She hugged the heating pad a little closer, trying desperately not to disturb the large black cat next to her–no need for two pissed off individuals. A sudden pang streaked through her lower back and snaked its way across her abdomen. She grimaced and rolled over.

The monthly routine was no strange thing. It had happened, month after month, year after year, for several days to a week at a time, for nearly twenty years. She found some comfort in the fact that she was not alone in this. It was, in its way, a rite of passage. No woman had looked down on her for it; it seemed instead to elicit a sympathetic response–a fellow warrior in the ongoing war against their own bodies. An experience that every, single, woman had lived through since Eve’s first betrayal.

“Speaking of…” she groaned, turning up the heating pad dial to the maximum level allowed, “I’m gonna have words with that bitch.” The cat purred in smug superiority.