January 1999, Copper Mountain, Colorado:
It is 2 p.m. and I am, as always, sheep-dogging my 2 children down the mountain behind their dad, struggling to keep up. I am light-headed. I feel faint. My knees are wobbling with the strain of too much time spent at the dinner table and not enough spent in the gym. Unbeknownst to me, I am also severely and extremely anaemic, and at altitude, this is NOT good. Suffice to say, I need food, and I need it STAT. Yesterday even. I make my way to the colourful cluster of ski suits at the bottom of the slope that is my family.
Hubby takes one look at me, rolls his eyes and pulls from his pocket the tiniest Snickers Bar known to man. It is about 1″ x 1.5″ and probably carries the caloric equivalent of one stem of broccoli. Maybe. “Here honey,” he says, “have one of these to tide you over until we stop for lunch.”
I just looked at him. Tide me over. Seriously. This being the first time in my life that I have actually considered committing murder, I am not quite sure what to say. I have a pretty good idea, based on the almost immediate muscle cramp in my jaw, that I am making a fairly nasty face. “I have GOT to stop for lunch,” I ground out. This is, literally, about the 10th time I have said this since 11 a.m.
“Just one more run, ” he says. “Here – eat this. It’ll help…”
“No,” I snapped, the very definition of passive aggression. “Just forget it.” I am sulking now, but he is still trying to ply me with that teeny tiny piece of chocolate. He is actually a sweetheart, but it is too late, the beast has taken over.
I decide it is now time to pull out the big guns: The tears begin to well up. “I don’t want it. I’m fine.” I start to sniffle. Now I am a victim. Abused and broken. Cast aside and ignored. The fact I live in England and am on ski holiday in that most exotically expensive destination of all, Colorado, is completely and utterly beside the point. My husband is a beast. A monster. I am clearly mistreated and drowning in the darkness of my own desolation. This, my friends, is:
THE DARKEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE
Hubby sighs like he’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders and admits defeat. “Fine. We’ll stop for lunch.”
Do you have any idea what it is like to live with someone who never, ever seems to get hungry? Trust me, this is not the first time Mummy’s blood sugar has ruined an otherwise idyllic family moment.
Moscow: We have seen Lenin’s Tomb, toured St. Basil’s, had a wander around the Kremlin and endured the potential dangers of a street market, dodging pickpockets and gypsies. It is mid-afternoon. In the middle of Red Square, I have a proper paddy because I am hungry and why haven’t we stopped to eat? Hey, I can order a beer in Russian, but I can’t explain anything as complicated as a blood sugar crash, having dropped the course in the 2nd year. But temper tantrums, thankfully, are universally understood.
Rome: Trudging through the Coliseum, it is 100 degrees and with humidity to match. I have not had water in hours, my head is banging, it is now 3 p.m. and we have not stopped for lunch. What a surprise. Hubby is not hungry. Oh yeah… LUNCH… That thing OTHER people eat.
Paris: I have just climbed the Eiffel Tower. The HARD way, bypassing the elevator in the upper 2 tiers. We have not eaten. Hubby now wants to do the Louvre, and I just want to go back to the hotel and sleep. I hated that hotel, by the way – I was the only non-Japanese woman staying there. Not only was I the tallest woman there at a towering 5’4″, but I felt very much the gauche pauper in my outlet mall trainers. All Japanese people in Paris are loaded, apparently. I didn’t even know Chanel MADE shoes that small! But I digress…
As you see, I have a very well documented history of pre-diabetic behaviour (my Mum is type II), and while funny from the outside, it is a pretty awful thing to live with. Watching yourself spiralling down the rabbit hole of evil-tempered meanness is like having an out of body experience. You see yourself behaving badly and are powerless to stop the beast from taking over. A bit like the Hulk, really. My poor traumatized offspring spent the majority of their younger years whispering, “Whatever you do, do NOT get her hungry…”
Back at Copper Mountain, we stopped for lunch eventually. As I am weak and pale and exhausted, my sweet hubby leaves me at the table to rest while he braves the cafeteria line.
He comes back with 1 tray.
There are 4 of us.
“The pizza slices are really big,” he announces proudly, divvying out 4 very small paper cups full of water. “I thought we could just split one…”
p.s. I do not actually dislike Japanese people. I only envy their astonishingly beautiful colouring and tiny figures. They are pretty pinkies on the hand of life, whereas I am but a thumb, utilitarian and solid. And usually hungry. And grumpy.
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