In high school, some dumb boy that I did not like, nicknamed me mouse. It had nothing do to with my height. I am 5’11”. It had to do with my small teeth. Oh how I hated that name and how I hated my teeth (still do). They are the bane of my existence. It all started when I was in the first grade and I had my front tooth knocked out by a baseball. Thank goodness, it was a baby tooth. Six years later, I ran into a padlock on a sheet and it ruined the same tooth, now an adult one. (The story is a long one, but just know that my little sister still feels guilty about it.) My dentist had to complete a root canal, and cap it. Of course, the color of my teeth is hard to match and it is very apparent that it is a fake tooth. In my early twenties, I got braces thinking that it might help and it did, just not as much as I liked. Now here I am in my late thirties and I had to get a retainer. Yes, I look like a very weathered sixteen year-old. And the retainer calls attention to my teeth, especially the one I despise.

But here is the thing. After all of this time, I consider it a part of me. My dentist keeps trying to talk me into getting a new cap. He thinks that technology has caught up and that he could match my color. So far, I’ve resisted because for the last twenty-six years, I’ve seen it in the mirror. It is a part of who I am and I guess I’m reluctant to let it go even though I hate it. There are lots of women out there with brown hair and brown eyes, but I don’t know any with a slightly off colored, small front tooth. If I was writing me in a book, it would be one of the things I would describe because it stands out and is unique.

What is the one thing that makes you or one of your characters stand out?