Lately I've had a lot of time to remember. Or just ruminate in general. When I haven't been confined to bed, I've been somewhere much worse--the dental chair. My itty-bitty baby bad tooth--right lateral incisor 7-- needed to be replaced. Real 7 simply never showed up to the party that is my mouth, so it was the highlight of my life when, at sixteen, I finally got an implant (up until then I'd worn a retainer with a tooth attached. Attractive).
Thing is, I'd always remembered the oral surgeon telling me the tooth would be good for thirty years. Now I realize that I was heavily medicated at the time and what he actually said was that the tooth would be good until I was thirty years. Of course, now that I am thirty years and my tooth has eroded to a nub, they no longer manufacture it. So I have been minus one incisor 7 for the last six weeks with no end in sight. For the meantime, I'm forced to wear a "tissue former" if I don't want to look like a slack-jawed gappy-toothed yokel (see above picture). They call it a tissue former but that's stupid because a) it makes no sense and b) it looks remarkably like the retainer I wore for my entire adolescence up to age sixteen.
Meanwhile, there's a hole above 7 where there used to be an implant and there now is nothing. The dentist protected it with a little cap. A minuscule cap, invisible to the naked eye. But that cap. I feel that cap. My tongue worries it over and over again. And why? It's just a cap. Only I feel it and I feel something else, something I only just realized--I feel seven years old. I feel my big tooth growing in. I keep checking if it's getting bigger. I didn't think I remembered that feeling but I do; my body does.
Lately I've had a lot of time to remember. Or just ruminate in general. And I am ruminating that maybe our most important memories are the ones we don't remember remembering. The ones we only remember if we get down deep enough, past all the cerebral craziness into something realer; truer.
Try it. Have a glass of the expensive orange juice you wanted to drink as a child but your mother only bought once, on your birthday. Wash your hands with the same soap your Girl Scout leader kept at her bathroom sink. Listen to the theme song from an old sitcom you've forgotten you loved (It's a little wild and a little strange...when you make your home out on the range...Hey, Dude.) Something that will remind you of what you don't know you know.
Maybe you'll be surprised.