The Dentist’s Idea of a Joke
“First comes love, then comes marriage, at last comes dentistry.”
Though they had once eaten lunch and also held hands and she had later allowed him to touch her left breast separated only by brassiere, shirt, blouse, sweater and winter coat, the stratification of fabric almost fully but not quite concealing the warmth of her body against him, though those things were true and surely burning somewhere in her memory as a flickering pilot flame under all of her subsequent romantic endeavors, it seemed that the woman had forgotten the dental hygienist long ago, before any of his training and certification, and long before she would return to him as a patient.
When You’re Smiling
Amelia Gray is the author of four books: AM/PM, Museum of the Weird, Threats, and Gutshot. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Tin House, and Vice. She has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, a NYPL Young Lion finalist, and the winner of the Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest. She lives in Los Angeles.
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He always smelled like fabric softener exhaust from the laundromat down our block: like blue bottles of Downy and Saturday nights, when Mami would blow dry my hair straight with dollops of Dippity-Doo.