long-forgotten fairytale

(31 october 2006)

once there was a lovely girl. your standard, average, lovely girl. we’re going to call her penelope. because that’s such an every(wo)man kind of name.

as a child, penelope was a commedienne. she was the queen of faces. a student of the lucille ball school of comedic facial distortion. her parents always admonished, someday your face will freeze like that. penelope did not believe them.

as a child, penelope was rather high-strung. she bit her nails nonstop. the warnings of her grandmother rang in her ears: there are worms under there. do you want to put worms in your mouth? penelope did not want to put worms in her mouth, but she didn’t want to give up the biting either.

the habit would persist into adulthood, when penelope would begin painting her nails garish colours in an effort to cease the barbarism. penelope’s mother frowned at the black lacquer. she said, you don’t want to get black stuff all in your teeth. penelope didn’t relish that idea, but she didn’t give up her nails.

penelope continued making faces and painting her nails and biting them. until one day.

on this day, penelope bit a black lacquered nail. sensing immediately that something had gone horridly wrong, penelope raced to the bathroom mirror. there it was. a rogue flake of nail polish on the number 9 central incisor. a simple thing to remedy, yes. but no.

this rogue flake of black nail polish had not been content to simply rest upon penelope’s number 9 central incisor. rather, it sought refuge within the gum tissue above. so that it was visible through the tissue yet entirely unreachable.

penelope promptly brushed her teeth. the rogue flake of black nail polish nestled within the gum tissue above her number 9 central incisor did not budge. she flossed as though her life depended upon it. if anything the rogue flake of black nail polish situated within the gum tissue above her number 9 incisor situtated itself more comfortably. penelope brushed her teeth six subsequent times to no effect.

she threw herself on the bed in exhaustion and frustration. and then it hit her.

penelope would go through the rest of her life with a rogue flake of black nail polish situated within the gum tissue above her number 9 incisor. as long as she lived, people would think she had something stuck in her teeth.

at all future christmases, penelope’s family would harken back to the days before that rogue flake of black nail polish became situated within the gum tissue above her number 9 incisor. the family photo albums would now be divided into the era before the rogue flake of black nail polish became situated within the gum tissue above penelope’s number 9 incisor and the era after. if penelope were so lucky to find a man who could love a woman with a rogue flake of black nail polish situated within the gum tissue above her number 9 incisor, the rogue flake of black nail polish situated within the gum tissue above her number 9 incisor would inevitably dominate her wedding pictures. every dental visit for the remainder of penelope’s life would prompt a gasp of what is that rogue flake of black nail polish situated within the gum tissue above your number 9 incisor? when her husband stared deeply into her teeth rather than her eyes, penelope would know- the rogue flake of black nail polish situated within the gum tissue above her number 9 incisor was driving a wedge between them. the adolescence of her children would be marred by the rumors that their mother never brushed her teeth. and penelope had no doubt that her future husband would leave her for a woman who did not have a rogue flake of black nail polish situated within the gum tissue above her number 9 incisor.

all this because penelope was a lovely girl who did not care whether her face froze or whether she put worms in her mouth.

lying on the bed in exhaustion and frustration, with the rogue flake of black nail polish still situated within the gum tissue above her number 9 incisor, penelope ruminated upon this tragic turn her life had taken. she instinctively went to her nails for solace, then detoured and grabbed the bag of fritos instead. she wiped her tears and bravely returned to the bathroom mirror to make peace with the rogue flake of black nail polish situated within the gum tissue above her number 9 incisor. but the rogue flake of black nail polish situated within the gum tissue above her number 9 incisor was no longer there.

penelope pulled a face and put the worms in her mouth.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s