Author Topic: The Passenger  (Read 4694 times)

Offline Sparky

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The Passenger
« on: 16. June 2022, 18:53:53 PM »
In principle, I had decided I was going to take a bit of a break from writing. I've started a story about Carol, one of the other girls from the girl band CJDL  (so same story-verse as Jenny and Ben), but I'm having problems working out what's happening in it, so I've put it on the back-burner for now. And I've also got "Bracing Miss Daisy" to work on (from the Elida / fairies story-verse).

But sometimes a story idea comes to you, and you feel you just have to write it. This is a fairly simple story, and I don't THINK it will be  a long one, , but might take a while to write (so don't expect daily posts). So hop in and be my passenger as we find out all about Megan.....


Chapter 1

There's many ways to start a story, one way is to simply start by introducing the story's protagonist - so let's just do that!

Megan is a little over 20 years old. She has just finished her second year of university, where she is studying Marine Biology. She got the results of her 2nd year exams yesterday, where she performed reasonably well.

It is now late June, and the summer is in full swing: the days are warm and long, and the world is full of green. Megan isn't due to go back to university until the beginning of October, so she has three months of summer to relax and enjoy life. The first couple of weeks she's planning to just take things easy and de-stress: the last few weeks at uni have been pretty much full on, what with completing her project write-up, and then revising for her exams. Ok, so she did do a bit of 'de-stressing' at uni, which involved alcohol, but that only helped a bit.

In a few weeks time she's planning on going abroad with some university friends, but for the moment, Megan is staying at 'home' with her parents. 'Home'... now there's a word. What *is* home? It's where you live, isn't it? But Megan no longer lives with her parents, she lives away at university. Except when she visits her parents for a weekend. Or at Christmas... or Easter... or in the summer holidays, like now. So, yes, for most of the next 3 months, I guess this IS Megan's home.

Megan is actually very lucky, her parents understand that she no longer lives at home full-time. They went through this when her brother went to university - he's 3 years older than Megan. So they try very hard to accept that she needs her independence which is actually very hard for them, as Megan is (and always has been) 'their little girl'. In return, Megan tries to fit in as best she can: she will help with the cooking, and some of the cleaning, and will try hard to keep her own room reasonably tidy.

Both pairs of Megan's grandparents are still alive: her mother's parents live about 10 to 15 minutes away, but her dad's live about 40 minutes away. While she loves both lots of her grandparents a lot (and will probably spend a few days with each of them over the holidays), she seems to get on so much better with her mum's mum, or 'grandma' as she calls her. Whilst her dad's parents are now almost 70, her mum's are a bit younger: grandma only turned 60 a couple of years ago.

She also has several aunts and uncles, who are married with their own children: Megan knows them all, and gets on well with a couple of them. Sadly, her uncle Jim died last year: Dad has another sister, but uncle Jim was his only brother, and he was killed in a car accident close to 18 months ago. He was the one uncle / aunt who had never married, and maybe that's why Megan got on so well with him: she was his sort of surrogate daughter. And as a result, sad though his death was, he left Megan quite a sizeable bit of money: her dad had explained that it was silly for him and his sister to inherit all of Jim's money, so Megan, along with her cousin Terry had each got a quarter of his estate (much of which was his house).

It had taken almost a year for the 'probate' on his estate to be sorted out, and Megan had actually received the money just after Christmas: most of it was in the bank, and would, in a year or two's time, make a good deposit on a house. But Jim had also left Megan a letter, telling her to use part of the money to 'go and enjoy yourself, and do things that are important to you'... so that was how she would be paying for her holiday with her uni friends.

It was also how she would be paying for her braces.

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #1 on: 16. June 2022, 19:21:15 PM »
An interesting start, do keep us updated ;-)

But sometimes a story idea comes to you, and you feel you just have to write it. This is a fairly simple story, and I don't THINK it will be  a long one, , but might take a while to write (so don't expect daily posts)

To me this sound as if you make up this story as you go. I guess, you have the rough major ideas plotted out and fill in the details as they come up?
I'm quite curious: Is this the normal way for you to post your stories here? Or have you finished you stories way before you actuallay post them?

I never could compose a story on the fly in this forum's editor-window. I need to go over what I have written at least a couple times - and by the end, most of it is rewritten, rearranged and reshaped, bevor I am happy with it.

