Every time I’ve tried to fall asleep for the past ten-or so years, I’ve spent the first twenty minutes–eyes closed–thinking the same thing; it takes the average person seven minutes to fall asleep.
Next, I decide it’s time to quit smoking. This goes on for another fifteen or so minutes before I get too stressed-out and need a cigarette.
Last night I sat up in bed, smoking and deciding it was time to find a real solution. I texted my friend Maggie who’d quit the year before and asked her how she did it. She texted me back:
“I gave you their card. Go to sleep.”
In fact, she had. I got up and managed to find it in my box of paper-related junk. I remembered now, I’d made fun of the name relentlessly: ORAL FIX-NATION!
I put it on the pillow beside my head with a mental promise to call in the morning. And, with one hand patting myself on the back, I did.
I stood outside their offices just before my three o’clock appointment having my self-proclaimed last cigarette.
When it finished, I still had five minutes. I lit another, just in case the therapy worked. I only smoked half though–only half.
I took the stairs by twos. The offices were clean, cold, dentist-like. A thin, attractively flamboyant man took down my name and made a call. For seven minutes I waited, itching. An older man came walking out from a back hallway, he tipped his hat to me and smiled. His teeth were black.
A moment later a woman in a white coat came to fetch me. She had kind eyes; certainly not the dentist. She could tell I was apprehensive, and I was. She watched me fidget. I watched her watch me.
“So?” I asked.
She smiled, “are you ready?”
I frowned, “for what?”
“For therapy,” she said, and as she did, opened her lab coat. She was top-less, her breasts round and full.
“Uh,” I said, pushing myself and my chair back a few inches. “What?”
She frowned, “they should have explained everything in the consultation.”
She closed her jacket and picked up the clipboard.
“Shit,” she muttered. “Oh I’m sorry, this is a consultation! Apologies, I didn’t sleep much last night, my brain is all wah-wah-wah!” she put down the clipboard and crossed her legs, doctorly. I couldn’t figure out what to say, so I said nothing.
She took that as a sign to begin, and she did; “here we focus on the root of the problem with smokers, which is often that they did not have, or had inadequate amounts of breast feeding as a child. We have found that the most effective way to kick the smoking habit is to give your psyche what it has been craving all this time.” She motioned to her breasts, a little red in the cheeks.
I stared and tried to regain my composure. “Hm, uh–well, I am pretty sure I was breast fed a lot as a baby,” I said, quietly, “I called it la-la,” I added, then frowned.
The doctor, or nursing-nurse–or nipple dentist–I was unsure what to call her–smiled.
“It is not just the length of nursing. There are a number of factors such as technique and adequacy of nipples–”
I held up a hand, “I don’t want to talk about the adequacy or inadequacy of my mother’s nipples.”
“Of course,” she said, and opened her jacket, “just try, the first session is free.”
I stared at her large breasts and apparently adequate nipples. She held open her arms to me.
“Come, come,” she said, motherly. I stood and walked toward her nipples as I might have approached a dog chewing on my wallet.
“There, there,” she said.
I kneeled down, she put her hands gently over my ears and pulled me closer, closer, closer. I could smell them and all I could picture was the black teeth of the man who’d come before me. I jerked my head back.
I tried to say ” no” but all I managed to say was “AH!”
I stood up and ran to the door, I turned back and pointed at her; jacket open, kindly look gone a little sideways.
“Ahh!” I cried at her.
I ran. As soon as I got down to the freedom of the sidewalk I reached for my pack, pulled out a cigarette, lit it, smelled it, dropped it and walked home in a daze.
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