One Reason Not to Clean Out Your Bag

5 03 2010

Today after Colby’s speech therapy, we headed over to the community college to pay my tuition for next quarter.

[Digression: At Christmastime, my mom said, “What are you going to do?”

Me: Well, I got accepted to the community college.

Mom: Good for you!

Kind Brother: Mom. It’s community college. Everyone gets in.

Thank you, Kind Brother, for bringing the rain. Where’s the parade you’re going to ruin?]

The sun shone on our unjacketed shoulders as we walked (since, of course, I parked on the exact opposite side of campus as the Cashier’s Office) past pockets of Asian youth crowded around the ashtrays, around strings of Asian girls (all very thin), and some old men sitting on a bench. One of these old men was making balloon animals (?–I know), and motioned us over, seeing as how Colby was the only being under 18 within the campus boundaries.

He made Colby an airplane on a stick (balloon). Colby and I were delighted and continued on our way.

As we rounded the bend (me trying to memorize the map the kind young man gave me at the first [and wrong] building we went to), there were stairs heading down and stairs heading up. Colby veered toward the stairs leading down, so I said, “No, Colby. We’re going up.” He looked up at me, swinging his long balloon around in one hand, and started to follow.

Just then, a student walked passed. Colby turned his head to look while still walking . . . and tripped. He trips quite often, actually, but this one was much worse than usual (on concrete) and he was still trying to hold onto his balloon with one hand.

He smacked his face, hard. I have never seen a nose begin bleeding so quickly. I was cool, calm, and collected. Colby was screaming, blood was streaming down his face, and people were walking by in an uncomfortable manner. I grabbed my backpack, unzipped it, and found a tissue.

One, solitary tissue.

I tried to hold it to Colby’s nose, which he didn’t like at all. He pushed it away, spreading blood up both his arms in the process. A girl came out, saw us, and said, “I’ll go get some wet paper towels.”

A few seconds later, another girl stopped and dropped a big wad of napkins on my bag. She kept her distance, but asked if there was anything she could do. No, no thanks, but I appreciate the napkins, I said.

The paper towel girl came back, and a young man offered his assistance. I declined, but with gratitude, and he said there was a nurse’s office just up the stairs and around the corner.

People were still streaming past, Colby’s nose was still bleeding freely, and he was still crying and fighting off attempts to clean him up. I eventually calmed him down enough to go inside to the restroom, where the paper towel girl helped us wash hands and face.

After thanking our helper, we went and paid tuition, then headed around campus the other way (so as not to have to talk to the balloon men and explain our bloodiness) to get to the van–which had a parking ticket under the wiper (of course!).

Poor little guy fell asleep on the way home, all tuckered out from the crying.

You can surely imagine how the stains looked when they were fresh and bright red.

I stuck the rest of the napkins in my backpack, where they will stay. You never know when you may need to staunch blood flow.