Quietly excusing myself from the meeting, I hurried down the deserted hallway to go gather my things. I wonder if sometimes the lockers chuckle to themselves- “There he goes again, running late.” Coat donned and bag now over my shoulder, I pulled my reading office door closed and rushed outside the school into the chilly, not-quite-spring air. Oh right, I parked over there. I swung an unusual left toward my parked vehicle and began fumbling with my phone. Just need to double-check that my dentist appointment is today.
Finding the text I’d been sent, I silently confirmed: yep, today’s my cleaning. I remembered the phone call I’d received in January. “Oh hi Lanny, since it’s supposed to snow later we are canceling and rescheduling all our appointments.” When is the next available appointment? Mid-March?! Well, okay, I’d said. See you then.
What I hadn’t calculated was the fact that my children would be on spring break in mid-March, and that going to the dentist would mean my wife would be home with them not only all day but into the evening (since my dentist appointment would last until well after 5 p.m.). Not many natural dentists exist in my state, so I drive an hour for dental care. And I didn’t dare cancel; who knows when the next appointment would be available. Looking down at the floor, my wife had shaken her head. “Okay,” she’d said. “I’ll put a pot roast in and we’ll see you for dinner.”
Finally, after 57 minutes of driving, I made the final turn onto the quiet street. Something wasn’t right. Peering through my windshield, I wondered why the office looked so dark. A sinking feeling began to set in as I placed my car in park. I circled around, approaching the front door. But I didn’t pull on it. I didn’t need to. Through the dusty windows, I saw heaps of trash, boxes, mail.
Shuttered. My dentist’s office was shuttered.
Quietly returning to my car, conflicting emotions and thoughts began springing into my mind. Why hadn’t someone called me? When did this happen? Those poor people. So sad. Turning on my blinker, I pulled back into the road.