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Promises, Last Post

Tentative title number 4: Luck Turns the Corner

Tentative title number 5: No Worry for the Wounded

That night, we buy Wii Fit and invite her students to sleep over, which I am assured is a one time thing. They stomp around and scare the animals. The cat tries to scare them back, hissing and pawing the older one, who kept playing with the dogs. I think about losing weight and Cathreen can't sleep--worrying, maybe--and misses her lesson. The children have a fine time.

Children and babies and animals are Cathreen's favorites.

When we got the cat, Boise, I thought of it as an agreement: we were going to last. We went to the pet store with a former friend of ours who later stabbed Cathreen in the back. She bought a dog; we coveted Boise. She returned the dog the next day, but Cathreen and I kept our promise. It makes her happy just to see Boise clean himself or wait outside the bathroom as if we might disappear inside. We worry about how he will fare on the plane to Boston.

With the cat, the job, and a new apartment, I settled into life here. Life was pretty steady in 2006. I made money; I saved some of it; I spent it on who-knows-what.

Now it's three years later and luck smashes into our car. After the missed lessons we drive over to her sister's house and as we enter the apartment complex, a delivery truck driver opens his door into our right side mirror. I can't see behind us on one side. I struggle with the symbolism. When we were hit, Cathreen was talking about how when the lunar new year comes, she will get back the luck she lost.

"Call the police," I tell her five or six times until she does.

I don't expect them to bring us into the office with the guy who is clearly at fault. Finally, after two hours, the insurance men come and straighten everything out. Some outside force.

We sleep it off, and the next day we bring the car into the shop. The hospital staff is out to lunch, no worry for the wounded. "Unbelievable," I say, though I know this is regular in Korea.

At 6:20, forty minutes before the hospital closes, I tell Cathreen we'd better go immediately.

She continues to work out some banking issues online.

"We have to go right now," I say. "You promised you would go."

"Don't pushing me," she says.

"You promised."

"It's too late," she says. "There's no time."

But if I think this is the end of the promises, it's not. Later, she says she will write me a contract. I won't repeat its contents here, but I am content.

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