There’s an amazing moment in Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis that perfectly captures the feeling of being 6 and losing a tooth.
He describes the tongue pushing and pulling on the loose tooth until one day it suddenly, abruptly, just falls out. The nerve!
And then, well.
As a 6-year old “it shakes you up a whole lot more than grown folks think it does when perfectly good parts of your body commence to loosening up and falling off of you.”
Today, apparently, I am six.
I’ve poured myself a ginger and soda water and am nibbling a couple chips
The crispy sidelings play their way off my tongue
I don’t remember them being this salty
The saliva breaks these crispies up, and then down
When I get that 6-year-old feeling. I’ve got more than just chips in my mouth. I play my tongue over the side of my lip, then sneak it back towards the gum. And what previously felt like, well, tooth, is now just a gap, and a sharp edge. And this ‘more than just chips’ is a small, ridged edge of what feels like, plastic?
Where did that come from?
I maneuver the chip not chip out of my mouth and down to my fingers and hold it up.
It looks like a long fingernail, ridged and hard. I think it’s the cap that was added a couple years back. I strain to remember which dentist but it doesn’t matter now.
I have a moment of panic
Am I going to lose my tooth?
I picture myself an old man, dentures set aside, gumming my way through some oatmeal while my friends dine on corn on the cob, their immaculate chompers on brilliant display.
And there’s a hole in in my mouth, that I guess is better than a hole in my heart or a hole in my head. Slightly worse than a hole in my sock or a hole in the bucket, dear Liza my dear.
I make a call to the dentist and hold off on finishing the bag of chips.
Being 6 is tough.