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I Caught My Toothbrush with His Lover


Nayeem Ehtesham


Today is a sad day. I caught my toothbrush with his lover. Red-handed.

It felt like a half-formed image from a nightmare as my eyes fell on them, cuddling each other, possibly kissing as well.

I wanted to look my toothbrush’s lover in the eye. I let you stay in my house and you repay the kindness by backstabbing me? But she fled the moment she sensed my presence. What a pathetic little coward! She would have no more kindness shown to her. I would hunt her down and her whole family, too.

Now it’s just me and him.

“How could you?”

“I’m sorry.”

“What’s her name?”

“Cockroach.”

“How long has this been going on?”

“Master, I’m sorry.”

“I’ve told you to stop calling me that! For heaven’s sake, brush, how long?”

“Four…no five…six months. I’m sorry, it is most humiliating. I’m ashamed. What will you do now?”

“The natural thing to do would be to throw you away.”

“I understand, master. I deserve whatever punishment you choose to carry out.”

“No, I’m not gonna throw you away! Come on! One of us still has a heart.”

“Oh. That’s so kind of you.” He took a small breath. “Will you kill cockroach?”

“Without a question.”

“I understand, master. Just…be gentle, will you? If I’m being honest, and I might as well be now, I love her.”

That cut like a knife. If brush was being honest now, did that mean our time together was a lie?

“All this time, I thought we had something.”

“We do have something, master. It’s just that you confuse love with ownership.”

“But I do own you, don’t I?”

“Yes, you do. But you can be so possessive sometimes that it’s too much for me.”

“This is confusing. You never told me!”

“You wouldn’t listen. All you ever wanted was to…I can’t do it anymore, master. I don’t love you. I never have.”

“Brush!”

“You are disgusting and your mouth smells. Hell, I’m not even the first brush in your life. Who are you to judge me for adultery? Cockroach is kind and exciting. She treats me like a person.”

My world started to crumble around me. Was this a dream? Maybe I would wake up from sleep and by the time I was done brushing my teeth, this awful nightmare would have faded away forever. He would give himself to me again, like every morning we shared together.

“Brush, I can’t remember a day when you weren’t mine.”

My dear brush looked at me with weary eyes, tears dripping down his body. “Me neither, sweet master. And I’m done being yours.”

“Brush, I want you to understand that I had no idea you felt that way. I won’t put you through this anymore. You can go and have a life with cockroach. All I ever wanted was to make you happy. I loved you in my own way. I was yours as much as you were mine. I’m sorry that you never saw it that way.”

….

I wake up the next morning and you are not there. I go outside to get some air, and a new brush. I feel like a horrible person. I guess I have to live with that. A man has his desires. And I’m a prisoner to mine.

I return home and find a dead cockroach on the floor. The poison worked. I pick it up and throw it into the dust bin, where my beloved brush already rests in peace. Snapped in half.

I take my new brush and bring him close so I can see him. His body is blue, with two fine strips of white. The fibre on his head is soft as autumn clouds. “Look how beautiful you are!” And it’s mine. All of it is mine.

“Thank you, master,” he says.

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