Marlo’s tooth hurt.
It had been hurting for the past two weeks. Every time she ate something, it twinged a little. Every time she had a cold drink of water, it hurt a lot more – especially if she had been heating something warm beforehand.
Marlo looked at it in the mirror. She couldn’t see any particular holes or problems with it. She had tried using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, but that didn’t help.
She knew she should go to the dentist. She knew it was probably a cavity. But without insurance, without the money to pay for the procedure, she kept putting it off, hoping she could save and save until she had enough. Though by then, the tooth might be rotten.
She had considered the local university dental care, but with the recent media attention around students there sexually assaulting people, she didn’t feel safe with that option.
So she kept suffering through the pain, trying to chew on the other side as much as possible, and waiting to have enough to get things fixed. The delicate balance between having enough money, but not ending up with a more expensive procedure, continued.