There’s this guy in my apartment building – a young guy – who’s missing one of his front teeth. Maybe from a fight. Maybe from a bad diet, who knows. I’ve met him a couple times on the stairs. Today I smiled and held open the gate at the bottom of the stairs for him. He thanked me and took hold of the gate while I went up, and he shut it. It was a nice exchange of pleasantries and put me in a good mood.
It made me realize something, though. I’m terrified of losing my teeth. And this guy, he’s a good-looking guy even without the tooth, and he had a nice smile, even if he seemed like he was trying to hide it. Now I’m slightly less afraid. My ex, too, is missing a tooth right now, and he’s fine with it. Well, he intends to fix it; he was discussing options with me, which, by the way, did you know there are tooth transplants? I asked, “Where do they get the tooth from?” and he said he still has all four wisdom teeth. Not me. Mine were cut out of me in a brutal operation I was anesthetized for, after which my jaw swelled up for like four days. Another four teeth were taken when I got braces. That’s eight teeth I could have held in storage in case I lost others! Apparently I kept one, though. When I was packing up my stuff in the old flat, I found a jar in the pantry filled with water and a single tooth lounging in it. Evidently I keep teeth, like a witch. Who knew? Now you all know.
Anyway, I just moved to this apartment building in December, but I was gone until January, so I’ve only been here a few weeks. I didn’t want to move. I almost cried and apologized to my previous flat probably a million times because I had to leave. The last night I went there to sweep up the floor, though, it gave me a gift. In the dust my friend swept up, I found a diamond ring. It was my great grandmother’s ring that had mysteriously vanished years before and I could never find it. I felt like that was my old flat letting me go with no hard feelings. I guess I put up with a lot while living there, like occasionally not having hot water and taking cold showers for three months, and having my electric turned off (stinky fridge!), and the gas turned off, too, a couple times, because the landlady was giving the gas and electric companies problems.
The new place is nicer, inside, at least, but outside, it’s on a more main street, with lots of traffic. Some of it’s sweet: there’s a town hall with a bell that rings every quarter hour. Other things aren’t so sweet, like the sirens. The cats were traumatized the first few weeks, and Sep was still hiding under the covers of my bed most of the day when I returned from being home from Christmas.
Also, for the first time in my life, my bedroom window looks out across the street into other bedroom and kitchen and living room windows. I can see others living and they can watch me. I can’t strut around my flat in my underwear like I used to, and I’ve been too embarrassed to dance around the bedroom with my headphones on.
I guess I’m trying to figure out a lot of things this year. Where to take my writing. How to finally get myself stable financially. Whether I’m happy in this new flat or not. Not that happiness is tied to things, or places, or even people. But everything is shuffling around in my head, like this blog post. I’m meandering somewhere, and picking up bits and pieces along the way. A smile from a gate-shutting neighbor. A tooth in a jar. My great-grandmother’s ring.
And, you know, tonight, for the first time since I moved, I put in my headphones, and I danced around the bedroom.
I danced as though I didn’t care if anyone was watching.