Early Nights

I’m standing in the middle of the bathroom with my faded fuzzy pink robe on. My hair is tied in a knot on the top of my head. “I bought a new toothbrush,” I say to my husband as I smear some Sensodyne on the bristles of my new Pulsar.

“Oh yeah?” Justin spits white foam into the sink.

“The bahhery died in my old one,” I say while brushing. “Can you beeyeve I only had it for like a monsh?” I spit. “Those things aren’t cheap.” I grab a flosser and look at Justin. I glide the flosser between my teeth, first top then bottom.

He plucks one contact from his eye then the other in a smooth, fluid-like motion. He blinks and brushes away the moisture dripping from his eyes with his finger. “Did you try changing the battery?”

I look into the mirror and push a wrinkle between my eyes to flatten it. Then I stretch the skin beneath my eyes up and out, looking left then right at my reflection. I barely remember what it’s like to have buoyant skin. “Yep. When I did, some metal piece inside the toothbrush broke.” I apply my prescription-strength anti-wrinkle cream to the thinning skin beneath my eyes, then I slather it on the rest of my face.

“Why did you buy the exact same toothbrush then?”

“It’s the only one I really like. I’m afraid of trying something new.”

“Makes sense, I guess,” Justin says before gargling with some enamel-restoring mouthwash.

“But you know what else?”

He spits. “What?”

“I opened the new toothbrush and some of the bristles are bent back and to the side. See?” I hold up the toothbrush for Justin to examine.

He squints his eyes to see, then puts glasses on his face to see better. “Well they don’t make things like they used to, I guess.”

Our eyes meet in the mirror. Him with his glasses he’s had for seven years, since I was pregnant with our first daughter. Me with my robe I’ve had for ten, since our first apartment in Detroit. I reach for the mouthwash on his side of the sink.

He kisses my cheek. “Wanna fall asleep watching Ancient Aliens again?”

Photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash

19 thoughts on “Early Nights

  1. This was a beautiful snapshot of a moment in time with your husband. I love that you spelled out the way someone would slur while a toothbrush is in their mouth. I especially enjoyed the illustration of the love between you and your husband through the simple acts of getting ready for bed together. Nice job!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a lovely slice of life, Danielle. I feel like I could see it in a larger book, you know? One that was building to some great conflict that no one sees coming. I find it’s hard to write about getting older because, like, define “old.” I imagine the 20-year-olds reading it and not really connecting and then I imagine folks older than me rolling their eyes at me, like “Oh honey, you have NO idea.” I often get stuck wondering how people will react. It’s nice to have this place (YW) to find out, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is nice 🤗. And I think old is all relative, although I do feel “older” and more responsible now than I did even five years ago. It’s a strange thing to begin to accept. Like I’m finally happy just being me in my ugly pink robe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am going through…something. IDK what to call it, but it’s a unique blend of self-hatred and oh-shit-I-think-I-squandered-my-youth, with a little YEEHAW, NO MORE PERIODS thrown in to kick it up a notch. In other words: I’m a mess. You, however, wrote a lovely thing that was super easy for me to visualize, due to the evocative writing. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think my favorite part of this was the dialogue when you had toothpaste in your mouth. Something like that sort of speech can get annoying and difficult to read, but you put just enough in (and written well enough) that it put me in the moment without crossing the line into too much. Well done!


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