Grinning

This morning I stepped out of the shower and this bathroom was fine: white walls, white tiles, sink and counter with toothpaste crusted all over. Three out of the four light bulbs over the mirror were still good — 100 watt, clear bulb, blinding bright in the small white room. Like always I was late, so I skipped shaving. She liked it when I didn’t shave, anyway. I was thinking about doing mutton chops. She’d get a kick out of that. I passed the mirror and noticed I was grinning. I didn’t even know I was grinning.

I’m in the bathroom tonight before bed and there’s something wrong with the lights. All three are on again but they glow kind of brown and don’t really light up the rest of the room. I should get more bulbs from the kitchen. I should, but I’m busy. The date was **** and she shut her apartment door on me. You’d think that would wipe off the stupid grin from this morning. But I came back in the bathroom and, in the mirror, my face was still doing it. If I touch my face it doesn’t feel like a grin, but there it is in the mirror.

In the brown light it’s hard to make out but — have you ever actually counted how many teeth show when you smile? I lean in close. One, two, three, four — I didn’t know my mouth was so wide — nine, ten, eleven — I can’t do mutton chops after all. The corners of my lips are out to my ears. It still doesn’t feel like a grin. But I keep counting, for curiosity.

Thirty-six — thirty-seven — thirty-eight...

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