When I was younger I used to get these terrific nosebleeds. They came at random it seemed. One minute I would be fine, and another moment I would feel a slow warm drip along my upper lip and the thick copper taste I began to associate with Chance.
Some mornings, I would wake up and my pillows and sheets would be soaked with blood. Splotchs of thick reds and forbidding browns would confront my waking stupor. It must have been shocking to see me at those hours, with my face streaked with in crusted red as I hurried to the bathroom to clean my face of the night’s game of chance. Perhaps I was gambling in my dreams, which I refused to do when I was awake, or perhaps I just bled.
Once, I was sent to pick up my mother from her work at the local hospital. I was sixteen, and driving a beaten up Celica. As I waited in the loading zone, my nostrils began to tickle and I sneezed so quickly and unexpectedly that I did not have time to raise my hands to cover my face. From my nose shot out, not phlegm, but deep red spatters of blood. It covered my steering wheel and engine console and crimson ran from my nose in earnest. Terrified that people would see me bleeding in front of a hospital and cause a commotion, I began to drive around the block waiting for my mother to come outside.
It was difficult: attempting to pinch my nose, steer the car and shift gears with the manual transmission. My steering wheel and shifter became painted with my worry. When I had pulled around the block the third time I found my mother at the door, waiting for me. I pulled up and as she opened the passenger door I tried to tell her that I had been on time, but I had to drive around the block. My voice was muffelled and distorted by the matter in my nostrils, though, which drew her attention to my face.
“Oh my God! What happened?”
I must have been quite a sight. Like some juvenile horror film, torn from its cellulose existense and placed inside her son’s car.
“Id’s okay,” I said, thorough my blood, “id’s jus a noseblad.”
Her shock turned to amusment, but did not lessen her concern.
“Come on,” she said, “let me drive.”