By Lisa Batten Kunkleman
Why do women get to experience so much change in life? I’m referring to “The Change.” I’ve long passed the age where I find change fun and exciting. I may have some spontaneity left in this old girl but never knowing when my insides will boil and my face will turn red and bead with sweat is not my kind of living on the edge. This kind of living is simply annoying. Cooking from the inside out may be okay for a crock-pot but not for a woman.
The title, “The Old Crone” used to sound funny before I became one, an irritable wretch for as much as two minutes per hour. That’s two times twenty-four. That’s forty-eight minutes a day that I’m a fiery, untouchable, hot ball of walking lava. Move out of the way or my steam might scald you too if my agitated words don’t take you down first. I should tell you I’m normally a very nice, peace-loving person.
My husband, Dan, who, bless his heart, sleeps with my feet in his face at various times every night, told me this morning, “You’re burning up.” He feels a flash coming on before I do if I’ve snuggled up to him in our heavily blanketed bed.
Heavily blanketed sounds counterproductive I know, but I peel them off like Pillsbury flaky canned biscuit layers as my personal global warming comes across in waves. Take off the top cozy spread, then the brown fleece blanket, then the sheet and I’m free to flip my head to the end of our California King bed that we only use my third of. If Dan wakes up, he might risk his life rubbing my feet as I cool off with the ceiling fan swirling overhead as it does every night, all four seasons.
It’s a wonder he hasn’t had black eyes and bloody noses for all the times I’ve kicked my feet and groused, “Puleeze don’t touch me. I’m trying to cool off here.” “And don’t flap my pant legs. That doesn’t help.”
I often stomp off to the blue-tiled bathroom where I splash cold water on my face and neck, feeling my already wet skin and hair become wetter. In the mirror, I look sunburned, bloated, and blotchy.
The cold water does nothing but make me damper than I was but it gets me out of the smothering bed that touches one whole side of my frying body. Standing upright in front of the ever-present little purple fan on my dresser allows air to circulate on my whole self except for the bottom of my feet.
As I’m returning to the bed, Dan says something nice like, “Are you ready to come back up here, right side up?”
“Lord what’s wrong with you? Can’t you see I’m sweating to death? No I don’t want to go back up there where you’ll roast me like a marshmallow. I should go outside and cool off. It’s an oven in here and only twenty degrees out there. I’ll open the window a crack. ”
Knowing from his silent response that I was evil to Saint Dan, I crawl back into bed, head beside his. In mere moments I feel a chill and pull up the sheet, the fleece blanket and the cozy top comforter. I nestle into my husband’s toasty body and we fit like spoons.
“It’s really cold in here,” I say, pulling his arm around me and lacing my fingers with his.