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  • Writer's picturecatherine@allaboutwriters

A Very Important Date!

We are waiting. With every tinny tick of the oversized wall clock, the bass of my beating heart seems to kick in. Two people who arrived after us have been called before us. Maybe they’ve slipped our papers into the wrong tray? I comment too loudly to my son about still waiting. I think about asking the receptionist if it’ll be long. Neither of these things help. To pass the time, we are playing a maths game which seems to end in my favour every time, so there’s one upside. The challenge of playing until he wins is irresistible to my 9-year-old son. It should keep him from asking to play on my phone for a little while longer.

My mind switches to the girls who are waiting for us in the school playground. If there was nowhere else to be, we’d have been in and out. I knew we’d likely be a few minutes late to pick-up, but school was now coming out and we were not even in with the dentist yet. Tick, tick, tick, tick…da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum…

The dentist apologises for the wait, and compensates by giving us ALL the time we may possibly need with her. Lots of time for a chat. Internally I am screaming as she kindly and patiently explains what’s happening to my son, who owns the teeth in question, asking for what seems the tenth time if he has any questions. He launches into an extended story about a book where a girl gets braces, then follows seamlessly with a barrage of questions about laughing gas. Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum…

I’m tapping my fingers on the reception desk without realising it. The referral will take a few minutes, while the person on the phone is asking what I’d consider to be ridiculous questions at this point in time. I fight the desire to reach over the counter and end the call. I force a not-so-secret deep breath and flash my fakest smile. Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum…The blood from my Italian father is gesturing and blowing steam, while my pragmatic and serene mother’s voice speaks slowly and gently into my ear. “There’s nothing you can do about it, let it go.” Thankfully she wins. She normally does.

When we get to the girls, they are happily playing alongside a bunch of kids and parents. I breathe out deeply again…then rally them all with, "Hurry up! We need to get going..we’re going to be late for swimming!"

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