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Getting Old Quickly

Today is Cathreen's sister's surgery--the in-laws have decided against the dog's surgery because Isul is already ten years old and is epileptic. Recently I've been thinking about age. I'm twenty-six, will be twenty-seven in less than two weeks.

On Friday the in-laws picked Cathreen and me up to shop for baby diapers that are three times more expensive in Korea, and all the boys' diapers were gone, and on the ride home, Cathreen groaned and we asked her what was wrong. I wondered if she was thinking of babies, of future babies or of the boy babies out there that went to bathroom so many more times than the boys.

"Shilla," she said, then blah blah in Korean. Husband.

I pointed to myself. "Shilla?"

Everyone laughed except me. Then Cathreen said I had a white hair. She had to repeat this because I didn't understand how this could be true.

"Pull it out," I said.

She tugged and a clump of hairs came out but not the white one.

"Pull it," I said, grimacing. "Pull it. Pull it."

A white hair. My first.

I could see the root, a centimeter of white root, even white under my skin.

I held the hair carefully until we got home and then I put it in my pocket. My father went white in his twenties, but he is not my genetic father.

Cathreen asked why I was keeping the hair. "You said when I'm keeping Boise's hair I'm like a stalker," she said.

"It's sad," I said. "Isn't it? A milestone of sadness."

The next day she pulled out three more and I felt like eating them.

Now I take pictures of the babies in various poses and realize one is more photogenic than the other, and both, though I've realized this before, are more photogenic than anyone who already walks. Maybe life goes white from there.

Cathreen's sister is pushed in and I'm kicked out of the room while she changes. Then we leave before we see a doctor, and Cathreen and I are left to take care of her sister's baby as if he is ours. A test, I think. Will twenty-seven be different from twenty-six?

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