broken appointment

To Whom It May Concern,

Recently, I received a billing statement from the office of James M. Radeski, DDS, regarding an outstanding balance on the account of my father, Norman Baker.

(Precisely how recently I received this bill I'm afraid I cannot say, as sometime toward the end of last year, I established the temporarily anxiety-reducing if ultimately stress-compounding habit of depositing stacks of Norman's unopened mail in the rosewood sewing box on my sideboard. One can only field so many fundraising solicitations from the Tea Party Patriots and membership renewal reminders from the John Birch Society before one needs a respite from the tidings of the United States Postal Service.)

The sole item on this statement is noted as code D095: Broken Appointment.

It appears that my father missed his semi-annual teeth cleaning appointment, scheduled for October 4th, 2012.

May I just take a moment to say that my father had excellent teeth? He really did. They were lovely and straight, and very white, and he was rather vain about them. He brushed them fastidiously, often while roaming about the house in a state of semi-undress, Sonicare buzzing in his cheek, conducting half-garbled and largely incoherent conversations with myself and/or the cat.

I guess what I'm saying is, Dr. Radeski did fine work, where my father's dental health was concerned. Please convey my compliments.

But to return to the matter of the balance, I'm afraid that as my father passed away some five months prior to his October appointment, it would indeed have proven quite challenging for him to attend it.

I'm sorry, but if I could just interrupt this letter once more, I'd like to also say that my father was an extremely responsible and considerate man. He wasn't the type to miss engagements, ever, and was always respectful of other peoples' time.

I, on the other hand, am the type of person who stuffs unopened bills into sewing boxes, where they remain out of sight and out of mind for months on end. Consequently, I do hope that you'll consider this oversight my own, and not my father's. He'd really be pissed at me if you didn't, and while not a superstitious person, I've no wish to invite his posthumous temper anymore than I enjoyed the occasional glimpse of his living one.

As regards the $30 balance, I trust that the above revelation will be sufficient cause to clear the charge on my father's account. If you require a death certificate as proof of his demise, I can provide one, though I won't lie: I'd be grateful if you'd just take my word for it. Digging through my files to find the requisite document, carrying it by hand across the street to Kinko's, and staring dolefully at its contents while waiting for the fax machine to blast them into the digital ether - a routine I have already undertaken a couple dozen times in the past year - well, it kind of totally sucks.

Thank you for your time and understanding, and for your part in giving my father one of the most beautiful smiles I've ever known.

Elizabeth Baker

Iguazu Falls, Argentina - 2010