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I flossed, twice today.

I’ve been thinking lately about baby teeth, weird I know. But, do you remember losing your first tooth? And how excited you were to lose a piece of yourself? I’d be curled up on the counter with my face pressed against the mirror, fighting the fog of my breath for a front row seat to loss. I remember cringing as I’d twist, sitting with the discomfort. I was tolerant, excited even. Do you remember the satisfying pluck as the final thread detached from your gums? Pulling your proud hand away from your mouth with a piece of discarded body, a fifty-cent prize, with the physical, undeniable proof that you are growing up.

We’re older now, clearly, since the price for childhood loss is far greater that fifty-cents. But we’re past the point of intentionally pulling teeth, though the things we lose still leave holes, gaps in our being, soft parts where a solid used to sit. I’m far too grown to sit on my counter comfortably, but this cycle has looped back around as I curl into myself and feel nothing but the hole. They’re gone; the person I loved, the person I used to be, all those baby teeth, everything.

Your mouth (and, really, the rest of you) now represents regrowth. And as I sit here running my tongue along my healthy adult teeth, I am reminded that this landscape was destructed to give the opportunity for something better.

And I smile.

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