When teeth ache

First Shot Zoom

It’s something to guard against, aching teeth. Not with flossing or expensive dental work but with breathing, relaxing, letting go.

By mid morning, every morning at the moment, my mouth is unhappy. When I pause to examine I find my molars are clamped shut, grinding, my jaw locked with bottom teeth rammed tight against the top. Goodness knows what my face looks like.

The balls in the juggle have multiplied and I’m losing my grip. I’ll have to start tossing them back soon. It’s just so hard to choose which balls to let go.

Ups and downs

Today was a topsy turvy affair, starting with a coffee and rye crumpets with whipped butter and honeycombed honey. I enjoyed them al fresco in a hip part of town where red brick commercial buildings shaded by old figs have been converted into apartments.

There are bike shops and bread shops and stores selling tiles and ceramics and camera gear. Which is why I was there, collecting a new lens. A giant piece of glass I purchased online yesterday. But the store didn’t open till late morning, leaving me time to kill after dropping The Ballerina to school nearby.

Achieving Zen

I’d taken my laptop to get some work done but it was out of charge. Instead I settled for the newspaper and a scan of social media on my phone and tried to enjoy an unscheduled coffee outing, willing my shoulders away from ears and shutting out all thoughts of bills and emails and websites and stories unwritten.

It worked. My jaw relaxed. I felt good.


Until I discovered my credit card holder missing when I needed to pay. My face contracted again as I plumbed the depths of my bucket bag, retrieving only scraps: receipts, bookmarks, concert programs and dry-cleaning stubs. I found a five dollar note and a fifty cent piece, but that didn’t cover the crumpet costs. The cafe owner waxed between sympathy and embarrassment, retreating to fold tea towels while I scrambled for a solution. She looked relieved when I offered to pay with an electronic funds transfer.


Once debt-free I took off to retrace my steps. I’d used my card to pay for metered parking so knew it must be nearby. I combed the footpaths. I spoke to the foreman at a nearby construction site, who referred me to a woman with stained teeth and earrings marching around her helix. She managed the ‘stop’/’slow’ sign, directing traffic around concrete trucks and cranes which litter the suburb. But no joy. The card-holder was gone.

I texted and called and emailed from my car, seeking advice and solace and solutions. Eventually I collected my new lens, too distracted to soak up the pleasure, then returned to the cafe for one more look. Still no joy.

Defeated, I dropped some documents into the CBD, one more box ticked on the way to buying a little piece of Melbourne, then headed for home, stopping along the way to buy groceries then cancel credit cards at the bank.

The morning was done.


Woven between these events ran a Gumtree negotiation. I’d pulled out all my old camera kit to sell as an offset against the new lens. A potential purchaser agreed to meet me at my local cafe to inspect the goods, an old Nikon film camera I haven’t used since the Ballerina was born.

Before heading out I checked the messages on the home phone. (It’s connected again and just as well.) A police officer had left me a message, letting me know my card holder had been handed in. Cue wild celebrations. I may even have unclenched my jaw.


I sold the camera, discounted to a mutually acceptable price. The buyer was a young artist, a music producer in the broadest sense of the word. He called himself a Swiss Army Knife of music, a guy who plays a few instruments and sings and writes and records, mostly hip hop. He wanted a film camera to document his work and his artistic journey. I salute his passion and hope he breathes life into my old Nikon.

As for my current Fuji kit and in particular my new lens, it continues to bring me enormous pleasure. The image featured on this post is taken at full zoom, 140mm. I love it and can’t wait to test it out in Vietnam at the U23 Asian Fencing Championships. Fingers crossed I get a few good shots.

Angela Bensted Bw 1x1
Angela Bensted is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who likes to listen first and struggle with syntax later. She pitches stories to magazines and helps businesses produce compelling copy for print and online.
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