Nouméa, New Caledonia – January 2004
I look out of my refrigerated prison. Palm trees stand inert, exhausted in the sweltering heat. I want cool, fresh air, not this stagnant morgue. I want winter!
“Think of all the poor people in the North who are freezing right now,” my husband reminds me.
So, I daydream of snow, slush, sleet. Icicles stuck to frozen mittens. Glacial winds whipping against my bare face, making me cry.
Thunder rumbles. The vibrations shake me to reality. I jump up, slip on my flip-flops, and run outside into the leaden afternoon. I stand expectantly in the street staring up at the menacing sky. The palm trees rustle in the rising wind. A few furtive raindrops brush my face. Then, as if the sky itself were a dam, the floodgates are thrown open. The rain’s force nearly knocks me to the ground.
Take that, it seems to say. Then, as quickly as it arrived, it moves on.
Steam begins to rise from my body. This has been no respite at all. I stand here as drenched and limp as seaweed. Defeated.
From the window my husband beckons me back into the artificial chill and soothing daydreams of a distant North.