Thursday, July 2, 2009

My Deadly Sin

envy, noun, she felt a twinge of envy for the people on board.
a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck.

My sister Whitney's are medium-sized, pretty white. They lay gracefully, quietly between her lips. Speaking only when spoken to, despite their gleaming presence. Despite the fact that they have much to say.

David's sit straight, with good posture, but only on top. On the bottom they are bold, turning their backs or sides to the front. Their rebellion hidden, like his. But the top row does all the talking, makes all the public appearances. They flash and his smile is born. They talk, you listen. Keen and honest, they lure you in.

My dad's are the perfect set--minus a few empty holes where stubbornness and frugality went on strike against root-canals and crowns. But they are hidden in the back, way back in the darkness that hides behind the glow of his upper and lowers. Their edges are sharp--clean lines that make almost-squares in some places and triangles in others. They are tough, like he is, biting into an apple or hitting the bone without flinching.

I want pretty teeth, in-the-public eye teeth, tough teeth. Big, bright white teeth. Big, bright white normal-sized Chicklet teeth. Not baby Chicklet teeth. Not barely-there teeth. Not braces 1, teeth 0 teeth. I want Julia Robert's-high-pitched-laugh-cackle teeth. Too-loud teeth. Not-afraid-to-eat too-much-red-meat teeth. Silly teeth. You-just-got-Punk'd teeth. John-Mayer-wants-your-wonderland teeth. Caught-one-without-bait teeth. Oh-my-God-Becky-look-at-her-bu- teeth. Too white teeth. So-perfect-it's-kind-of-annoying teeth. So-important-they-require-excessive-dashes teeth. Clearly.

When I brush them I scrub. I push and prod them with toothbrushes and fingernails, thinking I can get them to go one way or the other. They don't budge. I press Crest WhiteStrips down onto the top of them every 30 seconds I have them on. I say to them, Soak it up, babies. I coax them with compliments, and big glasses of milk. C'mon little guys, grow big and strong. But they stay in their shells, refusing to be inched out. With fists, I slam my hands down on the counter by the sink. Fine, I tell them, defeated, the show must got on. I smile wide, I smile soft. I smile deep, I smile skinny. But no matter what, when I catch a glimpse of myself in mirrors, they're there, just the way they usually are. Lazily hanging, the way a teenager looks after her sibblings. Half there. Lingering in the doorway. One eye half-open, the other sleeping. Half there. With a bad attitude and secretly, a boyfriend down the street. Half there. Longing for contact. A blunt-force trauma kind of blow to the head to cause them to detach. To send them free falling.

3 comments:

linsoosoo said...

best. post. yet.

this is a masterpiece. i'm going to read-it-every-day-teeth.

Theresa Bluhm said...

This is cute. I've only seen your picture, but your smile looks pretty to me! But here's my trick: brush with baking soda - 2 times a week. It's magic. ;)

Erin said...

Ah! Finally someone else who wants different teeth! I thought I was the only one. (Also, the only one who never got braces because they weren't "medically necessary" and who wishes she had. I couldn't have been any more awkward in middle school; it wouldn't have mattered.) If I had a couple grand and no pressing bills to pay, I'd plunk it down tomorrow and get myself a new set of teeth, at least on the top. Some of those huge white orthodontist-style ones. I don't care if it's vain or silly or whatever. I'd still do it.

That being said, I don't think I've ever even noticed your teeth. You're so gorgeous, you could have NO teeth and still be the prettiest girl in the room!