Offline Sparky

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #2 on: 16. June 2022, 19:52:42 PM »
To me this sound as if you make up this story as you go. I guess, you have the rough major ideas plotted out and fill in the details as they come up?
I'm quite curious: Is this the normal way for you to post your stories here? Or have you finished you stories way before you actually post them?

I never could compose a story on the fly in this forum's editor-window. I need to go over what I have written at least a couple times - and by the end, most of it is rewritten, rearranged and reshaped, bevor I am happy with it.

I always write my stories offline, and then copy / paste them into here.

With many of my earlier stories, I knew where I was starting, but had no idea where the story would go... so the ongoing ideas and actual story were created "on the fly"... so yes, I would often write a chapter, then post it minutes later!

The more I write, the better I am at planning stuff, trying to write several chapters ahead of what I post here. With my last couple of stories (Dark Fairy & Elida) I knew the end point I was aiming at, and had written most of the story before starting to post it, but there would still be parts of chapters that needed finishing - as you say, 'filling in the details'. And yes, it was re-read many times, and many bits were edited as I did so! (and there were STILL spelling mistakes!!!)

This story came to me only this morning. It's a very simple story, and I know exactly where it's going. As I reply, I'm halfway through writing chapter 3, and I'm thinking the whole thing will be maybe 8 chapters at most. Yes,  I'll re-read what I've written at least once or twice, but so far I'm pretty happy with what I've written.

Of course, you MIGHT be wondering why this story is called "The Passenger"... that will probably become a bit more apparent in Chapter 3 (or 4)....

PS: thanks for your comments, it's always so good when people do so.

PPS: in England, we have a saying: "In the land of the bind, the one-eyed-man is king". Many people here probably feel they are completely unable to write (which will be completely WRONG in many cases!!!). About 12 years ago, the only thing I'd written was technical instructions, and emails. As a kid, my story writing was terrible. I was crap at, and didn't like, English at school. I am NOT a writer. So, you will hopefully understand when I describe myself as a "one-eyed-man "!

Offline Sparky

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #3 on: 17. June 2022, 18:03:04 PM »
Chapter 2

As a teen, Megan's teeth weren't perfect, but on the other hand, they weren't actually all that bad, which meant that they were not bad enough to justify getting free treatment on the NHS. And getting private treatment at that time wasn't really an option, as Megan's mum and dad simply couldn't easily afford it.

So now, aged 20, Megan's teeth are actually about as bad as they ever were, most of her issues were primarily cosmetic: when she had visited the NHS orthodontist, she had been told that her molars were, in principle, in good positions, and that she had a reasonably good bite. But Megan still felt uncomfortable about her teeth, they were slightly twisted, and there were a couple of gaps at the bottom.

When Megan's dad had told her - over a year ago now - that uncle Jim had died, she was clearly saddened, but the bitter pill was made a lot better when she found out about her inheritance, and more so by the loving letter from uncle Jim. She had decided that she would use part of her inheritance to get her teeth fixed - it met her uncle's desires that she 'do something that's important to you'.

So, with the money in her bank just after Christmas, during the easter holiday Megan had been to see a couple of orthodontists near her parents. Yes, she could have found one near her university, but who knew where she might be in a year's time, after she graduated. Besides, getting back to her parents once or twice in term time wouldn't be a huge problem, it was less an hour on the train. And she'd be home during the holidays too.

Both of the orthodontists seemed quite pleasant, and both suggested exactly the same treatments: a choice of metal / ceramic brackets for about 12 months, or invisible aligners for about 12 months, with retainers afterwards. Both had emphasised that her condition was 'relatively simple', and neither saw any problems that could arise.

In terms of price, one was marginally more expensive than the other: she went with the cheaper one, not because of the price, but more because it would be a little easier to actually get to the surgery.

And whilst she HAD considered getting ceramic brackets to save a bit of money , she decided that, at her age, she would prefer the discreteness of the clear aligners.

(And this is where I can hear LOTS of my readers going 'oh, no, how can you have a story about getting clear aligners, we want big metal brackets on very crooked buck teeth, with wired-in double headgear!'. All I say in response is 'don't give up too soon, who knows what might happen'!).

So, about 8 weeks ago, Megan had come home for a few days: partly to relax, partly to have some peace and quiet where she could plan and start her revision, but also to go and see her chosen orthodontist, where she signed all the formal papers, had her teeth scanned, and talked to her orthodontist about her treatment.

Tomorrow, Megan had another orthodontic appointment at 10:30am, where she would collect her aligners, as well as have several 'attachments' put onto her teeth.

