The dentist, having filled my tooth, tousled my hair.
I had not had my hair tousled since—well, in fact,
I couldn’t remember ever having had my hair tousled.
I don’t mean having someone romantically run
her fingers through my hair. That kept happening.
I mean the way a grown-up chuckles and does it
to a child. Perhaps I wasn’t the tousling type,
but not everyone would see that on first acquaintance,
and some just like to tousle children’s hair
as they go along on the sidewalk or on buses.
Besides, though it’s hard to believe now, I was
a very attractive child, with hair brighter
and fuller, very touslable. Curious that I can’t
remember an uncle, my father, or a family friend
tousling my hair, not even once.
So when, as a 27-year-old with many
mature responsibilities, I felt the dentist
tousling my hair, I was puzzled. I’ve never tried
to guess his motive, but it was good to have
a moment of warmth in the dentist chair.