Teeth Jail

Imagine this:

Half of the kinds of food you like– maybe more– disappear from store shelves. You go in to buy vegetables and come out with cans of tomatoes, because you have to eat something and everything in the produce cooler is gone.

Your bank account seems to think you bought a car, but you don’t remember buying a car. Did you? You’ve been forgetful lately, probably because you can’t sleep; every time you roll over in bed, there’s sudden stabbing pain, and that makes you worry so you sleep even less.

You develop weird sores in your mouth that turn into scars as the weeks pass, thick tough plates that feel alien in the places where liquid-soft skin used to be. Worse, there’s a persistent ache in your jaw and your palate, so it’s hard to eat even the bland, mushy food you can still find to buy.

The nightmares about teeth lost and broken come back, and you wonder if they were prophetic. The feeling of something not right pervades every moment of your day. You waste and dwindle and fade, because eating is a chore and sleeping is a myth and you’re devoting huge blocks of time to weird, obsessive, ritualistic hygiene behaviors when you should be doing either of them.

Then one day you’re chewing on a fried egg and there’s a loud elastic pop in your mouth, and you cuss out loud because that fucking hurt, and you realized you just swallowed the damn rubber band off your braces AGAIN.

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