Kelly J. Stigliano
Imagine My Horror
I was running late. The mornings I didn’t have to report to my part-time job always seemed more hurried than usual. I quickly applied my make-up and within ten minutes was in the car heading toward my biannual dental appointment.
I thought a stoplight was a safe place to search for any make-up flaws. As I slowed to a halt in the line of cars, I pulled the sun visor down in my little Chevy Cavalier to check my face in the mirror.
Then it caught my eye. A gray hair! No – three of them! Beside my left eye – at the temple – were three white hairs. I pulled them up; I pulled them down; I tugged them to the side. Surely it was just the sun glistening off my golden blond hair. The light was green.
I was numb. Shock and disbelief dominated my thinking as I blindly followed in the line of cars to the next stoplight. Again, I pressed the brake deep into the floor as I slapped the visor mirror down. There could only be one thing worse than finding gray hairs on the left side of my head. This time, holding my breath, I looked beside my right eye. Four gray hairs – shining brightly like beacons in the sunlight. NO! It can’t be! This can’t be happening to me! I am Kelly; I am blond; I do not get gray hairs!
Having always been told I looked much younger than I was, the thought of aging had never occurred to me. It just hadn’t. All my life I’d simply gone along in bliss, ignorant to the inevitable. Now at 41 the reality was slapping me across the face; across the temples to be exact.
As I glared into the mirror, I kept moving my head side to side, up and down. I waited to see if the gray hairs would suddenly turn blond, but no, they wouldn’t change. Imagine my horror! Again, a green light.
For the next two lights, I yanked at the hair at my temples – my temples! Oh my goodness! Men get gray at the temples and it looks good on them. My Dad has gray hair at his temples! I’m sure by now the driver behind me realized I was in a crisis and gave a friendly tap of his horn, signaling the light had changed to green.
“This can’t be happening,” I said to myself as I grabbed my cell phone. My husband’s phone was off so I left a brief message. “Jerry! I’m gray! Call me!”
I called home to whine to my adult daughter. No answer. I had to bewail to someone! I called my brunette coworkers to share this terrible news.
“Betsy! I have gray hair!” I wailed.
“You what?” Betsy new my voice but had never heard such urgency in its tone.
“I have gray hair! I was just at a stop light and I have gray hair! Seven of them!”
I could hear Betsy yell to our 30-year-old co-worker Shawnita, “It’s Kelly. She says she found seven gray hairs!” Then I heard her laugh, “Yeh. She’s freakin’ out!”
Then turning her attention back to the phone, Betsy said calmly, “It’s because of the stress you’re under lately, Kelly.”
“Will they go away when my stress goes away, Bets?” I implored.
“No. You’ll just get more.”
“Gee, thanks Betsy!” To add to my distress, Shawnita then informed me that she had more than seven gray hairs in her pubic area alone. Too much information! You get gray there, too? That certainly didn’t make me feel any better.
“How come no one has ever told me these things?” I muttered to myself.
Those seven gray hairs – The Beacon Seven – were becoming a menace and clouded my thinking. I parked my car and numbly walked into the dentist’s office.
As I lay back in the examining chair, my hair fell straight back. The hygienist positioned the bright light over my face and for a split second, I was sure I saw a look of alarm and repugnance in the eyes of the dentist and his assistant, as they were no doubt shocked by the Beacon Seven. Ashamed, I didn’t dare mention them. Obviously, these professionals had learned to hide their disgust of such matters. Still, I’m sure they were amazed that someone so terribly youthful – and blond – as I, could have these Seven mocking gray hairs. Yes, they were staring. I was sure of it.
On my way home, I kept going over my options. For years, I had smugly said that I would dye my hair red, should I ever get gray hair. I’m blond, for Pete’s sake! I thought blonds didn’t get gray hairs. Then it hit me. I am not getting gray hairs! No! Those Seven are just God-given platinum blond hairs filling in my natural ash and honey blond streaks. Yes, just platinum. They are the Platinum Seven. Whew! What a relief! No, blonds do not get gray hairs. I didn’t think so.