Living in a mouth is precisely what you’d think living in a mouth would be: wet, aromatic, and exhilarating. It’s cozy and rent-free in here. She’s not a big talker, so it stays as dark as Anchorage, Alaska during a typical winter. I sleep well. I bathe in her saliva. I nibble on specks of food that dangle from the roof like edible stalactites. When she’s wrecked and raging on a Friday night, getting blitzed on gas station wine, blaring Linda Ronstadt, we both stumble into el diablo’s embrace. When she peeks at the mirror while applying lipstick, or washing her face, I pop out and wave hello.
Don’t get me wrong, some days are war. Like taco night. Little swords of tortilla come flying at me with brutal intentions. Morning is sauna time. She likes her coffee church-fire hot and Crayola black. She’s up to seven pots a day. A dose of caramel creamer and an ice cube would be a welcomed gesture. And there are moments when she delves into the cruel. She’ll use strawberry gelato as a frozen weapon instead of its customary function as an addictive creamy delight. I will hide in her gums, or inside the nook of a frequently-brushed tooth, but eventually the chill finds me. Spoonful after spoonful. She is obsessed with murderous dollops of Italian bliss. And she’s a slow swallower.
I could be like my pal Charlie. He climbed back into the womb years ago. Said that, in fact, you can go home again. Or Roger. He moved into his grandmother’s apron pocket last June. The same cotton sanctuary that held those butterscotch candies she loved to give him when they played Scrabble together on the weekends. I understand why they made their choices, why they sought out the comfort of sun-bleached nostalgia, but it all seems so bland and predictable. For me, it’s either her mouth or a gurney.
I know Gloria still cares. It’s been six months and not a single foreign tongue has entered my sanctuary. I choose to believe that she doesn’t want to hurt me again. She knows I’m sensitive and fragile. Troubled, according to WebMD. When we broke up, she was sweet but firm. Said she wouldn’t call the police, or her brother the bricklayer if I left immediately, just get in the Prelude and vanish. She even packed my stuff up and had her dad drop it off at my mom’s place. He told me not to be a nuisance because things could get ugly, and tossed me his former Marine I will drop a grenade down your throat face to emphasize the point. But his baby blanket blue eyes and expertly combed beard told me he was just playing a role. He was daddy the protector. I saluted him, said I’d stay away. Just for you, sir.
But can a man ever truly stay away? A car relies upon an engine. A toilet won’t flush without water. A refrigerator requires freon. Spaghetti begs for sauce. And my ego needed Gloria. She was the walk off homer in the bottom of the ninth. She was the only answer to a one question quiz.
The mouth that tore my everything apart when she cut me loose, is the same mouth that once said love is like sliding into an old pair of jeans. It makes you feel good. Look good. No, I’m not going anywhere.
The aroma of onions, frying beef, and simmering spices filters in. Chili night. It’s cute how inventive she can be in pursuing an eviction, but I’ll survive that ghost pepper-spiked inferno, I always do. She’s my gal. And I’m her devoted tiny man. I’m home again.
Banner Image: By Scott Ehardt (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons