Rich Enough by Heather Hamilton

December 10, 2014 § 2 Comments

gattuso2Another Brevity Holiday Smile, this one missing a tooth or two:

In the parking lot of a pawn shop where I intended to sell a pair of diamond earrings (small) given to me for Christmas by an ex, I watched a woman pull a presumably gold tooth out of her mouth, grinning wildly. She was holding a pair of pliers and, prior to the actual extraction, pivoting them in tiny, irregular circles until—pop! She held in her hands a single metallic molar.

I remember that I received a very low price for the earrings but that I also walked away with all of my teeth. I was the relative victor.

A few years earlier, during a summer spent in Washington DC, a street vendor told me that one can test the authenticity of a pearl by swiping it across one’s teeth, which I did, there on the street. It felt like a doll holding a handful of gravel but I felt reassured and bought the pink pearl necklace with the last of my dollars. I wore it home and to work everyday, smiling a very real smile and looking (in retrospect) a little too Republican for my liking.

Sometimes I still bring the necklace to my lips, slipping a pearl between them to feel, in those sandpapery seconds, the taste of that place, a moment in which I am both satiated and starved.

There are times when teeth can make a person feel very rich, or very rich enough.

Now I am 29, and Christmas music has begun to play on every radio station I encounter on my morning commute. When I was nine and without teeth around the holiday, “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” wasn’t funny because I wanted other, more interesting things for Christmas—but now? I am full.


Heather Hamilton is a television binge watcher, an LA Dodgers fan., and the former intern of a disgraced politician. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Arizona and lives and writes from Boise, Idaho.


We encourage readers to use Amazon Smile to help Brevity pay authors and grow stronger. Continue to purchase books from your local independent bookseller, if you are lucky enough to have one nearby, but please channel other Amazon holiday shopping through the Amazon Smile Brevity Link: (it doesn’t cost you a cent) and we get a few pennies on every purchase. You can bookmark the link and make it your permanent Amazon entryway, which would really make us smile


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