Trust the Mirror

8 Jan

One by one, her bottom teeth started to loosen and fall out. She poked her tongue around her gums, feeling the separation where each tooth began to unhinge. She remembered this sensation from when she was a kid. Back then it was exciting. There was cool-kid status when you lost a tooth. But now, as an adult, she didn’t feel cool at all.

She tried not to mess with the teeth when they became loose, in hopes that they would fuse back into place. But no amount of ignoring prevented her teeth from divorcing her gums. She took a deep breath and pushed the panic away as she turned the teeth, one by one, over in her hands, in hopes of figuring out a way to reconnect them in her mouth.

The first tooth she examined was from the left side of her mouth, medium in size. It was that first big tooth after the thin front teeth. She could see its roots hanging down, cream colored and healthy looking as far as she could tell. She poked her tongue around the space the tooth left, and now actually enjoyed the sensation. She started to think that it might not be such a big deal to lose one tooth. But when others started to feel loose, the panic crept back in, even though it was only the bottom row of teeth that wanted out. Though she had a feeling that without the bottom row, the top row would be useless. Then that same tooth she’d been examining but on the other side, fell out. She tried to hold it in place but it wouldn’t stay put. So she finally took the tooth between her fingers and looked at it. This tooth looked different from its twin on the other side. It was wrapped in a band of plastic and appeared to be fake. This excited her because it meant that she could glue it back into place, as it had once been glued before. She went to the mirror and opened her mouth into a wide smile. Her top teeth looked big. When she pulled her bottom lip back to look at the spaces in the bottom row, she found all her teeth were there, intact.

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