On a slightly unseasonably warm fall afternoon I found myself in the type of situation that usually only exists in ,uh, situational or romantic comedies. Chrisie and I were dating, but not yet engaged. Between classes, she came by and knocked on the door of my apartment. She probably heard the sound of two of us in the apartment scrambling around. Another woman whom I had kind of, sort of dated before Chrisie answered the door even as I rushed to get in front of her. In my undershirt. I spoke before Chrisie could say anything, “This really isn’t what it looks like. I can explain everything.”
Two minutes before that:
“Wow. I can’t believe Chrisie hasn’t seen this. It’s nice. And big,” she said to me.
“You say that like you’re surprised,” I complained.
“No, it’s just . . . more than I expected.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“Chrisie cannot know about this.”
“Don’t worry. I can keep a secret.”
“Okay then . . .wait, was that a knock? It’s probably Chrisie. She can’t find you here!” I quickly hid the evidence and tried to figure out how to explain without Chrisie suspecting anything.
Two minutes earlier:
“Fell better?” She asked me as she ran her hand across my face one last time
“Yes, thanks,” I said , “I really needed that. It helped more than you know.”
“Oh, I know. That’s why I suggested we come back here. I’m just glad I got you away from everybody.”
“Yeah, I feel guilty though. I hope Chrisie didn’t somehow see.”
“Don’t worry about it. You have nothing to be ashamed of.”
“Maybe. . . Hey, I want to show you something.”
Twenty minutes earlier:
We walked across the street from campus to my apartment as I willed us to somehow be invisible. In no way did I want anyone, especially Chrisie, my girlfriend, to notice us. I fumbled with the key in the door and hoped that none of my roommates were home.
“Come on,” she said, “let’s get you out of your clothes.”
Ten minutes earlier:
I walked across campus, thankful for the unseasonably warm day. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I felt like someone else, as if I watched a stranger in my place, acting far differently than I should. I happened to walk near a girl I kind of, sort of dated before I started going out with Chrisie. I was slightly ashamed at the rush of relief and emotion when I saw her.
“Leighton, are you okay?” she asked, concerned.
“I don’t know,” I replied honestly, “But I know I really need someone right now.”
“I can see that. I’ll be that someone.”
“But Chrisie . . .”
“Don’t worry about it right now. Let me take you home. I know just what you need.”
Five minutes earlier:
I splashed water on my face and stared in the mirror at a stranger. I didn’t even recognize myself. Who owned the wild, crazy visage that looked back at me?
One minute earlier:
I drowsily opened my eyes, but still saw darkness. This confused me since I last remembered being upstairs at the library. I came after class early in the afternoon. Surely I hadn’t slept until dark. I slowly realized My head was on my arm and I lifted it slightly. I happily discovered it was still light outside and one glance and my watch informed me it had only been a few minutes. Then I looked at my red shirt and quickly got up and headed for the bathroom.
Seven minutes earlier:
I tried to concentrate on the notes I attempted to write, but felt distracted and light-headed. I felt a tickle on my upper lip. When I ran my finger over it, it felt wet. I looked at my finger and the smudge of blood there. I tapped one nostril with a different finger. It came back bloody as well. “That’s weird”, I thought. Then blood poured from my nose. I felt very tired and laid my head down, just for a moment.
See? It was a perfectly reasonable explanation. I told Chrisie about how I was at the library studying (no really) when my nose started bleeding. I don’t know if I passed out or what, but I opened my eyes and my long sleeve shirt was completely soaked with blood. Blood also coated the study carrel. For some reason, I didn’t call for help, but mopped up the blood with the clean part of my shirt. Then I went to the bathroom and tried to clean up a little bit. I was not successful.
I walked across campus and tried to ignore the stares I got. When I ran into the girl I kind of, sort of dated, I was just happy to see a friendly and familiar face. She walked with me back to my apartment and helped me out of the blood soaked shirt. Fortunately I had my undershirt on. More fortunately, my outer shirt was fairly thick and little blood got on the white shirt beneath it. She then helped wash off my face as I calmed down. We both laughed about Chrisie would think if she came by, right up until she did knock.
I explained all of this to Chrisie. All absolutely true. The only part I left out was what I showed the other woman. After she cleaned me up, there was something I wanted to show her that I didn’t want Chrisie to know about. It was the engagement ring I recently bought Chrisie. I just wanted to show it off, since I couldn’t show Chrisie before I proposed. Chrisie believed me which at least saved us from the wacky hijinks of sitcoms and rom-coms.
The nosebleed? I went to a doctor and was diagnosed with Epistaxia which means, wait for it, nosebleed. That’s right, I paid a doctor to tell me what I already knew. I had a nosebleed. Cause of my nosebleed? Blood pouring from my nose.
I guess it cost more because it was in Greek. Guess I should have taken that foreign language credit.