My Grandmother, the Dentist

When I was a child my mom would always have to tell my dad to give his mother a call. My dad doesn't like calling or texting anyone.

It didn't help that my grandmother was going deaf, and refused to get hearing aids, and so he'd have to shout into the phone for a few minutes.

Even if she wasn't going deaf it's not clear what they would talk about. They didn't seem to have any affection for each other. My dad was an only child. It's my guess that my grandparents didn't want children.

I also don't know why my grandmother could never call. She didn't have a job. She watered her plants, cared for her garden, but she would never, ever call. She didn't even tell us when she had cancer. She didn't tell us anything.

When we'd go to visit, the only thing she got excited about was my teeth–I mean, after I got my braces off, when they were very straight. She was a great collector and admirer of teeth.

She had teeth all over the house. Dentures, implants, models, and boxes of real teeth. She'd almost married a dentist.

"Let me see those teeth," she say when I'd come inside. "Let me see those pearly whites? Have you been brushing a lot? They look extra shiny today. Oh so pretty, your teeth. I wish I could just grab them out of your mouth and hold them. They are just so stunning. Let me just give them a good yank. Oh, they're pretty secure. Ooh, let me get my pliers. Hold on, hold on, I'm going to yank one out. I'm just pretending, I'm not serious. Or am I?"