect Smile Dental Clinic, a few patients were sitting and waiting. They were all silent, which did not stop them from judging the others). Marek, 30 years old, was looking at trains, while in reality, he was observing her. She was ten years older than him, dressed in black fitted trousers, with red hair and steel-rimmed glasses, which were so popular among high school teachers in the 90s. Elegant or fit, he wondered, and the hard disc in his head was spinning faster and faster. Her hair is attractive; I wonder what she looks like when she smiles. Luckily, she did not wear those black brushes on her eyes – false eyelashes, which he always considered truly awful and tacky. But what about her teeth, his RAM memory kept on working, because fate sent us here for a reason.
All of a sudden, someone’s voice shook him out of his thoughts. It was no voice of an angel nor a viper. ‘Yes, the canine is a bit crooked and pushes against the first premolar, but that’s why I’m here,’ SHE said. ‘You started to talk about my teeth aloud, so I had to say something. I’m Ewa,’ she stood before him, holding out her hand. ‘Maarreekk,’ he literally blew out his voice, because he felt so uncomfortable like when his classmates were making fun of him because they saw him holding hands with Ala from class 8C. ‘You see,’ she carried on easily, ‘I have bad memories of dentists, an orthodontist to be precise, from my childhood. Braces were like my second palate. I was suffocating. I remember tooth polishing without anaesthesia and thousands of hands of students in my mouth. Terrible.’
‘I, in turn, became a cannibal for a while – I bit my dentist on the hand and ran away from the surgery,’ Marek confessed.
‘Nice,’ Ewa thought. ‘I wonder how many girls he’s told this story to. Maybe I should ask him? No, I’ll make a fool of myself. I’ve already made him uneasy once. Who is that guy anyway? A man of contradictions. Let’s see from the top. His hair is messy but clean. What did he do with it? It’s like European Afro. A dirty T-shirt, worn-out trousers, a mixture of mud, dust, and last-winter salt on his shoes. His watch is a mystery, with no logo or name.’ She could not help herself – she turned on her brand app, secretly taking a picture of him. After logging in, scanning her iris, and saying the password for a given day and time, her phone vibrated slightly, announcing the result of the search. There was no doubt – his name was Marek for real.
Mapk, to be precise – the only son of the richest man from our eastern neighbours, the land of white bears that swim in crude oil. His timepiece was one of two of its kind ever produced – one was made for a Saudi sheikh, the other – dusty and sticky – was on his wrist today. All of a sudden, they heard a roar. More like a gobble, as if 1000 people were rinsing their mouth with saline solution. They turned and saw him. Them. A tall man in his seventies on a two-wheeled vehicle. Actually, that epithet was offensive. It was like in Pulp Fiction when a girl asks Bruce Willis where he got that motorcycle, and he says with a sour face it was a chopper. Black, with no gloss, each of its parts gloomily matt. He entered the waiting room. ‘Hi, how are you, guys?’ he said, and the smell of his leather uniform filled the room. ‘Hi,’ they said in aggregate. ‘Summer is around the corner, and you’re here, treating your teeth? To the beach, shoo!’ he pontificated. ‘I’m here to see doctor Zarański and have two teeth pulled out.’
‘Third molars, you know – the best time to do it is when it’s freezing cold – but, you know, second molars will get infected if I don’t do that soon,’ he laughed, or maybe snorted, it was hard to say, and carried on. ‘When a cavity begins, the smell of that old mouth will simply be unbearable for Andżela, you know. My girlfriend. She’s turning 35 tomorrow,’ he grinned, showing a row of beautiful teeth. ‘You like them?’ he asked rhetorically, moving closer to Ewa. ‘It’s titanium,’ he roared. ‘Doctor Zarański promised I’d be able to do that.’ He put a small hazelnut in his mouth, they heard a loud grunt, and he handed the contents to Ewa. ‘No, thanks,’ she said nervously. ‘I’d like one,’ Marek said. ‘It looks tasty.’ ‘My, my, my, well done,’ he mumbled and patted Marek on the back.
This strange situation was interrupted by radio news. ‘Could you turn it up?’ Ewa asked the receptionist. They heard the voice of the reporter,
– ‘Today, on Crete Island in Greece, two Polish tourists left their children on a bus going to the airport. The parents are calling the travel agency to help them bring the children to the country….’
‘No, no, no, this can’t be true,’ Ewa said silently. ‘Why not?’ the guy with the motorcycle said. ‘I thought about leaving my wife in the wilderness many times. In the end, she left anyway,’ he smacked his lips contently. And he carried on. ‘But I think you’re right; one may forget the phone, leave a dog or a cat on the subway, but children? Two children?!’
At this point, a dental assistant came in and invited Marek to the surgery. He disappeared behind the door with his washed-out T-shirt, dirty shoes, and superexpensive watch. ‘You like it?’ the motorcyclist hissed, looking at Ewa. ‘Yes, I like your motorcycle,’ she said. ‘It’s a Chopper, babe,’ he laugh cheerfully, ‘we may pop off to Kaszuby if you like, I have two helmets,’ he cackled knowingly. ‘Wait a minute, well, we’re in the waiting room, so we should be talking about diseases, shouldn’t we?’
‘I don’t have any,’ Ewa replied calmly. ‘But today, I’ll have a new aligner – an invisible one!’ ‘How come?’ the motorcyclist scratched his neat bald head. ‘Imagine an aligner made of flexible and transparent material,’ Ewa lectured.
‘Oh, sorry, but I see doctor Zarański, I must show him my machine,’ the motorcyclist sprang out of a chair. ‘Doctor, a moment, please!’
‘Good morning, professor, did I fail some test?’ the doctor chuckled.
‘You were my best student. Well, a little original when you tried to argue. You had, you know… that’s why you tamper with teeth better than I did.’
‘Oh, don’t make me feel embarrassed. Let’s have a look at the motorcycle,’ the doctor said diplomatically.
They were looking and looking, and Ewa and Marek joined them after a while. ‘Bye-bye, guys,’ shouted the motorcyclist, almost hitting his precious implants against elegant sett stones had it not been for the doctor’s help. They heard a roar, gobble, and whirr when Marek drove down a special trailer towed by giant DODGE RAM on a motorcycle which outshone the professor’s vehicle. Marek parked skillfully, helped Ewa hop on, and said mischievously, ‘Well, are we racing?’
All the characters and events that took place in the story are literary fiction. Perfect Smile Clinic is quite the opposite – it is absolutely real.