Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: HOT (08/10/17)
TITLE: Never Cool Enough
By Judy Sauer
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She grabbed her thin cotton top and fanned herself at a breakneck pace and blocked a fan blasted on high. Beads of sweat dripped from her red, flushed face, and made their way down to her clothes that left her with a sweat-soaked top. She recalled how the last time she looked in the mirror that the reflection revealed red blotches on her face and neck. Her face resembled the ruby-reddish color of a blood moon. Only one thought reprocessed in her mind: I just want to live in the freezer! She placed an ice-cooled wash cloth around her neck for comfort then sat beneath the ceiling fan. The cold cloth and fan teamed up and calmed her frayed nerves.
Nighttime posed a new problem. She needed a wide-open window, a ceiling fan that rotated faster than a NASA wind tunnel, plus a floor-based fan aimed at her face. He needed warmth as he had no meat on his bones—it was too cold for him to sleep—he shivered and quivered when he tried, but nothing worked. They decided; after thirty-two years of marriage, they needed not just separate beds, but separate bedrooms. Each night, they kissed each other in the hallway and retreated to their own sleep sanctuaries.
Randi knew when they moved to Florida that the sun heated things up, fast. She was intolerant of the sun as it oppressed upon her. Even though she used a UPF-50 sun protection umbrella, the intensity of the rays blasted her. Added to her misery were internal flashes that waged war in her body and drained her energy. Because of these two things, she declared internally—to herself—that all she wanted was to sit in a large pool of ice cubes, before a massive fan, as she consumed mint chocolate chip ice cream by the gallon.
She detested how distracted her concentration had become. For a woman who traveled for work, and facilitated programs to senior executives of major companies, this was not a good news flash. Her family history, riddled with cancer, took replacement therapy off-the-table. She hung on for dear life as the uncontrolled hormone roller coaster careened and lurched. That started six years ago. Both of her sisters suffered for more than ten years. How in the world do women cope? Her husband understood more than most men; Randi was his second wife. He waged battles before but never won. He learned not to tangle with a tiger for the second time.
Thermostat wars raged at home between Joelle and her usually mild-mannered husband. He never comprehended why the entire house needed to be so cold when the problem was only with her; it was not ‘his’ problem. Empathy was not on his mind; the sky-rocketed electric bill fried his brain cells. He told her to find other ways to cool herself down before the entire house turned into the Arctic.
It had become commonplace; while she slept, she dreamt of swimming across a clear lake. As she swam the breaststroke, her body behaved with the actual arm movements. When she awoke, her night shirt was over her head. Plus, she often had disrupted sleep after night sweats soaked her sheets. Disgusting!
A friend gave her a neck cooler that helped with daytime hot flashes. The neck cooler was a cotton scarf that swelled into a round tube full of polymer after she saturated it in cold water; she tied it at the nape of her neck. Unlike sweat that flowed down between her clothes, the neck cooler never dripped. She wanted an entire body suit of it. It was a godsend.
Ted was one of many men who “allegedly” experienced malaise as he aged. His wife, Marjorie, noticed he experienced periods of emotional upset, heat intolerance, and uncharacteristic behaviors. He started to wear shorts around the house—as winter raged outside—but never admitted how agitated his internal temperatures made him feel. Men have denied that such a “phase” as male menopause ever existed and declared it was only their wives who went crazy when hormones whacked-out. Really, now? Have you asked the lady in aisle four about her husband’s ping-ponged moods, and how his fans flew day and night?
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