Offline Sparky

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #4 on: 18. June 2022, 15:53:34 PM »
Chapter 3

Megan had read both positive and negative things about getting clear aligners, but that could apply to almost ANYTHING in life... it didn't matter what you talked about, whilst most people would be ok about it, there would always be someone who had a problem. So, Megan was feeling generally positive about having chosen the clear aligners. She had read that she should expect a certain level of discomfort: part of that would be the fact that her teeth were being moved, causing both discomfort and sensitivity. But people also reported, at least to start with, slight discomfort on the insides of the cheek, where the edge of the aligners slightly rubbed. Similarly on the tongue, where it kept probing the inside edges of the aligners.

She had also heard that she might have a slight lisp for a few days: nowhere near as bad if she were getting a much larger appliance in her mouth, like a retainer or a bite plane, but nevertheless a lisp.

So, yes, Megan generally felt good about getting her braces, but she still had a few worries. Heck, you wouldn't be human if something such as getting braces didn't give you some sort of worry.

As she went to bed that night, she had a bit of a problem actually getting to sleep, as many thoughts kept going through her head... but finally she got to sleep.

Only to be awakened by a noisy alarm clock! She yawned, opened her eyes, and looked around her room... and that's where things started to get a little weird. For a start, it wasn't HER room. But there was a certain familiarity.

She got out of bed, got her dressing gown off the hook on the back of the door, which she then put on, then walked out of the bedroom into the upstairs landing. Once again, the house felt very familiar, but it wasn't her (ok, her parent's) house. As she walked down the stairs, there was more familiarity.... mainly in the layout of the house, but not so much what it looked like.

Finally, she got to the kitchen, which was just weird: it had a very 'old' feel to it.

"Ah, good, you're up! Don't forget you have an appointment to get your braces put on today, at 10:30."

"Yes mum, it's not something I can really forget!" she replied. And that was when Megan felt especially weirded out. First of all, the lady who had spoken to her was definitely NOT her mum. She didn't even LOOK like her mum, she didn't SOUND like her mum, she had strange clothes on, and as for that hairdo, it was the sort of hairdo that she'd seen on the TV... of women in the 1960s! Although she felt that she had seen that face before. The second thing was that she, Megan, had not actually said "Yes mum, it's not something I can really forget!". It felt like someone else had said it for her.

She sat down at the kitchen table, and her mum passed her a dish and a box of cereals: she poured some of the cereals - simple cornflakes - into the dish, then picked up the bottle of milk, and poured some over the cereals, which she then started to eat. Well, when I said she poured out the cereals, and added milk, and then started to eat... once again, Megan felt it wasn't actually HER doing it all. It felt more that she was there, watching and feeling everything that was going on, but that someone else was in control.

After eating the cereals, and drinking some tea that her 'mum' had given her, she went upstairs again, and into the bathroom. The bathroom looked nothing like you'd expect a modern bathroom to look like. The sink and toilet had strange shapes, and were coloured a rather old-fashioned pale-yellow colour, with a black toilet seat. And the taps had a long shaft with old style cross-shaped handles on the top.

It was then that Megan thought about things for a few moments... it felt like she was ACTUALLY back in the 1960's! Everything she had seen, from the style of wallpaper, to the carpets, the furniture, the design of the cereal box, her 'mum's' hairstyle... and now the bathroom... they all shouted out 'this is the 1960's'!

She looked up at the mirror above the sink, and for the first time saw her face. Except it definitely wasn't her own face that she saw. The face was of a reasonably good-looking teenage girl, probably about 15: there was a certain familiarity to the face, but she couldn't quite place it. After a quick wash (there WAS no shower, just a bath... which would tie up with it being the 1960s), she went back to her room, and got dressed in her school clothes, then went downstairs, where she started to pack her school bag.

That's where things started to make a little more sense: she saw a name on a book.

'Susan Daniels'.

Her maternal grandma was called Susan, and she vaguely remembered that her surname, before she was married was 'Daniels'. And the house: it was the house where her grandma still lived, just decorated VERY differently! And the face she'd seen in the mirror, she must have seen that same face in one of the photos that her grandma had shown her on many occasions... and that's probably why she also recognised her 'mum's' face.

Somehow, she was nothing more than a passenger in her grandma's body, able to see and feel everything she did, but not able to control it. She was back in the 1960's, and more specifically, the day her grandma got braces.

