Since I usually put up my stuff that is... emotionally demanding, shall we say, I thought I might lighten it up a little this time with a short I wrote quite a few years ago after I got a tooth pulled.
This one is dedicated to my Mom, who has had some recent tooth troubles of her own.
On Wednesday, the pain in my tooth became unbearable, so I had it pulled. The dentist let me keep it. I didn’t want to let it go-- this thing has been part of me. When the numbness went away, I was so relieved that the pain was gone, I laughed out loud.
On Thursday, I awoke to find the tooth lying on my pillow, next to my head. “How did you get there?” I asked the tooth. I put it back in the little box that the dentist gave me, and thought about it no more.
On Friday, I awoke to find the tooth balanced on my nose. I could only see it if I looked cross-eyed.
“What,“ I asked the tooth, “are you doing there?”
“I didn’t know you could speak Tooth,” said the tooth.
“I can’t.” I replied.
“Well I can’t speak People either” said the tooth. “One of us must be dreaming.”
“Sounds about right,” I said. “Well I should probably wake up now. I’ve got to go to work.”
“Wait,” said the tooth. “How do you know I’m not dreaming you?”
“Teeth can’t dream,” I replied.
“Don’t be so sure,” said the tooth. I went back to sleep. When I awoke again, the tooth was gone.
On Saturday, I awoke to find the tooth again on my nose.
“What are you doing there?” I asked the tooth again.
“Listen,” said the tooth. “We gotta talk. I’m mad at you. You did me wrong, brother, real wrong.
“What?” I asked the tooth.
“You had me pulled,” the tooth said. “That hurt my feelings. Now I’m homeless, and I don’t have a job. After all I have done for you, you fire me without any notice? You’re a jerk.
“Wait,” I said to the tooth. “You were hurting me. I had to have you pulled, I couldn’t stand the pain anymore.”
“Great,” said the tooth. “Think only of yourself. Now what am I supposed to do? I’m useless.”
“This is stupid,” I said, more to myself than the tooth. “I need to wake up.”
“What for?” said the tooth, “It’s Saturday. You don’t work today. Plus, I’m dreaming you, so it’s me that needs to wake up, and I don’t want to.
“Teeth can’t dream,” I said again.
“Well,” said the tooth, “I know quite a few molars that would be very surprised to hear that. I’m glad you are such an expert on teeth.
“Listen,” I told the tooth, “I’m sorry. I only wanted you to stop hurting me, not put you out of work. Can’t you get another job?”
“In this condition? Not likely. You see this hole? No one will want a cavity-ridden tooth in their mouth. It’s all over for me.”
“Well what can I do now?” I asked the tooth. “I can’t put you back. There’s no hole anymore.”
“Hmmmm,” said the tooth, “I’ll have to think about this when I wake up.”
On Sunday, The tooth was back on my nose.
“I got it,” the tooth said. “Make me into a necklace. Then I’ll have a purpose.”
“What?” I asked. “That’s ridiculous. I can’t have a tooth necklace, I work in a bank.”
“You could wear me on the inside of your shirt when you’re at work, then on the bus home you could pull me out so I could get some air. Maybe we could have a chat as well.”
“I can’t speak Tooth while I’m awake,” I reminded the tooth.
“So what?” the tooth said. “I can still hear you, and that makes a difference.”
On Monday, the tooth was in the box when I woke up. I took it to work, and on my lunch hour had it made into a necklace.
Now, I have the tooth with me all the time. It’s just hanging around my neck doing nothing for me except maybe embarrassing me from time to time. I think of getting rid of it a lot- especially when it falls out at an inopportune time, like on a date, and I have to make up some story about why I have a tooth around my neck. But then I think of how mad it would be if I got rid of it, and how embarrassed I would feel if the tooth confronted me. It hasn’t appeared on my nose for a while, so that’s good. Yesterday on the bus, a woman leaned down to tie her shoe, and a tooth on a chain swung out of her blouse. She caught my staring and for a moment, I was going to ask her about her tooth troubles, but then, I didn’t. Tooth problems are personal affairs, and no one’s business but your own.
I really like this one because it seems to have a hidden meaning. It might, I suppose; you're the reader, you tell me.
It is a nice piece, if a little strange, and one that I can actually read to my kids, which is hardly ever the case. I would love to see it made into a picture book.
If there is an illustrator out there that wants to collaborate, I have something else that needs pictures, too. Please contact me; maybe we can work together.
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