A Cleaning

Since the time he’d had braces as a kid, he’d been a floss-aholic.  Any food particle between his teeth drove him crazy.  His dentist, he felt, was a bit of a nutcase.  With him it was always a lecture about what you should do to make sure your teeth lived as long as you did.  There was never any banter, no jokes or humor of any kind, no discussion of sports, movies, politics, nothing.  It was all about teeth all the time.

Sometimes it could drive you insane.

Since his wife had died, he’d been alone, but not lonely.  He’d certainly loved his wife about as completely as he could. He’d heard how spouses who really love each other can’t survive the separation, so when one dies, the other follows closely.  He’d been single for so long he sometimes actually felt guilty about not dying.  Really, he did.  But then he reminded himself that life will go on as it will.  How those years would pass.

And what can you do?  He’d certainly never entertain ideas about taking a bottle of barbiturates, contemplate jumping off Aloha Tower, or starting up the car in the garage and going to sleep.  That kind of courage, no, that was definitely not him.

He’d read a story once, about a man who, because he could not do it himself, hired a professional to kill him, but the thought of waiting for someone to shoot, stab, strangle, or blow him up did not appeal to him at all.  He didn’t like things to be long and drawn out, hated suspense. The idea made him laugh.

He laughed quietly.  What to do, what to do?  Ah, well, we can only dream.

He looked at her again, sleeping peacefully, closed the door, and went back to the living room to watch TV.

They had their six-month teeth cleaning appointments later that afternoon.  He’d wake her up just a bit before they had to leave.  Her being asleep was for the best these days. That was the way he liked it best now.

He ran his tongue around his teeth.  A thorough cleaning would be a very good thing.

* * * * *

Today’s word is


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