“He’ll just open up the gum and insert a steel post right into the bone. This will be the foundation for the implant.” The hygenist’s hands flapped opened easily, as though she were slowly opening a book. My shoulders were frozen and my eyes wide. Blonde hair curled around the pearls in her ears. I went to the bathroom to rinse my mouth. Dried blood blackened my teeth and ran down my neck. I was unsteady from the gas and swayed in front of the mirror. The taste of blood clanged heavy metal cowbells in the back of my mouth. I could have passed out.
Decay is an unmistakable smell. It is heady like lillies. It is sweet and overwhelming. In a parallel universe, flowers and cupcakes smell like decay. Rancid honey drips from the smell, honey made from honeybees with broken wings flapping as they crawl through crumbling hives. Decay smells like a row of bodies filleted under a blistering sun and left to melt across hot rocks. Decay smells like a sweet, rotten pear that collapse when you pick it up, your thumb sliding through the waxy skin to the mealy interior. You can taste the grain of the flesh across your tongue as you hold the pear in your hand. Brown juice runs down the inside your wrist. Again, in a parallel universe this decay would be different. The line between good and bad is so fine, and every living thing is so close to decay, humans most of all. But maybe it isn’t always as ugly as we think it is. Maybe it’s a moment alone in the kitchen with sweet pear juice running along the white of your arm and pooling inside your elbow.