Korean Porn pt 1_Double Digits

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I walked out of my front door and looked left, then right down the street, before closing the off-white door. I jiggled the doorknob to make sure it was locked. Satisfied, I put the shiny gold key into the matching shiny gold deadbolt, and locked that while standing in the doorway. I stepped out of the doorway, looked over my shoulder once again, and closed the soot-covered gate behind me. It needed to be cleaned off the dirt from the street that coated it. Maybe it’ll rain soon, that’ll rinse the grime off right, I thought. I turned the key to the left in the lock with the same shiny gold key. I searched for the silver Toyota Prius. Where was he?

I walk up to a car with its blinkers on. Is it silver or white?

“Hi, you here for Kim?”

The Uber driver nodded slightly as he tapped something into his cell phone attached to the black dashboard. A woman sat in the front with him. I opened the back door to find a little boy in a puffy blue coat sitting in the backseat behind the driver. “Hi, how are you tonight?” I questioned the kid as I got comfortable and the car pulled away from the curb littered with paper and empty bottles.

“I’m good,” he answered shyly. As our Uber slowed to a stop at the red light I looked out at the dark night with the bright streetlights. It was 7:45pm but seemed later. I noticed a few people out on the blocks surrounding my house.

“It’s cold outside,” the young voice beside me commented nonchalantly.

I looked at the little boy next to me.

“Yeah, you’re right it is (it wasn’t.) I hate cold weather.”

“Yeah, me too. You know when you wake up in the morning and you breathe, and can see your breath? I don’t like that at all.”

Wait, did he just say “see your breath?” Can he see his breath when he wakes up? Is there no heat where he wakes up? Stop judging Kim, can you see your breath when you wake up in the morning in December? (I think for a second.) No. No, you can’t. Why is there no heat where this kid lives? Wait, it’s California. I don’t sleep with the heat on. But I also can’t see my breath when I wake up.

All of these thoughts flashed in my head in a few seconds. As my mind was racing I calmly replied “Wow, that’s really cold. But you know what’s really cold right now? Ohio. It’s snowing. That’s where I grew up. Do you know where Ohio is?”

“Oh, yeah, Ohio. Cincinnati. We have family there.” The woman in the front side passenger seat, which I assume to be his mom turns and says the same thing.

“I’m going to try to go in February to see my Dad,” I say.

“Oh, February, that’s my birthday,” he responds.

“How old will you be?”

“I’ll be 10.”

“Whoo, 10 double digits.” I feign incredulous .

“Yeah, double digits, that’s what everyone says,” as he laughs at what I’m sure is the unimaginative vocabulary of adults.

“I’m in the double digits as well, just way older than 10. I have two boys like you, but older: 15 and 17.”

“Wow, that’s old! How old are you?” I love children.

“Guess.”

“Hmm. 27? 30?” I love this kid.

“I’m 43,” I say proudly. Because in this culture to look younger than your age is an accomplishment. Being older should be the accomplishment, not looking younger.

“No way. You look way younger. Like 37.” He looks at me puzzled.

He’s 9. Everyone looks 37 to him. But I am pleased. I’ve been raised on ageism like everyone else. Younger is better. But 37? Six years younger than my true age? I’ll take whatever compliment I can get.

Even if it is from a nine-year-old kid with a puffy blue coat in the backseat of an Uber on the way to a hip Korean restaurant known as the “Porn Bar” specializing in wings and something called porno fries.

It’s gonna be a good night.

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