Loose Tooth

2 Mar

–Dad?
–Yea.
–When your tooth fell out, did it hurt?
–Hm?
–When you lost your tooth. Did it hurt?
The strangest thing is the dreams that come still. I get them. Frequently. Losing teeth and running my tongue over the open wound, still tasting the salty iron from the blood. I am a boy in these dreams, running after cars.
Trains.
Airplanes.
All of which are to take me home, but all of which leave without me.
Bloody gums. Missing my ride. A feeling of defeated incompetence mixed in with a hole in the chest.
Failure.
There is no God.
–My baby tooth?
–Yea. Dad?
–Yea.
–Did it hurt?
–Why do you ask that? Did someone tell you it hurts when you lose a baby tooth?
–Yea.
–Who?
–Cooper.
–Is he old enough to have a missing tooth?
–Dad?
–Yea.
–Because I don’t remember.
–What’s that, Livvy?
–I don’t remember what it’s like to lose a baby tooth.
–Are you asking me if I remember?
I catch her in the rearview. Her face is concentrating on an invisible mark dotting the seat directly in front. She looks hypnotized.
–Livvy?
–What.
–Do you mean to ask me if I remember what it’s like to lose a baby tooth or are you saying you don’t remember? Because you haven’t yet lost one.
She cuts into the condensation on the inside of the passenger window with her index finger. She draws thick tree trunks that seem to melt away down into the panel of the door.
And then she giggles.
And giggles.
And stops:
–If there’s blood, will you wipe it?
–What blood?
–From the tooth falling. Is there blood?
–Usually.
–Will you wipe it?
–Of course.
–With a wet tissue?
–Or cloth. A cloth usually works better. Tissues leave little paper bits sticking to the… Even when wet.
She looks out at the land rushing by, through the foggy window. The condensation has glossed over her melting tree trunks.
She giggles again.
–What? What’s so funny.
–That one is for me.
–What one?
–The thing that made me laugh. It’s only for me. I don’t wanna tell it to anyone.

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