Dental Hygiene on Orbital Station #57
by Meg Murray
The worst part of living in Orbital Station #57 is the lack of dentists. Not the spacewalks to fix the trash compactor when the solar arms jam. Not the lack of variety in our food. I miss dental hygiene. Sometimes you have a cut in your mouth, and every morning and night when you spritz the Colgate Clean in there, it stings so bad. Then you forget again until you take a bite of stale breakfast cookie, and there’s the sting. It’s been waiting. A red dash on the gums, just waiting to hurt you.
I had a cut like that below my bottom canine on the left side. Two months into this six month shift. Had the cut for days. Then I wake up today and spray the Clean, and I could barely feel the sting. The pain was a dull memory.
It’s like that when cats die. It hurts so bad at first. Then one day, it doesn’t sting so much. You try not to think about the soft little toes that squish out with a stretch. Magpie’s head trembled like the tiniest earthquake happened for the two seconds of her intense stretch. But you forget those things in time, and that’s the cost of taking away the sting. You gotta lose some of the happy with the pain. Another four months of cleaning up space trash and I’ll catch a ride home. The best part of living on Earth is getting a new cat.
Meg Murray (she/her) is a queer writer living in Colorado with her spouse, four children, and rescue dog. She writes speculative fiction stories about personal autonomy and motherhood, as well as all things nature-related and eco-hopeful. Her work has been published by TL;DR Press, For Page & Screen Magazine, and HyphenPunk Magazine. Find her on Twitter (@megmurraywrites) and online (megmurraywrites.com).