Saturday, April 06, 2019

Day 6 - Your First Job

I’d always heard them say that the first one is the hardest; when you have to look them in the eyes and both of you know what’s coming next, that’s when you find out whether you’ve got it, whether you’re cut out for this line of work or not.

The first one for me was Alan Knowles. I can still remember the name, I can still remember his face. He was in his fifties, a normal looking guy – I think maybe he was an accountant – but none of that mattered to me. I’d been paid to do a job and I was going to do it. Sure, I was full of nerves, but I just about managed to hold onto them by keeping my training in my mind.

But while I remember the first one, it wasn’t by any means the hardest. A guy in his fifties, sure you feel sorry for him, but there have been jobs that have been much harder, where I’ve gone home afterwards and found sleep hard to come by. The first time I saw that it was going to be a woman, the first time it was a kid.

Let me tell, you the kids are the hardest. Some of them, they don’t really know what’s going on or what’s about to happen to them, and I do my best to make it quick and painless. But others, they see me and they know; they start crying and screaming and that makes it tough. I don’t want them to suffer, I’m not a monster, but I have a job to do and I always do it.

It’s not for the fainthearted. There are days when you it’s easy; when you are in and out and they hardly even have time to be frightened before its done. But then there are days when it’s tough; when there is blood and suffering and you walk away just wanting to take a shower and to wash the day off you. Sometimes you need a drink just to take the edge of what you’ve done.

Today, it’s a woman. I’ve looked at her file; I know her name and age, but there’s a lot about her I don’t need to know. After all, I’m a professional, I don’t get emotionally attached. But seeing a file and seeing her in the flesh is different.

I check myself in the mirror and then pull on a pair of gloves. I’ve already visualised how this going to go down, and it’s going to be easy. I look through the crack of the door and can she her sat in the next room with her back to me. I wear rubber soled shoes and, together with the fact that I am light footed, they barely make a sound. I’m in the room before she even realises and the first she sees me is when I appear in her peripheral vision.

There is that familiar reaction; the widening of the pupil, the sudden intake of breath, the fear. But I’m used to it now, I’ve been doing this long enough that I can ignore it and just do the job.

“Miss Evans,” I say in my most reassuring voice. “I’ll try to make this as painless as possible.”

And I mean it.

After all, I like to think I’m a pretty good dentist.

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