Black and white


I put my black eyeshades on to block out the hard white light from the dentist’s lamp. The dentist, Dr. Langostino, does not like this much but agreed to let me do it when I was an adolescent and prone to weeping fits, which made drilling, rinsing and spitting an ordeal for everyone. He is a nice dentist, overall: gives me little tranquillizers to take one hour before I get in the chair and cover my eyes with the eyeshades. As I lean back, I look up at the ceiling, which has a pattern of black and white dots contained within square ceiling panels. I put the eyeshades on and watch the pattern dance before my eyes until it settles into a vague, bouncing rhythm of white dots on a black background.

When he finishes, he unclips the white bib from around my neck, and this is my signal to remove the eyeshades. I am often blinded by returning to the bright light and the gleaming porcelain, so I close my eyes and rub them for a moment.

Back on the street, the asphalt is black and hot and smells of tar. There are white lines demarcating the ledge between street and gutter, and in the middle, the line is yellow, with dashes that are smudged where the road crew has been untidy. The mid-day sun is hot white. I am looking for my car, which is grey and anonymous. I’ve put a bumper sticker on it to help me identify it in the endless sea of cars. A pair of dice, lucky seven. There it is.

(15 minutes, topic: Black and White)


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