A Story by purple flower

sort of a loose memoir


My Dad never read Sun Tzu's, "The Art of War".  If he had, he never would have cornered that rat in his and my Mom's small Chicago apartment all those years ago.  Sun Tzu says that you should leave the enemy--the rat--a way out, especially when it seems inescapable for him.  He's right.   Let's face it, enemies and disgusting, filthy rodents, fight harder, stronger, better when backed into a corner with death being a close reality.  I guess it's easier to just let them run away and shoot them in the back.  The alternative is to risk the enemy somehow, wildly obtaining the upper hand.  But, even if they don't --it's a bloody, sweaty mess that is better avoided.

My Mom, then nine months pregnant with me, first saw the ugly, black enormous thing skittering across the kitchen linoleum.  Of course, she shrieked and my Dad grabbed the biggest and most dangerous looking object available- a long handled broom.  Mom tells me that Dad literally , indignantly, swept the rat--it's claws scratching, eyes bulging, teeth baring--into a tiny corner of the little kitchen.  Then, Dad quickly turned the broom around and with the wooden end, almost impaling it against the wall, held the rat in place for a heartbeat.  The rat squirmed frantically out of this predicament and made it a few inches before my Dad, still using the broom handle, came down on its tough body with a tentative smack.  This act set the rat in full survival mode.  With so little room to maneuver, its only option was to counterattack with a desperate opening of its mouth and clamp down with its teeth on Dad's bare foot. 

I think when Dad saw his own blood being poured out of his foot by those nasty huge rat teeth, he went a little crazy.  Mom says that even though the rat was painfully holding onto Dad's foot for dear life, Dad calmly angled the broom handle as if to "spear" it.  And, he did...again and again.  The terrible force it took to push the rounded handle past dirty tough rat skin and bones was repeated and repeated.  Way past the point when the rodent was a bloody blob of unrecognizable tissue, Dad continued to kill it.  Mom said rat blood covered everything, including them.  Most disconcerting though, was that her third trimester stomach was particularly drenched. 

I mean, sure, Dad won the battle.  But, I have often wondered if the victory was worth the cost. At any rate, shortly after my birth, Mom and Dad decided Chicago wasn't all it was cracked up to be. So, they packed my sister and me up, and brought us back home to rural Kentucky where I grew up.

I've heard it said that if something traumatic happens to a pregnant woman, the event can leave a" forever impression" on the baby. My constant childhood nosebleeds bear witness that this bizarre idea may be true. 

Sitting on our couch with yet another towel to catch the unending flow of blood from my nose, seems to be how I spent about three or four years of my pre-adolescent days.  My Mom asks, "When will you ever stop bleeding?!"  Anything and everything seems to find my face--softballs, my sisters' elbows, doorjambs.  Sometimes, if a solid object couldn't find me, atmospheres would creep into my nostrils and start the bleeding afresh--an overly humid morning, a too-dry winter evening right before bedtime. 

Once, on the playground at school, I felt the sickeningly familiar, metallic taste in the back of my throat and knew it was going to be a free- for- all.  I was on the merry go round, and a big fat fifth grade boy with snaggled, dark teeth had us smaller kids spinning like test tubes in a centrifuge.  When the blood started gushing out of my nose, it went unnoticed at first.   Then, the screaming started.  Blood, when flying at that velocity, lands on everything and everyone in sight.  Some kids even tried to jump off of the mad, swirling deathtrap before the fifth grader could jerk us to a stop.  Of course, they instantly realized what had happened when they saw I was a rider, too.  They were well acquainted with my frequent nasal emergencies.  But... the teacher's face was unforgettable. I guess it was disconcerting to see about eleven kids running to class, spattered in blood like a drunken Jackson Pollock had tried to use us as his canvas.

Somehow, surviving childhood, I entered my senior year of high school.  It was during this time, that my face crashed through the drivers' side window of my Dad's '77, matte black, Chevy Nova.  Evidently, running into a milk truck head-on, while not wearing a seat belt, would allow my head to bounce insanely around like a lottery ball on a Saturday night.  

Thank God, my kid brother and best friend, who were unlucky enough to be riding with me, had little or no damage--well, no blood loss.  My friend, Sara, escaped with only having had her glasses pop off of her face and fall, unbroken into her lap.  My brother, Carl, however somehow managed to sprain both of his ankles.  (This is still a mystery to me.) 

Fortunately, the wreck happened on the twisted and curvy mountain road that led down into the gulf of my childhood home.  Well, it was fortunate because a person can only go about 20 miles per hour along that snaky path...foot always either on, or hovering near the brake.  Had I been going any faster, it probably would have killed me for sure.  I suppose you could say it was unfortunate though, because it took the ambulance forty-five minutes to reach me in that rural wilderness. But, since I was knocked out, I guess it didn't matter. 

Waking up in the emergency room, I glimpsed myself in a mirror. I looked like someone had punched me in the face, hard and repeatedly, with a glass fist.  Eyes black and blue.  My hair, face and neck still covered in both fresh and drying blood.  Sparkly, big and small, chunks of glass stuck ridiculously out of my left cheek and forehead. 

 I escaped that incident with a fractured collarbone and multiple facial lacerations requiring only forty-one stitches.  They said it's a good thing I am O negative (universal donor)--they had a bunch of that on hand. The attending nurse told me she never saw anyone's face pump as much blood out as mine did that day.  I wasn't sure if I should feel proud or insulted by this statement...I still don't know. 

Now, with most of my blood still running scared through my veins, I am an adult. It's funny how being a grown up can make people think ideas like destiny and fate are stupid.  But, having just picked up my, newly transformed, daughter from summer camp, I know better.  Covered in black from dyed-hair to jagged toe nails, she takes off her Twilight "Team Edward" hoodie and leisurely tosses it in a corner.  She wants to show me her "Only Vampires Can Love You Forever" tattoo ....great...thanks Dad.






© 2012 purple flower

Author's Note

purple flower
hope you like this slightly humorous take on a section of my life

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Wow! This is great! I really felt like you were connecting with the reader, awesome job!

Posted 8 Years Ago

This was really fun to read. Sounds like your life has been quite an adventure. :)

Posted 8 Years Ago

Loved your story, Purple Flower! Really makes you wonder if things are fated to happen before we are born. Is there anyway we could have avoided them? I liked the surprise ending, too!

Posted 8 Years Ago

Awesomeness! I like the descriptions and the theme of blood throughout. Your daughter sounds like an interesting person, reminds me of someone I know...

Posted 8 Years Ago

I really, thoroughly enjoyed this piece! Your simple story-telling is wonderfully straight-forward, like you were just sitting across from me and telling me this story. Excellent work.

Posted 8 Years Ago

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5 Reviews
Added on July 24, 2012
Last Updated on July 24, 2012


purple flower
purple flower

i like all forms of writing and i like purple flowers :) more..