Which was one thing her grandma had NEVER told her about!

Offline ortho218

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #5 on: 18. June 2022, 17:53:08 PM »
I love this concept! Looking forward to more :)

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #6 on: 18. June 2022, 21:20:27 PM »
Sparky sent me the complete story, so I know what is going to happen. I know that you will enjoy this story.

I am adding it to TheArchive.

Offline kelly-Marie

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #7 on: 18. June 2022, 22:53:26 PM »
Good start looking forward to the next chapter

Offline agarionoob

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #8 on: 19. June 2022, 13:19:26 PM »
Aha the title makes perfect sense now! Looking forward to reading more.

Offline Sparky

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #9 on: 19. June 2022, 14:56:28 PM »
Chapter 4

So, it was clear that Megan could actually DO very little apart from 'enjoy the ride'. And today's ride was going to include her (ok, her grandma, as a teen) getting braces fitted. So, what WERE braces like back in the 1960's? To be honest, she didn't really know. But she was definitely about to find out!

"Ok, Susan, are you ready?" asked her mum. She looked at her watch: it was a little after 9am, so Megan was interested to know why they were leaving home quite so early for a 10:30 appointment.

"Yes mum"

"Got your bag?"

"Yes mum!"

"And your lunch?

"Yes mum...."

They both walked out of the house, then along a couple of roads to the main road, where they went and stood at a bus stop. Well, that certainly explained why they were so early. Whilst she had never actually used the bus where her grandma (still) lived, she guessed it would probably take about 30 minutes to get into town. And she also guessed that, whilst buses were fairly popular back in the 1960's, there was still maybe only two or three busses each hour after 9am.

They stood there for about 10 minutes before the bus arrived: OMG, it was one of those really old ones! No automatic doors... in fact, no doors at all! They got on at the rear of the bus, and went upstairs to sit down. Almost immediately her mum lit up a cigarette and started to smoke it - and she wasn't the only one up there smoking either. The bus was slow, stopping at each bus stop, and yes, by the time it went around all the roads, it was about 35 minutes before they got into town. And THAT was quite an eye-opener too. Almost all the shops were small shops, just a small number of big shops. Not that they actually went shopping.

They went over the road, to another bus stop: it seemed that the orthodontist they were visiting wasn't in the middle of town. After another 5-minute wait, and a 15-minute bus journey, they got off the bus. After a 5-minute walk, they were finally there. Outside the building was a sign: 'School Dental Service'.

Susan followed her mum inside, where the receptionist told them to wait in a waiting room upstairs. From what she could work out, the ordinary dentists were downstairs, and the dentists upstairs did the braces. The room was small, with horrible old (and not very comfortable) 'kitchen chairs' to sit on. There were three other teen kids there, one with his mum. Slowly, they were called into the surgery. It was something like 30 minutes later that they were called in, so about 15 minutes later than their appointment time. The equipment, whilst clean, shiny, and clearly not that old, looked distinctly antiquated by 2020's standards!

Susan sat up in the old-fashioned treatment chair, while the dentist had a very quick chat with her mum. As she sat there, Megan could feel Susan running her tongue over her teeth, where she could feel a load of strange 'bits' stuck in between many of her teeth: she correctly guessed they were there to make small gaps between all of the teeth. Her top front teeth didn't need these 'bits' as they stuck out quite a bit, and had quite big gaps between them. There were also a couple of large gaps at the side at the top and bottom, where four of her premolars had clearly been recently removed. At the back, she could feel that her top rear molars were still not at the same level as her other teeth, and the lower rear molars were still erupting. As she looked over at her mum, she could see her lighting up yet another cigarette. Yes, this was clearly the 60's where smoking was 100% the norm.

"Sit back, and open wide" said the dentist / orthodontist, after simply checking that she was, in fact, Susan Daniels. No small-talk. No asking if she was ok. No telling her what he was doing to her. Just getting on with the job. He inserted a strange thing made of wires into her mouth: it was some sort of ancient lip-spreader.

Speaking only to his assistant, the dentist (did they actually HAVE orthodontists in the NHS dentist service back in the 1960s? Probably not, so he probably WAS just a dentist with a bit of extra training!) pulled out the bits between her teeth: they looked like tiny rubber donuts. With the donuts all removed, she felt around her mouth again: there was certainly less pressure on her teeth, but she could now feel the tiny gaps between her teeth.

