Maggie is about to turn 6 years old. It’s a milestone. That’s 42 in human years. She’s a beautiful, middle aged lady…who is now missing a tooth.
It happened in the last few weeks. There was no broken tooth. It didn’t show up anywhere, like her dog dish. Just one day, I noticed that her teeth seemed crooked. There was a little space in the front of her mouth. It wasn’t a “lost tooth” space like kids get when they loose teeth – that healing hole of toothless space. No sir. Her black gums don’t reveal that anything was even there, as though she’d never had one.
At first, I’d thought her teeth had simply moved around. They are spaced out and slightly crooked anyway. The space was so small, so I counted. There are 5 teeny little front teeth, not 6 as there ought to be.
How do you loose a tooth without blood, pain or fanfare? Too much tug-of-war with a rope? Chewing on petrified sticks? Demolishing the softball that someone gave you in the park?
I scoured Facebook for pictures of her to see if I could figure out when it happened. She doesn’t show her teeth much in photos, just her tongue. I found this one, with her bottom teeth showing. She had the tooth on July 25th.
As someone that has spent a lot of money on my own teeth – they have a nasty habit of needing root canals, crowns, surgery and implanted titanium posts – I feel doubly lousy. I wouldn’t want to walk around without a tooth. Perhaps this is more my crisis than hers. She seems unconcerned.
Now, I know something for sure. If I was rich, I’d buy her a new tooth. Yes, a cute little fake tooth. A gold tooth. It’d sit there right down in front and say, “hello.”
No, wait, even better, a grill! Like this lovely one:
Because I love Maggie. She’s my best friend. And she’d rock the grill.
It’s a lovely summer evening. Maggie, my lovely dog, insists she needs to go out. I get her things and we embark on a walk in the warm summer evening. It’s after 11 pm, so there is a gentle breeze. Delightful.
On our way to the corner, she sees two men crossing towards us at the light. One of them looks at Maggie. She looks back. There are people she choses to meet, and tonight, he was the one. She walks right up to him as he and his friend arrive on our side of the street. Without a thought, he kneels down and smiles.
After petting her, he looks into Maggie’s eyes and says, “I love you.” Just like that. It isn’t too soon, there is no uncertainty and he doesn’t need to sleep on it. He knows. Just like that. He knows that it’s really, really easy to fall in love. It wasn’t his plan. He was probably just going for beers with his friend.
Maggie loves him, too. She puts her front paws on his knee, which is conveniently on the sidewalk, and kisses him right on the mouth. Sealing the deal. He smiles. Maggie does, too, in her doggie way. They are having a moment, like a scene from a romantic comedy. It has nothing to do with me or with his friend. We both stand by and watch the sparks fly.
After the long lingering looks, he realizes that it has been a while. He gets up suddenly, acts cool and pats her one more time. Then, he and his friend walk away – never acknowledging me at all.
If Maggie has people say “I love you” on first meeting, she’s increasing the love on the planet by just being here. That’s okay with me. Every time I take her for a walk, I realize I’m the bringer of the love, and it’s not a bad job to have.
During a dinner party this week, I went to the kitchen to retrieve my glass of wine. There, I found a fly in my drink. Not a small, fruit fly but a full-sized housefly. He was swimming vigorously in the glass of blush wine and trying to get out. I am calling him a him, because he looked like a guy fly. But what do I know – perhaps I’m wrong. Or I’m being sexist. Or just have no clue how to determine the gender of a fly. Anyway, he looked like a he to me, so he’s a he for this story. I’ll call him Monte. A solid fly name, don’t you think?
After watching him struggle, I thought, my friend, you will die another day. If you were my mother, my dog or a bird, I wouldn’t hesitate. Life is a gift. I try not to be species-ist when it comes to life. We should all get a shot at living as long as we can. Because life is awesome.
I grabbed a paper towel and curled the edge into a ramp for him to walk up. A concept that he clearly didn’t understand, because he didn’t grab on. Instead, he swirled around underwine (as opposed to underwater, a distinction needs to be made, I think). So I went at it again with a dry corner, trying to push him up to the air with the paper towel. Still nothing. He fell off again, spiralling again.
Out loud, I told him he would stay living today. Turning the paper towel to a dry edge, I finally scooped him out of the wine. He landed on his back, wings down. Damn. So I slowly used the final dry edge to flip him over. He stood for a second, then started walking around. After shaking off his wings, he flew away. Today wasn’t his day to go. It felt good to save his life.
I drank the rest of the wine, in case you were wondering.