Literally The One And Only Time I Have Ever Had A Nosebleed, Ever

Joel Golby

I have only had one nosebleed in my short and stupid life, but it sort of set the tone for the rest of it. Wavy lines, a flashback: I was a kid, once. I was a normal kid with a perfectly round face and a terrible pudding bowl haircut and otherwise yes, I was a kid. I was not doing anything wrong when I got a juddering nosebleed. I was just minding my own kid business.

Some people get nosebleeds on the regs, heads all tilted back in over-illuminated bathroom stalls, all saying “NO I’B FINBE I’B FINB” through a nose full of tampons or tissue or a bunched up seat protector pressed against their face, afraid always ever to wear a white shirt or blouse, regular hospital visits to get surgically cauterised. I am not one of those people. I had a nosebleed because a girl in my year called Lisa kicked me in the nose.

I should probably mention at this point that, to the best of my knowledge, The Girl In My Year Called Lisa Who Kicked Me In The Nose did not do that thing with intent [1]. But it went like this: I was just bobbing around the playground, just minding my own business, thinking things like “huh, I wonder if anyone is playing football around this corner?” or “woah man those mashed potatoes we had for lunch were tight!” or “hey, what’s up other kid!” or “ho boy, I really like feeling how little my nose hurts right now!” when bam: The Girl In My Year Called Lisa Who Kicked Me In The Nose kicked me in the nose. Uncool, t/g/i/m/y/c/l. Uncool.

[1] Although she never actively apologised, the massive bitch, so you never do know.

The reason t/g/i/m/y/c/l did the aforementioned with my nose and her foot was because she was doing a cartwheel, which is a basic gymnastic move favoured by i. eight-year-old girls, of which t/g/i/m/y/c/l was one and ii. old Grandpa types who desperately and chaotically want to prove to everyone at the picnic that no, they don’t need one of those special battery operated can openers, actually, because they’ve still absolutely Got It, look Sheila hold my cardigan you’ll see. What I am saying is that cartwheels, historically, have form for ‘going quite wrong’. This one went quite wrong.

Minor aside: Remember those jelly shoes that people used to wear around the turn of the millennium? You know the ones. They were made essentially of jelly, silvery in colour, spiked throughout with glitter. One summer my family went to a grim seaside town called Filey and my Da delighted in pointing out single, lone, lost jelly shoes, stuck forever in a slick of sand or discarded by the side of the road, soft and wet and sad. By the end of our week in Filey he had counted more than thirty stricken jelly shoes. Something about those shoes made people want to leave them behind. They were a thing. His favourite ones were purple.

Anyway, the one attached to the right leg of t/g/i/m/y/c/l was travelling inexorably towards me, in slo-mo, undodgeable, and I watched it peak and arc and swerve toward me, a perfect collision course with my nose. “Snap,” said my nose. “Huh,” I thought. There was slim to no pain. Lisa stuck the landing. There was just one perfect second where I am like ‘ow, but okay’ and then it (the nose) starts just completely pouring with blood. Like: actively squirting. Like I am getting range, with this thing.

Immediately a nearby dinner lady goes into dinner lady-mode and puts one chunky and be-fleeced dinner lady arm around Wee Bewildered Joel and starts ushering him (me.) through the playground – the playground now populated, not handily, by ashen and pale faces, of children silently holding a hula hoop still around their waist or a skipping rope just flaccid on the ground – and this dinner lady starts saying such as “there” and “there there” and “don’t worry we’ll get you fixed”, which for me (him.) (Wee Bewildered Joel.) is kind of weird because again and to reiterate: there is very little pain. Like, I know I got kicked in the nose. But now still. Let’s not get dramatic.

Except see this is exactly where things get dramatic, because now the dinner lady – who by this point has bunched the sleeve of her fleece around her clamped hand, a crude approximation of a hanky, which she artlessly and occasionally dabs at me (him.)(w/b/j.) – is steering me through a labyrinthine series of corridors towards the school nurse, who at this moment is just innocently eating a ham sandwich and doing a crossword, unaware that a hugely bleeding child is en route, and I am saying things like “am I okay?” and “does it look bad?” when some human freckle of a kid in the year above called Daniel turns around and points at me (him.) and, again in slo-mo, says:  “Oh my gosh,” he says. “OH MY GOSH.


Which, and this is a thing I can relate from experience, which is the exact worst thing to say.

I’m crying now, and bleeding, which in a way makes my mangled face look better, because the blood is diluted and running down onto my Thunderbirds sweat-top (as part of a matching tracksuit but the bottoms were in the wash), and then everything is a blur and blah blah blah tampons up my nose haven’t had a nosebleed since, the end.

—May 16th, 2013

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