The short story “At the Clinic” by Sally Rooney begins with a young man named Connell taking the morning off to take his friend Marianne to her dentist’s appointment. He feels guilty because the two of them argued a week earlier, soon after they had sex. Marianne complained about her jaw hurting. Connell told Marianne that she complained too much, and Marianne accused him of looking for superficial relationships with women whom he does not see as human beings.

In the present, Marianne and Connell are sitting together in the waiting room. While Marianne browses a magazine, Connell thinks about his girlfriend, Lauren, who cheated on him. Unable to feel anything about it, he slept with Marianne, who then accused him of not seeing women as human beings. 

After asking Marianne a few questions about her wisdom tooth, Connell tells her that he broke up with Lauren a week ago. Marianne wonders why Connell has not told her about the breakup until then and remembers him being the first person who ...

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