Saturday 26 June 2021

Debut Flash: 'Pearly Whites' by Lauren Kardos

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque and bacteria accumulation on the teeth. Why is the waiting room video from my parents’ practice replaying in my brain? I can’t touch my kale salad while my date gnashes through rare steak. He’s oblivious to my discomfort. Peter, Pat, or a name I knew was too vanilla before I arrived.

Mouth full, he prattles on and my eyes are magnetized to his teeth. Fresh cow blood clings to the white detritus crusted between his incisors. Like counting jellybeans in a jar, I calculate the last time he flossed and the likelihood I can escape any mouth-centered intimacy. He uses a long fingernail to pick at gristle caught between his bottom canine and premolar. Are no other diners offended? They clink glasses and converse behind me, as if nothing’s wrong.

Note to self: poor hygiene cannot be gathered from four grainy photos on a six-inch screen.

“Lana? Earth to Lana?” he waves in front of my face, gristle still caught in his thumbnail.

Sucks to have dentist parents, I long to say but settle for the next best thing. “Sorry, I’m not feeling well. I think I have to go.” Hands on stomach and lips pouted for effect, I slowly stand.

Frankie’s pearly whites, aligned like perfect dominoes, are a lightning bolt in my thoughts. Do they still glint, catch any sunlight, at the bottom of the reservoir? My grip tightens on the café chair. Lord knows I would have kept him around if I knew perfect pickings were so slim.   

1 comment:

  1. Oh what a date! Triple yikes and fabulous images created in my head!


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