The dentist's assistant brought over a tray of bits: Susan / Megan wasn't quite sure what they were, but they were clearly metallic. The dentist picked up one of the tiny metal thinks, and tried to put it onto one of Susan's teeth. Ah, yes, Megan remembered reading that, whilst they now used small metal or ceramic brackets glued to the teeth, they used to have to use metal bands on all the teeth. And it looked like that was what she was getting!

The next hour was not at all comfortable as, one after the other, the dentist tried fitting / adjusting / refitting the bands to pretty well all of her teeth, top and bottom. Of course, fitting was one thing: they still needed to be glued on. And there was none of this fancy modern, UV-cured, glue. No, it was quite messy as the dentist took each metal band, then filled it inside with a little glue, then forced it onto her teeth. Her top teeth were first: after fitting all of the top metal bands, he cleaned off the excess glue as best he could: it tasted pretty disgusting (not that the dentist seemed to care). Then he did all the bands on her bottom teeth. This time she counted: two front teeth, the canines, the one premolar (the other premolar had been removed) and her front molar. So, 10 bands on the bottom, and another 10 at the top.

"Now, you need to sit still for 10 minutes or so, to let the glue set" instructed the dentist. They were a long 10 minutes. Finally, the 10 minutes were up, and the dentist spent a couple of minutes breaking off a few bits of the excess glue. Then he had to fit the two archwires: as he did so, she could feel the pressure on her teeth. The archwire was held in place by bits of wire the dentist wrapped around each of the bracket bits of the braces.

"Thank goodness that's over" thought both Susan and Megan.... but it wasn't, there was more to come!

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #10 on: 19. June 2022, 15:30:37 PM »
Ah, "Passenger", I get it now.

Uff. 1960's treatment isn't for the faint of heart.
At least from a 2020 point of view. Back then they managed to live through it however.

Offline Sparky

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #11 on: 20. June 2022, 19:28:39 PM »
Chapter 5

Susan / Megan had expected the dentist to tell her to get out of the chair, but he didn't. His assistant brought something else over to him: it was made of two bits of thick curved wire: Megan would later discover that this was called a facebow. Megan could feel that Susan was feeling quite scared at what she was seeing, and that whilst she had known she was getting braces, this was something that she had absolutely no idea about. "Don't be sacred, Susan," Megan tried to say, "You'll be ok....". She had no idea if Susan had actually heard her, or had even felt her feelings, but Susan did seem to relax a bit.

The dentist first spent a bit of time bending the ends of the facebow, so that it would fit into what Megan assumed must be matching holes or tubes in the braces on her molars. After that, he fitted it in, then spent several more minutes messing around doing something where it fitted in.

Finally, there was the headgear itself: 4 straps that went over Susan's head, with some sort of hooks on straps that came down from the rear. The ends of the facebow had 'loops' on, and they were connected to the hooks on the rear of the headgear with elastic bands.

"Ok" said the dentist, "You're all done, you can go".

"How much do I need to wear this thing on my head, and the big metal bit in my mouth?" asked Susan.

"Oh, all the time, it's not removable" he replied: he wasn't one for talking to his patients. Megan could feel Susan's heart sink down into her stomach, as she realised that meant all day, every day, including AT SCHOOL! "It's OK, Susan, you can do this, you'll get through it, I KNOW you will!". Well, yes, Megan knew her grandma well, and even if this experience of having braces wasn't a great one, she knew the lovely and caring lady that her grandma had become, so many years later.

Megan remained with Susan for the rest of the day, and experienced what must have been one of Susan's worst days of her life. The other kids at school were quite cruel to her - this was the 1960's, and not many kids had braces back then. There were obvious comments like 'metal mouth' and many other similar comments. Some of the kids thought they were being highly original by asking 'how's the TV reception?'. Maybe the braces alone would have been (just about) ok, but none of the other kids had any sort of headgear they had to wear to school. All the time, Megan tried to say encouraging things to Susan, hoping they would help in some way to alleviate her angst and suffering.

Later that night, Megan cried with Susan as she finally went to bed, and fell asleep, her eyes full of tears.


A beeping noise woke Susan: it was of course the alarm on her phone. She opened her eyes, and looked around. She relaxed when she realised that she was in her own room once more. After yawning and stretching, she got out of bed. Her day was likely to be a bit less stressful than the one she had just had in her dream. Sorry, the one that SUSAN had just had.

