by Tamara Anna Pawlak
Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash
Like tiny, vacant motel rooms—were the holes in my gums where my teeth had been. Like voracious sinkholes...
I woke up without any teeth today.
They fell out sometime during the night. All of them. Like tiny, vacant motel rooms—were the holes in my gums where my teeth had been. Like voracious sinkholes—they suctioned my tongue in its empty house.
Where were they?
Where were my teeth?
A mess of pink and red stained my pillow like a meadow of flowers. But no teeth. The faint taste of metal in my mouth. Had I swallowed them? Had I swallowed every last one?
That wasn’t possible. One tooth would have escaped. One would have spilled onto my pillow—would have been devoured by my bed sheets. But my sheets were bare as was my pillow—less the pink blooms.
There was no doubt in my mind, someone, something, had stolen my teeth—had entered my bedroom at night and extracted my teeth. Was it some maniacal tooth fairy? But why? Had I not as a child given my milk teeth to the tooth fairy? Had I not placed my baby teeth beneath my pillow? I thought back to my younger years and clearly remembered—I didn’t. As a child, I never left a single tooth beneath my pillow for the tooth fairy. My mother always threw them in the garbage before I even had a chance.
So that’s what must have happened. The tooth fairy crept into my room and claimed the teeth I never offered. It was time for me to pay my dues. In that case, there should be something under my pillow in return—some sort of consolation prize. If the tooth fairy left a dollar for a single milk tooth, what might she leave for an entire collection of adult teeth?
I slowly lifted my pillow, peered underneath, and discovered what my mouth of teeth had won me:
A pack of beef jerky and a toothbrush.
Who knew the tooth fairy could be so funny.
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