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I know what Cold is...

There are two life-altering times in a woman’s life.


The first is when she becomes capable of bearing children – an occurrence which is greeted in regular blood-letting because it’s a pretty big deal.


Then, many years later, when the ability to have children is no longer a thing, the monthly blood-letting ceases, and the woman begins to change into a vastly more potent and glorious being. Which I understand is a trade-off for no longer being able to bear children.


Me beloved wife is undergoing this second transformation. As a consequence, she has developed even more super-powers than she had previously. Which is both disturbing and fascinating.


My own stamina and toughness has been enhanced in response to her transubstantiation – and I now know things I never knew before.


I now know what it is like to sleep atop the Khumbu Icefall in temperatures which would freeze the blood of any living mammal.


I also know what it is like to be huddled in a shivering heap on the ice-gale-blasted rocks of the Hillary Step, just within sight of the Everest summit.


And I understand what it’s like to lie naked, with a film of ice sheening my tortured body, on the shores of the frigid Indigirka River in Russia, a stone’s throw from Oymyakon – which the coldest place on earth (how’s minus 67 degrees Celsius grab you?), as frost-cyclones from the Siberian Sea in the north and the Sea of Okhotsk in the south, collide directly above my body.


Because this is my bedroom pretty much most nights of my life. It does not matter what the ambient temperature is outside. It may be the depths of winter, or it may be high summer. When I come into my bedroom to go to sleep, the temperature is nearly always approaching Absolute Zero.


“The fuck is going here?” I stupidly asked the first time this happened.


“I’m having hot flushes. Shut the fuck up and go to sleep.”


“Who the fuck can sleep in a snow-drift? I may never wake if I close my eyes.”


“Stop speaking. I told you I’m having hot flushes.”


“You have two fans and the air-con on. All dialled up to the max…”


“Why are you still talking?”


“Because seeing my breath mist in front of me is something new in my bedroom.”


“Your bedroom can be the loungeroom if you keep speaking.”


I shut-up and went to sleep, curled up like a ball, and expecting not ever to wake. But I did.


The next day, my beloved wife, explained to me what was going on.


“It’s menopause.”


“Cool.” I nodded. “Is it making you do this  ice-monster stuff, or do your hormones need me to be snap-frozen?”


“No, idiot. I get these hot flushes. I need the fans and the air-con on so I don’t explode into flame.”


“All of them at once?”


“Yes, all of them at once.”


“Is there anything I can do to help?”


“Yes. Do not speak when you come to bed. Get in, lie down, and be quiet.”


“You don’t need me to rub your back, or your legs, or…”


“You touch me, you die. You speak to me, you die. You make any attempt to turn the air con off, or the fans off, you die. And not a court in the world will convict me because I am hormonal, and that is a totally acceptable defense to murder. Look it up.”


I did. She was right. She could kill me with absolute impunity, and my estate would have to pay her court costs if it ever even got to court.


I have made my peace with this situation. The cold has annealed me. I have been made tougher and can now endure extremely cold temperatures for long periods of time. Parts of me are now Eskimo-hard and I’m looking at farming reindeer and seals in the near future, rather than waste my new-found winteriness.


My beloved wife’s flushes have receded somewhat. They may not occur for a week or so (which is certainly better than having them occur every two hours once the sun goes down), but they still occur.


My research on this subject indicates they may keep occurring for many centuries yet. Or they may cease upon the instant. It is impossible to know.


I have made my peace with this unknown as well.


It’s the least I could do…

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Boris Mihailovic

Boris is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.

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