Megan wondered to herself as she walked downstairs: was that REALLY her grandmother she had just shared an experience with, or WAS it just some random dream? There was only one way to find out: after getting her braces, she would go and visit her grandma and grandpa… she knew that they both always loved it when she went over there.

Megan had asked her mum a couple of days ago if she could borrow mum's car, and mum had said yes, meaning that it would be pretty easy to get to the ortho.

"Hey, mum, would you mind if I used the car after my appointment? I'd like to go over and see grandma and grandpa." Megan's mum knew how close Megan was to her grandparents (who were her own mum and dad, of course) and was very happy for her to visit them. "Give mum and dad my love will you, and tell them I'll be over to see them later in the week".

Megan drove to her orthodontist's, parking in the small car park. As she walked into reception, she couldn't help thinking how things have changed... since the 1960s (she was assuming that her dream was based on some sort of reality): the place was brighter, and felt so much more modern. The waiting room was both comfortable and relaxing, with nice big comfy chairs to sit in.

And when she went into the surgery a few minutes later, she couldn't help thinking how everything looked SO different from what it would have, umm... 55 years ago!

"Good morning, Megan, how are you today? Ready to get your braces?" said a very smiling Richard Groves, her ortho.

"Yes, I'm feeling good, and yes, ready to go!"

"Excellent. So, we got you to sign your paperwork last time, and I have all your aligners here. As I explained last time, we need to fit you with some tiny 'attachments' on your teeth, so why don't you sit back in the comfy chair....". On her last visit, Richard had explained that getting the attachments on was, in many ways, similar to getting a bonded filling (which Megan had two of) - without any of the drilling, of course.

She sat back in the chair, and Richard's assistant fitted her with a disposable bib, then gave her some dark glasses to wear.

"Open wide please" asked Richard, as he placed the plastic lip-spreader in, to open her lips. It was certainly far more comfortable that the wire one the dentist had used on Susan. "So, you only need 4 attachments, and they are all at the top, so this shouldn't take too long. First, I'll put some etching gel onto your teeth, and leave it for a bit...".

Megan could feel very little as Richard put something - she assumed the etchant gel - on her teeth, then about 30 seconds or so later, rinsed her teeth with water, as the vacuum pipe sucked it all away. Next, she could feel air being blown onto her teeth.

"I'm now just drying your teeth before I put some adhesive onto those 4 teeth" explained Richard. A bit like the etchant gel, Megan could feel Richard putting the adhesive onto her teeth. "And now, some blue light to cure it". He picked up a long thin thing, which shone the blue / UV light onto her teeth.

Richard then picked up an aligner tray. "This is called a 'template', it's what we use to create the shaped attachments. This stuff I'm putting into the 'holes' is very similar to what your dentist would have used for your composite fillings". Filling the 4 holes only took a few seconds. "Ok, so next I need to fit this onto your teeth, and we'll use the blue light to cure it, just like I did with the adhesive".

The aligner seemed to go easily onto her teeth, and Richard pushed it to ensure it was fully seated. Then he used the blue light again, before finally removing the aligner. He used a tool to check the 4 attachments were ok.

"They all look fine, so let me just tidy things up...". He used his dental drill to remove a little excess composite material, and to gently polish the 4 attachments. "Right, let's see how your first set of aligners fit....". He picked up a small plastic bag, and showed it to Megan. "You can see it's fairly obvious what's in here...". On the bag it said 'UPPER' and 'ALIGNER #1'. He opened it, removing the aligner, and showed it to Megan. "So, this is it, your first upper aligner. You can see the 4 blobs on these teeth: they line up with the attachments which I just put on your teeth." He put the aligner into Megan’s mouth, lining it up with her teeth, and gently pushed it onto her teeth: it located with a gentle 'click'. "Your lower aligner doesn't have any attachments" he explained as her showed Megan the second bag, removed the lower aligner, and just like the first one, fitted it to her lower teeth.

Then he removed the lips spreader, and his assistant took off her protective glasses, then passed her a mirror, so she could look at her mouth. Megan smiled widely, and looked at her teeth, with their 'invisible braces'. She was pleasantly surprised how 'invisible' they actually looked: she was sure that, to a casual observer, they would indeed not be at all obvious. Even the attachments hardly showed.

"How do they feel" Richard asked her. She ran her tongue over the aligners: they felt a little strange, very smooth. She could feel a little extra bulk on her teeth, but it wasn't at all uncomfortable, and they felt quite smooth to her cheeks.

