With one glance at my body in the bedroom mirror, my suspicions are confirmed. Everything has gone south--and I didn't make a reservation.
"Gordon!" I scream for my husband like a deprived woman at a sidewalk sale. "Come quick! I've been kidnapped!"
Without a moment to lose, I try to reverse the aging process by shooting determined arms into the air. I'm reaching for the ceiling as if my life depends on it, and jogging in place. Immediately thinking my waist needs it most of all, I clasp my fingers overhead and plunge sideways in one dramatic swoop. Denise Austin would be proud.
My husband dashes around the corner, heaving gulps of air, panic on his face. "Maggie, what the--"
Suddenly my hands wallop the side of Gordon's nightstand lamp and send it crashing against the wall, narrowly missing his head. The shade flies across the room, sparks scatter with bulb pieces, and the remains sizzle like a steak on the grill.
One look at Gordon's face, and I'm thinking my days of worrying about this age thing are over.
I may not live to see breakfast.
"I thought you screamed"--he's bending over now and gasping for breath--"that you were being kidnapped." Pulling a hand-kerchief from his pocket, he wipes his forehead. I feel bad that I've caused him to sweat when he's already dressed for work. He stuffs the hankie back in place. "Well?"
Okay, so my body wasn't kidnapped, but somehow this doesn't seem like the time to tell him that Grandma borrowed it. Can we say Freaky Friday moment here? I'm walking around in Grandma's skin, and somewhere in heaven Grandma is walking around in mine. No, that can't be right. Grandma now has a heavenly body, and I know my body is anything but heavenly.
I avoid the issue. "I'm sorry about the lamp, Gordon." We stoop down to pick up the broken pieces.
"That was a close one. If I didn't know better, I might think you were trying to get rid of me. What's going on, Maggie?"
Okay, I'm a klutz. So rub it in my face, why don't you. Next time, maybe I won't miss. Whoa, Maggie. Down, girl.
"I'm waiting." Gordon steps behind me, his heavy breathing sounding a lot like Darth Vader.
Scooping the last bit of bulb into the trash, I put the lamp back on the stand, hoping that if I stall long enough, he'll go away.
I take a deep breath and turn to him.
"Well, see, I ran into Debra Stiffler--or whatever her married name is now--at the store yesterday . . ."
"What does that have to do with you screaming? I thought you hurt yourself or someone was hurting you." He doesn't bother to hide his irritation.
"Okay, so sometimes I overreact." A fact he still struggles with after almost thirty years of marriage, I might add.
"Sometimes?" He's peering over his glasses the way he used to do to our kids, Heather and Nick, when they were in trouble.
"You ever heard of the 'Little Boy Who Cried Wolf'?"
With a lift of my chin, I walk over to the dresser, pick up my brush, and run it through my hair, all the while staring at Gordon through the mirror.
His breathing quiets and now his eyes turn soft as his reflection looks back at me. "Look, Maggie, you scared me, that's all." His Tommy scent soothes me. I put the brush down, and he wraps his arms around my waist. "I don't want anything to happen to you."
"I'm sorry, Gordon."
"Now, what about Debra whoever?" he asks, resting his chin on the top of my head.
"Stiffler. You remember her," I prompt, "the high-school cheerleader, homecoming queen, girl-that-every-guy-wanted-to-date, Debra Stiffler."
His face brightens. He lifts his head and stares at my reflection. "Oh, that Debra Stiffler."
I think I might have to hurt him.
"What is she doing in Charming? Indiana doesn't seem to fit her. Anyway, I thought she had moved to Colorado."
"Probably came home to visit her parents. Who knows?" My hand brushes the comment aside. "Anyway, we served on student council together for four years," I say, as if this should mean something to him.
"She married that football jock, Greg somebody, didn't she?"
"I don't remember who she married. Could we move on here?"
"That guy had an ego the size of Texas."
Staring at him a moment, I mentally shake myself. "Whatever. Look, Gordon, the point is--"
"Yeah?" He nuzzles his face in my neck. I have to wonder if he's paying attention.
"--I told her how good she looked, how great it was to see her, when it suddenly dawned on me that she didn't have a clue who I was." His breath is warm against my skin, and his whiskers tickle. At this point it becomes obvious to me that Gordon cannot nuzzle and listen at the same time, so I pull free from his grasp and turn around to face him.
"It's like this. I knew her at once with her upturned nose, crisp, snappy cheerleader walk, and size 6 body." Okay, so there's a bitter edge to my voice here. The only thing size 6 on me is my wedding ring.
I haven't been able to take it off in years.
"How could she not have recognized me, Gordon?"
"Honey, it has been, well--" I do not miss the fact that he backs away, slowly, "--over, um, thirty years," he says with great caution, as if we've had this discussion before. My eyebrow is raised, and he knows better than to finish.
"Have I changed that much?"
"You're beautiful as always, my love." And without so much as taking a breath, he adds, "How about some coffee?"
"Don't think I didn't notice how you changed the subject, Gordon Paul Hayden."
