My tooth is falling out. A bit chipped off the other day; the rest is grey and dying, or dead. It’s a trivial thing, when you’re young. Children I teach have teeth that wobble, then pop out, ready to be replaced. But this one won’t be. It’ll just leave a gap.
You get older and you notice things like that. When you’re older than you used to be – not hugely older, just a little bit rougher round the edges – you start seeing these tiny signs of evidence. A cracked tooth here, a wrinkle there. You lose your hair, or it fades to silver, or white.
You can’t see quite as perfectly. You can’t hear quite as beautifully. You look harder; you listen more. You try to fill in the gaps for the things you can’t see or hear, hoping you guessed correctly. Perhaps no one will notice, although they do.
Then: spring. Light. The first really bright day. Rays flutter through windows and detonate a fall of dust. Children scream in a playground, maybe excited, maybe scared, maybe both. A certain smell to the soil. You think back to a time before, the same light, the same smell. Yes, you are breaking down, but only slightly – the rest of everywhere is full of life. Growth and life.
Let the tooth fall apart. I’m still here and I can do without it. There’s light out there, light beyond the swaying blinds. Go out and see it. Let it all begin again.