There was no calm in her smile. It just spread and spread, unbothered, unfiltered, undiluted. She fit into every scenario, lips pulling back so far you worried about her neck, almost. Can you tear a muscle from smiling?
Could her face split in two from smiling?
I found absolutely no joy in seeing those perfect, white, slightly sharp teeth.
Where’s the adventure in perfection?
Six months in, I felt like I knew more of myself just by sitting next to him. It was one of those things where you love someone because they trick you into loving yourself.
I hardly really looked at him, to tell the truth. Ask me to describe him and I’ll end up describing my own smile.
I told a joke one day and he laughed, GUFFAWED, head thrown back, mouth wide open. And at first, I thought his mouth was leaking shadows or something. It just seemed like a gaping hole. All the teeth were black in the back. Crumbling. Dring. Six months and I hadn’t noticed his teeth were rotten.
“It was just a little meth, once.” He told me, straight-faced. “I bit into some hard candy and they just shattered.”
I dated him for another two weeks but I wouldn’t let him kiss me. I just liked how he made me feel about myself.
Men were always showing her their teeth. Some of them smiled so big she could count, she could identify, she could memorize the insides of their mouths. Boys her age, boys her older brother’s age, boys her cousin’s age. She wondered if she should be a dentist – maybe her calling was in the mouths of boys.
Men her auntie’s age, men her father’s age, men old enough to be her father’s father approached with their lips pulled back, nervous eyes glancing around subtly.
Now, a grown woman, she watches for men showing their teeth to young women like the Tooth Fairy. She wears a necklace made out of the teeth of men who smile too much and speak too low.