Writing Prompts: The Tooth

Time for a Prompt with a bit of a difference, as I take a leaf from Bruce Gerencser’s book, and recount some of my personal steps. We’re taking a step back to the early 90s (I think it was the early 90s), and an impact – quite literally – upon my life.

My mother, father, brother and I, together with some family friends, had gone away to a caravan park in France. This would not be the last time this particular grouping would go places, and I may well spin around to a few tales from those trips, but this one involves some pain. As a kid, I was not confident with bicycles, and as an adult, I am not confident with bicycles. I know how to ride a bike, but having built up to a point where I actually did sort of enjoy it, I had an accident that left me thoroughly deterred.

The caravan park’s roads formed the opportunity to ride around in a circuit. This included a small incline and a small dip. It was possible to pick up some real speed, and I did. Oh man, despite the passage of over 30 years, this is making me uneasy. I ended up going very fast, and I think I panicked? I hit the brakes of the bike, but I hit them hard, and the abrupt action catapulted me over the handlebars, and onto the ground, face first.

Among the cuts and bruises and swollen lip, it transpired I had broken one of my front teeth in half. There wasn’t a lot to be done about this on holiday, but upon returning home, I would get to experience a wholly different kind of anguish. After some difficult dental work (and I will confess, I made this very difficult for the dentist), I ended up with a false tooth on a plate. This was not a good experience for me. The plate could be removed, and at night the plate, complete with tooth, sat in some water, but that wasn’t the issue. The issue is that I got through these things quite often, because I’d break them. My… instinct I guess, was to gnaw and chew upon this unnatural object in my mouth, and the repeated breakages gave my parents not inconsiderable grief. It frustrated them, and it frustrated me, but I couldn’t help myself.

When I was an adult, and my mouth had stopped growing, the opportunity arose to be fitted with a permanent false tooth, a crown of sorts (I think). I took advantage of this change, and at first glance, you wouldn’t know which was the false tooth. Some years later, my mother ended up having to have a false tooth on a plate, which I learned of when we were out to lunch one day. She told me she owed me an apology. Her own experience with the sensation of the plate led her to understand what it was like for me.

To hear that was cathartic. Still, after all this time, I am reluctant to go near a bike!

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