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Brushing Teeth



He wanted to leave her almost as much as he wanted to love her. Why did middle-aged women embrace the inevitable by returning to the rituals, the prayers, the introspection of not only their bodies, but also their souls, while the men denied the natural course of things by pursuing the physical, either in masters’ league softball or with out-of-their-league thirty-somethings? Her meditation routine frustrated him because he didn’t have the patience for it. There had to be more to life than turning inwards! Or maybe he didn’t want see what was in there? It scared him, too, because she had found a subdued and subduing means of coping with midlife, while he was still grasping at the same, but now weaker supports that he had used since college.

They had not had sex in so long that when he saw her brushing her teeth one evening, he got a hard-on. The hand motion mimicked the online videos that he had been watching far too often lately. He soon realized how anti-climactic it would be since she would always spit. With the passing of her parents came her longing for something more, something he could not fathom, or at least something he felt he had no need to search for. His alcoholic dad had died when he was a teenager, so every year past his own forty-fourth birthday was a personal affirmation of his own lifestyle. For her, the future was defined through what she had seen, a slow aging process that led to death. For him, the future was still a huge mystery, something to have fun with for as long as you could.

So, he started writing. A new enterprise, something that would require as much energy and drive as he had put in creating his own business twenty years earlier. It was a way to get her back, proving himself to her that he was the same man that she had married, with whom she could enjoy life. He had little doubt of success. He had taken that road less traveled and that his experiences would make great stories. He imagined the riches he would most certainly gain and taking her to places he had been to in his youth.

So, here he was, sitting in his son’s old bedroom, in his underwear, staring at a screen, wondering how to squeeze out five hundred words that would hopefully mean something, anything to someone.

This story was written by Hugo Glin. Hugo Glin escaped from New Jersey at 18 and has lived in Europe and Asia ever since, discovering that the East sometimes does meet the West, but usually at a bar or in bed. In addition to a blog about expat life, Me Love Taiwan So Long, he’s had pieces published in Roadside Fiction and Clever Magazine.

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