The dentist packed the inside of my mouth with cotton wool before the procedure began, then injected an anesthetic into the left side of my top gum.
This is going to hurt.
I was the kind of child who faced the lethal teeth of guard dogs with curiosity. I placed a fragile, practically boneless hand in its mouth and squeezed my eyes shut, waiting for the pain to knock me out.
I am now standing much closer to the fire than I should be, and I do not even mind that my bare thigh is dangerously close to this mass of twisted metal and heat. I’m close enough that it burns me, leaving a dark vertical stripe on my skin with a mottled surface like bubbling paint. I look down with sick satisfaction. I didn’t move close to it on my own, I was pushed.
I will be destroyed-