"They feel and look just fine. And I'm guessing about 100 times better than the old braces kids used to have back in the 60's!"

"Yes, I think you're right there - back then they didn't just use metal brackets, they had to wrap each tooth in a carefully sized metal band. Plus, they didn't have these nice UV-cured adhesives back then either!". Richard went on to explain about when to change to the next set of aligners, as well as a simple and obvious list of 'do's and don'ts'. "Ok, so I'm going to leave you with Angela, she's good at explaining how to remove and reinsert your aligners, plus she has a 'goody bag' for you. And remember, if you get ANY problems, just call us!"

Angela, Richard's assistant, talked her through removing and re-inserting her aligners, which turned out to be quite easy. "You're lucky, yours seem to come out fairly easily: some people have loads more problems getting them out!" explained Angela. She also showed Megan what was in her 'goody bag': as well as the Invisalign box that contained a storage box, some cleaning crystals, and some instructions, there was also several sample tubes of different toothpastes, some useful 'interstitial cleaning brushes' (you know, those tiny brushes for getting between your teeth) and a bottle of mouthwash. It all went into a nice small drawstring bag.

As she was about to leave, she looked at Angela, and realised that she too wore aligners. "Yes, I have the same as you. You'll soon get used to them. You may find your teeth are a bit sensitive for a few days while you get used to the aligners... and the same when you put in a new set - painkillers will be your friend!"

As Megan left the orthodontists, she couldn't help but think how much better her experience had been, compared to Susan's.

Offline firesonga

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #12 on: 20. June 2022, 21:46:29 PM »
A unique story. I like it so far.

Offline Sparky

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #13 on: 21. June 2022, 15:13:19 PM »
So, today it is the last part of this short story. Thanks for the positive feedback....


Chapter 6

Megan parked her mum’s car in the driveway, went to the front door, and rang the doorbell.

"Hey, Megan, now there's a lovely surprise! Come on in!" said her grandpa after opening the door. "Susan, Megan's here!" he called out. "She's up in her work room..." he said to Megan. Upstairs, grandma used the smallest bedroom as a sort of sewing and crafts room, so Megan went up to see her (after giving grandpa a nice hug, of course).

"Hey, grandma!" said Megan with a tiny lisp, giving her grandma a hug too. She could see that grandma was working at the sewing machine. "Hey, why don't I go make us all a cuppa" suggested Megan. Megan went down into the kitchen, and put the kettle on: it was something she often did when she popped around, and even more so when she went and stayed with them for a few days.

She had just poured out three mugs of tea when her grandma came in. "Oh, lovely. There's some biscuits in the tin too... why don't you put them all onto a tray, and we can go and sit out in the garden and talk..."

"You coming out into the garden too?" grandma asked grandpa, as they went through the lounge.

"No, I can see that Megan wants to talk to you, so I'll stay in here, you two ladies go and chat outside!". Megan passed grandpa his tea, and she went outside with her grandma. With the tea tray on the table, they both sat down. It was at this point that Megan realised that she would need to take out her braces, in order to drink the tea. Initially she felt a bit awkward, but quickly realised that this could be a good way to introduce the whole topic of braces: after all, THAT was the REAL reason she had come over to see grandma. And yes, as ever, grandpa was quite right.

She had practised taking her new clear aligners out of her mouth (and, obviously, putting them back in again too), so she put her fingers into her mouth, and managed to remove the top appliance at the first attempt. The lower one seemed a little tighter, and took a second attempt before it came out.

"What are those?" asked grandma.

"They are modern braces..." explained Megan.

"I didn't actually notice you had them, till you took them out,” said grandma.

"That's the idea!" replied Megan. She thought quickly, working out how to ask grandma... well, what she's come over for.

"Well, they are certainly nicer than the ones they used when I was a child"

"Grandma, did YOU ever have braces when you were a child?" asked Megan.

"Yes, I did..." replied grandma after a short pause. Clearly it was something she didn't really like talking about, which Megan could fully understand.

"Were they those horrible old ones, with metal bands around each tooth?"

"Yes, those were the ones. Horrible things!"

"I bet they were, but not as horrible as the other thing you had to wear. That headgear with the head-cap, that you couldn't take out..."

Grandma was silent for a while, then asked "How on earth do you know about THAT thing? I never told anyone about it!"

"Erm, can I tell you that in a moment, there's a couple more questions I'd like to ask you first. This house, it was your parent's house, wasn't it?"

