A letter for the gap-tooth collective, recounting smiles & tribulations of having that space between your two front teeth.
Do you remember when teeth were just teeth?
Do you remember the day you realized they were so much more, maybe even magical?
They were suddenly charged with superpowers, allowing us to whistle with our mouths open or hold a lollipop between their grip - freeing our lips from pursing tight.
Do you remember when they could crush us harder than they crush food?
Like when the first person we wanted for our own, the one who was the smartest, cutest, funniest said “You have kind of a big gap in your front teeth,” after a fit of vicious laughter.
Do you remember when there were eras we could almost ignore it?
But throughout the years friends would come back from trips to London with “mind the gap” mugs and t-shirts and unmentionables. They would accumulate, haunting and constricting our identity down to the millimeter between our two front teeth.
Do you remember the promises it made that we couldn’t keep?
Like when our grandfather patiently waited until we turned 21 to fly us to Vegas, and try our “lucky teeth” on the slot machines. We never saw a smile and $100 evaporate so quickly.
Do you remember trying so hard to keep a straight face?
Because you were at that job interview and we didn’t want to be perceived as cute - or worse.
Do you remember the freest smile we've ever smiled?
The one where we see each other, and a mirror of whistlers, London underground billboards, bad omens and good luck charms all at once.
Written by M. Jean for Smile Stories—a blog series keeping oral traditions alive.