He winks, then darts down the hallway like a gangster in a getaway car, leaving me to the mercy of our mirror, which by now I'm thinking must have been previously owned by the wicked witch in Snow White.
Forcing myself to take another glimpse, it's as though I'm seeing myself for the first time in twenty--would you believe thirty?--years. Transfixed by the wrinkled, soon-to-be-fifty-year-old frowning back at me from the mirror, I pinch my cheeks to add some color. Pale and dry, my skin just sort of lies there like old leather. If I didn't smell coffee coming from the kitchen, I'd think I was dead.
Though not exactly homecoming queen material, I looked pretty good back in the day. Not that I want to be twenty again, but, well, being young has its merits.
My thoughts flit to Gordon's new paralegal who could pass for Paris Hilton's twin--maybe with a bit more meat on her bones. Maybe that's why I'm noticing the changes in me all of a sudden. Meeting her at our daughter Heather's wedding last weekend and then seeing Debra Stiffler at the store was obviously more than my sagging self could handle.
Daring another look at my reflection, I raise an eyebrow, suck my cheeks in with my teeth, and pull on a sexy look. With all the confidence of Pamela Anderson--well, her mother, anyway--I think to myself: Paris Paralegal can move those baby thighs right on over, 'cause a real woman is a-comin' through!
My husband enters the room again. "Are you okay?" he asks, looking at me strangely as he walks over to his dresser.
I let my cheeks fall back into place and sigh. "I'm fine," I say, thinking I'll break that mirror when he leaves.
Gordon continues to look at me for a moment, then shakes his head, shrugs, and roots around the top drawer for socks. I watch him through the mirror. What does he really think of me? He says all the right things, but what lurks in the hidden corners of his mind? When we gather for office parties, does he compare me to the younger women? Does he prefer their company to mine? Is that why he stays at work so late into the evenings?
Have I let myself go? There's no question that Gordon brightened at the memory of Debra Stiffler. Do I have that same effect on him?
A sock drops from his grasp, and he picks it up with his toes. What a guy. I call him Claw Foot. My toes just sort of stand there like chubby little soldiers, never really amounting to anything. Gordon, on the other hand, scrunches his toes together and, in one quick swoop, goes in for the kill. I tell you, the man is amazing.
I'm sure Gordon is surrounded by temptation. He is handsome, after all. True, his sandy-colored hair is starting to thin a bit, but his goatee makes up for it. All right, so there's a streak of gray in his facial hair, but men look more distinguished with gray. Why is that? I look at his body. The low-carb diet is kicking in big time, and his pounds are melting away as fast as my memory.
He puts on his socks and shoes, then turns to me. "Let's go have that coffee, Gorgeous."
I perk up. It doesn't matter if his glasses do need a change in prescription, he thinks I'm gorgeous. The thought warms me like an electric blanket--or is it just a hot flash?
Gordon walks over and pulls me into his arms. Sucking in my stomach, I throw out my chest. He looks down into my wrinkled face. "I love you," he says tenderly, and for that instant, all is right with my world.
"I love you too," I say, meaning it with my whole heart.
He releases his hold and walks out the door. Like a baby duck, I follow him into the kitchen where he pours the steaming brew into our cups.
"Here you go," he says in a chipper voice. He extends the mug toward me and all but skips to his chair.
How can anyone be that happy in the morning? Anytime for that matter? It isn't normal. I should have him committed.
Coffee in hand, I slip over to the sofa.
Gordon pulls open the newspaper and soon wanders into the world of finance. A place of fascination for lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors. A place of sheer boredom for me.
With a glance at the area around his chair, I'm reminded of Gordon's love for stacks. A stack of magazines, stack of laundry, stack of pancakes, it do... --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
This is a very entertaining book. Alot of humor in a lady growing older. It is
also about having faith in God, doing for others and lovin your friends.
I just love Diann Hunt's books! She includes great humor and fun entertaining story lines. I have read 4 of her books now and will be ordering more. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jackie in MV, WA
This comedy by Diann Hunt is hilarious, same as 'Hot Tropics and Cold Feet'! Diann blends humor with situations that mid-life women can relate with, all while throwing in good... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Pennie
It's a cute book but maybe I missed something in the product detail. This is most definitely a Christian read. References of scripture and prayer are throughout the book. Read morePublished on August 9, 2010 by Bargain Hunter
Diann Hunt is probably one of the funniest authors I have read to date.
Wonderful lite reading but with definite messages of coming up higher in our spiritual walk. Read more
Maggie is feeling old. Her kids are out of the house, she's getting hot flashes, and her husband seems to be looking at younger women. Read morePublished on May 7, 2007 by Deborah
Great book, if you are close to menopause it's a must read.Published on November 9, 2006 by Priscilla Mccalpin
Author Diann Hunt pens the words of Hot Flashes and Cold Cream with both humor and honesty, as she describes a fifty-something woman in the grip of menopause. Read morePublished on March 11, 2006 by Christian Book Previews
This book was funny and relaxing and I enjoyed reading it. The author kept me laughing while at the same time wondering what was coming next for Maggie. Read morePublished on February 17, 2006 by Connie Sheets