I lie on my back in the dark, defeated and, seemingly, baked.
And before you believe I’ve gone misty-eyed and confessional in my old age, we’re not talking about “baked” in the traditional sense, wherein one’s eyes are, perhaps, bloodshot, maybe a bag of Doritos on the coffee table, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida on the turntable for the 11th time. We're talking "baked" in the heated, suffocating, why-hast-though-forsaken-me sense.
I roll over, check the bedside clock.
Nothing has changed in the last three hours but the time.
And there will be a repeat of that for the next three.
Life is hard, peoples, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. One moment you’re just your above-average woman, fighting evil-doers and the creeping cellulite, and the next moment you’re that same above-average woman fighting the urge to stick your head in the freezer whilst weeping.
And then there’s still that cellulite to fight.
I call my friend Pat after work, on my way to yoga.
“I have to tell you about hot flashes, Pat. I have to warn you.”
Pat laughs at me, as Pat is wont to do. “Oh, you don’t have to tell me, darlin’.”
“What am I going to do?” I whine. “I’m uncomfortable! I’m moody! I have a headache! And I’m uncomfortable!”
“You already said that.”
“And I’m repetitious, okay?” I stop at a red light, wait for the chance to be just another Ped Xing. “ARGH!” I groan, frightening the young man next to me. I show him my teeth, and he takes a careful step to the left. “Remember how annoying I was a teenager?”
Pat laughs. “No, but I believe you.”
“Well you’re not going to believe this, but I’m annoying again.”
I know Pat is smiling. She has to be. We’re friends. “Yes,” I say, “again.” The light turns green, and the young man next to me bolts. “Coward,” I hiss.
“Pearl,” Pat says.
“Hmmm?” A car passes within feet of me, and I show it, too, my teeth.
“You need to calm down.”
“Calm down? CALM DOWN? Me? Why do you hate me? Why are you being so mean?”
Pat laughs. “You just keep that sense of humor,” she says.
“Hey, Pat,” I say. I am smiling, and I know she knows.
“I’m burnin’ up, baby.”
Pat laughs at me, with me. “Ain’t nobody hotter,” she says.
“Thank you,” I say, heading into the yoga studio.
“Any time,” she says.