"Yes, it was. I was born here, and I suspect I'll also die here too!"

"The bathroom, it used to be all yellow, didn't it? And your bedroom as a teenager... it was the one I sometimes sleep in... But back then, it had strange pink and blue striped wallpaper, didn't it?"

"You're absolutely right: you been chatting with your mum again?"

"No, not at all. It's just that I had a VERY strange dream last night, but it felt like it was more than a dream. I felt like I was with you the day you got your braces...."

With that, grandma relaxed, and smiled. "So, it was YOU!"

"What do you mean, grandma?"

"Well, throughout my life there have been several occasions - all slightly 'stressful' occasions - when I've felt like someone was 'with me'. How do I describe it?? I could feel like there was someone inside me, sharing me. Not able to control me, but they could see and feel what I did, and what happened to me, and share my feelings. Your mum was about your age when she first had a dream a bit like you, and she came and talked to me about it, and over the years I know she's had a couple of others. But there were two or three other occasions when I've felt I've had a 'passenger' with me, but it wasn't your mum: in fact, the day I got my braces was the first time I'd ever felt it, and I've wondered many times since who it was. So, it was YOU that day? I'm glad it was you. How did it feel to you?"

"It felt really strange, in so many ways. You're right, I could see and feel everything. I got to see this house how it used to be. I saw your mum... so my great grandmother! She was a bit of a smoker, wasn't she? I mean, she was even smoking when you were getting your braces!"

Grandma laughed. "Yes, she was a heavy smoker, but back then, smoking was quite normal. I used to smoke for a while, but gave up a long time ago. So, what else do you remember?"

"Well, I got the feeling that it was probably one of the worst days of your life! You weren't expecting to get that headgear, were you? And the kids at school were so nasty to you, weren't they...? did it get any better?"

"Yes and no. I had that headgear thing for almost 6 months, and it must have been a couple of months before they eased off their teasing. I guess it would be considered 'bullying' these days, wouldn't it? But back then, bullying was just when someone did something physical, like hitting you, or tripping you.  If it was just words, then they just called it 'teasing'. Soon after I got mine, another girl in the class had got a similar metal mouth - just without the headgear - and she stood up for both of us."

"You cried yourself to sleep that night, didn't you?"

"Yes, and on a few more nights too." Grandma paused a bit, a tear coming to the corner of her eye, clearly trying to remember the details of that day, so many years ago. "So, that day I got my braces... I got the feeling that you were trying to encourage me somehow, to not worry, that everything would be ok..."

"Yes, that was me, I was trying to talk to you, encourage you, but I had no idea if you heard me..."

"Well, I didn't actually hear your words, but I could certainly feel what you meant. Thank you, Megan, it DID help. A lot!"

"I was trying to tell you that you'd get through it ok, that life would be good in the end. And I was right, wasn't I?"

"Yes" replied grandma, "life IS good: I have a lovely husband, two lovely daughters, and you amazing grandchildren too. Not that I realised it back then, when I had my braces. It wasn't just the other kids; my mum and dad weren't over-sympathetic either: 'you should just be grateful that you can get your teeth fixed' was their attitude. Mind you, my mum's teeth were probably just as bad as mine were!"

"It was interesting to see how things were, back in the 1960's. People's clothes and hair looked so odd. And the furniture in here felt so old"

"It was, most of the furniture we had in the 60's came from the early 1950s. Probably worth a bit if we still had it!"

Megan and her grandma ended up chatting for most of 2 hours, about her braces, about what it was like being a teenager back in the 60s. About school. About fashions. And boyfriends, which of course led onto talking about how grandma and grandpa first met.

"Do you have any pictures of you, when you had your braces?" asked Megan. "I mean, I've seen some pictures of you as a teenager, but you never ever mentioned anything about your braces, and I certainly don't remember seeing any pictures of you with them."

"Yes, there are a couple, but they are well hidden away, for very obvious reasons.... but now you know about my braces, maybe it's time to let you see them!"


Offline napacaster

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #14 on: 21. June 2022, 17:52:36 PM »
Great story, thanks!!!

Offline Blockbraced

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #15 on: 21. June 2022, 17:56:52 PM »
Great Story! Loved the mysterious aspect of it.

Offline m1090y

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Re: The Passenger
« Reply #16 on: 16. August 2022, 12:12:15 PM »
I really enjoyed the details of a band installation, and contrasting that to invisalign installation.  I also liked the idea of following along in someone else's body in a different era.