Home > Fiction Pieces > Toothbrush Advice — Fiction

Toothbrush Advice — Fiction

Another one left behind…

What do I do with this now? Can’t use it. That would just be gross.

It seems so wasteful though.

In my hand, I hold a toothbrush—7.5 inches long, turquoise and navy blue brandishing pearly white and assorted blue bristles. The owner:  a girl that I formerly dated. You see, she and I reached a point in our relationship about a month in, where she was sleeping over often enough that she kept a spare at my place to eliminate the hassle of lugging her most coveted one around all the time. I happened to have an extra one that my dentist gave me at my last visit. It’s a shame, really. A toothbrush’s lifespan is supposed last a few months at least. Though, I use mine until the bristles become discolored or too scraggly, which could be as long as a year or two.

Of all the things a girl can leave behind, a toothbrush is an odd, yet interestingly telling symbol of a relationship. It suggests that the relationship was somewhat intimate if she was sleeping over enough to have her own toothbrush. No guy is going to give a toothbrush to each girl that spends the night over and wants to brush her teeth in the morning before she leaves. An asshole would keep one toothbrush and re-package it every time he had a guest, passing it off as a new one and himself as a generous proponent of good dental hygiene. Therefore, if a companion offers you a toothbrush, take it as a sign that he/she wants you back. Warning: the giver must also be advised and aware that awarding someone a toothbrush is no small offering. Rather, believe it or not, it is a token of commitment. That, or he/she may just be bothered by the not-so-pleasant scent of your breath and wants you to brush your teeth before he/she has to kiss you; this is also highly possible. However, the toothbrush does represent a token of commitment because every time that person is brushing his/her teeth, you will more than likely be brushing yours. Unless you want to come off as a gross member of society who is a victim to plaque every visit to the dentist, it may be slightly embarrassing for your companion/girlfriend/boyfriend/significant other to know that you haven’t brushed your teeth before bed. So no matter how tired you are or no matter how much you want to be pressing your lips to theirs, when you hear him/her say, “Imma go brush up,” you best get your ass up and do the same.

Now, what this presents is quality time in the bathroom. It is an intimate time where you and the other person are becoming most bare (also known as “ugly”). You’re taking out your contacts and putting on your bottle cap glasses. You’re removing your make up and washing your face to expose all the undercover pimples you have masquerading on your face. You better brush longer than him/her or else he/she will think you aren’t unhygienic, like Mary Magdalene. Me, personally, I brush my tongue to get the bad breath off and hock a few balls of saliva to clear the nasty gunk in the back of my throat. So, like I said, this is a really revealing time for both people. You are shedding all your insecurities one layer of blush at a time. Then, you two look up in the mirror and you see exactly the person you thought you were attracted to, except (depending on how shallow you are) you may not find them as attractive as you did before entering el baño.

If you watch any old Nick-At-Nite sitcom with a married couple, and you will see them in the bathroom doing the same pre-bed routine they have been doing for the past 10 years of marriage. How many people in your life will really get a chance to see how you get ready to spend a third of your life (sleeping)? It’s kind of serious. If you brush teeth with me on more than a few occasions, you are kind of seeing into my soul. I’m half-serious about that. Any recipient of a toothbrush needs to know what they’re walking into, as well. After you brush your teeth, you leave it in a cup next to his/hers. It’ll sit leaning against its counterpart, exchanging saliva, bacteria and residual toothpaste until its next use. They are doing everything you and she are, just the inanimate way. That’s intimate shit right there, folks.

So what happens when the relationship ends? Depending on how the relationship ends, you can sometimes give the toothbrush to its user. Notice that I didn’t use the title “owner.” You never gave her the toothbrush so she could take it back to her place and use it in the comfort of her own home. You issued it to her on the terms that she would be utilizing it in the confines of your living quarters. Much like when a prison issues an inmate an orange jumpsuit—the inmate uses it, but he ain’t its owner.

Chances are that he/she already has one of his/her own, her toothbrush that she is accustomed to using. Giving her the toothbrush that I had lent her would just be a sour reminder of a relationship gone bad—not something I want to do. Expecting her to use it would be like asking her to use a slab of stone to scrape all the enamel off her teeth so she can one day forget what we shared. That’s if she’s like most people and wants to forget what’s done and gone.

But it has her germs and her bacteria on it; I have no use for it.

I could use it to not let it go to waste; after all, she and I have swapped those same germs and bacteria before. If I want her back, then I’ll keep it, hoping she’ll come back to me again. Then, when she needs a toothbrush, I can bust it out again and tell her that I believed we’d be together again. I’d win major brownie points for that.

Who am I kidding though? We’re not getting back together.

There’s really only one purpose that this toothbrush can now fulfill:  to clean the dirt and grime off my sneakers. It sounds cold, I know, but what better way to remember her than to envision her kissing my feet whenever I refine the white on my kicks. She did love those shoes.

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