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Too Old for Drama
M. C. Syben
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Too Old for Drama by M.C. Syben
A new dental office with an unfamiliar dental hygienist makes me as jittery as Tootsie, my cat before a bath.
“Hello. My name is Brenda. Follow me.”
I’m led to a small, bland room with one window. A leather dental chair sits in the middle with a tray of tools by its side. A lamp hangs overhead.
“Go ahead, sit down.”
This is the first time I’ve had dental work done at my new home in the North Carolina Smokey’s. Will this gal do a good, painless job?
"I'd really like a good cleaning. I have some problem caps that retain food no matter how much I brush and floss."
"Certainly. Let’s see what we have here. Open wide. Ooo weee, looks like we been on a picnic.”
Since I had just brushed with my Cybersonic, I'm embarassed.
Cordially, she eases my tension with casual conversation. "So, are you married?"
I shake my head no, which interrupts her cleaning.
"You?" I ask, before she goes back to work. One question opens a flood gate of too much information as Brenda tells me about her life.
“…Oh, yes, I married young. Actually, married my high school sweet heart, DeWayne.”
Of course, with my mouth wide open, I can only reply “Ahhh” in various tones of response.
“We’d actually known each other all our lives in church. We married at eighteen. Our plan was to wait five years before we had a baby and doncha know, five months later, I was pregnant.”
"Yep, and I was on the pill!”
“Well, we thought it was meant to be, what with his diabetes and my heart problems; it was a miracle.”
“What, you say? Oh, yes, I was always in and out of the hospital as a girl with operations on my heart. And DeWayne with his diabetes…he was so skinny. Miracle we got pregnant at all, and we had a perfect baby girl. Just wonderful. The Lord truly blessed us.”
“We had a wonderful life together.” At this point, this young thirty-sh looking gal stopped working, got in my face, nose to nose, and announced, “and then DeWayne DIED.”
“He DIED. DeWayne died.”
By now, I’m invested in what was a lovely story. My eyes water. My saliva runs over.
“Here, close your lips around this.”
While the sucker relieves the goopy buildup in my mouth, my mind is a tornado of prayers for this young widow, mother, tortured soul. How can she be working? How can she be so calm? What faith this woman must have to carry on.
y? You ready to go on?”
“I…I was about to ask you the same thing. What killed DeWayne?”
“He died of the diabetes. He had already lost a foot…problems with his eyes. This time, we got him to the hospital too late. Doctors came out and told me. I went into shock. They slapped me in the hospital. It was like a strange dream losing my DeWayne. We been married eighteen years.”
I suddenly realize I have the time line wrong. As I get older, people tend to look younger to me. This girl must be thirty-six?
“I’m so sorry for your loss.”
“Oh, don’t be sorry. I’m long over it. It was six years ago.”
Now, I feel duped. My wrenched heart experienced her past loss not one in the present.
“Open up. Anyway, I’ve remarried. In fact, I married DeWayne’s best friend.”
"You won’t believe what his name is.”
I don’t emit a sound. I just stare into her eyes.
“ Oh ah Ahd.”
“I know. Can you imagine? I been married to Wayne six years now, and I still have trouble remembering to call him Wayne and not DeWayne. But he’s so sweet. He tells me, ‘Brenda, I don’t care whether you call me DeWayne or Wayne, just so long as you call me.’ But I’m trying to get better. Mind you, it’s not the same marriage as with DeWayne. It’s different. But Wayne is very sweet.”
At this point, I rinse out my mouth, emotionally spent from what I thought was a new widow's story. However, the mirror reflects the best cleaning I ever received in my life. If I return to Brenda in the future, must I endure more draining stories?
A new perspective hits like a bolt of lightening: I've become grateful for my uncomplicated singleness. After hearing Brenda's story, I'm certain I'm too old for the drama marriage can bring.
I calmly book another appointment in six months thankful God gives me needed insights when and where I least expect them.
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