the women in my family have this bizarre habit of wandering around as we brush our teeth. we look out the window, organize our things, fold laundry— anything but the standard staring at oneself contemplatively in the mirror whilst caring for one’s gums. all three of us, my mother, my sister, and i, get comments on this phenomenon all the time. people just can’t seem to reconcile the fact that we’d rather run around our respective habitats than hang out in the bathroom while brushing our teeth. because of this, i feel strangely close to them in these moments— i always think of my mom and her buzzing electric toothbrush and my sister and her compulsive flossing when i brush up every morning and every night.
tonight, i reached for my toothbrush as usual. my mind started to wander, as usual, my feet itching to carry me out of the bathroom and complete whatever menial task i had on my to-do list. i reached for the toothpaste. i am, admittedly, very haphazard about my toothpaste application— i squeeze right from the middle and wind up with a different amount of minty sticky paste on my toothbrush each time. you are my opposite in this way, diligently squeezing from the bottom every time, applying exactly the same amount of paste onto your toothbrush, standing still while facing the mirror as you brush.
tonight, when i picked up the tube, i didn’t have to wrestle with it, didn’t have to deal with that terrible explosion of goo that comes from constantly and recklessly squeezing from the middle of the tube, because the last person who used the toothpaste had been careful to squeeze it gently and methodically from the bottom.
tonight, i smiled from ear to ear as i brushed my teeth. i stood still and i looked in the mirror and i thought of you.