Wednesday, June 19, 2013

One Tooth Brush...

In the aftermath of a breakup your friends, family, and random people at Kroger will tell you that you're strong. You'll get over this and move onto something better. They warn you of the "song" that will come on the radio that will make you think of him. They caution you about how lonely the bed will feel without him next to you. And they say you'll have to change your perfume because that smell will always be him.

So you prepare yourself for all of this. You do as they say and then some (quickly changing photos in picture frames, clearing out his side of the closet, you know- normal protocol). But no one tells you of the one thing that will stop you dead in your tracks and remind you of the two words you're not ready to utter. The toothbrush. The solo toothbrush that sits in the holder shouts out loudly "I'm single" (again). My toothbrush always had a roommate in the slot next to it. Now it just sits there all by itself. A reminder that you can change the pictures in the frames and hide his football shirt but you can't ignore the damn toothbrush.

For a couple, the first thing that moves in with the guy is the toothbrush. Maybe they'll bring an extra shirt or two when they spend the night but the defining "hey, this is going somewhere" moment is when he brings his toothbrush. Soft, medium, hard, with the tongue cleaner or extra bristles- it doesn't matter. It takes up residency in the little holder slot next to yours. It's a clear indication that he will be there when you go to sleep and when you wake up (because you're supposed to brush twice a day obviously).

When the excitement of "ah! the toothbrush has moved in" is eclipsed with "how the hell does he get toothpaste on the mirror... and faucet... and counter... and floor?" the appreciation for the toothbrush residency starts to wear off. You forget what it really meant to have that little minty fresh stick on the sink in the first place.

That is... until it's gone. So in reality one could say that a toothbrush is just like a relationship itself. When you see it there for the first time, you know that things are getting serious. Then it's novelty wears off and it becomes an annoyance because you start to have an affair with Clorox wipes and Windex after the toothbrush makes a mess. And when it's gone, it's absence is more prominent than the key you took back sitting on the counter. Or his coffee cup still in the dishwasher.

Unless you're completely disgusting and have no hygiene priorities whatsoever, you will have to use your toothbrush every day (twice if you are as diligent as you should be). That means, two times every day, you will walk up to that silver holder and see your solo brush just sitting there. Hanging out all alone but still standing up. It's partner has up and left. But it stays where it's supposed to and does what it's supposed to. It's alone but it still has meaning. Just because there was another toothbrush next to it doesn't mean that it lost it's purpose or it's importance. It's still standing without it's partner by it's side.

And the way I look at it like this: Every time I walk up to that mirror and see my reflection as I take the toothbrush out and start to brush my teeth I am getting a little piece of myself back. Like that brush, I'm alone too. But I have a purpose and I still have meaning. I'm lonely but I'm needed. And while I could easily buy another toothbrush to put next to mine in the holder so it won't feel so awkward... there's no point in bringing in something that has no meaning other than to fill a void. You have got to learn to stand on your own for a while.

So when I see my toothbrush there... by itself after all this time... I'm reminded that, while I may be personifying a piece of dental equipment, I'm really trying to explain my own situation. And this time, I don't have to clean up after someone else's mess that was left behind for me to deal with.

There should be some kind of warning label on Crest. I'm just saying. And next time I will be a little more cautious before I allow my toothbrush a new "holder-mate." I need to make sure that the new toothbrush isn't the kind that leaves behind a mess for another to clean up.