Short Story: People Versus Pictures

Riddled with myriad confusing emotions, the dentist sat on his desk. He had just done a root canal and still reeling from the backache that the long procedure had given him, he again started thinking about the weird gestures the patient had been making. She was a young female with a grossly decayed tooth. ‘Grossly’ here to show the extent of damage but, it also conveys how he felt about the signals the patient gave him.

She was married, her husband used to come and drop her. This was the second time the husband hadn’t come and also the time when she had smiled at him with those weird eyes. Him! Her dentist! Her healthcare provider! Ugh! He didn’t mind the smiles but they came out of the blue and without any reason. She would just smile and look at him.

He was never attracted to her. Well, she was pretty but once you see the deposits and tartar on someone’s front teeth, you can never un-see them. She, on the other hand, was a great patient. Too great for his liking. She would come for regular check-ups. She would drop by in those early mornings when the clinic was not crowded, she would hold his hand for far too long during those handshakes. He would look into her mouth and often would catch her gazing into his eyes.

It was all making him pretty uncomfortable and he was getting on the verge of politely transferring her case to someone else. He had even planned an excuse. He was going out of town for a month! He knew it would not be concealed for very long but, he was more worried about getting her off his back than concealing the fraud behind his excuse.

*Boop* Suddenly, there was a small red notification icon on his Facebook page.

He had a friend request from his patient. He hovered his cursor over the ‘Delete Request’ button but decided to check her profile picture before that. There she was! Holding her husband’s hand and walking on a beach. The cover photo had her and her husband just sitting together. It seemed like a dinner date.

He accepted her Friend Request. A chat window opened. She said hi and he replied. They had a long conversation. A week later, he was on a date. The girl in front of him was smiling a lot. He smiled back and looked at his phone which had just beeped.

‘Enjoy your date and take care of my little sister’, the message read.

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