Flash Fiction

Toothpaste for 36

“You brought me toothpaste?”

“Yeah. It could have been worse.”

“Than toothpaste?”

Gail closes her mouth. The party starts in an hour and she hasn’t started getting ready. Evan watches her rub her tongue across her teeth. Maybe she hasn’t brushed her teeth yet, he thinks.

Gail turns her head. Her blonde hair edges over her shoulders. She opens her mouth and inserts a fingernail.

“Everyone will be here in an hour.”

“I know, I’ll, I’ll.”

“You’ll take the toothpaste to the bathroom. I know I’m only turning thirty-six, but Evan, toothpaste?”

Evan drags himself into the living room, down the hallway and into the bathroom. He places the tube on the sink and looks at himself in the mirror. He doesn’t bother to turn the light on so the shadows and the guilt make him look old. Haggard. Archaic.

He turned thirty-three last month. Gail found an old fountain pen for him that he loves and uses every day. He closes his laptop just to use the pen. He throws his right hand to his left chest pocket. It’s still there. He secures the pen, turns and leaves the bathroom.

A gift for Evan’s 33rd birthday. Gail is thoughtful. It is his most prized possession and he…he bought her toothpaste.

At least he wrapped it.

Todd K Denick is a Sepsis survivor. Born in Virginia, educated at Virginia Tech, unleashed in Alaska, and tamed in Germany where he now lives with his wife, son, and two dogs in the charming Franconian Switzerland area of Germany. His first book, IT WILL COME, is available from LALO Publishing, Inc.