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His words keep repeating in her head,”Now, your teeth are white.” says the dentist.

Weren’t they already? She wondered.

All her life she thought her teeth were picture perfect.

Suddenly feeling uneasy about the conversation going on in her head,

She looked at all of the people staring back at her while standing in a crowded subway.

Who knew that not seeing a dentist for almost twenty years would leave her feeling these?

Who knew that after a “deep cleaning” would make her feel squeaky, “unusually” clean?

Can they see the gap now?

Yes, the gap between her teeth?

A gap, where it had been filled with things only the dentist should know and wanted to get rid of.

The gap that now allow her to feel the water swishing in between, as well as the air passing between them as she breathes in before she speaks.

She could feel every leaf of her salad getting chewed all around and now, even chewing gum makes it feel weird.

She feels fake though not one tooth was extracted and replaced.

Every stain removed from her teeth washed away the memories of her hubby making her coffee and tea on those cold, difficult days.

Every hole that was patched up muffled the roaring laughter she had on that day eating rice with smashed up rocks playing “cooking at home” with another kid neighbor.

Fillings placed on molars concealed the tears gobbling up on those cakes and cupcakes when things have gone awry.

Subway stops and its doors open and she hopes no one she knows will smile at her today.

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