Take it all in.
A tall, lanky man, although a bit soft in the middle. Standing in front of his bathroom mirror. Taking it all in. The totality of George. His Georgeness.
Eventually his eyes wander down to the tube of toothpaste sitting on the counter. And that’s when the trouble begins.
He feels a vague restlessness that started after a trip to one of those giant box stores that sell things in bulk. After a lifetime of frequenting the same place for his shopping needs, he had to poke his head inside and check it out. He felt he owed it to himself.
He’s just flesh and blood after all.
Caught up in the savings he purchased a pack of toothpaste. A pack being 30 tubes. The math was unassailable. At the time it felt like he might never need to buy another tube of toothpaste as long as he lived.
But, like every rash decision, there were unforeseen consequences.
Unforeseen and hard to define.
As he looks down on the nearly-empty tube on the counter the vague restlessness returns.
Before his bulk purchase there would have instead been the stirrings of a call to action. Starting with adding toothpaste to his shopping list and inevitably ending in the Personal Care aisle of his local grocery store.
Now? Now he has another tube waiting in the closet.
Or is it?
That’s what both he and his reflection are trying to figure out. Both staring at the toothpaste and both looking equally stern.
How on earth was could this be a metaphor for his last failed relationship? He feels like it must be, he just can’t seem to make it make sense.
Does the fact that there is a finite amount of toothpaste left in the tube, before effort of some sort is required in obtaining more, make it more or less desirable? What now that there’s a brand new tube within easy reach?
His train of thought is interrupted by the man in mirror. “Not everything is a metaphor” sort-of-he points out.
“Yes. Yes it is” he-he replies flatly.
The tube of toothpaste lies there, unconvinced.
Why doesn’t he feel the same about his toothbrush or floss or even his mouthwash?
Maybe because she was so damn minty?
“All toothpaste tastes the same” counsels his reflection (‘his reflection’ being much less annoying than ‘sort-of-he’).
Could it be that being with her helped remove stubborn stains?
“All toothpaste does that too.”
He feels a familiar feeling bubbling up. “Fluoride in toothpaste becomes part of the tooth, protecting it” George says out loud (“George” being infinitely better than “he-he”), clearly in the grip of a euphemism.
“But all toothpaste…” begins his reflection, but stops short. His reflection doesn’t have it in sort-of-him to continue.
George remembers all the times that he was forced to roll up a tube just to get one last brush out of it. How flat it would end up. Forcing the bristles of his brush into the cap to get at the last bit of toothpaste, all because he’d forgotten to stop at the store earlier in the day.
Too busy or too forgetful, sometimes too broke, to make sure he had what he needed. Enough.
Now his cabinet was practically bursting with the stuff.
The Georgeness in the mirror stays quiet and lets him meander up and down Memory Lane, knowing all along that his ex-girlfriend works at the grocery store.
Take it all in.
Take it all in.