On a scale of one to ten, with ten being childbirth, this will be a three.

A three? Really?

Yes. That's what they say.

What other things are a three?

Well, five is supposed to be having your jaw reset.

So it's not as bad as that.

No.

What's two?

Having your foot run over by a car.

Wow, so it's worse than that?

Just a little worse, not much.

Okay, well, I'm ready. No-wait; let me adjust my sweater.

Okay, I'm ready.

Alright then.

Here goes a three.

Right. Here we go then.

The laser, which had been described as pure white light, was more like a fist slammed against a countertop, and her body was a cup on this counter, jumping with each slam. It turned out three was just a number. It didn't describe the pain any more than money describes the things it buys. Two thousand dollars for a port-wine stain removed. A kind of birthmark that seems messy and accidental, as if this red area covering one whole cheek were the careless result of too much fun. She spoke to her body like a…