Kagawong: A Short Story

December 29, 2013 was the date that I recall when it happened. It was a chilly winter day in Kagawong. I was visiting my grandparents house about a mile from the town on Manitoulin Island in Canada. Ice hung off the tree branches in glistening icicles. Snow, as tall as a mailbox, was piled up on the sides of the roads. It was only noon when my grandpa walked into the room. My grandpa is a tall man with broad shoulders, grey hair, and a black and white beard. He always wears his brown boots with a t-shirt and jeans. “Hey Riley what are you up to? ” he called. “Nothing much, just writing my novel,” I replied.

Would you like to show Grandma the falls I showed you yesterday? ” he asked. “Sure! ” I said enthusiastically. Kagawong falls is a waterfall on the island that had chilled over for the winter. It was a huge, majestic ice sculpture when it was frozen. Like an icy art gallery. I jumped up off the couch in a hurry to get to the front door. Suddenly, an odd feeling in the pit of my stomach appeared as I got my winter gear on. It was a queasy feeling that I could not shake off, but I just pushed it aside. As we headed out the door and into the car, the feeling of queasiness subsided.

It was replaced with excitement. Having chattered to Grandma the whole ride there, she could tell that I was very excited that we were going to the falls. We were talking about how beautiful the falls were and how cool it was walking on the ice. My grandma is a petite woman with golden blonde hair, and I could never catch her not wearing the color blue. We had just pulled up onto the side of the road when I jumped out of the car and opened the door for my grandma. “Calm down Riley,” she called, “I moving as fast as I can”! As we all walked together to the stairs, the uneasy feeling came back.

I put a smile on my face, though, as we walked down the seven flights of steps. The steps had been slippery from being covered in ice. Walking the minefield that was the steps, it was hard to step only in the snow so I didn’t slip and fall down the stairs. Grandma had already slipped and fell down twice before we made it down to the bottom of the stairs. “How about we just turn back? ” grandma asked. “No way! ” I exclaimed, “ We didn’t come all this way for nothing did we”? “Alright lets keep going,” she moaned. Timidly, we all walked on the frigid ice to get to the waterfall.

The water was frozen in long icicles that were the width of a car! As we walked behind the wall of ice I was astonished all over again by the beauty of the place. I walked the stretch of ice behind the frozen wall all the while shouting at my grandparents to hurry up. As I was walking back to where my grandparents stood, that uneasy feeling came back. All the sudden I felt my feet slip out from underneath me and my face smashing into the ice. Imagine getting hit with a frying pan in the face, that’s what it felt like. I tried to get up, all the while sobbing because I was in so much pain.

As I was getting up, I saw a tooth lying on the ice. I sobbed even harder when I noticed that blood, that was everywhere, was coming from my mouth. My grandparents helped me up, grabbed the tooth, and handed it to me. It took me at least five minutes to figure out that the tooth I was holding was mine. It took me even longer to realize that it was my permanent front tooth sitting in my hand. My permanent front tooth fell out of my mouth while my other front tooth was halfway out of my gum! Walking back to the stairs as fast as we could, I couldn’t stop crying.

I was blubbering about how I was going to wear dentures the rest of my life, and how I was going to look so ugly without my front teeth. My grandparents kept trying to reassure me, but I wasn’t hearing any of it. I was a bit of a drama queen at that moment, but can I be blamed? I mean I had perfectly straight teeth before this happened. Yet, here I was holding my front tooth in my hand. The other front tooth was hanging on my lip making me look like Nanny McPhee in the beginning of the movie. We drove to a little gas station that one of Grandpa’s friends worked at.

Grandpa told me to go to the bathroom and clean up while he talked to his friend about what to do. I walked into the bathroom and immediately looked into the mirror to see the damage that had been done. Blood covered my coat and my face looked like a mess from crying the whole way there. I rinsed my mouth out and cleaned up my coat a bit and walked back out into the store. Grandpa’s friend said that we should go to the Emergency Room because there was no dentist on the island. We jumped into the car and started off to the island hospital. When we got there I was taken into a room with my grandparents.

The doctor came in about fifteen minutes later and introduced himself as Dr. Cooper. We then proceeded to tell him what had happened at Kagawong Falls and then he left the room. Dr. Cooper came back in twenty minutes later. He told us that the nearest dentist was three hours away and that he had spoken to a dentist about what to do in this situation. The dentist had said that we had to get the tooth back in my mouth as soon as possible. Dr. Cooper gave us two options, either to wait for the dentist to get there or have him try to do the tooth procedure himself.

We decided to just have Dr. Cooper do it because the dentist was just too far away. Some nurses came into the room about five minutes later and started preparing for the procedure. Moreover, the hospital didn’t have the proper anesthesia, so I felt everything. Getting your tooth shoved back into your swollen gum feels like a knife slashing your gums. I was in so much pain, but the tooth kept slipping out of my gum. Hence, Dr. Cooper had to keep shoving it back in my mouth. Finally, when my tooth was in my gum far enough, Dr. Cooper stopped and put gauze in my mouth to keep the tooth in my gum.

My grandparents and I drove back to the house and they started packing all our things. They kept throwing everything, everywhere as they were packing. I grabbed the landline to call my parents to tell them what had happened. “Hello? ” asked my mother. “Hey Mom, there was an accident and I’m coming home,” I muffled out through the gauze. “Oh my God! Are you alright? What happened? Why do you sound like that? Where are you right now? ” she questioned. “I’ll let Grandma explain because it’s really hard to talk around this gauze,” I replied.

Then I handed the phone to Grandma before she could ask me anymore questions. Grandma then explained again what had happened to my mom. Dr. Cooper said not to move around that much so I just sat down and watched a movie on the television. After we had everything packed up and ready to go, we all hopped into the car and started to drive back home. On the ride home my mouth was sore and I couldn’t eat anything. Not to mention the fact that it was the end of December thus, it was really cold outside. I just couldn’t wait to get my mouth fixed and sleep in my own bed.

We stopped at a hotel that night right before we crossed the Mackinac Bridge to get back into the states. I had a hard time falling asleep. Having to sit up during the night in case my tooth did fall out again was not the most comfortable position in the world. Luckily, it did not fall out of my mouth during the night. I woke up still tired from the night before, but ready to get back on the road so I could get home as soon as possible. As soon as I arrived through the front door of my home, I was rushed right back into the car to go to my dentist to fix my front teeth.

In the end, everything worked out okay and my dentist said that my teeth would be as good as new again. I still remember the pain of falling and the absolute shock that came with seeing your tooth lying on the ground next to you. It is memories like these that make me cherish the family that I do have. The way they take care of me as if I’m the most precious thing on the planet when something happens to me. It’s memories like these that make me thankful for what I got in life because I could have injured myself a lot worse than a tooth falling out of my mouth.