Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

The Bruise

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2015 at 8:42 pm


by Michael Welch

I regained consciousness on the floor of a subway car. I tried to pick up my head but it felt awfully heavy, and as I peeked out of what I could feel was a very puffy eye of mine (the other one seemed to be lost in a fog) I could see a large puddle of fresh blood flowing away from me and growing in size. Was it from me?

My right cheek felt sticky and cool laying against the subway floor.

I could see a ring of people around me, they seemed to be subway riders and then they were backing away. Then a policeman was breaking through the crowd and then he backed away, and I could tell now I was the center of attention and this wasn’t good.

I scooted my legs up under me in preparation of getting up, but the policeman stepped forward placing a strong hand on my shoulder telling me to stay down.

“Don’t move.”

It seemed to me a reasonable order, much as I don’t like cops bossing me around.

I ran my tongue along the inside of my teeth, everything tasted of blood but I seemed to have all my teeth. I groggily started to make sense of how I ended up down on the floor, shakily remembering a big dark fist coming at my face. Everything smelled like blood, that’s all I could smell and taste, then the cop cleared a hole on the platform; everyone seemed to be out of the subway car and I thought I heard an announcement that the train was out of service and then a guy in blue and green scrubs, and a woman following behind him rushed through the hole of people and then everything smelled like alcohol, hospital alcohol and then I could taste the alcohol as the man in the scrubs roughly wiped my face with a cold wet cloth and pinched my nose and Jesus, that hurt, and I let out a shaky groan and he said it is going to hurt and we have to stop the bleeding, and then I thought “OK” but  can’t be sure and then I forgot what happened.

The next thing I realize, I am in a bed, a hospital bed, as I slowly, cautiously, glance around me, realizing my surroundings and I knew I had to go the bathroom and I sure as hell was not going to add insult to obvious injury and piss myself and who knows what else in this bed.

I tentatively edged my legs over to the side of the bed – OK they worked. I dropped them over to the floor and I slowly lifted my heavy head, letting the dizzy light headiness pass and with some cautious intention shuffled over to where I figured, hoped, the bathroom might be.

I passed through the door, flipped on the light, and was facing into a mirror unfortunately directly in my line of sight. My entire head was bruised and bloodied, black and blue – an over swollen bloody basketball. The rosy, blossomed, lumpy bruise on the bridge of my nose was framed by two red, black and blue crescents, each one topping each cheek, giving me a raccoon sensibility, except for my two nostrils which had flared in size and expanded their openings to resemble an angry hog.

As ugly as the vision was of my bruised face, now I was becoming more concerned over the growing and perhaps more long lasting bruise to my delicate manly ego. And in my mouth I am tasting the metallic resentful scourge of fear mixing with the blood still dripping from the roof of my mouth.

I can smell the bitter scent of anxious fright rising off my bruised face, powerful vapors inundating and clearing, for a moment, my blood clogged nostrils; would I ever be free of this new fear, riding the subway?

I lay in that hospital bed for two weeks watching my bruised balloon head slowly subside, watching Law & Order day after day and every time the nurse came in she complained

“Law and order! Law and Order! Not Law & Order again!”

I suggested perhaps we could do with a bit more law and order.


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