THE tooth was rotten.

It sat in the back of my mouth for months, fouling everything that I ate and everything that I drank.

When I probed at it with my tongue, I could feel the hole festering. It was a dark crater. Threatening to crack open my entire skull.

I did not notice when it started to hurt. I started to exist in a world where there was only pain. I would wake. I would revel in the brief, white moment of silence where I forgot that there was any pain. Where I forgot that I was hurting. Then the light would break over the crest of the horizon and it would slam into my. Jaw bone aching. Skull reverberating with the pain. Every fibre of my being reaching out for a space in the universe where there was no feeling.

The tooth died. Months of probing and thinking. Remembering and touching, reaching out for what once was and what could have been. The black. Foul stench. Rotten. Dead nerve.

When the nerve dies, all hope dies with it. Nothing hurts, but there is no sensation either. There is no warmth or touch. Nothing. Dead space.

Someone reached into my mouth and scraped away at all the dead tissue. They pulled out this grey matter and held it before me for inspection. Bright light. Dark lenses. There was a slight bloom of blood on the edge of this thing that they pulled from my body.

Then they threw the tooth away.

There is now a smooth, white filling in the cavity. Now there is no hole threatening to plunder the integrity of my mouth. I run my tongue over it, touching it. Probing it. It is now a part of my being, but I am detached from it. It’s like I can see it close to me, feel it, assimilate it into my being.

But it will never be mine. It cannot be me. It is not me, and I am not it. There is no more pain.

But there isn’t much feeling, either.

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