all four of us file into the teacher’s bathroom. above the sink stand a line of mugs and their respective toothbrushes. my plastic travel toothbrush case looks to be a haphazard addition, but nonetheless I reach for it as they reach for their own toothbrushes. we stand against the wall, side by side, staring at our own reflections as we scrub our teeth. the sound of our toothbrush motions compete only with music that seems more fitting for an elevator ride, and not the small, shared staff women’s room on the first floor. we brush. the other three women occasionally voice words I’ve no hope of understanding, mutilated by their already occupied mouths. I stand in silence, brushing. watching my reflection.
two minutes later, one by one, each of us takes her turn at the sink, spitting out the minty foam, rinsing our toothbrush and returning it to its resident cup. we file out of the bathroom, teeth clean, and we part ways shortly thereafter, as I bear left to go upstairs.
everyday after lunch, this is our ritual.