Sunday, October 19, 2008

Little Stephen yelled in a fit of tiny kicking wooden-peg legs. "Grandma, I don't want to go!" She was silent and started him down the brown-capped basement stairs towards the cushy couch - amid the spiders and the silverfish. Each step was a thud of tripplets composed of bare feet and black knee socks. She held him around the elbow in a clamp of neccessity and iron. Grandma didn't want to scare him, but saw no sense in spending the cash on a white-coat mustache dentist. That loose tooth should come out now while there was still a roll of quilted paper towels in the cupboard above the kitchen counter. In an amalgam of woman and struggling boy - they undulated out over the cold concrete floor where the washer hummed and the dryer thumbed through beauty shop towels and garden gloves, charcoal trousers and pot holders - shower towels and dish rags - and Grandpa's flannel shirt shot up with grease stains. Young Stephen relented the tired struggle and settled on the cushion like a calf. Grandma straightened her dark blue sweat pants and enveloped him like a mist. He lay back in the makeshift dentist chair and closed his marble eyes. She reached into his fog mouth, took hold of the tooth, and snatched it right out. It hurt, he cried. His tongue searched the spot where the tooth had been - and he tasted the blood of a Grandma's love.

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