Sometimes an awkward moment can be the only thing that turns an ordinary conversation into honesty. Maybe we all have some clandestine respect for fate and in the end that’s what makes us decide, consciously or otherwise, to let people into our worlds.
It wasn’t as if we hadn’t been getting along. Lunch had been pleasant and each of us seemed comfortable in the presence of the other.
But that mushroom …
What else could make a couple of people who were feeling attracted to each other burst through the usual walls and go straight to a weird level of commitment?
After lunch the walk through the woods had been intended as an opportunity to take a few deep breaths and see where things were headed. Instead we ended up staring at an enormous mushroom that could not be described in any other way as a penis. The long shaft, the large head, it was as if nature had done its best to create an ode to the male genitalia. I think it’s fair to say that neither of us would have been shocked to see a pair of hairy balls perched under it.
We stood ogling. Jaws slack. We didn’t know whether to laugh or keep walking but it seemed the whole forest existed as a way to showcase this giant glistening mushroom dick.
So she started to talk.
What else could have possibly led to her telling me everything?
That she’d been let go as a dental assistant, a job that meant the world to her. She was let go due to her own poor performance and she had no one to blame but herself. Or so she said.
Ever since the day she was fired she hadn’t brushed her teeth. Nor would she ever again.
I stared at the mushroom and tried to process what I was hearing. I attempted to prod her into sharing a little more about why she would withhold oral hygiene in response to her termination but she seemed a little defensive and, truth be told, I couldn’t concentrate because of the mushroom penis sitting right in front of me.
As the weeks past it started to become an issue. At first her breath was a little off and I could deal with it but eventually it started to smell like I always imagined a rhinoceros turd would smell. And her teeth started to get a film over them.
But she was smart and funny and the sex was great so I let it slide. After one particularly outstanding love-making session she drew me close and whispered “I’ll be yours until the end … just never ask me to brush my teeth.”
So I didn’t.
Even after they started to fall out. She almost never smiled and I almost never wanted her to. Every time she would flash even the smallest grin I would get a glimpse of the nasty stuff going on in her mouth. If there was something funny on TV I would quickly change the channel. Her gums were getting inflamed and there were grey and green shadows between all the remaining teeth. There always seemed to be flies buzzing around her mouth. Looking back, it might have been my imagination. I began to have nightmares where I would French kiss her and then feel maggots crawling all over my tongue.
I would like to think that she was unaware of the dangers of not brushing but given her old profession it’s unlikely. One day she was with me and the next an infection from an abscessed tooth reached her brain and she was gone.
It was a closed casket.
So here I sit in front of where the mushroom used to be. Someone had ripped it out, perhaps offended by the sheer penisness of it or maybe it was given as a gift for a person who had everything. Whatever the case, all that remained was a shallow smelly rotting hole where it used to call home.
A hole that makes me miss her.
Life is funny in how unfunny it can be.