Highly Commended Story - Sub-junior Category
“A Visit, A Nightmare” by Mir Faraz, The Winchester School, Jebel Ali, Dubai, UAE, is the Highly Commended story in the sub-junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2018.
Mir Faraz is a year 4 student of The Winchester School, Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates. Mir has always been an academic high achiever who has won many accolades within and outside school. He has also won laurels for extracurricular activities like Maths and Science based competitions, spelling bees, arts and crafts, creative writing and public speaking. He has stellar leadership and interpersonal skills having held different leadership roles in school. He has a penchant for innovation and tries to incorporate it into everything he does. He is a dedicated humanitarian and environmentalist.
A Visit, A Nightmare
My forehead gleamed with the sparkle of a million mini diamonds (That’s a fancy description of the sweat beads which had appeared out of nowhere), my legs felt like jelly and my heart was pounding so hard against my ribcage that I swear that I could hear every beat!
“Why? Why do I have to go through this!” My inner voice screamed as I walked down the corridor flanked by my parents on each side. I wanted them to tell me that my ordeal has been postponed, or better yet, cancelled and I could go home. But alas! Not all wishes come true.
Today was my dreaded appointment with my dentist. Just the word “dentist” sent a shiver down my spine. I just didn’t want to see this person! Now don’t get me wrong. My dentist, a rather soft-spoken gentleman, was always very kind to me. However, no number of stickers that he gave to me could make me like him! For he did bad, cold, heartless things to my teeth! The sound of the drill, the smell of the anesthetic and that grilling, grinding sensation in my mouth is what makes up my worst nightmares! Whenever I sat in his chair, I was reminded of these lines written by Ogden Nash-
“Some pains are physical, some are mental
But one which is both is dental!”
I can guarantee that these are the truest words ever written in the history of mankind!
So, here I was entering that room and there was my doctor with the biggest smile on his face. He looked genuinely happy to see me-
“Hello there, champ! So good to see you. How have you been?” he beamed.
I wanted to tell him how not happy I was to see him and that I was feeling pretty okay till about yesterday before my parents told me that I have a dentist’s appointment. But I didn’t say all that and just managed a weak smile and listened as my father told the doctor that he needs to do a follow up check-up for the dental cavities I had couple of months back. Just thinking of that visit makes me wince in pain. As if that torture wasn’t enough, I have been made to come back to this callous place! In my mind, I was also chiding myself for every bit of chocolate I had ever eaten and every single instance of not brushing my teeth before going to bed!
“Let’s have a look at you buddy. Hop on!”, the doctor said in the most excited tone.
I looked at my parents one more time- my inner voice imploring them to take me back, “Seriously, aren’t you supposed to protect me from all evils in the world, Mom and Dad! Please take me away from this vicious place!”
Instead, I was just helped on the chair by my parents who had a look of pure reverence for the doctor. With the overhead light in my face, my mouth was opened as big as humanly possible and I felt gloved fingers and medical equipment prodding in every nook and corner. My jaws ached, and I wished the doctor to tell me what a good boy I had been and that my teeth were in perfect condition and I could go back home AND I’ll never see him or any other dentist again! But, like I said, not all wishes come true.
“Hmmm”, the doctor said as he finished examining my mouth, “I can see a whole bunch of new cavities. These need to be filled up. Also, I’m afraid that one of them is so bad that it might have spoilt the entire tooth. I will do an X-ray to confirm my suspicion. Though I must tell you that I’m seldom wrong. So, in all probabilities, we will have to extract your tooth.”
I was hoping that the X ray would reveal that all was well but today was not my lucky day. As the doctor had boasted, he was not wrong and I had to go for a tooth extraction and since he happened to be free today, he could do it now!
“NO?!!!!” I wanted to shout but my voice came out strained and low, “I don’t want you to extract my tooth! It will hurt. I know it will. My friend’s mother had her tooth extracted last year and I remember seeing her swollen cheek when she had come to pick him up from school right after her dentist visit!”
“It will hurt just a little bit, sweetheart”, my mother said, “And then it will be absolutely fine.” With this my parents lifted me off my feet and propped me on that ominous chair once again. I saw the doctor flaunting a syringe in his hand.
“This will numb your gums. You won’t feel a thing”, the doctor announced.
“Noooooo! Nooooooooo!! Let me go”, I tried to twist out of the chair. And as I did, I fell hard on the floor.
As I struggled to find my feet again, I realized that the floor was not hard and cold. It was soft and fuzzy. And I was in my room with its reassuring familiarity- the night light on, my railway track right next to me on the carpet where I had fallen. The doctor’s chair, the overhead light were all gone. It was all just a dream, probably triggered by the fact that I forgot to brush my teeth last night! Never again, I silently promised myself. But boy, was I glad it was just a dream!