One would think I was used to it. My parents had divorced, found someone again then separated again. Some of my co-workers divorced. Many childhood acquaintances and schoolmates divorced. Then you, my friend, and I couldn’t make sense out of it.
I know, the thought did not come spontaneously into your mind, looking at yourself and your perfect set of teeth, in the bathroom mirror, to stop brushing for the sake of knowing what it felt like to have cavities and all that goes along with dental decay: bad bread, slow, progressive and painful rotting away of your teeth until they become small black nauseating stumps that need to be pulled out one by one.
These are the disagreeable steps preceding the acquisition of dentures. If you had thought of this while doing your make-up and looking at your pretty self in the mirror, you would have easily understood the absurdity of this scenario. No one would submit themselves to such treatment. Yet, figuratively, this is what you did. You went through it all, down to the last agonizing, ugly, absurd and degrading details.
You had it all: a great circle of friends, of which I thought I was; a loving family always there for you; a good husband whom you could rely on and trust, a man of whom you knew all the qualities and faults, as much as he knew yours. A healthy set of teeth, with some minor flaws maybe, but solid nonetheless. Fit for you.
Then one day, I still don’t know how, the moral decay started. I could feel you pulling away, withdrawing, yet you always denied anything was wrong. I imagine it went something like this. You saw these dentures; let’s say it was at work. You started to observe them, that is to say ‘him’, admire him, be charmed by his attentions and flattery, and it filled your mind, tickled your pride. You thought: “I wouldn’t mind one of those instead of mine.” You thought only of him, and you, and him, and forgot your own set of healthy teeth. You started to neglect them.
Insidiously, you let these thoughts pervade your mind, corrode your character, rot away your integrity. Already, looking through the distorted glass of your proud and stubborn mind, you compared, schemed and planned with purpose. You desired those dentures and you would get them. All of your life, you always had it your way, isn’t that so? Did you think at that moment, of the pain, the disloyalty, the treachery, the hatred, the anger and bitterness you would stir up? You would impose that not only to yourself, but to your husband, to your friends and family. I could see in your eyes something was wrong, and as your friend I wanted to help you, reach out to you, strengthen your faith, but you shut me out. All the while you lied to me and to others, denying and pretending. Your mind was made up. You were going to get those dentures, no matter the cost.
You became a rotten sore, something so foul it had to be pulled despite the pain, a source of confusion and anguish for your entourage. You stubbornly reaped the extreme consequences of not brushing and maintaining your teeth yet you made it look like you didn’t care. Deep grief, humiliation, guilt and shame you must have choked down for a while. Looking back, would you do it again? Honestly? Was it worth the alienation? Was it worth the tears? Don’t you ever have regrets? I don’t suppose you would ever admit to it, knowing your stubbornness.
Wherever you are, I want to let you know that your lies and deception still hurt, that you broke all of our hearts for a cheap set of dentures. If I could believe you are sincere, I would forgive you. I wish I would. And if one good thing could come out of this mess, it is that every time I think about you or about dentures, I reaffirm to myself that I will do whatever it takes to keep my marriage strong and to never take for granted my faith, friends and family. I am grateful to you for that lesson.