Amanda Benning stared in the mirror at her twisty tooth, or “snaggle tooth” as her classmates called it. She begged her mother, to make an appointment to see an orthodontist where braces were recommended. Amanda was apprehensive about getting braces, but she hated the ugly snaggle tooth, more.
“I made an appointment for you with Dr. Smykl on Friday to get your braces.”
“Thanks, Mom.” At school, Susy Creamer handed out invitations to several students.
“What is this, Suzie?”
“My thirteenth birthday party on Saturday!”
“Oh wow, you’re the first one to become a teenager in the seventh grade.”
“Don’t bring any gifts; we’ll just have some games, play some music, and eat.”
“Okay, thanks.” It wasn’t until Friday morning that she remembered she’d be wearing braces at Suzie’s party.
“Mom is there any way to postpone Dr. Smykl’s appointment?”
“I thought you wanted braces.”
“I do, but it’s Suzie Creamer’s thirteenth birthday party tomorrow. It’s a mixer with boys and girls.”
“Amanda, you will always have another party, or something special that you will wish you didn’t have braces for. But you heard Dr. Smykl; it has to be done before you stop your growth spurt. For the next three years, you will be in braces.”
Amanda sighed and knew her mother was right. The braces went on, and she was looking in the mirror feeling an unfamiliar ache at the tugging in her mouth. This was her life for the next three years.
Suzie’s party was attended by six girls and six boys. They played Twister, and then spin the bottle. The bottle landed on Amanda, and then on Ty Mann.
“Seven minutes in heaven!” The kids chanted.
“Heaven with metal mouth,” Tommy Baker said, and the kids laughed. Amanda was devastated. Suzie pushed them both in the closet.
The door shut behind them.
“This is awkward,” Ty said.
“Yes, I’m sorry.”
“I should have never come. I got these braces yesterday, and they are on for the next three years.”
“I think they look nice.” Ty offered. The kids were still chanting on the other side of the door. “Amanda, it will be worth it on the other end of this. I tell you what. Let’s just say we kissed when we get out. Everyone else has to have their turn too.”
“You’d do that for me?” she asked shyly.
“Sure.” Amanda smiled and when Suzie opened the door they came out of the closet.
“Well?” Suzie asked gleefully.
“A gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell,” Ty said.
“OHHHHHH” the kids chorused.
By the time the game ended everyone had to spend seven minutes in heaven. After that party, Ty became a good friend to her through their shared secret.
Three years in braces seemed to fly by. Amanda went to see Dr. Smykl on her sixteenth birthday, where he removed her braces and cleaned her teeth.
“There, look, they’re perfect if I say so myself.” He handed her a small mirror. Amanda smiled, the snaggle tooth was straight.
“Oh, they’re perfect!” she said gleefully to the beautiful smile reflected in the mirror. Ty was right, it had all been worth it, in the end. She couldn’t wait for movie night. She and several classmates were going to a show.
Ty sat next to her in the theater.
“Popcorn? Oh sorry, I forgot.”
“Love some.” Amanda dug into his bucket and smiled.
“You got your braces off! You look fantastic, but you always did!”
“Thanks, Ty. I am so glad I did it now, though it seemed like it took forever to get here.” She grabbed another handful of popcorn.
“Kind of miss the old days when you couldn’t eat my popcorn. I’m going to have to buy a bigger size.” Amanda punched his arm and laughed.
Ty walked her home and when he got to the front door, he told her again how wonderful she looked. He had always been supportive of her.
“I feel like I’m walking on cloud nine.”
“Like seven minutes in Heaven?” Ty quipped back. Amanda rolled her eyes and stood on her tippy toes, chastely kissing Ty Mann.
“There, I gave you my first kiss.”
Ty pretended to look around as if someone overheard them.“No, remember it happened at Suzie Creamer’s thirteenth birthday party.”
“Oh, that’s right.” Amanda winked at him. “Thanks for everything.”
“For making me feel better that night, and for never telling the others we didn’t kiss.”
“The way I look at it, you still owe me six minutes and some odd seconds in Heaven.”
“The way I look at it, you’re going to have to buy me a lot more popcorn to collect.”
“Goodnight Amanda.” Ty flipped his scarf around his neck and stuffed his hands into his pockets. “See you tomorrow.”
“Sure thing.” Amanda watched him walk across the street into his house. There was something special about liking the boy next door, and your first kiss.
About the author
Dawn DeBraal lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband, Red, a dorky rescue dog and a stray cat. She has published over 600 stories, poems, and drabbles in several online magazines and anthologies.
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