Rich Enough by Heather Hamilton
December 10, 2014 § 2 Comments
Another 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.
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