My first x-ray was in a New York City emergency room. I don’t remember how old I was, only that I was able to walk, had upper teeth, and yet still in the young days of non-remembering; perhaps I was two? Perhaps I was younger? My mother tells me, “You were screaming. You were so white. So pale!” (The sardonic side of me remembers my sun-phobic mom’s voice as sounding very proud when she claimed I was “pale”)
I had fallen on my face and shattered all my front teeth. They took dental x-rays.
I remember hopping up and down on the bed, up for a bite of apple, down for the jump, up for a bite of apple; that was how my grandma fed me sometimes, scraping the flesh out of an apple so that it was a soft spoon of fruit. I remember falling off the bed, tumbling to the floor, feeling pain. Or maybe that was after I broke my teeth, the scraped apple flesh for a toothless mouth.
My mother tells me I fell while running towards my father, who had just come home from work. I was ecstatic about my dad’s arrival, per the usual. But that day, I fell on my face.
The ER pulled all my teeth and eventually, crowns were put in. The crowns got infected later, so they were pulled. So, no front teeth for years. My dad liked to give me carrots and watch me demolish them with only back molars with which to chew.
I didn’t have front teeth until the second grade. And then, only my central incisors. So that I looked like Bugs Bunny. My dad liked to give me carrots and watch me eat them with my two front incisors.