Saturday, January 21, 2012

Modern Families by Maria Grazia Swan

I have this thing about my teeth. When I was growing up, our town didn’t have a real dentist. The young man performing dental work had learned from his father. Whatever he did was always without anesthetic, no laughing gas, no Novocain...he strapped you in, and you got to exercise your vocal cords.

When I came to The States and discovered the way it is supposed to work, I was ecstatic. You’ll never hear me complain about going to the dentist. Because of the experiences from my youth, I’m a little obsessed with prevention. At some point I was getting my teeth cleaned every four months. I didn’t see the dentist often but got very chummy with the hygienist. One day, the dentist called me into his office and explained that, while they would happily take my money every four months, it wasn’t necessary, six months between cleaning would be fine. Now I see the hygienist every six months, and that means we have to talk faster to catch up with all that happened in between cleanings. She does the talking, I can’t. My mouth must stay open with that sucking thing hanging on one side of the lips, but I’ve learn to express my dis/approval through my eyes. We get along royally.

My last visit was just before Christmas. Tracy had a happy glow about her, the one pregnant women often exude. I knew that wasn’t the case, because she already has 4 kids and, last time I asked, no husband. Okay, I know, you can have more than 4 kids and you don’t need a husband.  

She tells me ‘they’ just purchased a big old house for everyone to live happily together. I assumed she was talking about her mom. Yes, and no.

Here is the story, Tracy got married. She married the gay man she met one morning when she ran out of gas on her way to work. Now they all live together, Tracy, her mom, the four kids, Tracy’s new husband, his partner and, occasionally, Tracy’s former husband when he comes to town to see his doctor. I wanted to ask questions so bad I accidently bit the sucking thingy.

“There must be something I’m missing.” I managed to say before a new sucking tool was inserted into my mouth.

“I needed medical insurance,” Tracy said. “My husband has a fantastic medical plan, and now my kids and I are insured. I was able to get the surgery I needed and had been postponing. I feel like he saved my life”

I motioned I needed time off, “I understand what you are getting out it, how about him?”

            “He always wanted a family, now he has one. He adores my kids, helps them with homework, this is the most stable home life they’ve had in years. And both my husband and his partner cook. I mean, really cook! I love to see people’s faces when he introduces me as his wife and then introduces his partner. Priceless.”

Tracy has a screwy sense of humor.

While setting up my next appointment, she asked, “Are you going to use my happy story in one of your books?”

I thought about it for a minute or two, “Nah, no one would believe it.”

~ Maria

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