The hot water bottle
I had a feeling that the guy was not right for me. When he told me that he was writing a book about the night life of honeybees, I corrected myself: it was probably not right in his mind. He asked me whether I was familiar with the topic, and I told him that I was more into the day life of bears at the onset of the winter equinox. He did not catch the irony and instead told me that I must be very smart. Probably, I thought…I gave him 10´ minutes and then gently said goodbye, telling him that he looked too much like my ex-husband and it was breaking my heart. He was very understanding and thanked me for opening his eyes about the day life of bears in winter, a most fascinating topic, he said.Contrary to my expectations for the evening, I went back home, stopping at a sushi restaurant for some takeaway. My flatmate was home, a German friend with dreadlocks, with more time on her hands than money. Perfect for me, as the room I rented was tiny and had little comfort. Only someone crazy would pay money for that, or someone on a very low budget. From the half empty fridge my flatmate took a bottle of cold frizzy lemonade and without taking a glass, she swallowed a few long gulps of the iced liquid. ù“Did you not say you had stomach ache?” I asked her, only half surprised.
“Yes, lemonade makes me feel better,” she said.
I failed to see how an iced and chemical liquid shocking the stomach was beneficial, but then I thought that each could choose their preferred way to harm their health and cold lemonade was after all not such a bad way, definitively cheaper than alcohol or drugs.
Later that night I called my friend Olga, to tell her about another bad date and to complain about the sheer number of weird people on this Earth.
“Talk about the pot calling the kettle black,” she said.
“I am not weird, I have been this way for over 40 years…something which exists in a given form for over 40 years is not weird anymore,” I said, even though I knew my defence line was weak.
“So are all others,” she said.
Caught me, relieved that my friend’s mind was not as foggy as the pseudo researcher of the night life of bees.
“Anyway,” I cut short, without addressing her last remark, “this does not solve the problem where to find an eligible man.”
“Why do you want one?”
“I have cold feet at night, and I am always afraid that the warm bottle will explode under my feet, burning them, and what’s more wetting the mattress,” I said.
“Even if, then what? What are you really worried about?”
“That I need to get up in the middle of the night to change the bed linen and attend to my burnt feet,”
“And nothing, I would be tired next morning for lack of sleep,” I said.
We chatted a little longer, then we hung up. Her questions about the water bottle and so on slightly concerned me. She might be right, that there are more urgent problems than burnt feet and wet bed linen. I had to explore the fear, she said. The more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got. But then, that night as I was preparing the hot water bottle, I looked at its cuteness, with its padded plush lining picturing two cats. I suddenly realized. I could try to wear some really warm socks of thick wool. Then all my fears would be gone. No more nightmare of burning and being wet. And I could finally stop looking for a man to warm my feet.