Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sliced and diced

Warning: this post is kind of gross, and not for the faint of heart.

This afternoon I went to go visit Enzo, John and Anna's cat, who we are feeding and chatting with while they're away in Mexico. Enzo is really one of the best cats I've ever known, because he's very dog-like: friendly, outgoing, affectionate.

Well, today I was standing at the counter, curling open a tin of wet cat food, Enzo mewling at my feet, when the edge of the can lid cut into the skin at the last joint of my pinkie finger. Suddenly there was blood running down my hand and onto the counter and into the sink. I was shocked at first - pressing the cut with a paper towel and simultaneously trying to clean up the mess. I dumped the food into Enzo's bowl to distract him and focused on the cut - I ran it under the cold faucet and watched the diluted blook wash away. The cut was like the open mouth of a smiley face. It hurt like hell. Every paper towel I pressed into it became a sodden bloody mess within a few minutes. Enzo was everywhere: between my legs, on the counter, rubbing against my arm. I thought, the last thing I need in the wound is cat hair. I thought, bury these towels deep in the trash so they don't freak out when they see them. I thought, don't let Enzo touch the blood or he'll turn into a vampire cat.

It wouldn't stop bleeding. After about 20 minutes I called L, and she called the student health people. I already had visions of my immaculate Thursday night being shot to hell - no great gym class, no good tv, just me in an ER waiting for stitches. I found band-aids in the bathroom, but I bled through two of them. After talking to L and deciding not to get stitches, I stumbled out of the apartment, doing everything with my left hand, promising Enzo, like a little feline deadbeat dad, that I would come back for more quality time tomorrow.

On the street I clutched my hands together and tried to hide the bloody paper towel from other people. In the pharmacy I jerked open the lid of the band-aid box and tried to apply it myself, with mixed results. As I returned to the street, though, I was shocked to see that the bleeding had abated. Instead of a gaping smiley mouth the wound was more like a ... parenthesis. A bold one, in a thick, unsubtle font, but only a parenthesis.

I went to the gym with high hopes. I made it on the treadmill and the pull-up thing, but then in class, we were ten minutes in when I saw that there was blood all over my hand. There was blood on the hardwood floor, too. Disgusted, I grabbed my towel and scrubbed at it, Lady MacBeth-style, and retreated to the lockerroom. With a fresh band-aid I returned, but it was only a few more minutes until I noticed blood again on my hand, and even traces on my shirt, and on the floor. I felt like that scene in "Carrie," when she gets her period in the locker room and the girls taunt her, except in my case, I expected the other hip hoppers to throw cans of cat food at me. I scrambled out, grabbed my stuff and returned to the lockerroom utterly cowed. I took a shower and left. I thought about staying to apologize to my teacher but I realized I was too angry to talk. I look forward to Thursday nights like no other; I was so disappointed.

Now I'm home, on band-aid number 4, fully expecting another tsunami of blood at any given moment. It really hurts. I figure, it must be better in the morning, right? I don't want stitches, I'm not going to the damn hospital. I tell you, these things always happen on the brink of something good (say, a chock-full birthday weekend: fun drinks tomorrow with Ashesh and Mona, a James cameo and rollicking party on Saturday, a lovely Sunday to follow). It even occurred to me that the blood stains on my hand are maybe reparations for the ashes that didn't stain my forehead yesterday.

Anyways, hopefully this will look better tomorrow morning. I hope the bleeding calms down, after a night of rest and no movement. Tomorrow I'm looking forward to returning to the scene of the crime and making amends with Enzo, getting some of the quality time that was cut short today, assuming of course that he hasn't developed a taste for human blood.

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