I saw the first one five years ago, during my unplanned pregnancy- yes we all know the story about that. I used to see it regularly when I looked at myself in my office elevator, and for a long time I thought it was simply the light reflecting in my hair. Then one day, the peculiar unchanging form of the light made me realise what it actually was: a white hair. One solitary white hair nestling in all the black frizz.
I ignored it, much as you do a rude child whom you don`t want to pay too much attention to, for fear of spoiling them even more. And for a while, my turn-a-blind-eye policy seemed to work, the white hair receded into the black. I knew it was there, it knew that I knew, but it was content to be in the background.
The months and years rolled by. I moved to Halifax. I resigned from my old job, and became a full-time student. I (stupidly) took on two part-time jobs. The children grew older and more demanding. Life in Halifax is still as complicated as it was in Tehran, only the complications are different. And there is an additional silent emotional drama of separation and homesickness always in the background. A few months ago, I realised the solo white hair was no longer content with remaining silently in the background, hiding under a thatch of black. It has sprung to the foreground.
And it is no longer solitary. It has found some companions.
I ran my hand under my hair, and then quickly turned away from the mirror. I thought I had caught a glance of a whole family of white hairs just over my crown, pushing up from below, like thick and energetic ghost hairs. I didn’t want to look closely. If I parted my hair a certain way, I still couldn’t see any of them.
These mornings, I see the flecks of white whichever way I comb my hair. It is clear they are not light. It is clear what they are. Just to remind me of their joyful spread, a very curly happy white one jumped out right over my ear, curling into my face and refusing to be brushed back. Forcing me to look at it, reminding me of what’s what.
I don’t care, you stupid white hairs. I still have a lot to do. Write a thesis. Find a decent job. Buy a house. Maybe apply for a PhD. Raise a family. Go back to Iran. Vist the rest of the world. Rest.
Curl about all you want. I’m not through yet.