The smell of fresh mint

Monday mornings are difficult.

It’s not necessarily him she misses, more his teeth. More specifically, the smell of his teeth. He always had lank, greasy hair in the morning; as if he’d been sleep jogging, and his eye-gunk was enough to turn any woman off. But his teeth? His teeth gave off the most intoxicating smell of fresh mint.

In fact, it was the smell of his teeth that she first noticed on that particularly shitty Monday morning. It was 8.30am outside bus stop X and the clouds were chucking out the most hideous of downpours, so she did her best to squeeze under the shelter – along with 30 other face-down commuters.

Her backside shuffled into his front side, as his breath engulfed her nostrils. The waft took her back to dinner parties of old and After Eight mints, until a little hand suddenly reached over her shoulder.

‘Rick,’ its owner said.

‘Laura,’ she replied, shaking it with her own.

Over the course of several months their relationship blossomed into ‘hellos’ and ‘thank yous’, and eventually ‘how are yous?’, every Monday morning. She never really paid attention to what he was saying, she’d just showered herself in the freshness of his smile.

One Monday morning, though – the Monday morning she now thinks about every Monday morning – Henry’s babysitter fell ill, so Laura had to take him to work with her. Like the first Monday morning she met Rick, it was raining. And as soon as the heavens opened, so did her son’s tear ducts.

With Henry wailing and flailing, Laura did her best to sneak into the already overcrowded bus shelter. As the other 30 head-down, eye-rolling commuters refused to budge, Rick smiled, stepped into the road and offered an ‘After you’ gesture with his arm.

Laura nodded, closed her eyes and let his scent carry her deep into the shelter.

To this day she is unsure how she missed all the noise (Henry is a loud crier, but not loud enough to hide the sound of bus hitting human bone).

It’s not him she misses. But the memory of Rick’s teeth littered across the road, laying in rotten scent of exhaust fumes, is enough to make Monday mornings that little bit more difficult.

© Carl Burkitt 2015

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