I’ have been under an enormous amount of stress lately, and seem to have lost the best part of me; my sense of humor which has helped me throughout life.
It really didn’t occur to me that a four hour dental implant surgery carried inherent big risks, plus we’re talking teeth. I’m the girl who stayed at The Turnberry Club in Miami–Christmas, 1983, at my best girlfriend’s, from my first college, condo.
There seemed to be an abundance of available dentists, who had their Silver Shadows driven down from New York.
I’m not impressed with fancy condo/hotels or Rolls Royce’s; I was more the Saab (let’s get real broken down Bugs) and tenement in the East Village type.
The dentists named me The Ice Princess; it wasn’t the first time I had been called that.
I might have given that impression because I didn’t want them to look closely at my newly bonded front teeth. I’m very near sighted, and can see any imperfection, imagined or not, as if I’m using a magnifying mirror when I look closely in the mirror.
I cheated myself out of many good experiences because I tortured myself over imagined fault lines.
Shelby’s boyfriend had just begun serving three years in a Federal Pen for running an oil lease boiler room, and I had just gotten rid of the bum, for good, after too many years of watching every move I made to see if he was stalking me.
I will always be indebted to Dominic Dunne who tragically lost his daughter, Dominique, to the hands of her boyfriend. Before Dominique Dunne’s death very little was known about abused women who lived in the best zip codes. The police wouldn’t even let me fill out a restraining order.
Shelby’s jewelry had been stolen the year before and she asked me to come to Miami because the burglar who had left her with a slightly damaged brain had been apprehended, confessed, and told the general vicinity where the jewelry was supposed to be hidden. As her very best friend, and probably only friend, I felt obligated to help her search a wooded area in Northern Miami. One thing you can always find in Miami is metal detectors and it was fun renting them from a store that was filled with customers who all qualified for the senior citizen discount special. We heard all the buzz on what beaches you could find the best lost jewelry.
Shelby had probably been one of the two most beautiful girls in school; the other being my other best girl friend, Corinna. While everyone loved Corinna, nobody but me and her boyfriend ever liked Shelby. She was the only other girl as sarcastic as me. I would have felt badly about her mild brain damage but she hadn’t used her brain in years.
She had gone through most of her inheritance, and didn’t take money from any of the rich guys she lived with. I wouldn’t have taken money–but I wouldn’t have gone through my only inheritance. When it came to Shelby I wasn’t the compassionate kind person most people mistook me for. I almost liked watching her get hit over by life.
I knew that I wasn’t the ugly girl some girls pick to be their best friends to make them look better. Shelby made almost all women feel diminished when she walked into a room. I hated her at times. Once, in college, we threw books at each other and ended up in a cat fight. I refused to speak to her for the next year.
We were like lovers in our frenzies. Like doomed lovers we always found our way back to each other for awhile until we couldn’t stand one another again.
Shelby was jealous of me. I was the one who got the serious marriage proposals; not one man had ever proposed to Shelby.
I couldn’t understand it. I was the worst house cleaner in the world; Shelby was one of the best. She actually cooked; I did omelettes on occasion. If a man she was involved with asked her to do something she did it. I usually refused on general principle.
Shelby seemed confident; she wasn’t. I was even less confident, but few people knew that. We understood that about each other. Shelby was only as confident as the man she was with let her be; I was only confident when I liked my teeth.
Yet I heard the same two sentences from four different men. “I can’t live with you. I have to marry you.” I was always tempted to ask if he was pregnant but always managed to refrain as they were serious.
My life revolved around my obsessions and marriage played no part in them. I was obsessed with being perfect. My boss called me Princess Perfect. I never considered that a compliment. I wouldn’t settle for anything less than perfect work sent to clients; if I had to I would do the work over myself. I was obsessed with many things but it was my teeth that drove me crazy. The thing about my teeth is that they weren’t bad. I thought that they were too small.
I was always smiling with my mouth closed. After they were bonded I thought that they looked a little too perfect.
I hadn’t meant to write this story. It somehow came out. Shelby and I had a big fight. Her mother, who technically owned the condo came over, and asked me for money for staying there.
I was so shocked I gave her a check and then stopped it.
I never saw Shelby again and haven’t spoken to her since 1989. My life still revolves around my teeth.