A Good Molar Is Hard to Find
Molly’s brother sets her up on a date with his chiropodist. He’s been worried about her since the divorce.
“Don’t bring any . . . specimens with you,” he warns. Molly agrees but tucks her current favourite (Steve) into her pocket.
She usually carries at least one to keep her company; on hard days, she wears a whole mouth’s worth in a small bag around her neck. The clinking sound makes her feel less numb. She spends hours each week rearranging the displays around her apartment, posing her mementos in possible smiles: crooked, yellowed, gapped, chipped.
The chiropodist, Howard, is friendly enough. Molly brightens when she hears the word “pulp,” but then realizes he’s talking about juicing.
She invites him back to her place after dinner. Why not? She likes the look of his lateral incisors.
He isn’t fazed by her collection. He’s an open-minded sort and Molly seems to share his passion for fresh fruit.
While Howard uses her restroom, Molly rolls Steve around her mouth and slides him into the gap she’s had since she was a kid. He fits like a glass slipper. She grins into the mirror above her dresser. Her confidence buoyed, she sits on the bed.
Howard is a better kisser than Molly expected. She roots around with her tongue, searching for vulnerabilities. He pulls back, looks at her strangely. “Sorry!” she says.
“I liked it,” he murmurs, before thrusting his tongue through Molly’s lips. Steve dislodges and ends up in Howard’s mouth.
He spits the tooth into his hand. Molly looks away.
“Don’t feel embarrassed,” Howard says, grasping Steve between his thumb and index finger. He tenderly grabs Molly’s chin. She opens wide. She feels like Cinderella.