Dr. Shari couldn’t possibly admit he hated his patients. After all they were children, the children of the wealthy English. He lived a luxurious life thanks to them. But each morning he dreaded their arrival, their screaming and yelling and acting out with never a nanny or mother to stop them.
He peered out the window of his empty waiting room. He was happy that the garden outside offered him peace. The trees dripped with red blooms. Soon the birds would come to suck their nectar, if only for a week before they disappeared for the year. Someone said they went to Kashmir. He laughed, wondering if there were another dentist caring for cretin white children who also survived on seeing his birds. Their blue feathers and puffed-up breasts tinted a peach as if from a reflection.
“Good morning, Dr. Shari.” It was his nurse, always so happy, always so plump. “Ready for today?”
Had he forgotten something particularly horrible, some child with a mouthful of cavities? She saw his expression. “I mean good morning and are we ready for a wonderful day.”
He wasn’t, he surely wasn’t.
He followed his nurse to the area behind the waiting room, toward the sanctity of his office where no one, not even his nurse was allowed. She handed him a list and he started to look the patients who he’d have the pleasure of seeing today. He stopped in mid-step. Charlotte. That odd girl who frightened him. She looked at him while he worked. She was the only child, Indian or white, who’d ever watched him while he drilled and filled her cavities. As if she was seeing his soul. He could not see his soul and he was sure he didn’t want this peculiar child seeing it either. She unnerved him. He’d almost prefer one of those wild boys who his assistant had to hold down just to get them to sit still.
The phone rang. Now seated in the safety of his office, he could hear voices start to fill the waiting room. He could hear Miss Mimma talk to the incoming monsters. And their mothers.
He jumped at the soft knock on his office door. “Dr. Shari, your first patient is in Room One and ready for you.”