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I woke up this morning, as usual went into the toilet to wash my face, brush my teeth and to take a shower. I couldn't help but to notice that today, unlike on other days, the Toothbrush was staring at me. Blank. Not blinking!

"Morning", I said, and continued washing my face at the same time.

"Morning", the Toothbrush replied in a very low spirited tone. It was too obvious, very difficult to ignore or to pretend that I had not noticed. It was fishing for attention.

So typical as was of me, I instinctively felt the need to ask Toothbrush what was bugging it, probably because I cared, as Toothbrush has been in my toilet for quite sometime - although we were not exactly buddies, we were very familiar with each other. Or probably because, despite all self-denials in the world, I sort of knew what was bugging it and that I was the only person who could relate to the problem. Putting down all defences and denials, I changed my mind about asking.

"You're going to be alright", I said in a very motherly tone, hoping it would help to ease the pain.

"It has been 46 days since he last used me", Toothbrush said in that same crestfallen tone. So pathetic! I did not reply.

"Why did he not take me with him? He used me everyday before that! Am I that easily forgotten? I was very sincere, servicing him all these while!", it suddenly got so emotional. I had to say something. It may hurt but hey, reality bites! I learned that the hard way too.

"He's got that other toothbrush, remember? The one he took with him whenever he went to the islands. He must be using that other toothbrush now". I knew what I said hurt Toothbrush's heart. I felt so cruel. I didn't like myself that way.

"Yeah…. the Island Toothbrush", Toothbrush let out a deep, long sigh. I felt even worse. But I pretended like it was nothing. This is a big bad world we live in - one needs to learn to be strong and accept ugly fate as much as one welcomes good fortune.

I glanced at one of the Pil Chi-Kit-Teck-Auns which looked like it was about to say something but immediately changed its mind. The rest of the audience, Listerine, Colgate, Darlie, Glasses, Shaver and Atomic Enemas also did not say anything.

It was the Small Plastic Container which decided to butt in.

"I remember our trips to the islands, they were awesome!", Small Plastic Container said, smiling and looking dreamy - as if it was recalling its numerous trips with him before. Great, rub it in! Poor Toothbrush must be crushed by that statement.

"I've been meaning to ask you, did he actually use any of the medications I put inside you?", I tried to divert from the subject a little. I have actually wondered about it all these while. I didn't know why I never asked.

"Once or twice. He took the Paracetamol this one time when his ears were ringing non-stop after the afternoon dive during last his trip to Perhentian before the season ended last year. He slept very soundly after that", Small Plastic Container said, sounding so pleased.

"Yeah, I remember that, he did complain about the ringing ears after he came back - said he consulted an online Dive Doctor about it and it was due to the underwater pressure or some kind of imbalance or something like that", I said, trying not to recall so much. I'm getting better at it nowadays.

"And this other time he gave Panadol Soluble, or was it Medicated Plaster, to his diver friend, so proud that among all divers he was the only one who had the supply. 'My wife packed it for me and put it into my bag each time, without fail', I remember he boasted with that smirk on his face", Small Plastic Container narrated with much enthusiasm. I swallowed the story, quietly.

"I wonder if he's got his supply nowadays. You know him, he's got a very weak stomach, always gets the constipation followed by diarrhoea and after that constipation again, and the diarrhoea again, it was never ending!", the Pil Chi-Kit-Teck-Aun finally spoke up.

"Yeah, that was how we became best friends, right Atomic Enema?", the other Pil Chi-Kit-Teck-Aun added. One of the Atomic Enemas nodded, tittering meekly. I knew Atomic Enema's job specification was not something you wanted to discuss out loud. It was much too embarrassing. I giggled together with them.

"I don't know. But he can find the supply himself. It's easy to buy you guys, all sundry shops and pharmacies sell your kind, you know that", I answered honestly.

"Like when he bought the Island Toothbrush?", Toothbrush who has been quiet for sometime suddenly snapped. Wow, so bitchy, I thought to myself, half-amused, half blistered.


Silence.


"Do you miss him too?", Toothbrush broke the silence, looking directly into my eyes. I could not answer the question, so I awkwardly looked down to my feet. I should have known this was coming.

"I see you sigh in here, in front of the mirror, every morning since he left. You must miss him a lot too huh? How long have you been with him anyway? 8 years isn't it?", Toothbrush insisted.

I was tongue-tied. I sighed, still looking at my feet; my whole body trembled so hard I had to lean against the wall.

And yet again, I slowly bled inside.


I took a deep breath. I forced out a smile for them.

"It'll be alright, Toothbrush. It'll be alright", I said, petting Toothbrush's head, bid them all goodbye and quickly left the toilet.

I got a life that I had to keep on living.



Comments

The following comments are for "A chat with an abandoned toothbrush and friends"
by Ari

Pretty Neat
I must admit that I was a little taken aback when I first started reading this. I thought it was a comic piece until I got towards the end. I really liked how you enfolded the narrator's abandonment issues with the objects. It was very poignant, yet a bit funny.

( Posted by: wrath186 [Member] On: July 17, 2007 )

Thanks Wrath186
Seriously, thank you, for getting the story. I sent this story to 10 peoples before, but only 2 of them understood what I was trying to deliver. I was beginning to believe that I couldn't relate my story to the readers, or vice versa. But I took my chances here at lit.org. And because of you, and your comment of course, I'm glad I did. Thank you again :-)

( Posted by: Ari [Member] On: July 18, 2007 )

clever
clever story this, dealing with feelings of abandonment at one remove, through objects... it's something we all do, I think- we don't all talk to toothbrushes, obviously- but memories can be brought back by looking at things that belonged to the absent party, and the stuff that gets left behind looks so lost and forlorn... it's projecting our own feelings on inanimate stuff... this story deals with these issues in a clear, concise and engaging manner... there's a wry humour there too... impressed.

( Posted by: AuldMiseryGuts [Member] On: July 19, 2007 )

very good
didn't know what to expect but once i started reading i just flowed through the words until the end leaving me with a nice taste... very good..

( Posted by: 08119 [Member] On: July 19, 2007 )

Shower





Every morning you "as usual went into the toilet to wash my face, brush my teeth and to take a shower"

The shower never got a "Look in" or am I too critical of opening statements?

Whatever is said in the first few seconds starts to set the scene.......

( Posted by: Fairplay [Member] On: January 11, 2012 )

Shower
If you wanna look at it that way, the "I" character did not brush her teeth or wash her face either. :)

( Posted by: ari [Member] On: January 11, 2012 )

Personal Hygene


Haha at least your email still works.... It's hard to know who still looks in on Lit.org.

Now and again I meander through old files for enlightenment, looking at the world through the eyes of others.

I should of added a thank you for the read.....

Eric

( Posted by: Fairplay [Member] On: January 11, 2012 )

Eric, stop trying to peek into the shower!
Ari, I thought this was a very imaginative and heartfelt piece. It was a clever use of common objects as projective devices to analyze your feelings. If those eight out of ten people to whom you originally presented the story didn't get it, it was because they weren't trying.

( Posted by: poeteye [Member] On: January 12, 2012 )





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